- It was a successful day for absentee owner Harry Redknapp at Cheltenham
- Ben Jones rode Shaken Up’Arry to a surprise victory over favourite Stage Star
- Redknapp originally bought the horse, who hadn’t won since 2022, in 2014
Harry Redknapp was nowhere to be seen but the sight of trainer Ben Pauling laughing into a mobile phone told you the legendary football manager was happy.
As ever at Cheltenham, stories were thrown up left, right and centre but none were more rapturously received than the one involving Redknapp and his valiant chaser Shakem Up’Arry, who powered up the famous hill to give him one of his greatest days as an owner.
The 10-year-old, who had been without a win since December 2022, has caused Pauling to pull his hair out at times and the trainer wasn’t overly confident about his chances but, under a super ride from Ben Jones, the horse Redknapp bought for £24,400 in 2014 capitalised on a wretched run from odds-on favourite Stage Star.
‘It’s great for Harry, he’s a big supporter of mine and I’m delighted we’ve been able to land a big one,’ said Pauling. ‘Sadly, Sandra (his wife) isn’t well, she has a bit of flu, so he didn’t want to leave her. But this is definitely a special day.’
An extra layer to the success was provided by Jones, who was partnering his first Cheltenham winner, and Pauling added: ‘Harry was chuffed to pieces. He is a competitive man; you are not in the industry he’s been in all his life to come second. It means a lot to everyone.
Harry Redknapp was given one of his greatest days as an owner as Ben Jones rode Shakem Up’Arry to victory at Cheltenham
Jones succeeded on the horse which Harry bought for £24,400 way back in 2014
‘I’d say this is his biggest day as an owner. It is important to have them. I wondered whether we were going back into waters that we had swam in before and would end up with the same result but that was a proper job.’
Pauling started his career as assistant to Nicky Henderson and his old boss saddled the first winner of 2024, when the well-backed Peaky Boy surged clear under James Bowen, to roars from a bumper 33,200 crowd.
Henderson was all smiles afterwards but mention of star chaser Shishkin left him with a furrowed brow. He faces an anxious wait over the severity of a shin injury suffered in last week’s King George at Kempton.
Trainer Ben Pauling, left, said: ‘It’s great for Harry, he’s a big supporter of mine and I’m delighted we’ve been able to land a big one’
‘Shishkin has a very sore splint,’ said Henderson. ‘He gave himself a right whack. It looks like he did it when he was in mid-air and, if he was a person, he would have said “Ow!” when he landed.
‘I don’t know if that was the reason he tripped in the King George. He isn’t lame, which is important to say. We’ve got the splint itself to settle down — the soreness will come out of it — but if you touch it, he is very sore. We haven’t got plans about when he will run next. We’ll have to see.’