04 Mar March 2018
Ben scores first Flat win of 2018 as Porrima records her debut win at Lingfield
First runner of the new month on Sat 3rd March sees Porrima make the journey down to Lingfield for a 6 furlong maiden race on their all-weather track. After all the snow we’ve experienced in the Dales this past week it is gratifying to see the incredible hard work which has been put in by the Lingfield groundstaff to enable the meeting to go ahead. The course is rewarded with a good card, and many very high class horses, not least of which can be counted our own Porrima ! A grey filly by Kodiac she is having just her third career race today having finished third in her debut race at Thirsk in June 2017, and then second at Newcastle’s all-weather course last month. The leading all-weather jockey Luke Morris takes the ride today.
Luke has our filly beautifully positioned in third place just behind the leaders in the early part of the race. Coming round the home turn Luke gets a lovely run up the inside and quickly drives Porrima into the lead. A number of her rivals in the 6 runner field try to get to Porrima in the final furlong but our filly will not be denied and holds on well, perhaps even a shade cosily, to record her first career victory by 3/4 length.
This has been a fine ride by Luke for whom this is a first win for Ben from 6 rides. It is also Ben’s first winner at the leafy Surrey track from just 3 runners. Added to it being Porrima’s first success and Ben’s first Flat winner of 2018 it all makes for a memorable day of firsts and no doubt a more enjoyable, if long, journey back to Middleham. That’s 3 fine runs from just 3 races now for Porrima, and an improvement in form each time. Clearly owners Daniel Shapiro and Partners have an exciting filly to look forward to for the 2018 Flat season.
Elysee Star makes a fine start to her 3 year old career with a promising 2nd place at Newcastle
On the following Friday, 9th March, Ben takes two of our 3 year old fillies to Newcastle for an evening all-weather meeting. First away in a 6 furlong apprentice handicap is Displaying Amber who runs a nice race under Connor Murtagh keeping on well in the final furlong to finish 4th of the 9 runners, beaten less than 3 lengths.
Later on the card it’s the turn of Elysee Star to contest a 7 furlong handicap. This is Elysee Star’s first run of 2018 and Paul Mulrennan takes the ride tonight. Paul holds our filly up in the early part of the race before making good headway 2 furlongs out. Elysee Star takes a narrow lead a furlong from home but is headed in the last 50 yards and frustratingly has to settle for 2nd place, beaten just 1/2 length. Nevertheless this is a good run coming so close to losing her maiden tag and especially on the back of a 5 month break, and the owners, our own Go Alfresco Racing Partnership, should have much to look forward to from the filly during the 2018 season.
A first ever double for Ben as Rey Loopy and Castle Hill Cassie both score comfortable successes at Newcastle
Four days later it’s two of our most promising 4 year olds who make the journey up to Newcastle for another evening all-weather meeting and this turns into a red letter day for Ben !
Rey Loopy, already twice a winner at Newcastle, is first off in a Class 5 handicap over one mile with Paul Mulrennan in the saddle tonight. Under a cool, patient ride Paul keeps Rey Loopy last or last but one of the 10 runners until making his move shortly before the 2 furlong marker as he starts to thread a fine passage through horses. Rey Loopy quickly makes smooth progress but still enters the final furlong in 5th place though now on the heels of the leaders. Inside the last furlong Rey Loopy runs on really well, takes the lead 100 yards from the finish, and is soon clear to win going away by a comfortable one and a half lengths. This was a masterful ride from Paul who clearly also had maximum confidence in his partner. That’s now 3 wins, as well as 2 second places, from Rey Loopy’s last 6 runs at Newcastle and owners Daniel Shapiro and Mrs Christine Barclay will be delighted how well and how consistently their horse is running and there seems no reason to suggest there won’t be more to come from Rey Loopy throughout 2018, especially at a course he clearly loves.
Just one hour later it’s the turn of Castle Hill Cassie to try and replicate the performance of her stable mate as she takes her place in a Class 4 handicap over 7 furlongs. Graham Lee takes the ride tonight on our filly who was successful on the turf at Pontefract and here at Newcastle’s all-weather track in 2017. Graham settles Castle Hill Cassie in 4th place of the 6 runners for much of the race before starting to make his move after the 2 furlong marker. The filly doesn’t immediately find a clear passage and is still in 4th place at the furlong pole, but eventually Graham is able to push the filly through the leaders and once clear Castle Hill Cassie runs on in fine style to win, also comfortably, by 1/2 length. A similar confident and beautifully timed ride by Graham to that of Paul’s earlier, and again he also had a very willing partner. That’s a 3rd career win for Castle Hill Cassie ( her first at Class 4 level ), each achieved with Graham Lee in the saddle, from just 9 starts, and she has yet to finish out of the first 4 in any of her races ! A model of consistency, she must be bringing enormous pleasure to her owners, the Ontoawinner syndicate, the Trojan Horse partnership and James Pak.
These 2 fine performances tonight mean Ben has achieved his first ever double, 2 winners at the same meeting. The wins also show, of course, how well our horses are running at the moment and with the start of the 2018 Flat turf season less than 2 weeks away the timing couldn’t possibly be any better !
And 2 weeks later, a second double for Ben as Cherry Oak and Lord Caprio both impress with wins at Newcastle
Just 2 weeks after Ben achieves his first ever double it’s a case of deja vu, in the nicest possible way ! Wed 28th March sees Ben send 2 more horses, both 3 year olds, to to an evening meeting at Newcastle and once again both come back with victories to their name. Paul Mulrennan takes the ride on both our horses tonight.
Cherry Oak, admirably consistent after 8 runs but as yet still a maiden, is first off in an 8 runner 5 furlong handicap. Although the filly is keen in the early stages Paul holds her up towards the back of the field until just after the 2 furlong marker when he starts to make his challenge under a hands and heels ride. Cherry Oak quickly leads inside the final furlong and only needs to be pushed out to record a comfortable length and a half success. A first win for any horse is always the most important and this win for Cherry Oak should do wonders for her confidence and owners, the Ontoawinner syndicate and Daniel Shapiro and David Clifford, have yet another horse to look forward to for the 2018 Flat campaign.
An hour later and Paul is aboard our second runner of the evening, Lord Caprio, who bids for his third win of the winter in a one mile handicap and is backed down to a short price 5/4 favourite to do so. Again Paul keeps his mount towards the rear of the 7 runners for the early part of the race. A slow pace does not help Lord Caprio but Paul begins to make his move 2 furlongs out and at the furlong marker goes into second place. Lord Caprio chases the leader all the way to the line but, despite running on really well, it is not until the final 100 yards that he gets his head in front to win by a neck.
That’s now 3 wins and a second place from Lord Caprio’s last 4 runs starting in November 2017, all at Newcastle which has been such a happy hunting ground for Ben this winter providing him with 4 of his 5 Flat winners this year, all achieved in March giving Ben a 45% strike rate for the month. The new Flat turf season is only just starting to get under way and already Ben is almost halfway to equaling last seasons best ever Flat score of 11 winners. As for Lord Caprio it’s always pleasing to have a winner in the famous blue and white colours of our own Blue Lion Racing syndicate and Lord Caprio is certainly doing his happy owners proud.