06 May Winners Enclosure and New Horses!
Apologies for not updating the website sooner, we are starting to enter silly season here at Castle Hill Stables and I am still adjusting to the fast paced activity of April! In between Sales and racing, Ben’s feet (and mine!) have hardly touched the ground, but it is safe to say that we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Since I last spoke to you, we have seen some good runs from our horses, starting with new recruit Knocklong (Milan X Banningham Blaze) who showed much improved form on his second start for us when finishing 4th in a valuable handicap hurdle at Hexham on the 20th April. Our latest horse from J.P. McManus, he is a true gentleman at home and we were delighted with his performance over 2 miles 4 furlongs here, running on well for Andrew Tinkler after hitting a flat spot halfway through the race. He wouldn’t be the fastest horse on the planet, but is very game and a step up in trip looks sure to suit in the near future.
We have also had a few out for their first run of the season, and they all looked to need it a bit without being disastrous! The grand old soldier Hi Dancer (Medicean X Sea Music) is also showing a revival may be on the horizon when running a pleasing race at Sedgefield yesterday for owner Robert Tocher, finishing 3rd in a 2 mile handicap hurdle, and it would be wonderful to see this veteran make it into the winners enclosure one more time this season.
Without a doubt, the highlight of April had to be Lady Lekki’s (Champs Elysee X One Zero) triumphant debut at Wetherby, who were staging their first ever flat meeting (which was, by general consensus, a resounding success on what appeared to be a very fair track – a wonderful addition to the racing calender!) Lekki is owned by one of the friendliest, most enthusiastic syndicates that you could wish to meet, Go Alfresco, and she rewarded their patience in spades on the 26th April. Bred by jockey Kieren Fallon, she was a relatively cheap purchase from Goffs Yearling Sale, costing only 7000 Euros. She then decided to take her own time coming to hand, presenting Ben with plenty of niggly little problems that kept her off the track as a 2 year old. However, this has now proved to be a blessing in disguise, as she made a very taking impression on her debut start as a three year old here. Lining up for the mile maiden, she set off very green, coming out of the stalls last and decided to detach herself from the rest of the field for a couple of furlongs, much to the onlooking supporters worry, but once jockey Andrew Elliot steered her towards the outside, she saw daylight and absolutely flew to come from last to first, pulling away from the others to take victory by 2 3/4 lengths. Whilst not the strongest maiden on paper, the style in which she did it was impressive and she has been handed a very fair mark of 71. This now opens up a few options, and she may head to Newmarket for a 0-75 fillies handicap on 14th May.
We have also been very busy away from the racecourse and around the Sales Ring recently, taking in Doncaster and Newmarket Breeze-ups on our travels. We saw plenty of lovely horses, and have been very lucky to bring a couple home. Doncaster saw us successful early on, when picking up Lot 15, a beautiful little Frozen Power filly, now named Freeze A Crowd (Frozen Power X Skies Are Blue). A half sister to plenty of winners, she did a very fast breeze and looks sharp and strong. She has settled in really well at Castle Hill Stables and has been working very nicely – hopefully we should see her on the course in the next month. She has been bought by Middleham Park Racing and Mrs. C. Barclay, so fingers crossed she will prove lucky for them.
We then went on to Newmarket for the Guineas Sale, on the search for colts! We found Lot 174 a lovely, big Arakan (X Gilda Lilly) colt who did a nice enough breeze but looks the type to do even better with time. He is a gorgeous looking, strong horse with plenty of scope, and looks to have plenty of potential for the future. Nearer the end of the day, we struck lucky with Lot 246, a gorgeous looking Zoffany (X Sarella Loren) colt. Full of class, he did a good breeze and is another with plenty of scope. Both look lovely prospects, and will have a couple of weeks off before we start training them. There are still shares available in the Zoffany, so if you are interested please contact Ben.