28 May May 2015
3rd place for our stable stalwart Hi Dancer at Sedgefield
On May 5th Ben takes our veteran 12 year old, Hi Dancer on the short trip to Sedgefield to contest a 2 mile 1 furlong handicap hurdle.
Heavy rain on the morning of the race decimates the field which is reduced from 12 to just 5 runners but the soft going holds no fears for Hi Dancer who has won a total of 16 races on going ranging from Good to Firm through to Soft, as well as including 2 on the all-weather. Hi Dancer is ridden today by the good conditional jockey Kieron Edgar who takes him into the lead from the off and stays there until surrendering his advantage approaching the second last hurdle. Hi Dancer then runs on at one pace but is unable to add to his 3 previous wins at the course and has to settle for a very creditable 3rd place, beaten just over 8 lengths.
Nevertheless this is a good performance from Hi Dancer, and certainly his best since returning in February from a near 10 month break, and offers encouragement that our stable stalwart may still be able to achieve one more victory for his owner Robert Tocher.
Tremendous performance as Shesnotforturning takes 2nd place in first run after 20 month break
The following week it’s the turn of two of our Flat horses to make the trip up to Newcastle to run in the 2 divisions of the 7 furlong handicap. First off in Division 1 is the 6 year old mare Liliargh who is behind early on before making progress from 3 furlongs out. Liliargh runs on well inside the last 2 furlongs but cannot reach the leaders and has to settle for 5th place, albeit beaten only 3 and a half lengths by the winner and finishing no less than 10 lengths in front of the 6th placed horse !
In the 2nd Division of the race Shesnotforturning, a 5 year old mare owned by Mrs Christine Barclay, puts up a tremendous performance in her first run for almost 20 months. Andrew Elliott, who takes the ride on both horses, has Shesnotforturning with the leaders from the start before settling in second place. Shesnotforturning then goes clear at the 2 furlong marker and looks the likely winner, but is then caught inside the final furlong and has to be content with 2nd place, beaten 2 and a quarter lengths at very rewarding odds of 66-1.
This is a fine run by Shesnotforturning ( who incidentally is very well named being out of Refuse To Bend, by Diplomats Daughter ) certainly her best performance to date, and the first time she has reached the frame. Ben is delighted with the run and will look to have Shesnotforturning out again very soon to hopefully build on this improved performance.
Shesnotforturning follows up with a 3rd place at Redcar after a fine first ride in public from Alice !
Just under 2 weeks later, on May 26th, Ben has Shesnotforturning out again, dropping down to 6 furlongs for an amateur riders’ handicap at Redcar. This race sees the racecourse debut of Ben’s fiance, Alice Kent, and what a tremendous ride Alice gives the 5 year old. The ground is faster than when Shesnotforturning finished second at Newcastle last time but Alice always has Shesnotforturning in touch and then begins to chase the leaders from 2 furlongs out. Shesnotforturning keeps on well inside the final furlong under Alice’s urgings and takes 3rd place on the run to the line.
This is another fine performance by Shesnotforturning who seemed unaffected by the potential ” bounce ” factor in her second race after coming back from a 20 month break, and also a lovely ride from Alice who was competing against a number of very experienced amateurs. For her first ride in public this is a day Alice will never forget !
Prince Of Pirates makes the frame for the first time for Ben at Wetherby
Since taking charge of Prince Of Pirates, formerly a decent class chaser for Nicky Henderson, Ben has endured a frustrating time with the 10 year old, campaigning him over both fences and hurdles in an attempt to try to rediscover his previous good form, and Ben’s hard work finally shows some reward when Prince Of Pirates makes the frame for the first time for Ben in a 2 and a half mile hurdle race at Wetherby on May 28th.
Held up in the early stages by Andrew Tinkler Prince Of Pirates then tracks the leaders and goes into second place 2 out before keeping on at one pace in the final furlong, eventually finishing 3rd, beaten under 4 lengths. This was certainly Prince Of Pirates best performance since arriving at Castle Hill Stables.