Reports14 March 2024

'A dream come true' - joy for Harry Redknapp as Shakem Up'Arry lands Plate to hand Ben Jones first Cheltenham Festival winner

Owner Harry Redknapp and jockey Ben Jones celebrate after Shakeem Up'Arry lands the Plate
Owner Harry Redknapp and jockey Ben Jones celebrate after Shakeem Up'Arry lands the PlateCredit: Michael Steele

Harry Redknapp made some big calls during his enduring football managerial career and the decision to select Ben Jones for the ride on Shakem Up'Arry paid off in style as the pair roared to a warm success in the Plate – the first the jockey has recorded at the Cheltenham Festival.

Jones has forged a link with Shakem Up'Arry's trainer Ben Pauling this season and it has been a productive partnership, one that flourished because of a lengthy whip ban that stable number one Kielan Woods had to serve.

That helped Jones emerge to a wider audience and ride a personal-best 46 winners, including a Cheltenham breakthrough on Shakem Up'Arry on the first day of 2024.

If he was happy with that, he was delighted with the ten-year-old's success from Crebilly, a fancied 7-2 chance who threatened to make things interesting as the 8-1 winner idled on the run-in.

Straw Fan Jack was third at 28-1, the same price as fourth-placed Life In The Park.

Shakem Up'Arry: landed the Plate under Ben Jones
Shakem Up'Arry: landed the Plate under Ben JonesCredit: Patrick McCann

Redknapp – who bossed West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham with distinction – knows all too well that sport is all about winning; it was easy to see what it meant to Jones, who punched the air as he crossed the line.

He said: "Ben kind of had in his head that the horse doesn't really have a turn of foot, so if we sent him on, hopefully the others would push us on. I went along with it and the race went perfectly for me.

"I had a lovely little position turning for home, and I couldn't tell you what I was thinking when I gave him a squeeze and he lit up.

"I've been in that position with horses coming at you late plenty of times and he idled in front, but the line came quick enough.

"A lot of jockeys get criticised for celebrating a big winner like this, but they don't come every day and in my eyes you've got to cherish them.

"This horse means a lot to me. His picture will be on the wall for many years to come. Growing up, all you want to do is ride big winners and, after that winner in January, I couldn't wait to get back here. 

"It's a completely different feeling to riding winners elsewhere. There's nothing like a winner at the festival, it's a dream come true."

Harry Redknapp celebrates victory in the Plate with Shakem Up'Arry
Harry Redknapp celebrates victory in the Plate with Shakem Up'ArryCredit: Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

Talking about his love of racing and its connection with football, Redknapp said: "I've grown up with racing being a big part of my life. My old nan was the bookie's runner down our street in the East End and she used to get locked up every day for taking bets.

"To be here now in this position is incredible. When I was at West Ham [United] as a player, we had a team of punters as that was how it was back in those days. We all loved a bet and we all loved racing.

"I've been lucky to be able to get into racing as an owner. It is really incredible for me. It was special today. You buy horses, and get horses, and you dream of having a winner at Cheltenham."

Redknapp's friend and managerial counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson struck with Monmiral and Protektorat at Cheltenham on Thursday and the former Spurs boss was delighted that the pair could enjoy the day together.

“Me and [Sir] Alex [Ferguson] have had some great days," he said. "Going to Old Trafford I used to go in his office at 2.15pm when the teams had been sent out and we would then watch a bit of racing for 15 minutes. We would then go out and I would do my best to try and pull off a miracle and get a result at Old Trafford, as it was that difficult in them days.

"We would watch a bit of racing beforehand as we both loved the racing, and we both loved the football. It is great to see him have two winners today. It was lovely to get that sort of reception."

Read this next:

Sir Alex Ferguson enjoys first Cheltenham Festival winner with 25-1 shot Monmiral in Pertemps Final 

'He's just magic' - Grey Dawning gives Britain first Grade 1 win as fine week for Dan and Harry Skelton continues 

Do you want £1,000+ in free bets for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival? Racing Post have got the best offers, all in one place. Visit to find out more.