13 Oct October 2016
Saint Charles takes 3rd place at Towcester
On 5th October Ben takes Saint Charles to Towcester for a Class 4 Novices’ Chase over 2 miles. Ridden as usual by Richie McLernon, who was successful on J P McManus’ 6 year old in a chase at Southwell in July, Saint Charles is held up and then hampered at the 4th. A mistake 5 out does not help his cause and ultimately Saint Charles comes home in 3rd place of the 5 runners. After the race Saint Charles appears to be slightly lame which clearly accounts for a moderate performance on this occasion compared to his previous recent races.
A second consecutive 4th place for our 2 year old filly Vivardia
The following day and it’s back to the Flat as our 2 year old Vivardia makes the trip up to the west coast of Scotland to contest a 6 furlong maiden race at Ayr. This is only Vivardia’s second career start having finished 4th on her debut at Thirsk last month. Again Graham Lee takes the ride and he has our Rip Van Winkle filly close up on the heels of the leaders in the early part of the race before becoming outpaced 3 furlongs out. Vivardia then runs on again inside the final furlong to once more finish 4th of the 7 runners, beaten just over 5 lengths. Nevertheless this is another promising performance from our Blue Lion Racing syndicate’s youngster and Ben will be looking for her to build on these first two career starts in the near future.
Skellig Michael makes the frame on a night of firsts at Kempton
After a couple of quiet weeks Ben takes Skellig Michael down to Kempton Park on Oct 26th for a 6 furlong nursery handicap. Not only is this Skellig Michael’s first experience of all-weather racing it is also Ben’s first ever runner at Kempton. To complete the series of firsts the experienced Ted Durcan is in the saddle, his first ride for Ben ! Skellig Michael dwells coming out of the stalls and Ted keeps the 2 year old colt towards the rear on the inside in the early stages and stays close to the rails throughout the race. Helped by the rails though a little short of room at times Skellig Michael makes ground and goes past a number of horses in the final 2 furlongs to finish in a creditable 4th place, beaten under 2 and a half lengths. Following 3 earlier runs on turf this is probably Skellig Michael’s best performance to date, showing a good attitude and clearly equipping himself well on the all-weather surface.
2 excellent performances at Newcastle from our Trojan Horse Partnership horses
Two days later Ben takes 3 horses to Newcastle’s new all-weather track. Whilst Whisky Marmalade needs the race after a 7 month break and finishes unplaced our other 2 runners, both carrying the colours of the Trojan Horse Partnership, put in excellent performances.
Eponina, a 2 year old filly by the excellent sire Zoffany, is making her racecourse debut under Cameron Hardie and runs in a Class 4 Maiden Stakes race over 7 furlongs. A good ride by Cam sees him race Eponina just on the heels of the leaders and despite showing signs of not unexpected greenness actually challenges for second place after the 2 furlong marker before weakening inside the final furlong, eventually losing a few places to finish 6th of the 12 runners, at odds of 66/1 ! An excellent first effort from Eponina who indeed has run better than the bare result may suggest, having been beaten under 4 lengths in a decent class maiden. Her owners can draw considerable encouragement from this first run.
The final race on Newcastle’s card sees the reappearance of Epeius who has been one of our unluckiest horses so far this season and does not deserve to still be looking for his first win. For this 8th race of his career Ben drops the 3 year old down to 6 furlongs for the first time for this apprentice handicap for which Megan Nicholls, successful twice for Ben in the past, takes the ride. Held up in the early stages Epeius begins to make his run towards the far rails 3 furlongs out. Epeius runs on well and continues to keep on inside the final furlong but cannot quite peg back the two leaders and finishes in 3rd place, beaten just over half a length, at the rewarding odds of 20/1. Again this is a career best performance and surely his turn for the winners enclosure will come before long.
Two very good performances from the 2 Trojan Horse Partnership runners show that Ben’s horses are continuing to run well, just not getting the breaks, and the wins, they deserve — yet !