13 Sep September 2019
2 second places as Melody Of Scotland and Prancing Oscar both fill runners up spots at Hexham
On the second day of the new month Ben takes 3 horses to the evening jumps meeting at Hexham. All 3 horses are ridden by Richie McLernon. First away is Melody Of Scotland in a 2 and a half mile handicap hurdle. Our 5 year old has been in good form of late winning 2 hurdle races over this course in June. Melody Of Scotland races in midfield in the early stages of the race but takes 3rd place entering the final circuit. A faller 5 out leaves Melody Of Scotland in 2nd place and throughout the final mile she continues to make ground on the leader and rounding the home turn draws level with her rival. Approaching the final hurdle Melody Of Scotland takes a narrow lead but despite her having the rail to race alongside the long time leader fights back on the run in and in a driving finish gets back up on the line to defeat our game mare by just a neck. Melody Of Scotland has battled well in the closing stages and considering she was giving 11 lbs to the winner this is another fine performance from J P McManus’s hurdler.
Our second runner of the meeting is the latest J P McManus horse to arrive at Castle Hill Stables, Inca Gold, who joined us from Joseph O’Brien’s stable in Ireland as recently as last month. A winner of one of his 3 hurdle races last winter Inca Gold, despite being only a 5 year old, has subsequently been chasing though without success. For his first race for our stable Ben has chosen a 2 and a half mile chase but after being held up early he loses touch from 4 out and finishes a well beaten last of 6. Ben has obviously not had the horse long and will certainly have learned plenty from today’s race and better can be expected of Inca Gold in the future.
Our final runner on the card is Prancing Oscar, winner of a novice hurdle at Fontwell Park 11 days ago, and tonight he runs in his first handicap hurdle. Only 6 runners take their place in this 2 mile contest in which Richie holds the 5 year old up in the rear for most of the race. Going down the back straight for the final time Prancing Oscar makes ground to join the leading group and jumping the second last goes into 3rd place. Rounding the home turn Prancing Oscar moves into second but after the last can only run on at one pace and the leader is well clear and scores a comfortable win with Prancing Oscar a creditable 2nd, 6 lengths behind. That’s 3 good hurdle runs in 6 weeks from Prancing Oscar who has yet to finish outside the first three, and he has again confirmed the promise he has shown in his previous hurdle races.
Auckland Lodge makes all under Harrison Shaw at Catterick to record her second career win
The following day, 3rd September, provides a much shorter trip for Auckland Lodge and Funkadelic who both race at our local track Catterick. Auckland Lodge, a 2 year old, has won one of her 4 races to date and today runs in a 5 furlong Novice Auction Stakes race under Harrison Shaw who has partnered the filly in each of her 4 races. Harrison has Auckland Lodge quickly away from the stalls and racing close to the rails attempts to make all. She is never far ahead of her rivals but by running on well in the closing stages Auckland Lodge does indeed lead all the way, the winning distance of one and a quarter lengths probably being as much as she was leading at any stage of the race. But this is a nice, well-judged ride from the front from Harrison who clearly gets on well with the filly. The winning owner is Chris Cleevely who runs the filly in the colours of the appropriately named Auckland Lodge Partnership, and that’s now 2 wins from 5 races for the 2 year old.
By the time of Funkadelic’s race, the final race on the card, rain has fallen and the official going changed from good to firm, to good, not good news for Funkadelic who, taking his usual dislike to the softened conditions, disappointingly finishes last of the 9 runners in a 5 furlong handicap.
Ever So Much scores record 12th win for Ben in bloodless Sedgefield victory
On to 5th September and J P McManus’s Ever So Much makes the short journey to Sedgefield for a 2 mile 5 furlong handicap chase on his preferred good ground. The 10 year old already holds the distinction of being Ben’s winning most horse, having 11 wins ( all when trained by Ben ) to his credit. Usual partner Richie McLernon is again in the saddle. Only 4 runners go to post and having been held up early Ever So Much finds himself in second place as 2 of the runners depart at the 8th fence. Richie keeps Ever So Much on the heels of his remaining rival until moving ahead between the final two flights and is clear at the last when his rival also takes a fall. Ever So Much therefore comes home alone on the short run in to record a bloodless victory. A bizarre finish to the race but clearly Ever So Much already had the measure of the other horse when he took his fall and the fall in no way affected the result.
That’s now 12 career victories for Ever So Much and also now 9 wins ( of which 7 have been on horses owned by J P McManus ) for Ben in the current National Hunt season, equalling his best figure achieved last year, and there are still around 8 months of the jumps season to go !
Another 3rd place as Lady Shanawell switches back to the Flat for Saturday night out at Wolverhampton
Saturday 7th September sees a rare visit these days to Wolverhampton for an evening all-weather meeting and it’s just Lady Shanawell making the trip. Successful in a juvenile hurdle race at Cartmel 12 days ago Ben switches the 3 year old back to the Flat for a 9 runner mile and a half Stakes race under Andrew Mullen. Lady Shanawell races at the rear of the field until making ground approaching the home turn. In the straight Lady Shanawell runs on well between horses and takes third place entering the final furlong. Lady Shanawell keeps on well and almost snatches second place at the line but has to be content tonight with a second consecutive 3rd place on the Flat.
Well deserved success for Sandret as our 3 year old scores comfortable victory at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting
Although it’s Friday 13th September Ben takes Sandret to the Doncaster St Leger meeting hoping the 3 year old’s luck will change for the better after his oh so close 2nd place at Newmarket 3 weeks ago. This time Graham Lee is in the saddle and Ben has upped Sandret in trip 1/4 mile for a 1 mile 2 furlong Class 3 Classified Stakes race. Sandret is slowly into stride and Graham holds him up at the back of the 7 runner field, racing close to the rails. In the home straight, at the 3 furlong marker, Sandret is still in last place but only 4 lengths behind the leader when Graham begins to make his move. Easing out towards the middle of the runners Sandret quickly moves through the field and entering the final furlong is in 2nd place. Approaching the final half furlong Sandret moves into the lead and under a perfectly timed challenge from Graham almost cruises up to the line to score a comfortable one length success. Sandret has clearly seen the extra 2 furlongs out well which will open up more opportunities for Ben for this extremely promising 3 year old’s future. Running in the colours of Mrs Christine Barclay and the Ben Haslam Racing Syndicate Sandret has now won 3 of his 7 races, been in the frame in each of his other 4 races, progressed from winning Class 5 and Class 6 races to winning Class 3’s, over distances ranging from 6 furlongs to a mile and 2 furlongs. Sandret has certainly made great strides in his racing career which only began just over 6 months ago and connections are entitled to believe there is still more to come.
Impressive late run sees Fortamour win in style at Newcastle on only second career start
17th September sees Fortamour make the journey to Newcastle for his first experience of an all-weather track. The 3 year old did not race at 2 years and made his racecourse debut in May when finishing 7th of 9 in a 6 furlong maiden race at Redcar since when he’s been gelded, and Fortamour’s second start sees him upped in trip to 7 furlongs but remaining in maiden company with Graham Lee in the saddle. Again it’s a 9 runner race and Graham holds Fortamour up at the rear until approaching the 2 furlong marker. Entering the final furlong Fortamour goes into 3rd and showing an impressive turn of foot quickly goes past the two leaders to win in some style by a comfortable 2 and a half lengths. A telling late run from Fortamour who has been delivered in perfect fashion by Graham Lee. This is a most pleasing performance from Fortamour on only his second run and the switch to all-weather racing ( or was it the gelding ! ) has certainly worked the oracle. Owned by Mrs Christine Barclay and P Wood Fortamour seems to have quite a future ahead of him.
2nd consecutive success for Blindingly crowns a wonderful week for owner Mrs Christine Barclay
3 days later, Friday 20th Sept, Ben returns to Newcastle for an another evening all-weather meeting, this time with 3 horses. Nataleena and Copperlight run unplaced in their events so all eyes are on Blindingly who last time out 6 weeks ago won his first ever race, a 6 furlong maiden handicap at Thirsk. Tonight Ben returns Blindingly to 7 furlongs and he is partnered for the first time by Harrison Shaw, such good value for his 3 lb claim. Harrison has Blindingly prominent throughout as he races down the centre of the course tracking the leader. At the 2 furlong pole Blindingly goes on and Harrison drives the 4 year old inside the final furlong and despite being hard pressed by a number of rivals holds on nicely to score by a neck.
A second consecutive victory for Blindingly, a win which crowns a wonderful week for owner Mrs Christine Barclay as, following the earlier successes of Sandret and Fortamour, this is Christine’s 3rd win in just 7 days ! A long-standing owner at Castle Hill Stables this rich vein of success is well deserved and long may it continue.
3rd win of the season for 2 year old filly Auckland Lodge as she scores again at Catterick
The following day, Saturday 21 September, two of our 2 year olds make the even shorter trip to Catterick. First away is Apples Acre, a chestnut filly making just her 3rd race racecourse appearance in a 6 furlong Novice Stakes race. Apples Acre is, however, hampered at the start and always at the rear of the 9 runners, eventually finishing in 8th place.
Later in the afternoon Auckland Lodge, another chestnut filly, has her 6th run of the season in a 5 furlong nursery handicap under regular pilot Harrison Shaw. Auckland Lodge already has 2 wins to her name, over 5 furlongs at Carlisle in June and over today’s course and distance earlier this month. As usual Harrison has Auckland Lodge quickly away from the stalls and soon leads. Auckland Lodge stays in front until being joined approaching the furlong pole but inside the final furlong Auckland Lodge battles on well against the running rail. Our filly won’t be denied and she sees off her rivals to score a shade cosily at the line by 3/4 length. An extremely well judged ride from the front from young Harrison, who now has 4 wins for our stable this season from only 12 rides. And that’s now 3 wins from just 6 races for our Dandy Man filly, an excellent achievement in only her two year old season, and she has certainly done her owner, Chris Cleevely in whose Auckland Lodge Partnership colours she runs, proud.
That’s also now 22 Flat winners for the 2019 season, far and away Ben’s best total to date, and the win also pushes Ben through the £150,000 earnings barrier for the first time.
The Bull and Epeius both run good races to make the frame at Newcastle
On to 27th September and it’s back to Newcastle again this time with 2 previous winners at their all-weather track, The Bull and Epeius. The Bull was successful here in November 2018 over 5 furlongs but today contests a 7 furlong handicap under Paul Mulrennan. The Bull races in midfield before making headway after the 3 furlong marker and holds every chance approaching the 2 furlong pole. Our 4 year old enters the final furlong in 2nd place but can only run on at one pace and finishes 3rd of the 13 runner field, beaten one and three quarter lengths.
One hour later it’s the turn of Epeius in a 6 furlong handicap with Andrew Mullen in the saddle. 4 of Epeius’s 5 wins have come over today’s course and distance, the last two when partnered by Andrew. Epeius dwells slightly coming out of the stalls and races at the rear of the 9 runners before making progress 2 furlongs out. In 5th place entering the final furlong Epeius keeps on well in the run to the line but can only make it to 4th place, also beaten one and three quarter lengths.
And a 3rd place for Blindingly in apprentice handicap at Ripon
The following day, Saturday 28th Sept, sees our final runner of the month as Blindingly travels to Ripon for a 6 furlong apprentice handicap fresh from victories in his last 2 races, at Thirsk in August and at Newcastle just 8 days ago. 9 runners contest the race and Blindingly is ridden by George Bass, an apprentice based with Mick Channon. Blindingly is held up in the early stages before being driven over 2 furlongs out. At the furlong pole his rider switches his mount to the stands rail and the 4 year old runs on inside the final furlong to take 3rd place at the line.