Tag Archive for: Benson

Morebattle repeat the ultimate aim for Benson

Sandy Thomson has a bet365 Morebattle Hurdle double top of his wish list for Benson having seen the nine-year-old return to the winner’s enclosure at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day.

Benson had kicked off 2023 with an 11-length victory over Stuart Crawford’s Holmes St Georges at the Edinburgh track and returned to the same race 12 months later for a repeat in the Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle, this time beating the Irish raider by just one length off an 8lb higher mark.

From Musselburgh, Thomson’s stable star went straight to Kelso for the Morebattle in 2023, where he registered a famous local victory for Borders-based Thomson when downing Lorna Fowler’s Colonel Mustard.

Benson could follow the same route once again, although his handler is considering a return to Musselburgh for their Scottish Cheltenham Trials weekend, such is his stellar record at the track.

“It was a great performance and I was very happy with him before the race, he just seemed to have come to himself,” said Thomson.

“That’s what Benson does. He has been called a lot of names in the past but he stuck his neck out and was almost going away again at the line.

“We’ll obviously go for the Morebattle, but whether he goes to Cheltenham Trials Day at Musselburgh in a month or so, I don’t know. Obviously they are spaced quite nicely apart.

“The Morebattle is top of the list, but there is some quite nice prize-money at Musselburgh. If he went and won at Musselburgh he would go up (in the ratings) again, but we will see what the handicapper does and take it from there.”

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Benson swoops late to bag Morebattle honours

Benson pounced late to deliver a telling blow for local handler Sandy Thomson in the bet365 Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso, setting up a potential tilt at a £100,000 bonus if able to quickly follow up at the Cheltenham Festival.

Heading into the contest on the back of clear-cut victory at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day, the eight-year-old was sent off at odds of 11-1 to reward those who follow the Lambden-based handler at his local track.

Kept quiet in rear by jockey Ryan Mania as Irish raider Wajaaha set some hot fractions, he was smuggled into the contest and loomed large as the Lorna Fowler-trained Colonel Mustard hit the front and set for home after two out.

Mania was still to produce Benson as Colonel Mustard’s stride began to shorten jumping the last, but he soon edged past the game Irish challenger with the winning post approaching and the victory was arguably worth a more than the official verdict of two lengths.

Victory now offers connections the chance to add an extra £100,000 to the pot if able to add to this victory at Prestbury Park later this month.

The winner holds entries in both the Coral Cup and Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, with Coral making the horse a 20-1 shot for both contests.

However, Thomson is willing to bide his time before naming Benson’s Festival assignment.

He said: “The great thing is he has only been out of his box for about four hours, which can make a great difference when you are thinking of going again and we will obviously have to go. You have got to try – how good he is, nobody actually knows.

“I’ve got to speak to the owners and chat about it. He will get into the Coral Cup now – on 134 he was perhaps on the brink and what weight he has and what Ryan can do could influence it. Ryan obviously struggles a bit with his weight, but if he gets 10st 9lb or 10st 10lb hopefully he would be able to do that.

“But firstly we will enjoy today then go home, get all the forms filled in for Cheltenham and take it from there.”

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