04 Jan January 2019
Festive greetings from Castle Hill Stables
We hope all readers of Ben’s website had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. May we also wish that all our owners ( past, present and prospective ! ), and all our website readers, have a happy, successful and profitable 2019 !
Ben certainly had an excellent year in 2018 with a number of magnificent achievements. These included: Highest ever Flat prize money earned. Highest ever Jumps prize money earned. Most ever wins in a Flat season. Most ever runners in a Flat season. Most ever winners ( Flat and Jumps ) in a calendar year. First runner in a Group race. First runner in a Listed race. First winner in a Listed race. 100th career win ( Flat and Jumps ).
Excellent though those achievements were Ben will naturally be keen to better them, where possible, during 2019 !
Please note the full 2018 stats appear under December 2018 page.
Good 2nd place for Castle Hill Cassie in Conditions race at Wolverhampton
The New Year quickly gets under way as 3 horses leave Castle Hill Stables on Wed 2nd January, one heading down to Wolverhampton, the other two going north to Newcastle.
Castle Hill Cassie, who had such a wonderful 2018, is our runner at Wolverhampton in a fillies’ Conditions Stakes race over 7 furlongs, a Fast-Track Qualifier for the All-Weather Championships at Lingfield Park on Good Friday. The 2018 champion apprentice Jason Watson is in the saddle, having just his second ride for Ben. Castle Hill Cassie is kept in midfield for much of the race but in the straight challenges between runners and takes second place without being able to get to the comfortable winner who beats our now 5 year old mare by 3/4 lengths. The winner of this Class 2 Conditions race looks extremely useful and this is unquestionably another good run from Cassie.
Ben opens his account for 2019 on the second day of the new year as Rey Loopy scores for the 4th time at Newcastle
On a late afternoon card both Rey Loopy and Funkadelic contest races at Newcastle. Rey Loopy who, like Castle Hill Cassie, became a 5 year old yesterday and is already a 3 time winner, all at Newcastle, runs in a 7 furlong handicap, ridden for the first time by Andrew Mullen. Rey Loopy races in last place until the 2 furlong marker when Andrew drives his mount forward. Rey Loopy runs on well taking 3rd place entering the final furlong and in the run to the line shows a lovely attitude to eventually pass his rivals and win unchallenged by 2 and a quarter lengths. This is a most pleasing performance by Rey Loopy and owners Daniel Shapiro, David Clifford and Mrs Christine Barclay can look forward to another good season from their horse, especially no doubt at Newcastle where he has now won no less than 4 times. It’s only the second day of the new year but Ben has already now opened his account for 2019.
Later on the card Funkadelic runs unplaced in a 5 furlong handicap.
Much improved performance from Call The Cops to take 2nd place in Newcastle handicap hurdle
Ben is back at Newcastle the following Saturday, 5th January, but this time it’s with two of our jumpers, both owned by J P McManus. First away is Call The Cops in a 2 mile 6 furlong handicap hurdle. The 10 year old returned at Sedgefield a month ago following a 15 month break but finished a well beaten 7th of 11. His rider today is again Richie McLernon. Richie holds Call The Cops up towards the rear of the 10 runners for much of the race before making headway 4 out and going 3rd at the second last. Call The Cops then moves into 2nd place jumping the last but cannot make any impression on the winner, 2nd place though, beaten 3 and a quarter lengths, is nevertheless a substantial improvement on his comeback run a month ago.
35 minutes later Ever So Much is pulled up in a chase over just short of 3 miles. This distance is slightly longer than his optimum trip and the good to soft ground not entirely ideal. This is the second consecutive race Ever So Much has failed to complete but hopefully better can be expected next time in what will be his 50th race under rules !
Our third 2nd place of the year as Rey Loopy goes close again at Newcastle
Just one week later, Sat 12th January, and Ben is again back at Newcastle but it’s a return to Flat racing today as Rey Loopy seeks to add to his already impressive 4 wins on their all-weather track. As in his previous winning race 10 days ago Andrew Mullen is again in the saddle but on this occasion Rey Loopy is upped in trip to a mile, a distance over which he’s already been successful twice on this course. As in his previous race Rey Loopy is held towards the back of the runners in the first half of the race before Andrew makes his move from the 2 furlong marker. Rey Loopy runs on well inside the final furlong and catches the leaders but is frustratingly run out of it by another rival coming even later on the scene, on the outside of the runners. In the last 100 yards Rey Loopy runs on at one pace to finish 2nd of the 7 runners, beaten one and three quarter lengths. Another good consistent run from Rey Loopy but annoyingly that now 3 second places for our runners already this year, thankfully Rey Loopy got his head in front in his previous race on January 2nd !
2nd win of 2019 for Rey Loopy and a 3rd place for Epeius on Newcastle’s evening card
It’s Newcastle again on 22nd January as Rey Loopy ( for the 3rd time already this year ) and Epeius make the journey north, both horses tonight being partnered by Andrew Mullen. For Rey Loopy it’s another Class 4 one mile handicap and again he is held up at the rear in the early stages. Our 5 year old makes headway on the outside of the 7 runners 2 furlongs out, and moves into 3rd place at the furlong marker. In a tremendous battle in the final furlong 3 of the runners flash past the winning post almost in line, but it’s Rey Loopy who has just prevailed by a neck ! A wonderfully strong and well-timed ride from Andrew Mullen. This is already the second win of 2019 for Rey Loopy, also with a 2nd place in between those 2 wins, and Rey Loopy is now proving a most consistent all-weather horse for his happy owners Daniel Shapiro, David Clifford and Christine Barclay. That’s now 5 career wins for Rey Loopy, and all achieved on his beloved Newcastle !
In the final race on the card Epeius contests a 6 furlong handicap. Epeius currently has 2 successes to his name, one of them being here at Newcastle. Our 6 year old is also held up towards the rear of the 13 runners and starts to make headway from the 2 furlong marker. Epeius enters the final furlong still in 6th place but runs on strongly in the final furlong to finish a never nearer 3rd, beaten under 2 lengths.
It’s Newcastle again as Porrima wins following a break to give Ben and owner Daniel Shapiro their 3rd wins of 2019
Just 3 days later and again two of our horses make the trip up to Newcastle for an all-weather Flat meeting. This time it’s two 4 year old fillies, Porrima and Cherry Oak. Porrima, a lovely grey out of Kodiac, is having her first race for over 4 months and is partnered by Andrew Mullen in a 7 furlong handicap. Porrima is slowly away and quickly switched by Andrew to race towards the near side. She is held up early until starting her move through the 14 runner field after the 2 furlong marker, though still only 7th entering the final furlong. Challenging on the near side Porrima runs on strongly and with 100 yards to run already has her grey head in front, and she goes away nicely to win cosily at the line by 3/4 length at odds of 14/1 under another good ride from Andrew Mullen. As for the filly herself, she is quite lightly raced, today being only her 9 career start and her 2nd victory. There should therefore be more to come from Porrima and her owners, Daniel Shapiro and Partners, look to have a nice filly on their hands. And as Rey Loopy also runs in Daniel’s colours this is already his own 3rd win of 2019 !
Later on the card Cherry Oak struggles from halfway and comes home last of the 10 finishers in a 5 furlong handicap.
A first win of 2019 for Cassie Hill Cassie as our filly scores again at Wolverhampton
It’s a change of scenery for a couple of our horses on 28th January as Castle Hill Cassie and Prancing Oscar are off to Wolverhampton. Cassie seems as fond of Wolverhampton as some of our other horses are of Newcastle, as her record to date at the West Midlands all-weather track reads 1 win and 2 second places from just 3 races there. Today she has her regular partner Graham Lee in the saddle though Ben has upped her in trip slightly to to 1 mile 1/2 furlong for this Class 2 Fillies’ handicap. Drawn on the inside of the 6 runners Graham keeps Castle Hill Cassie on the rails and on the heels of the leaders for much of the race, but entering the home straight an immense gap immediately opens in front of her and Graham is able to push her through with the minimum of effort to go clear. Graham then just has to keep Cassie up to her work and the 5 year old is able to win a shade cosily by 3/4 length. This is yet another impressive performance from Castle Hill Cassie, especially as she was conceding 10 lbs or more to some very useful horses. The filly, who’s owners D Howden, S Lock and D Redvers already have the All-Weather Championships Day at Lingfield on Good Friday to look forward to, is also a model of consistency having finished out of the frame in only 2 of her 18 races, of which she has now won 6. And already this is win number 4 of 2019 for Ben !
Later on the card Prancing Oscar finishes last of the 12 runners in a selling handicap over the same trip as Castle Hill Cassie’s race.
Ben reaches a quarter century of winners for owner J P McManus as Rock On Fruity wins again in Newcastle chase
Whilst our all-weather Flat horses are running so well we mustn’t forget this is January and we have a number of jumpers ready to run. On the 29th Ben is back again at Newcastle but this time it’s not on their all-weather track as he is taking Rock On Fruity for a Class 3 handicap chase over a trip just short of 3 miles. Rock On Fruity is one of a number of horses owned by J P McManus who joined Ben in the autumn of 2018 and he had previously been trained in Ireland. In his first run for our stable last November he was unplaced at Catterick but followed this up with a win here at Newcastle one month later over 2 and a half miles. Richie McLernon is in the saddle for the first time today and holds Rock On Fruity up for the first half of the race. After 6 out the 10 year old starts to make headway and turning into the home straight with 4 fences to jump is on the heels of the leaders in 4th place. Jumping the 3rd last Rock On Fruity, racing on the outside, joins the leaders. After the second last there are just 2 horses in it and after jumping the last both horses are locked in a determined battle in the run to the line but Rock On Fruity just gets the better of it close home to score by a length. For the second successive race Rock On Fruity has started the outsider of 8 runners and won, and whilst today’s odds are not quite as generous as the 40/1 returned last time, 16/1 still seems very reasonable for a last time out winner ! And this has been another typically lovely judged ride from Richie.
Another notable achievement today is that Rock On Fruity’s win is the 25th winner ( all over jumps ) Ben has trained for the legendary owner J P McManus, the first being Front Of House in a novice hurdle at Southwell in November 2010 under A P McCoy ! A tremendous feat and hopefully there will be many more winners to come from Ben in J P’s famous green and gold colours !
We haven’t finished yet as Epeius scores again at Newcastle to make it 6 wins in January for Ben
On the final day of our momentous January it’s back to the Flat as we again have 2 runners at Newcastle but this time for another of their all-weather meetings. Epeius is first away in a 6 furlong apprentice handicap under Sebastian Woods who is having his first ride for Ben. Epeius is held up towards the rear of the 8 runners for the first half of the race. He starts to make a move 3 furlongs out but is momentarily a little short of room. His young rider soon finds sufficient daylight but still enters the final furlong in only 5th place and a good 8 lengths behind the clear leader. Inside the last furlong the leader starts to come back to the field and Epeius and his other rivals rapidly make up the ground and at the line it’s Epeius who prevails by a neck. An astonishing final furlong and ultimately a cool ride from Sebastian who did not panic at any point in the race. This is Epeius’s 3rd career win, 2 on the all-weather at Newcastle, as well as a win on turf at Hamilton last year. Unfortunately Musbaq cannot repeat Epeius’s success and comes home last of 13 in a 7 furlong handicap later in the evening.
As far as Epeius’s win is concerned an added bonus is that the 6 year old runs in the colours of the Ben Haslam Racing Syndicate — if you are interested in joining or learning more about the syndicate please contact our stable for details. So that’s now 6 winners ( 5 Flat, 1 Jumps ) in January 2019, unquestionably the best start Ben has made to a new year. With our horses clearly running so well let’s hope 2019 can turn into another record-breaking year for Ben !