11 Oct October 2019
Prancing Oscar best of our 3 runners on jumps card at Sedgefield
On the opening day of October three of our horses head to Sedgefield for an afternoon jumps meeting at the Co Durham track. The first of our runners, River Frost, can only finish last of 4 in a 2 mile novices’ chase, whilst our final runner on the card, Inca Gold, comes home 5th of the 6 runners in a 2 mile 3 furlong handicap chase.
In between these runs Prancing Oscar contests a 2 mile 1 furlong handicap hurdle. The 5 year old has finished 3rd, 1st and 2nd in his 3 hurdle races to date but today is back up in grade to a Class 3 race with just 5 runners. Prancing Oscar races in 3rd place, tracking the two leaders, for much of the race, well clear of the remaining two runners. Prancing Oscar is ridden after 3 out but in the home straight tires though he comfortably holds on to 3rd place. This was the softest ground Prancing Oscar has encountered since going hurdling and maybe this, as well as the step up in grade, was the reason for a slightly below par run, but at least he has maintained his record of finishing in the first 3 in each of his hurdle races to date, and has a win at Fontwell Park to his credit.
Hugely impressive performance from Nataleena as our 3 year old filly scores 6 length success over 2 mile trip at Newcastle
On to Friday 11th Oct and 3 horses are off to Newcastle for an evening’s all-weather racing. The first race on the card sees Nataleena contest a 2 mile 1/2 furlong handicap. Nataleena, a 3 year old filly, is without a win in 5 career starts to date, all this season, but did finish second over today’s course and distance at the end of August, two runs ago. Andrew Mullen takes the ride once again and keeps Nataleena towards the rear of the 12 runners for much of the race until making a move rounding the home turn. Nataleena is in midfield at the 3 furlong pole after which Andrew pulls his mount to the outside of the leaders. Inside the final 2 furlongs Nataleena has a lovely clear run and making giant strides on the leaders quickly goes past her rivals and leads entering the last furlong. Nataleena runs on to go well clear of the field and scores by an impressive 6 lengths at the line. A very taking performance over 2 miles for a relatively inexperienced 3 year old filly and a fine ride from Andrew. These longer trips appear to be the making of Nataleena and judging by this performance there seems to be plenty more to come. Hopefully this will be the case as the filly has quite a number of owners, many of whom have been with us for quite some time and tonight’s success is richly deserved.
Later on the card Pinarella, in a 6 furlong apprentice handicap, and Uponastar, a 3 year old filly who only recently joined us at Castle Hill Stables, in a one mile maiden stakes race, both run unplaced.
Lady Shanawell wins opening race of Wetherby’s new jumps season to record her 2nd hurdles victory
On to 16th October and Ben sends two runners to the opening fixture of Wetherby’s 2019/20 jumps season. First away is Lady Shanawell who has shown improved form since going hurdling and today contests the opening race on the card, Division 1 of a Class 4 Juvenile Hurdle over 2 miles, under regular jumps pilot Richie McLernon. Lady Shanawell immediately races in second place behind the even money favourite. The positions remain unchanged with the favourite and Lady Shanawell staying in first and second places until approaching the 3rd last when our 3 year old is challenged for 2nd place. But the perspective of the race changes at the 3rd last hurdle as the favourite crumbles on landing leaving his two challengers well clear of the other runners. Having jumped the 2nd last together Lady Shanawell quickly gets the better of her rival and goes clear. Running on well after the last Lady Shanawell records her second victory over jumps by one and three quarter lengths. Maybe Lady Shanawell was a fortuitous winner on this occasion, it isn’t certain but without his fall the favourite may have won, but the hurdles are there to be jumped — the favourite didn’t, and Lady Shanawell did ! That’s now 2 wins in 5 hurdle races for Lady Shanawell who has clearly taken well to hurdling, no doubt to the delight of her owners our own Blue Lion Racing syndicate. And that’s already now 10 winners for Ben in the current National Hunt season which has not yet got into full swing, one more than Ben’s previous best jumps score achieved last season.
Half an hour later Blazing Dreams running over hurdles for the first time takes in Division 2 of the same Juvenile Hurdle. Blazing Dreams races in midfield and despite a mistake at the 3rd stays in 5th place behind the leaders until weakening in the home straight and finishing a well beaten 6th.
A fine 2nd place for Epeius at Newcastle — a course he loves !
Two days later, Fri Oct 18th, and two of our horses make return journeys to Newcastle for an evening all-weather card. Copperlight, a 2 year old by Poet’s Voice, is having just her 3rd career start tonight and previously ran over a mile at the track a month ago finishing last of 6, though only beaten 5 and three quarter lengths. Tonight’s trip is down to 7 furlongs but Copperlight is slowly away from the stalls and races at the rear of the field throughout, never really getting into the race, and eventually finishes 12th of the 13 runners.
Epeius, however, is very much a regular at the course, this being his 21st race here, including 8 this year alone, 7 of which have been over tonight’s trip of 6 furlongs. Epeius has certainly made the visits worthwhile having scored 4 of his 5 career wins over this very course and distance. 13 runners contest this race and Epeius veers left coming out of the stalls but jockey Andrew Mullen quickly has the 6 year old racing on the heels of the leaders. After passing the 2 furlong marker Epeius goes into 3rd place and once inside the final furlong moves into 2nd. Epeius runs on well but cannot get near the leader who wins by a comfortable 2 and a quarter lengths. But this is another good run from the consistent Epeius who has been in the frame for over half his 38 races, clearly loves the track, and rarely runs a bad race.
A 3rd place for Nataleena and a much improved 4th place for Aiden’s Reward at Newcastle
It’s back to Newcastle on Friday 25th October for another evening all-weather fixture with 2 horses making the journey, Nataleena and Aiden’s Reward, our final runners of the month. The first race on the card sees Nataleena contest a 2 mile Class 4 handicap attempting to follow up her win in her last race, also over tonight’s course and distance, although the previous race was 2 grades lower. Andrew Mullen again takes the ride and as in her previous race keeps Nataleena at the rear of the field until entering the home straight. At the 2 furlong marker Nataleena makes her move on the outside of the 7 runners. It looks to be a lovely timed run by Andrew as Nataleena takes 4th place, less than 2 lengths behind the leaders, entering the final furlong but tonight Nataleena can’t quite reach the front two and finishes in 3rd place, beaten only 3/4 length. A narrow defeat but another fine run by Nataleena especially in this higher grade. The step up to 2 miles is clearly suiting our 3 year old filly well.
Later on the card Aiden’s Reward runs in a 5 furlong nursery handicap. To date Aiden’s Reward, a 2 year old by Dandy Man, has had 3 races each of them being 5 furlong maiden / novice events but has not really been sighted at the business end. Since his last run in July he has been gelded and tonight marks his handicap debut. Ridden for the first time by Graham Lee Aiden’s Reward races in midfield tracking the leaders for much of the race. Entering the final furlong in 5th place Aiden’s Reward runs on well finishing 4th of the 14 runners. In another couple of strides he would have taken 3rd place but this is certainly Aiden’s Reward’s best run to date, being beaten only 3 and a quarter lengths.