Surfing The Sand

Our All-Weather expert Simon Mapletoft spotlights two young northern trainers who are making a name for themselves on the sand; puts the talents of leading sprinter Kachy into perspective; brings you an update on stricken jockey Robert Havlin; and has four more Eyecatchers for your Trackers.

  • Thursday 07 February
  • Blog
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Young Northern trainers BEN HASLAM and REBECCA MENZIES continue to impress on the All-Weather - as well as over jumps.

Middleham based Ben is proving a chip off the proverbial old block, progressing horses in the quietly capable manner of his late father Patrick.

He began the week with a strike rate of 55 per cent following a purple patch that yielded five quick fire winners.

So far this winter, Haslam has saddled eight All-Weather winners at an impressive percentage of 19 and saddled a notable chase winner for JP McManus at Newcastle last month.

He can look forward to preparing his first Finals Day runner on Good Friday, too. Listed winning-mare Castle Hill Cassie is among the leading contenders for the £150,000 Fillies and Mares crown and heads straight to the race after an impressive win at Wolverhampton.

“She’s come out of that race in great shape and will head straight to the Final,” he tells me. “I have no concerns about her handling Lingfield - she ran well there in a Listed race in November - and on this winter’s form must have a leading chance. It’s very exciting.”

Rebecca, meanwhile, recently saddled her 100th career winner - Emerald Chieftan at her local course Sedgefield - and has excelled on the Tapeta tracks at Newcastle and Wolverhampton this winter.

Her sweetening up new recruits Dragon Mall and Tetradrachm - two older horses who had lost their way - has been particularly impressive.

She numbers leading northern Flat owner John Dance among her clients and, like Haslam, had a great mentor of her own in Freddie Murphy, whom she assisted in North Yorkshire before he departed to France a few years ago.


Winning the Sprint Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday could be a piece of cake for Baker Dave Lowe, whose pride and joy KACHY is the one they all have to beat in the £150,000 showpiece.

Not only did the six-year-old shatter the 6f track record in winning the Listed Cleves Stakes for the second year running last weekend, but Timeform regards his performance as the best ever in the history of All-Weather racing.

They rate the Tom Dascombe-trained entire’s performance at 125 - a figure that puts him well clear of all his likely opponents at this stage.

He clocked 1m 8.32 in the Cleves, which to put into some perspective was 0.43 seconds faster than the previous record breaking performance. That equates to two and a half lengths, which in sprinting terms, is some margin. The time was also over a second faster than that recorded by Kimberella in the 2017 Final.

Kachy’s victory at Lingfield followed another course best at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day. Indeed, it’s quite possible his likely re-appearance in the Listed Hever Stakes over 5f at Lingfield later this month could see him complete a hat-trick of track records.

His only defeat in five runs on sand came in last year’s final, when he was caught close home by French raider City Light.

Lowe, who has several horses in training with Dascombe and David Loughnane, is a great All-Weather enthusiast and summed up his star perfectly on Twitter. “Back to back Cleves Stakes and two course records in his last 2 runs! What a horse Kachy is! Huge thanks and credit goes to Richard Kingscote (his jockey), Tom Dascombe and all the team for getting him cherry ripe!”


Any hopes ROBERT HAVLIN had of winning his first All-Weather jockeys’ championship took a serious blow at Kempton Park in midweek when he suffered a crashing fall from John Gosden’s Beehaar in the opening mile handicap.

‘Rab’, who has enjoyed a fine winter with 36 winners, told me: “I’m quite sore but luckily my spine and neck are fine. I’ve just broken a collarbone, bruised my back and my lungs and have a few cuts, but it could have been worse.”

He was sitting in fourth place in the title race, 13 behind leader Adam Kirby but only two behind David Probert and reigning champion Luke Morris.

It’s too early to say when Havlin will be back in action but whilst he’s sidelined Gosden will presumably turn to stable jockeys Nicky Mackay and Kieran O’Neill to partner his strong team of well bred young horses.



The in-form Ben Haslam picked up this well-bred gelding from Godolphin for just £10,000 last August and was rightly delighted with his debut effort in a 1m novice stakes at Newcastle on Tuesday. Haslam told me before the race that the son of Shamardal would be much better for the experience, but in fact he may rate a slightly unlucky loser. Whether he would have pegged back winner Merchant Of Venice is debatable, but he would have certainly finished closer had he not been denied a clear run at a critical stage of the race. A similar contest looks a formality on this evidence.


Archie Watson’s four-year-old had been gelded prior to running in a hot conditions race at Wolverhampton on Monday. He looked the likely winner swinging for home, only to be reeled in by two smart rivals who were better off at the weights. Even so, he finished less than two lengths behind the smart Hathal. He may benefit from being held onto next time and clearly has more to offer. Indeed, he could yet emerge as a Mile Final contender.


John Gosden’s daughter of Australia blew the start badly on her debut in a Kempton Park novice stakes last week and, even though the pace never relented, she did well to claw back some of the deficit and post an encouraging finish under Robert Havlin. Her dam won over 1m at Kempton for Mick Channon and this filly should be getting off the mark soon with that vital experience under her girth.


Check out the debut performance of this colt on Despite being the son of a little known sire, and hailing from an unfashionable yard, he belied his odds of 40-1 to chase home the fancied Major Blue in a 6f Novice Median Auction Stakes at Wolverhampton on Wednesday. By Freddy Head’s former sprinter Mazameer, he certainly new his job, breaking well for promising claimed Finley Marsh before getting within a neck of the winner. Judging by this effort, Frank Bishop has every right to expect this three-year-old to possibly become his first winner in the coming weeks.

Surfing The Sand
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