Shakem Up’Arry finds the back of the net at Cheltenham

Shakem Up’Arry provided jockey Ben Jones with a first Cheltenham winner and Harry Redknapp with his biggest success as he struck in the Paddy Power New Year’s Day Handicap Chase.

Ben Pauling’s 10-year-old – who is owned by the former football manager – started at 11-2 as Paul Nicholls’ Stage Star was the most fancied of the field as the 11-10 favourite.

The latter horse carried the welter burden of 12st, however, and in the end it was Shakem Up’Arry and Venetia Williams’ Frero Banbou who pulled clear up the hill.

Pauling’s gelding pulled even further away after the last and secured a seven-and-a-half-length win on the line.

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Redknapp was not at Prestbury Park to lead in his winner, but was immediately on the telephone to his trainer, who reported the sporting great to be thrilled with the result.

Pauling said: “He was very excited and chuffed to pieces. He’s a competitive man and you don’t go in the industry he’s been in all his life to finish second.

“I’m just chuffed for Harry and it will mean a lot to everyone that will. As an owner I would say it’s his biggest result and it’s important to have those days.

“Unfortunately he is at home and Sandra has a touch of flu so they couldn’t be here today, but it means a lot. He’s absolutely loving it.”

Shakem Up’Arry was sent off favourite for this race last term before finishing third in a similar event at the Cheltenham Festival, but finally got the victory his team craved with the assistance of the stamina-sapping conditions.

“It’s the first time he has ever found off the bridle,” continued Pauling.

“I slightly felt we were coming back to waters that have been swam before and would we just get the same result, but I don’t think he travelled today as well as he normally does.

“He was really keen in the Coral Gold Cup and he was just behind the bridle there today and maybe that is key, just get him to switch off. But that was proper.

“Luca Morgan used to ride him all the time and he used to say that over this trip he was flat out the whole way, so I dare say the ground has just about played right for him there.

“His first race of this season was an absolute disaster at Stratford and he couldn’t raise a gallop and he was too keen at Newbury, but we’ve managed to get it right by hook or by crook today.

Shakem Up’Arry in full flight under Ben Jones
Shakem Up’Arry in full flight under Ben Jones (Nigel French/PA)

“He will come straight back here in March and he’ll run in the race he finished third in last year, the Plate over two-and-a-half and he could go in the Ultima if the ground was quick. He will probably have an entry in both.”

On winning rider Jones, a new addition to his Naunton Grange team, he continued: “He’s a great lad and with Luca retiring we needed someone to come in behind Kielan (Woods) and Ben is going to fill that spot.

“Woodsy is a superstar and has done a huge amount for us, but I just felt after Stratford and it went so badly, he ran for Ben at Newbury and I’m sure he would have run for Woodsy, but I just decided to leave Ben on today and see how he got on. He does 10st 2lb easily as well, which is important.”

Assessing Stage Star – who was eased to 6-1 for the Ryanair from 7-2 by Coral – Nicholls said: “I think he landed on the ditch at the top and he just didn’t feel right afterwards. I’d say, just watching him trot up there, he’s a little bit off. He’s pulled himself about a bit, but there’s plenty of time to get him right.

“That’s why I didn’t want to run him a month down the line, he’s had a few little issues to get right along the way but I’d say he’s just landed on that ditch, that was the end of it really. He didn’t quite sparkle.

“It’s easy not to run them but he’s done that before, had a run and then thrown one in like that. We’ll soon sort him out and he’ll be back in the spring, you can put a line through that.”

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