12 May May 2016
Charlie’s Approval runs best race to date at Thirsk
Ben takes Charlie’s Approval to Thirsk on Sat 7th May for a 6 furlong selling race on their evening card. Raul Da Silva has the 4 year old at the rear of the field in the early stages but from 2 furlongs out starts his challenge on the outside of the 8 runners. Having made up ground nicely he can only run on at one pace in the final furlong, eventually finishing 3rd at generous odds of 40/1, beaten just a length and three quarters by the winner.
Whilst this was only a selling race it was nevertheless the best run to date for Lee Ashmore’s filly and she did show sufficient promise to suggest that her owners patience be rewarded having still had just 6 runs under her belt.
Later on the same card Lady Lekki, upped in trip and also in grade following her Redcar win in April, runs a solid race to finish 6th of 11 in a mile and a half handicap under Graham Lee.
Incredible 17th career win for Hi Dancer in Sedgefield hurdle race
The following Tuesday our jumpers take centre stage as Ever So Much and Hi Dancer make the short journey to Sedgefield, a course where each horse has been successful in the past. Today both horses are ridden by Richie McLernon who rides as second jockey in this country for the J P McManus horses.
First off is Ever So Much, owned of course by ” J P “, in a Class 4 handicap chase over a distance just short of 2 and a half miles. Enjoying the good ground Ever So Much races in midfield until being sent into second place 6 fences from home. Ever So Much then goes on to challenge for the lead 2 out but afterwards runs on at one pace and on the run to the line loses 2nd place and has to settle for third. This is a decent effort though coming on the back of a 7 week break and Richie has given our horse a nice ride.
Half an hour later it’s the turn of our stable stalwart Hi Dancer who contests a 2 mile 1 furlong handicap hurdle. Again given a lovely positive ride by Richie McLernon Hi Dancer is alongside the leader from the off and soon takes a clear lead himself at a sensible pace. Hi Dancer maintains his lead throughout the race and in the straight goes well clear. Jumping his hurdles like a spring chicken Hi Dancer rolls back the years and runs on strongly to record a comfortable 9 length success.
This win will delight not only owner Robert Tocher but everyone at Castle Hill Stables where the 13 year old has been such a popular horse for so many years. This was Hi Dancer’s 111th race in total ( all for Ben and his father Patrick before him ) and although it’s his first win for 2 years it’s his 17th career victory. 59 of those runs and 13 of the victories have been over hurdles giving an incredible 22% strike rate in that sphere, and he has made the frame in a near 50% of his races over hurdles.
This was another lovely ride from Richie who becomes the 9th jockey to be successful on Hi Dancer, and Sedgefield now joins Wetherby as being Hi Dancer’s winning most track having now recorded 4 victories at each course. A great day for Ben and everyone at Castle Hill Stables and a performance to enjoy for some time !
So nearly a dream start as Bourbonisto is beaten in a photo on racecourse debut
Our second 2 year old runner of the season is Bourbonisto who contests a 5 furlong race at Doncaster on Sat 14 May. Raul Da Silva takes the ride and having dwelt at the start Bourbonisto is still last of the 8 runners at the 2 furlong marker but he then starts to make ground on the outside. Despite hanging and running green Bourbonisto keeps on exceptionally well and in a driving finish is narrowly beaten in a photo by a fast diminishing neck, at odds of 25/1.
This is a tremendous performance from Bourbonisto, a chestnut colt by Stimulation, who is the first horse to carry the colours of owner Daniel Shapiro and running so close on his debut surely suggests that recompense soon awaits. Ben is naturally delighted and believes that an extra furlong will show Bourbonisto in an even better light.
One day later and another 2nd place as Vaux shows great improvement on his debut run
Just one day later and Vaux, our first 2 year old runner who finished last of 4 over 5 furlongs at Southwell 3 weeks earlier, is upped in trip to 6 furlongs for his next race at Ripon and as in his first race Joey Haynes takes the ride. Vaux rears slightly coming out of the stalls but quickly begins to make ground on the outside of the 7 runners and starts his challenge at the 2 furlong pole. Alongside the leader in the final furlong Vaux has every chance but despite keeping on well goes down by just 1/2 length at odds of 20/1, with the third horse 6 lengths back. This run represents considerable improvement on his racecourse debut.
Vaux is a bay colt out of the first season sire Sir Prancealot and carries the colours of the On To A Winner syndicate.
Coincidentally both Bourbonisto and Vaux were foaled on 1st April 2014 but there was no joke about either performance and Ben is looking to get both 2 year old’s back on the racecourse very shortly.
To see such good performances from our first 2 two year old runners gives everyone a boost and the belief that we may well have a good crop of 2 year old’s at Castle Hill Stables this year. We still have some shares available in our 2 year old’s and anyone who wishes to join us and share the fun and excitement, and hopefully enjoy a few wins as well, is welcome to contact our stable at any time.
Win number 6 for Ben with Ever So Much at Southwell
On 24th May Ben sends the consistent Ever So Much to Southwell for a 2 and a half mile Class 4 and again he gets his preferred good ground.
Richie McLernon who rode Ever So Much to finish third 2 weeks ago at Sedgefield again takes the ride and our charge is backed down to 9/4 favourite although he is again taken on by the second placed horse at Sedgefield who is the second favourite tonight.
The two rivals are kept at the back of the 7 runners in the early stages but both begin to make their move with a circuit to go as they take 3rd and 4th places just behind the two leaders. Ever So Much makes good headway 4 out and the two market rivals jump the last together but Ever So Much then goes on and is driven clear to turn the tables on his rival by recording a 1/2 length victory. This is another impressively well timed ride from Richie McLernon on J P McManus’ 7 year old.
Also impressive is the fact that this is Ever So Much’s 6th win since joining Ben in August 2014, 4 of which have been in chases and 2 over hurdles, and Ever So Much is now 2 from 2 at Southwell having been successful in both his 2 and a half mile chases at the Nottinghamshire track.
Frustration as our 2 promising 2 year old’s both blow their chances leaving the stalls
On the same day as Ever So Much scores at Southwell Vaux makes the shorter journey for a Flat meeting at Wetherby to take in a 5 and a half furlong 2 year old race, whilst the following afternoon Bourbonisto goes up to Hamilton for a 6 furlong race. Frustratingly both 2 year old’s who ran so well to finish in second place in their previous races blow their chances coming out of the stalls slowly.
Vaux is slowly into his stride but does make ground during the race and even challenges for the lead after the 2 furlong marker, but then cannot go through with his effort and eventually finishes 5th, albeit only beaten 2 lengths.
In Bourbonisto’s case the blindfold is removed late and he too is slowly away, losing almost as many lengths at the start as he is ultimately beaten. Bourbonisto can never get on terms with the leaders finishing in 8th place, beaten 6 and a half lengths.
Disappointing and frustrating as these two runs are both horses have run well once they have got away and at least we know we still have 2 very useful and promising two year old’s on our hands, both of whom will hopefully have better luck next time.
One week on, and 6 wins quickly become 7 as Ever So Much scores hurdle victory at Towcester
Exactly one week after Ever So Much wins a 2 and a half mile chase at Southwell Ben sends the 7 year old a little further into the East Midlands to contest a 2 mile 5 furlong Class 4 handicap hurdle race at Towcester. After last weeks victory Ever So Much is slightly better handicapped over hurdles than fences at the moment and Ben seeks to take advantage of this. Richie McLernon, who has done so well for us recently, again takes the ride. Whilst the ground at Towcester is again described as good a downpour pre-race certainly won’t have been on Ever So Much’s wish list !
As at Southwell Richie holds Ever So Much up at the rear of the 7 runners for most of the race before making headway 3 out. Ever So Much then goes smoothly into second place before taking the lead jumping the last and running on well to score by one and a half lengths. Yet another lovely timed ride by Richie, and Ever So Much makes it all look ever so easy proving himself to be equally adept over hurdles as fences.
This is Ben’s first win at at the Northamptonshire track ( from just 3 runners ) and whilst the ground remains on the good side Ben will look to get Ever So Much, and owner J P McManus’ famous green and gold colours, on the racecourse again very soon to hopefully supplement the 7 wins ( 4 chases, 3 hurdle races ) he has already achieved for him.