Ashforth's Angles: Arctic Ben could delight again


Henry Daly: has trained Arctic Ben from the outset

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch (  

 By David Ashforth 2:01PM 28 SEP 2016 

IN LIFE it’s important to have something to lok forward to. (In death, less important). You know you’re losing interest in life if the sight of an eight-race card at Brighton no longer makes you say, “Yippee! Eight races! Yippee!”

There are eight races at Brighton, which is about to become the only turf track in Britain to have hosted jockey Pierre-Louis Jamin, who rides Classic Mission for Jonny Portman (4.30).

Correct me if I’m wrong but 18 year old Jamin has done most of his riding in the Caribbean, at Karukera racecourse in Guadeloupe, where he rode his only winner so far, and Carrere in Martinique. So Jamin is used to riding in exotic seaside locations.

Warwick isn’t terribly exotic but when the Dafferns 1896 Maiden Hurdle caught my eye I thought it might refer to a distinguished whisky.

It turns out to be a firm of accountants with the following race sponsored by a firm of solicitors, both professions often needed in the racing industry.

Arctic Ben is running in the Lodders Solicitors Handicap Chase (3.05), in those now familiar light blue and white colours belonging to the Timpsons, who have owned Arctic Ben for 43 of his 44 appearances, spanning eight years.

Henry Daly, who has trained the 12-year-old from the start, bought him for £95,000 after Arctic Ben won on his debut in a bumper race at Ludlow in 2008. He hasn’t reached the heights that Daly might have hoped for but he has won five chases and been exciting to watch, sometimes.

At heart, Arctic Ben is a front-runner, bold jumping and on his day, in his grade, capable of dominating his opponents. At his peak he was rated 126 and in January 2015, off 119, carried topweight to an all the way victory at Wetherby.

Correct me if I’m wrong (see above) but Arctic Ben now finds it a less engaging activity and is inclined to take the view that if things don’t go his way he doesn’t really see the point.

The last 21 months, which have included a spell hunter chasing, can be summed up by the fact that at Warwick he will be running off a mark of 97.

That is 10lb less than for any race Arctic Ben has contested for almost five years. Bitter experience suggests that following ageing chasers down the handicap ladder tends to damage self-esteem but having enjoyed (almost certainly) a summer break it would be lovely to see Richard Johnson blazing a trail to glory on Arctic Ben again.

While Arctic Ben has fallen down the ladder, Cartwright (Newcastle 3.50) has shot up it, doubtless to the dismay of trainer Sir Mark Prescott. The omens were bad when Cartwright won by 18 lengths at Pontefract a week ago.

The handicapper, wearing a smile like the silver plate on a coffin, raised Cartwright’s turf mark from 71 to 87. Prescott is trying to wriggle out of it by running Cartwright on the Tapeta at Newcastle, off a mark of 73.

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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