17 Jul July 2018
Dylan gives Epeius a tremendous ride to record his own first career success in amateur handicap at Hamilton
On the second day of the new month Epeius and Funkadelic make the journey up to Scotland for races at Hamilton’s evening meeting. First off is Epeius in a 6 furlong handicap open to gentlemen amateur riders only — and who better to fit the bill than our own Dylan McDonagh. Dylan joined Castle Hill Stables as a work rider / amateur jockey around 3 months ago. Between Nov 2012 and March 2015 Dylan had 23 rides as an amateur, split between the Flat and over hurdles, without success, but he had not ridden in races since then. Epeius’ own record reads 1 win from 19 starts to date but he has run well on many occasions and deserves to have more victories to his name.
Epeius doesn’t get the best of breaks and is last of the 7 runners leaving the stalls. Dylan doesn’t panic though and keeps his mount at the rear of the field for the first half of the race. 3 furlongs out Dylan begins to make his move as he switches Epeius to the outside of the runners. At the 2 furlong marker Epeius moves into second place and he still occupies that position entering the final furlong, albeit some 2 or 3 lengths behind the leader. Inside the last furlong Dylan drives Epeius home in determined fashion like an old pro and incredibly Epeius gets up to record the most unlikely of victories by a nose, joining the leader right on the line. What a tremendous way for Dylan to achieve his first career success as a jockey and what a fine ride he has given his partner. As for Epeius he has responded so well to all Dylan’s urgings, to record just his 2nd victory and his first on turf. It should also be noted that Epeius was giving 9 lbs to his younger rival.
Epeius runs in the dark blue colours of our own Ben Haslam Racing Syndicate, a syndicate put together by Ben not so long ago and this is also their first success. Epeius’ win has provided a wonderful advertisement for the syndicate and anyone wishing to join is very welcome to contact Ben at any time ( contact details can be found on this website ). But for Dylan especially this will be a night, and a race, he will never forget !
An hour later Funkadelic contests a 5 furlong handicap partnered by apprentice Connor Murtagh having just his second ride for Ben and he too runs his best race for some time. Connor has him quickly out of the stalls as he races just behind the leaders, and Funkadelic actually gets his nose in front entering the final furlong. However our 3 year old is run out of it in the final half furlong but nevertheless finishes in a creditable 3rd place.
Camanche Grey cannot quite make it a 4th July victory, and has to settle for 2nd place at Hamilton
On to 19th July when Ben again sends two of our horses up to Hamilton. One of them, making a quick return visit following his success 17 days earlier, is Epeius, along with this time Camanche Grey.
Camanche Grey is in fact the first of the pair to race today contesting a 5 furlong handicap. It’s the grey’s first run for over 6 months and only his second race in just under 12 months but this is certainly Camanche Grey’s ” time of year “, all his 3 wins to date having been achieved in the month of July. Graham Lee takes the ride today and holds Camanche Grey up at the back of the 9 runners until 2 furlongs from home when he makes his move threading his way between horses. With half a furlong to go the 7 year old goes into second place but despite running on well he cannot get to the comfortable winner. This though is a pleasing comeback race after a longish absence and a 2nd place makes the starting price of 22/1 seem very generous !
Just half an hour later it’s the turn of Epeius who is attempting to repeat his victory here a little over 2 weeks ago. The distance is the same, 6 furlongs, the going is the same, good to firm, but one factor missing is our own Dylan McDonagh who took the ride last time as the race was restricted to gentlemen amateur riders. For today’s race, open to professional riders, promising apprentice Connor Murtagh is in the saddle. Connor has Epeius nicely settled in midfield for much of the race and mounts his challenge inside the final furlong. Epeius again runs on well but cannot quite get to the leaders and finishes a never nearer 4th of the 8 runners. Epeius cannot therefore replicate his previous victory, though someone who could, and did, was Dylan yesterday, being successful on an ” outside ” ride to make his score for the season 2 wins from 2 rides !
3rd place for Cash Again at picturesque Cartmel
2 days later, 21st July, our jumper Cash Again travels over to the picturesque Cartmel racecourse to run in a 2 mile 5 furlong chase with regular partner Richie McLernon in the saddle. Richie keeps the 6 year old at the rear of the 8 runners for the first half of the race but on the final circuit starts to pick off his rivals and moves into 3rd place 3 fences from home. Cash Again is still in third jumping the last but on the long Cartmel run in cannot get any closer to the leader though 3rd place is satisfactory considering he was giving weight to the in-form winner who had also been successful at Cartmel 3 weeks earlier.
And a 3rd place for Pinarella at Nottingham in her best run to date
Back to the Flat on 24th July as our 2 year old Pinarella runs in a 5 furlong Novice Stakes race at Nottingham following unplaced finishes in her first 3 starts. Settled towards the rear by jockey Tom Eaves in the early stages Pinarella starts to move forward after the 2 furlong marker. Inside the final 1/2 furlong Pinarella moves into 3rd place and running on well stays there at the line to make the frame for the first time and finishing third at 16/1, beaten just 2 lengths, certainly represents the filly’s best run to date.
Lord Caprio and Full Shift both make the frame over jumps at Uttoxeter
On Sun 29th our jumpers take centre stage again as Lord Caprio and Full Shift make the journey down to Staffordshire to take in races at Uttoxeter.
First away is our 3 year old Lord Caprio in a juvenile hurdle race. Winner of his only previous hurdle race 2 months ago Lord Caprio is again ridden by Richie McLernon who keeps his mount towards the rear of the 8 runners until making headway into 6th place on the second circuit. Lord Caprio goes into third passing the 3 furlong marker but can make no more progress and he is well held by by the front two, though in spite of being eased on the flat he is able to retain 3rd place, albeit eventually beaten 20 lengths.
After Lord Caprio’s race the going is changed from good to soft, to soft, and Full Shift has to wait until the final race on the card, a 3 mile handicap chase. The 8 runners are quickly split into 2 groups of 4 with Full Shift and Richie McLernon racing in the second group some 10 lengths behind the leading quartet. The chasing group does catch up with leaders entering the final circuit and 4 fences from home Full Shift makes progress into 4th place but can get no nearer. As 4 of the 8 runners pull up in the straight Full Shift plugs on in the heavily softened ground to be last of the 4 runners to finish.
Another good run from Camanche Grey sees him take 3rd place at Ayr
Our final runner of July is Camanche Grey in a 5 furlong sprint at Ayr on Mon 30th, the race coming 11 days after the 7 year old finished second in a similar race at Hamilton following a 6 month break. Graham Lee is once again in the saddle. Camanche Grey is slowly away but Graham quickly has the grey racing in middle of the 14 runners. From 2 furlongs out Camanche Grey starts to run on well and comes to join the leaders half a furlong from home. At the line Camanche Grey finishes third, losing second place just on the nod, having given 9 lbs to each of the horses finishing narrowly in front of him.