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Much needed catch up with Dance

Good evening, It really has been a while since you have heard from me, but we have been through some difficult times here at Castle Hill Stables and I wanted to wait a little while before putting hoof to paper. As I am sure you all know, racing and Castle Hill lost a monumental man in Patrick Haslam (left, back in his training days taking Pipe Major to get the paper!) recently. Ben’s father, and the first trainer of myself, was truly one of a kind and a genius with a horse. A lot of amazing things have been written, and it has been truly heartwarming to read the wonderful tributes. I won’t add too much more, other than to say that he handled my first ever win at the tender age of 3 years old, using all his expertise with handicappers to do so, on a monumental January day at Southwell, and was to oversee my return to the winner’s enclosure a further eight times before handing me over to Ben. Both Ben and I are going to miss him very much, every day, but if Ben continues to listen to what I learned from him, we will surely make him very proud. Needless to say, the yard has been keeping us very busy, which is never a bad thing during such times. Castle Hill Cassie (right) was to provide Patrick with his last congratulatory call to Ben, when winning a decent fillies handicap at Newcastle for owners Ontoawinner, James Pak, Lynn Douglas and Gary Walker. Cassie was a very appropriate last winner, as she has plenty of class and should be doing plenty to make him cheer from the clouds as a four year old next year. She nearly gave us a small fairytale at Kempton just after in a hot fillies handicap, flying to the front with half a furlong to go however – however, the silly girl thought she had won, and slightly pulled herself up before just getting overtaken in the dying strides to take a tight 4th. However, we were delighted with her performance and cannot wait to see what she can do next Spring. Rey Loopy (left) was the one instead who bought as much cheer as he could back to the yard, when heading to Newcastle for a mile handicap, stepping up a furlong from his previous winning trip. A huge three year old, we were pleased to get a win with him early on in the year, but knew there was more to come so put him away after a couple of efforts that weren’t quite up to par. His owners Daniel Shapiro, David Clifford, Derek Barclay and the Wood family have been very patient with him, which is really paying off now. Jumping out the stalls, he was way out the back, but travelling like a steam train under Tom Eaves, before coming through in a matter of strides to take up the lead with a furlong to go. Tom kept him up to his work and he cruised to a cracking victory – I think the celebrations from us all were louder than any fireworks that night! He is an improving horse and another I think we are going to have a lot of fun with this winter and next year. Finally, Ben has been busy at the sales once more, and we have recently set up the Ben Haslam Racing Syndicate (click here for more details) with two cracking colts bought from Tattersalls Ireland, as well as older horse Epeius, already a winner. This should be a lot of fun and gives a really affordable way to get into racehorse ownership. Both colts have been backed and started cantering, and are showing plenty of aptitude for their new job, whilst Epeius will be kept busy on the all weather this winter and could well prove to be a nice money earner in that sphere. We also went down to Tattersalls and came home with two absolute belters – a filly by sire of the moment Nathanial (sire of Enable) and a gorgeous Gregorian colt (Gregorian above right, Nathanial below right). Both are quality horses with plenty of size, and more details about them can be found on the for sale pages. They are already backed and cantering and have taken to it like ducks to water. Our yearlings have all been having lots of fun recently, with Ben letting them out to play in the fields (left). This is so good for them, as they can go and be horses and unwind from the intense lessons they are currently having. A few heart in your mouth moments, but they absolutely love it! We are slowing down on the runners front, but have a few pencilled in for end of this week, including Loopy, Epeius and a couple of jumpers so keep your eyes peeled! Until next time Dance