APRIL 2010



Friday 30 April 2010

Choc was at Fontwell Park this evening and this is how he fared:

Majy D’Auteuil was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (9 ran)

Jetnova was a non-runner in the Maiden Hurdle


Tomorrow Choc will be at Uttoxeter:

14:05 Sir Harry Ormesher – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

15:50 Hilfiger – Maiden Hurdle Div II (Ian Williams)

16:25 Forzy Origny – Handicap Chase (Listed) (Class 1) (Alan King)


Martin Keighley also has a couple of runners at the course tomorrow, both ridden by Warren Marston:

13:35 Total Submission – Maiden Hurdle Div I

17:30 Pavanne – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle


Jockey Dave Crosse, who has been sidelined since last autumn having sustained a broken leg during a fall at Plumpton, will be at Choc’s favourite hostelry The Plough Inn at Ford tomorrow evening to have his beard shaved off in aid of charity.  Dave has been growing his hair and beard since the accident, and has raised mega-funds in aid of the Injured Jockeys’ Fund.  Evidently AP McCoy has been engaged to carry out the shearing!  


There are no National Hunt meetings on Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday, so it will be a quiet ‘viewing’ weekend for me.  I’ve nothing special planned, so hope to be able to make further progress on my racing diaries, having completed the first draft for Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival yesterday evening. 


Thursday 29 April 2010

Choc was at Hereford today, and this is how he fared:

Almaydan finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (4 ran).  Almaydan appears to have ‘thirditis’ as this is the fifth consecutive time he has finished 3rd!

Blue Spartan finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle (9 ran)

Witch Of The Wave was a non-runner in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle; Martin Keighley’s Fox’s Decree completed in 8th position in this race (12 ran).


Tomorrow Choc will be at Fontwell Park, where he has 2 rides:

17:40 Majy D’Auteuil – Handicap Chase (AE Jessop)

18:10 Jetnova – Maiden Hurdle (Alan King)


There’s a report on the Racing Forum that the almost white Sporazene has been put down following illness, that’s a shame.


And I must wish Andre Agassi a very Happy Birthday ... as he’s 40 today!


Wednesday 28 April 2010

Another ‘ordinary’ day at the office for Choc, this time at Southwell:

Tuppenny Piece finished 9th in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (13 ran).

Ruling Party finished 3rd in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (14 ran). 

Alan King’s other runner in the latter race, Rivermouth, finished 11th.


Tomorrow afternoon Choc will be riding at Hereford:

15:50 Almaydan – Handicap Chase (Richard Lee)

16:20 Blue Spartan – Maiden Hurdle (Charlie Mann)

16:50 Witch Of The Wave – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Miss J S Davis)

The Martin Keighley trained The Fox’s Decree is also due to run in the 16:50.


Tuesday 27 April 2010

Oh dear, Choc’s luck is still deserting him, as he had a bad day at Wincanton: L

Kericho was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran)

Minella Four Star made a mistake at the 2nd fence and then crashed out at the 3rd in the Handicap Chase (3 ran).  But, looking on the bright side, both horse and jockey appeared to be okay after the mishap ...


Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at Southwell:

15:40 Tuppenny Piece – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (Alan King)

17:25 Ruling Party – Maiden Open NH Flat Race (Alan King).  Wayne Hutchinson rides Alan King’s other runner in this race, Rivermouth.


My work colleague, Rebecca, was telling me about her new ‘share’ horse today.  She’s sold her 11 year old, Billy, to a lovely new home in Lincolnshire, and is now going to share an ex-racehorse with a friend.  Evidently, having raced just once, the horse was sold and then turned out in a field for 3 years!  Rebecca’s friend then purchased him for a very reasonable price and they are now going to share him ... his pet name is Diesel, as he’s dark brown in colour.  And here is his Form Entry:



Monday 26 April 2010

Choc had one riding engagement today, at Towcester ... and he was successful:

Lidar won the Novices’ Hurdle, giving Choc his 1st winner of the season (9 ran). J

Sadly Mid Valley lost his life as a result of a fall during this race. 


Martin Keighley’s De Forgotten Man finished as runner-up to Lidar; and Time Legend finished last of 8 in the Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race, but it was her racecourse debut.


Meanwhile at Ffos Las, Alan King withdrew both his runners.  However, Wayne Hutchinson rode his 2nd winner of the season aboard the Peter Bowen trained Midnight Gold!  And both AP McCoy and Paul Moloney have added to their winners tally too ...


Tomorrow Choc will be at Wincanton, where he has 2 rides:

14:50 Kericho – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

15:20 Minella Four Star – Handicap Chase (Alan King)


There has been a discussion on the Racing Forum regarding the enigmatic Kennel Hill, who suffered an injury at Cheltenham on Friday 16 April ... contrary to the comments made by the presenters on Racing UK that the horse was okay despite having pulled up hurt, evidently it has since been reported that he was put down following the race.  That’s sad.


Sunday 25 April 2010

I enjoy watching the At The Races discussion Forum each Sunday morning, and today their main topic was, not surprisingly, the 2009/2010 National Hunt season.  Matt Chapman, John Hunt and Alan Lee spoke about Alan King’s very disappointing season, and also said that Choc’s ride aboard the Henrietta Knight trained Somersby at Aintree just about summed up Choc’s ‘luck’, or rather lack of it, this season too. 


Evidently a number of Alan’s owners have taken their horses away from his yard following his disappointing results ... and they asked ‘What about stable loyalty?’  I notice that Spirit of Adjisa runs at Ffos Las tomorrow, and is now trained by Tim Vaughan.  Presumably a case in point.  


Alan King provided 78.15% of Choc’s winning rides in 2008/2009, but only 57.35% in 2009/2010.  But, hopefully, Alan and Choc will be able to get through this and re-build the yard with some promising new horses, and have a few good ones return from injury absences too.   


I made a list of highlights and lowlights of Choc’s season earlier today and, as you can imagine, the lowlights far outnumbered the highlights L


Choc’s lowlights included a serious back injury sustained at Leicester in late January; his lip injury which happened at Newbury mid-December; a second mouth injury which occurred at Kempton Park in February when he was unseated from Epidavros; he also took a heavy fall at Ludlow in October and missed the following day’s racing. 


For the second year running, Choc rode no winners at the Cheltenham Festival, in fact it was dire this year, with him appearing in the Winners’ Enclosure just once, having finished 2nd aboard Somersby in the Arkle Chase.  Choc couldn’t repeat his Leading Jockey accomplishment at the Aintree Festival but, looking on the bright side, at least he did ride one ‘Listed’ winner at the meeting.


The talented Walkon was out of action this season, the promising Mille Chief was injured prior to his possible big race engagements, Bensalem didn’t live up to expectations, Voy Por Ustedes lost his form, and Katchit was injured during the World Hurdle.  In fact, fate was intent on throwing a spanner in the works at every possible opportunity – eg. Somersby’s run at Aintree; Bensalem, Manyriverstocross and Twist Magic at the Cheltenham Festival.


Highlights of Choc’s season – he rode two Listed race winners and two Grade 2 Class 1 winners ... and he got married last August too. 


My highlights were ‘personal’ ones ... my favourite being my second course-walk with Choc, which took place at Newbury on 27 March this year.  I also very much enjoyed my day out at Stratford last July, when Choc and colleagues shaved off their specially grown moustaches in aid of charity, all part of a money raising endeavour connected to Choc’s stag do.  


The new National Hunt season started off in haste today, with meetings at Ludlow and Wetherby, although the weather at the latter deteriorated mid-afternoon and caught many race-goers unawares!


Two jockeys lead the new Championship with 2 winners apiece ... yes, AP McCoy ... and Paul Moloney.  Amongst those who rode one winner today were Richard Johnson, Jason Maguire and Wayne Hutchinson.  Wayne having travelled to Wetherby for just one ride in the 18 runner seller for trainer Rose Dobbin.


Tomorrow Choc has chosen to ride at Towcester:

16:20 Lidar – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King).  The horse is returning from a spell on the sidelines.


Martin Keighley also has a couple of runners at Towcester:

De Forgotten Man competes against Lidar in the 16:20; and Time Legend runs in the last race on the card, the Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race.


Meanwhile at Ffos Las, Wayne has a couple of rides for Alan King:

17:20 Nulato – Novices’ Hurdle

20:05 Batonnier – Standard Open NH Flat Race


Today I’ve been drafting a few notes for my Cheltenham Festival Diary Day 2, and hope to complete it by next weekend at the latest.  That still leaves my Cheltenham Gold Cup Day diary to finish and, probably, a Grand National Day Diary to write.


Saturday 24 April 2010

Choc was at Punchestown for the final day of their Festival, and had one ride:

Gilded Age finished 6th in the Grade 1 Champion Four Year Old Hurdle (9 ran).  Deservedly, the Evan Williams trained front running Barizan won the race, ridden by Jason Maguire. 


Meanwhile, at Sandown Park, Alan King had one runner:

Oh Crick finished 4th in the Celebration Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) ridden by Wayne Hutchinson (8 ran).

I’m So Lucky, trained by David Pipe, won the race, with Twist Magic completing in 3rd. 


The big race of the day, the Bet365 Gold Cup Chase (the Whitbread), was won by Irish raider Church Island, ridden by Adrian Heskin, the jockey having ridden his first Cheltenham Festival winner last month aboard A New Story in the Cross Country event. 


David Pipe, having trained 3 of the winners at Sandown Park this afternoon, plus Brandy Butter at Market Rasen (yes, the horse won at Newton Abbot last evening too) attained over 100 winners for the season.


There was a pile-up on the top bend at Sandown Park during the third race of the day, the 16 runner Handicap Hurdle.  It occurred when Stripe Me Blue slipped over when galloping over the track where the cars enter the centre course car park.  Indian Groom and Optimus Maximus were brought down in the melee, and Benetwood, Arctic Wings and Wade Farm Billy were badly hampered.  The 3 horses which continued didn’t finish the race either, as Benetwood and Arctic Wings were both pulled up before 2 out and dismounted, and Wade Farm Billy fell at the 2nd last flight having also been hampered around the final turn.  Fortunately it appeared that no horses or jockeys were seriously hurt during the incident.


Today was the last day of the 2009/2010 season and one which Choc will wish to forget L


AP won his 15th consecutive Jockeys’ Championship with 195 winners; Richard Johnson with 161 winners is bridesmaid in 2nd yet again; third is Jason Maguire with 108.  Choc finished in 8th, with 68 winners.


The Champion Conditional Jockey is Rhys Flint, who won narrowly from Nick Scholfield. 


The Champion Trainer is Paul Nicholls; Champion Owner JP McManus.  The Order of Merit winner is Albertas Run.


AP also won the special People’s Award, voted for by the general public.


Day 1 of the 2010/2011 season starts tomorrow, but Choc has no riding engagements.


And I’ve been busy today, as I’ve completed and uploaded my diary for Day 2 of this year’s Aintree Festival:



Friday 23 April 2010

Choc was at Punchestown again today, and this is how he fared:

Nenuphar Collonges finished 5th in the Handicap Chase (19 ran)

Medermit finished 4th in the Rabobank Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) (11 ran)


Alan ran High Benefit in the Fillies’ Premier Bumper, under Mr D O’Connor, and they completed in 3rd place (24 ran).


There was success for the English raider Reve De Sivola, who won the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle for trainer Nick Williams and jockey Daryl Jacob.


Other ‘Alan King’ results today:


At Bangor:

Eros Moon was pulled up in the NH Maiden Hurdle (13 ran)

Like A Hurricane finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (4 ran)


At Chepstow:

Midnight Appeal finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran)

Quetzal finished 2nd in the NH Maiden Hurdle (10 ran)


Choc is staying over at Punchestown, and has one ride tomorrow:

16:25 Gilded Age – Champion Four Year Old Hurdle (Grade 1)


Meanwhile, at Sandown Park, Alan King runs:

14:30 Oh Crick – Celebration Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) ridden by Wayne Hutchinson


Twist Magic also goes for the Celebration Chase, and is ridden by Sam Thomas.  Presumably connections are hoping the horse will be able to redeem his tarnished image following his refusal to race at Punchestown on Tuesday!


The ‘racing’ story of the day occurred at Newton Abbot, when confusion reigned at the end of the 17:55 Handicap Hurdle:



As mentioned yesterday, I’ve no plans to go racing this weekend.  I can’t believe I’ve been to Sandown Park only once this season but, hopefully, there will be more opportunities next autumn and winter. 


Thursday 22 April 2010

Choc was at Punchestown today, and this is how he fared:

Bensalem finished 2nd to the talented dual Cheltenham Festival winning mare, Quevega in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle (Grade 1).  (13 ran).  Alan King was reported to have been very pleased with the horse’s run, and Bensalem will now remain in Ireland to spend his summer ‘holiday’ with one of his owners!

Stable companion, Karabak, finished 8th.


Captain Cee Bee won the Grade 1 Ryanair Novices Chase at the Festival today.


I was wearing my ‘blinkers’ yesterday ... and forgot to check to see if Alan King had any runners in the UK today!

However, here is the update on those horses:


At Fontwell Park, Wayne Hutchinson had 3 riding engagements:

Whistlejacquet atoned for his recent ‘running out’ incident at Taunton to win the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Perception finished 6th in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).

Tsarinova finished 2nd in the NH Flat Race (9 ran).


Congratulations to Wayne Hutchinson for reaching his season’s target of 50 winners, when guiding Whistlejacquet to victory.


And at Uttoxeter, Charlie Huxley rode a couple of Alan King runners:

Itea Du Fau finished 2nd (last of the finishers) in the Mares’ Handicap Chase (4 ran).

Soleil D’Avril finished 6th in the NH Flat Race (8 ran).

Jockey Jason Maguire rode a 4-timer at the fixture.   Jason has already ridden over 100 winners this season, and remains well clear in 3rd place in the Jockeys Championship.


Tomorrow Choc has two riding engagements at Punchestown:

16:20 Nenuphar Collonges – Handicap Chase (Alan King)

17:30 Medermit – Rabobank Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) (Alan King)

Alan also runs High Benefit in the Fillies’ Premier Bumper at 19:10, ridden by amateur Mr D O’Connor.  Is that the guy who rode Any Currency at the Cheltenham Festival?  I forgot that Irish Bumpers are not the province of professional jockeys!


Tomorrow evening, Alan King also has runners at Chepstow and Bangor ...



18:35 Eros Moon – NH Maiden Hurdle (Wayne Hutchinson)

19:05 Like A Hurricane – Novices’ Hurdle (Wayne Hutchinson)



17:45 Midnight Appeal – Handicap Hurdle (Christian Williams)

19:55 Quetzal – NH Maiden Hurdle (Charlie Huxley)


As promised yesterday, here are the details of the Stewards Enquiry relating to Choc’s forthcoming 2-day ban:



As Choc will be at Punchestown on Saturday, I won’t be attending Sandown Park’s mixed card fixture that day.  However, I’m sure I’ll find a suitable meeting or two over the next few weeks and will see him again soon.


Wednesday 21 April 2010

Choc was at Southwell this evening ... and his ‘UK season’ has ended on a sour note ... L

Topflight Wildbird was hampered at the 8th obstacle in the Handicap Chase and, as a result, Choc was unseated but fortunately he was okay.  (11 ran)

Mister Stickler finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).  ***

Ruby Isabel finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).


*** Unfortunately there was a Stewards Enquiry after Novices’ Hurdle race and Choc received a 2-day ban for careless riding. L  That will really annoy him, as he prides himself on his race conduct.  Bans come into force 14 days after the punishment is metered out – so Choc is banned on Wednesday 5th May (Huntingdon / Kelso) and Thursday 6th May (Newton Abbot / Wincanton / Wetherby).   Details of the enquiry haven’t been published on the British Horseracing website yet ... but hopefully I will be able to add a link in tomorrow’s blog.


Choc is now heading off to the Emerald Isle to participate in the Punchestown Festival.  He has a ride tomorrow, a number on Friday and one on Saturday ... so today was the last day of Choc’s UK season, as he won’t be riding here until Day 1 of the 2010/2011 season which starts next Sunday!   It also means he has finished with 68 winners, as any winning rides in Ireland don’t count.


Anyway, tomorrow Choc has one riding engagement for Alan King, as follows:

17:30 Bensalem – Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle (Grade 1). 

I was wondering if they would try Bensalem back over hurdles following his disappointing season as a Novice chaser.  Besides Big Buck’s has proved that there is no stigma attached to reverting to hurdles if things don’t quite work out as planned.  Alan King also runs Karabak in this race, owned by JP McManus and ridden by AP McCoy.


Choc’s other expected riding engagements at Punchestown are Nenuphar Collonges, Medermit and High Benefit on Friday and Gilded Age on Saturday. 


And, finally, news from Day 2 of the Irish Festival.  Today’s big race, the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup, was won by the Philip Hobbs trained, Richard Johnson ridden, Planet of Sound.  The horse was stepping up in trip (3 miles 1 furlong today) and wore a first time tongue tie.  Former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, War of Attrition, finished 2nd, this being his last race before retirement.  Cooldine completed in 3rd, and Denman in 4th.  I’ve not watched a recording of the race yet, but I understand Denman was particularly wayward today!  And connections have decided that he will always run on left-handed courses in future, as he hung badly to the left during the race.


Tuesday 20 April 2010

Choc rode at Towcester this evening and this is how he fared:

Noticeable crashed through the first obstacle in the Novices’ Chase, but the partnership survived.  However, after jumping two more fences, Choc pulled him up as I think, perhaps, he was no longer 100% sound? (6 ran).

Asturienne finished half a length 2nd in the Mares Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

The ‘flashy’ (4 white stockings) Custer Of The West won the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (8 ran), giving Choc his 68th winner of the season. J  Evidently the horse is from the same family as Viking Flagship and Flagship Uberalles but, as pointed out in reports, the horse cost a mere £7,000!


Yet another evening fixture tomorrow, Choc having 3 riding engagements at Southwell:

16:45 Topflight Wildbird – Handicap Chase (Alan King)

19:00 Mister Stickler – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

20:00 Ruby Isabel – Handicap Hurdle (Tim Vaughan)


Sam Thomas appears to be back in action at Southwell tomorrow, following his recent neck injury. 

More news today about another injured jockey, Mark Bradburne:



And, news about another Sam, young Sam Twiston-Davies turned professional last weekend and is now a Conditional Jockey. 


Albertas Run has won this season’s Order of Merit prize.


News from Day 1 of the Punchestown Festival:

Golden Silver won their Grade 1 Champion Chase for Willie Mullins/Paul Townend.  Padydeplasterer finished 2nd AGAIN, Sizing Europe 3rd and Kalahari King 4th.  Twist Magic, who was ridden by AP McCoy today, refused to start! 


And I’ve finally finished the first draft of my diary for Day 2 of the Aintree Festival ...


Monday 19 April 2010

Choc rode at Kempton Park’s ‘twilight’ meeting and this is how he fared:

Masked Man won the Novices’ Chase (3 ran), giving Choc his 67th winner of the season. 

Blue Dark was pulled up before 3 out in the 2 mile 4½ furlongs Handicap Chase (11 ran).

Ice Bucket finished 4th in the 3 mile Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Kauto The Roc completed in 7th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (17 ran). Martin Keighley’s Mauricetheathlete finished 6th in this race.

Pride In Battle finished 4th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race Div I (15 ran).

Lord Liath finished a promising 5th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race II (15 ran).


Tomorrow Choc will be at Towcester, for another evening meeting:

17:55 Noticeable – Novices’ Chase (Andy Haynes).  It’s nice to see Choc riding this horse again, as he is an ex-Alan King inmate.

18:25 Asturienne – Mares Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

19:25 Custer Of The West – Maiden Open NH Flat Race (Alan King)


Towcester will be sharing the TV coverage with the first day of the Punchestowns Festival, as the first 4 days of the Irish event are twilight fixtures.  It seems strange to arrive home from work and to eat my evening meal whilst watching live coverage of National Hunt racing, but I will have to get accustomed to it for a few months!  And I do enjoy going racing during the summer months too, that’s National Hunt summer racing, not flat racing.  Stratford is my favourite venue at this time of the year, and I think I’ll have to make an effort to go to Worcester more often too.


Sunday 18 April 2010

Choc rode at Wincanton this afternoon and this is how he fared:

Louis Pasteur finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran)

Minnie Hill pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran)

King Brex finished 3rd (last of the finishers) in the Handicap Chase (6 ran)

Blue Spartan finished 1¼ lengths 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle (16 ran)


I notice that Wayne Hutchinson rode another winner today, at Ascot – so he’s needs just one more to reach his half century goal for the season.


It’s been a very sunny pleasant weekend, and I bet there will be a few red faces and bodies at work tomorrow!


Choc rides at Kempton Park’s ‘twilight’ meeting tomorrow, where he has 6 engagements:

16:50 Masked Man – Novices’ Chase (Alan King)

17:25 Blue Dark – Handicap Chase – 2 miles 4½ furlongs (Alan King)

17:55 Ice Bucket – Handicap Chase – 3 miles (Henrietta Knight)

18:25 Kauto The Roc – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

18:55 Pride In Battle – Maiden Open NH Flat Race Div I (Alan King)

19:25 Lord Liath – Maiden Open NH Flat Race II (Alan King)

It’s a pity I have to work tomorrow otherwise I could have popped along to Kempton Park!


I am still working on my Racing Diaries – currently that for Friday 09 April at Aintree.  As part of my task I thought I’d look back at the BBC coverage of the afternoon’s racing ... ‘Aussie Jim’ McGrath was rubbish at commentating on the races, he had absolutely no idea what was going on or which horses had fallen.  And then having the other pundits offering their comments whilst the races where in progress was absolutely ridiculous.  I can never remember the quality being so poor.  It must be because the Corporation is out of practice at broadcasting racing events these days!


Jockey Denis O’Regan has split from owner Graham Wylie/trainer Howard Johnson following the end of his 3-year contract.  Not a surprise to some, as it had been noted that Denis had not been taking the rides aboard a number of Howard’s ‘lower weighted’ horses in recent weeks!  Paddy Brennan was their number one jockey prior to Denis taking the role.    


Saturday 17 April 2010

Choc rode at Ayr today, but still no winner: L

Choc pulled up Halcon Genelardais before 4 out in the Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase (30 ran).  Only 7 horses completed the course, with Merigo winning the race for Scottish trainer Andrew Parker.  Timmy Murphy was the winning jockey, and the horse belongs to his father-in-law, Ray Green. 

Nikos Extra finished 2nd in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (8 ran).  It was good run considering Nikos had to ‘hurdle’ a faller early in the race, and made a number of jumping errors too.

Habbie Simpson pulled hard in the early stages of the Standard Open NH Flat Race, and finished 4th (12 ran).

Timmy Murphy also won the Scottish Champion Hurdle aboard Overturn for trainer Donald McCain.


Meanwhile at Bangor on Dee, this is how Alan King’s runners fared:

Silver Spinner (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran)

Sagalyrique (Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Chase (5 ran)

Awesome Freddie & Ruling Party were both non-runners in the Conditional Jockeys’ and Amateur Riders’ Standard NH Flat Race.


Tomorrow Choc will be riding at Wincanton, where he has 4 riding engagements:

14:10 Louis Pasteur – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Nick Mitchell)

15:20 Minnie Hill – Handicap Hurdle (Victor Dartnall)

15:55 King Brex – Handicap Chase (Charlie Mann)

16:30 Blue Spartan – Maiden Hurdle (Charlie Mann)


I read that Wayne Hutchinson is hoping to ride 50 winners this season – he’s now on 48 winners so he’s got a good chance of succeeding with one week to go.  Poor Choc is still on 66 winners ... very disappointing compared to last year’s 119.


The TV coverage of the racing was a nightmare this afternoon – Racing UK had too many meetings to broadcast (Ayr, Bangor, Newbury and Thirsk, followed by Nottingham this evening) and a number of races clashed due to incidents at the venues.  It’s a problem which often occurs with At The Races too, due to their extensive coverage of Irish fixtures.


Friday 16 April 2010

Choc was at Ayr, where he had 3 rides ... and it was another disappointing day:

Ravethebrave finished 4th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran)

Prideus finished 5th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (9 ran)

Tarotino failed to complete the course, as he fell at the 11th fence in the Handicap Chase (13 ran).  The horse was okay as he got up and galloped after the other runners ... and I presume that Choc was fine too, as I’ve not heard anything to the contrary. 


Alan King’s runner in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, The Hairy Lemon, finished 9th of 12.


Meanwhile at Cheltenham’s evening fixture, Alan King had a couple of runners, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson:

Minella Four Star ran well to finish 2nd in the Handicap Chase.  And Martin Keighley’s mare Wychwoods Legend also ran with credit to complete in 4th, Rhys Flint taking the ride. (13 ran)

Balzaccio finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).


It was reported on Racing UK that the enigmatic Kennel Hill was pulled up in the 18:45 having suffered a fracture, but they also mentioned that it was not life-threatening. 


And Alan King also had a couple of runners at Uttoxeter this evening:

Awesome George finished 3rd (last of those to complete) in the Novices’ Chase, ridden by Charlie Huxley (4 ran).

Oberon Moon was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle.

Hurricane Milly finished 3rd in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race, ridden by Gerard Tumelty (9 ran).


Martin Keighley had a runner in the 18:00 Handicap Hurdle at Uttoxeter, The Fox’s Decree, who finished 3rd under Warren Marston (13 ran).


Choc has 3 riding engagements at Ayr tomorrow:

15:20 Halcon Genelardais – Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase (Alan King)

17:05 Nikos Extra – Novices’ Handicap Chase (Alan King)

17:35 Habbie Simpson – Standard Open NH Flat Race (Alan King)


Alan King also has a number of runners at Bangor on Dee tomorrow too:

15:45 Silver Spinner (Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

16:20 Sagalyrique (Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

17:55 Awesome Freddie (Charlie Huxley) & Ruling Party (Gerard Tumelty) – Conditional Jockeys’ and Amateur Riders’ Standard NH Flat Race


Choc mentioned in this week’s Horse and Hound column that he hated every minute of his trip to Chepstow on Grand National Day.  And he said it was very strange watching the big race on TV whilst sitting in the Weighing Room.


Choc also pointed out that Somersby didn’t dump him on the way to the start in last Thursday’s Novices’ Chase at Aintree as reported in the papers, he dismounted twice as he was worried that the horse, who had got worked up when going through the tunnel onto the course, might rear up and fall over on top of him.


I regularly read both Martin Keighley’s and Kim Bailey’s blogs, and today they both reported that jockey Tom Siddall will be out of action for a while having broken a bone in his neck.  Tom competed in last Saturday’s Grand National aboard Palypso De Creek, but fell at the 27th fence, and had another fall at Southwell on Sunday.  Although sore following the falls, it came as a complete surprise to Tom that he’d suffered an injury.


My neck still ‘grates’ following a riding accident almost 20 years ago ... and my upper back has been bothering me this week which, from the location of the pain, would appear to be related to my ‘pavement’ fall last October.


And I got a mention on Racing UK yesterday evening, as I couldn’t resist emailing Alex Steedman and Rishi Persad who were presenting studio chat along with the evening’s all-weather card from Kempton Park! 


A quiet weekend at home for me, as Choc is at Ayr tomorrow and at Wincanton on Sunday.  Never mind, it gives me the opportunity to work on my ‘missing’ racing diaries ...


Thursday 15 April 2010

Choc was at Cheltenham today, and this is how he fared:

Salden Licht finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran)

Bormo finished 9th in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (13 ran)

Thetwincamdrift finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran)

Night Rose finished 8th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I (13 ran)

Sudden Beat finished 13th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II (14 ran)


It’s been a veritable drought at Cheltenham this season for Choc – his only winner being Zafranagar for trainer Tony Carroll in a Novices’ Handicap Hurdle on 14 November. L  And no more opportunities until next season, as he’s at Ayr tomorrow.


Meanwhile Chilli Rose finished 8th of 16 in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Listed) (Class 1) under Wayne Hutchinson.


Tomorrow Choc will be at Ayr, where he has 3 rides:

13:45 Ravethebrave – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

14:20 Prideus – Novices’ Handicap Chase (Alan King)

15:25 Tarotino – Handicap Chase (Alan King)


Alan King has a runner in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, The Hairy Lemon, to be ridden by C Timmons.


Meanwhile at Cheltenham’s evening fixture, Alan King has a couple of runners, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson:

19:20 Minella Four Star (infamous for injuring Choc’s lip at Newbury last December) – Handicap Chase

19:50 Balzaccio – Handicap Hurdle


And, finally, Alan also has runners at Uttoxeter tomorrow evening:

17:25 Awesome George – Novices’ Chase, ridden by usual pilot Charlie Huxley

18:35 Oberon Moon – Handicap Hurdle, again Charlie Huxley

19:10 Hurricane Milly – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race, ridden by Gerard Tumelty


Martin Keighley has a runner in the 18:00 Handicap Hurdle – The Fox’s Decree, ridden by Warren Marston.

Wychwoods Legend is a maybe/maybe not in the 19:20 Handicap Chase at Cheltenham!


As always, I enjoyed last evening’s episode of Midsomer Murders ... and I’ve had a quick look at the very good Midsomer Murders fan website - http://midsomermurders.org/greatgood.htm - and have discovered I was correct about 3 of the filming locations; Warborough in Oxfordshire (which is near Dorchester on Thames); Frieth in Buckinghamshire (not far from Marlow, and near one of my favourite villages, Turville); and Littlewick Green in Berkshire (just off the A4 to the west of Maidenhead). Although I didn’t spot the Beaconsfield pub, despite having driven through the town numerous times!  I’ve obviously done too much rambling in the Chilterns and Oxfordshire areas!!!


Wednesday 14 April 2010

Choc was at Cheltenham today, and this is how he fared:

Chebona Bula completed last of the finishers (7th) in the Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran)

Wind Instrument finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (10 ran).  Ex-Alan King inmate, Ouzbeck won the race under Jack Doyle – the horse is now trained by Emma Lavelle.

Saticon finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Voy Por Ustedes ran disappointingly to finish 5th in the Silver Trophy Chase (Limited Handicap) (Grade 2) (Class 1) (7 ran).

Little Eaglet finished 13th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (20 ran).


Choc has 5 riding engagements on Day 2 of Cheltenham’s April meeting:

14:10 Salden Licht – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

14:45 Bormo – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (Alan King)

15:55 Thetwincamdrift – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

17:05 Night Rose – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I (Alan King)

17:05 Sudden Beat - Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II (Alan King)

Alan King also runs Chilli Rose in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Listed) (Class 1) at 15:20 under Wayne Hutchinson ... the mare carries just 10 stone 1 lb, which is why Choc won’t be riding her!


There’s a new episode of Midsomer Murders on ITV this evening, so that’s my TV viewing sorted!


Tuesday 13 April 2010

Choc rode at Exeter this afternoon, and this is how he fared:

Saltagioo finished 6th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (18 ran).

Ballygalley Bob was pulled up before the 13th obstacle in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).  Alan King’s runner, Trigger The Light, finished 4th in this event.

Shrewd Investment finished 2nd in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race Div I (9 ran).

Midnight Prayer won the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race Div II, giving Choc his 66th winner of the season (10 ran). J


Tomorrow Choc will be at Cheltenham, for the first day of their 3 Day April meeting:

14:10 Chebona Bula – Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (E Doyle)

14:45 Wind Instrument – Handicap Chase (Alan King)

15:20 Saticon – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

15:55 Voy Por Ustedes – Silver Trophy Chase (Limited Handicap) (Grade 2) (Class 1) (Alan King)

16:30 Little Eaglet – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Henrietta Knight)


Despite carrying top weight of 11 stone 10 lbs, Alan King’s team is hoping that Voy Por Ustedes can put on a good show tomorrow; leaving behind the disappointing form he has shown this season.  And, at nine years old, Alan is also hoping that Sir Robert Ogden will keep the horse in training next season too, rather than retire him.


Monday 12 April 2010


Ballygalley Bob r.jpg


Ballygalley Bob relaxing at home!

(Photo taken at the Lambourn Open Day 2010)


Choc is due to be in action at Exeter tomorrow afternoon, where he has 4 riding engagements:

14:10 Saltagioo – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

15:10 Ballygalley Bob (pictured above) - Handicap Chase (Oliver Sherwood).  Christian Williams rides Alan King’s Trigger The Light in this race – the horse seems to be a slightly clumsy, but Christian appears to get on well with him.

17:10 Shrewd Investment – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race Div I (Alan King)

17:40 Midnight Prayer – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race Div II (Alan King)


Further news today regarding Ruby Walsh.  Having seen his orthopaedic surgeon, he’s been told that he will be out of action for between 8 to 10 weeks having sustained a fractured left arm during a fall from Celestial Halo on Saturday (the injury occurred when he was kicked by Won In The Dark during the incident). 


I was doing a catch up and found this note, which explains why Somersby ran disappointingly last Thursday.  I’ve not had the opportunity to watch the video tape yet. 

Somersby's trainer Henrietta Knight said: "Nothing went right for him and Choc (Robert Thornton) said to put a line through the race. He got rid of Choc going to the start and got loose - and he was kicked on his knee at the start by another horse.


And last but not least, a belated Happy Birthday to my nephew James, who was 15 on Saturday.


Sunday 11 April 2010


Grand National 2010 blog photo r.jpg


AP McCoy is congratulated by fellow jockey

Davy Russell following his Grand National win


As I’ve been away for a couple of days, at Aintree, I need to catch up with news and results from Friday, yesterday and today!




Choc was at Aintree on Friday, where he had 4 rides, but it proved to be a disappointing day:

Captive Audience finished 8th in the Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (Class 1) (9 ran)

Oh Crick finished 7th in the Melling Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (11 ran)

Chamirey was pulled up before 3 out in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (14 ran)

Baddam finished 14th in the Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (21 ran)


Sadly there were a number of equine casualties on Friday – Irish raider Schindlers Hunt fractured a leg and had to be put down following a fall during the Melling Chase.  I shall remember him for his gallant second place to Voy Por Ustedes in last year’s race.  A further two Irish runners died during the Topham Chase, Prudent Honour and Plaisir D’Estruval, both falling independently at Valentines.  No-one seems to know what happened to Ferdy Murphy’s Baba O’Curragh who broke down during the Mares’ NH Flat Race ... her rider, Graham Lee, walked back in some time after the other jockeys and a lady did go to enquire if everything was okay, he shook his head to suggest no.  Perhaps news will appear on the Memorials page of the Racing Forum, as there have been a few enquiries about the mare’s welfare following the race. 


Pagan Starprincess lost her life on Thursday following a fall in the final race of the day, the hurdle event which was won by Sir Harry Ormesher.


Meanwhile, at Kempton Park, Alan King had 4 runners:

Masked Man won the Novices’ Chase (Wayne Hutchinson) (6 ran)

Luther finished 6th in the Maiden Hurdle (Wayne Hutchinson) and Anadama finished 4th (Charlie Huxley) (17 ran)

No Substitute finished 2nd in the Open NH Flat Race Div II (13 ran)




Having failed to secure a suitable mount in the Grand National, Choc rode at Chepstow, where he had 5 rides.  Unfortunately, once again, it was not the best of days:

Quintessentially (trained by Warren Greatrex) was pulled up before 3 out in the 13:30 Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Rupestrian (trained by Tim Vaughan) was pulled up lame before 2 out in the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

Bobby Donald (trained by Richard Phillips) was pulled up before 5 out in the Handicap Chase (17 ran).

Strategic Approach (trained by Warren Greatrex) finished 5th in the 15:35 Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Ben Cee Pee M (trained by Oliver Sherwood) finished 5th in the NH Flat Race (13 ran).


I wonder how Choc felt watching the Grand National on TV, having ridden in the race for the past 13 consecutive years?  But I suppose he can’t afford to be sentimental and has to go where the work is.  He mentioned in this week’s Horse and Hound column that his income has dropped by two thirds this year following the disappointing season, and he still needs to pay his mortgage.  And I can fully understand why Choc is lacking in ‘riding’ confidence at the moment.  


Whilst Choc was at Chepstow ... I was, of course, at Aintree.  I did enjoy my day but, having spent the two days alone, I felt a little lonely.  And I have to confess that, try as hard as I might, going to a fixture where Choc doesn’t make an appearance is a little like going to a party where the guest of honour doesn’t turn up!!!


Although not particularly a fan of AP McCoy, I am pleased for him that he’s finally won the Grand National, at his 15th attempt!  So it’s never too late!  I like a good story too, which this certainly is ...


I think I should mention 17 year old Sam Twiston-Davies who completed in 5th place aboard Hello Bud.  I think my favourite moment at this year’s Cheltenham Festival was when he won the Christie’s Foxhunter, and seeing his proud father Nigel going to greet him as he rode back in.


Not surprisingly, King Johns Castle’s trainer Arthur Moore was cautioned by the stewards for mistreating his charge prior to the race.   The horse obviously isn’t stupid and knew what might be ahead of him, which is presumably why he refused to race.  Hitting the horse around the hindquarters with birch sticks taken from the plastic rail ‘end protector’ is not a good image for racing ...


Ruby Walsh took a tumble from Celestial Halo at the second last flight in the third race of the day.  The fall appeared innocuous enough but unfortunately Won In The Dark, who was following close behind, kicked Ruby, who sustained a double fracture of his left arm as a result. 


In the Grand National, Barry Geraghty replaced Ruby aboard Big Fella Thanks (permission being granted because Barry had ridden the horse at Newbury).  This then left Tricky Trickster without a jockey, so Richard Johnson got the spare ride.  In the big race, Big Fella Thanks finished 4th, and Tricky Trickster 9th.  Wayne Hutchinson wasn’t lucky, as his mount Eric’s Charm fell at the first fence, the only horse to do so. 


Four horses taking part in the race were sired by Old Vic – Don’t Push It (1st); Black Apalachi (2nd); Comply or Die (12th this year, won the race in 2008; and runner-up in 2009); and Vic Venturi (brought down at the 20th; but had won the 2009 Becher Chase run over the Grand National fences).  Roger Loughran was deputing aboard Vic Venturi, Paddy Flood having suffered a broken collarbone during his fall from Schindlers Hunt the previous day.


Evidently there was one hell of a party at Choc’s favourite hostelry, The Plough at Ford, to celebrate the win.  The pub being located at the bottom of the Jackdaws Castle gallops, where Jonjo O’Neill trains.  Both this year’s Grand National winner and the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner are trained within 5 miles of each other in the North Cotswolds area. 


And my tips for the National – Character Building finished 7th; Comply or Die completed in 12th; Niche Market was pulled up after 3 out; Backstage was brought down at the 20th.  Still no success then!!!




Choc rode at Southwell today, and this is how he fared:

Prideus (Alan King) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Chase (5 ran)

Nulato (Alan King) won the Maiden Hurdle Div I, giving Choc his 65th winner of the season (13 ran) J

Killobee (Alan King) was pulled up before 2 out in the Maiden Hurdle Div II (10 ran)

Battle Stations (R Ford) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran)

Yukon Quest (Alan King) finished 3rd in the Intermediate NH Flat Race (12 ran) ... however Martin Keighley’s horse won it (see below)


Martin Keighley had 3 runners at Southwell:

Ross Leader finished 7th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase - under Ian Popham, replacing Gerard Tumelty (see below) (10 ran)

Heezagrey finished 5th in the Handicap Chase under Jimmy Derham (10 ran)

Total Submission ridden by Warren Marston won the Intermediate NH Flat Race.  Martin’s 26th winner of the season.


Meanwhile at Market Rasen:

Alan King ran 3, all ridden by Gerard Tumelty, deputising for Wayne Hutchinson who injured his hand when falling from Eric’s Charm in the Grand National.

Shilpa finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (15 ran)

Mr Valentino was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran)

Honest Chance finished 8th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (14 ran)


Martin Keighley’s Wychwoods Legend, ridden by Jason Maguire (also deputising for Wayne Hutchinson), won the Novices’ Chase by a distance (3 ran).  Martin’s 27th winner of the season.


Two more jockeys in the wars today, both at Kelso, Mark Bradburne was reported to have suffered a back injury when he was unseated from Soldiers Tree and Brian Harding sustained an arm injury when he fell aboard Primrose Time.


Postscripts from Aintree ... Made In Taipan returned very lame following his fall in the National so is out for the remainder of the season; and Western Leader has been retired having badly broken down when finishing 2nd in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle.


No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow, as the only National Hunt meeting at Sedgefield consists solely of races for amateur riders!


Thursday 08 April 2010

Choc was at Aintree today, and this is how he fared:

Somersby made a few jumping errors and finished 2nd to Mad Max in the Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) (6 ran).  Alan King (when interviewed following the next race) said Choc was very disappointed.

Sir Harry Ormesher won the Handicap Hurdle (Listed) (Class 1) (22 ran).  Choc’s 64th winner of the season.


The Paul Nicholls trained, Ruby Walsh ridden, Alex Ferguson half-owned What A Friend won the big race, the Grade 1 Totesport Bowl Chase.   Cheltenham Gold Cup winner unseated Paddy Brennan, having made a number of jumping errors prior to the mishap (5 ran).

Martin Keighley’s Wolf Moon finished last in the Liverpool Hurdle (7 ran).


Meanwhile at Taunton, this is how Alan King’s horses fared:

Junior won the Novices’ Chase (6 ran).  Martin Keighley’s Willowpattern fell.

Stormhoek finished 2nd in the Novices Hurdle Div I (12 ran).

Whistlejacquet misbehaved, running out at the final flight when leading in the Novices’ Hurdle Div II (8 ran).

Prince Du Seuil finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 3½ furlongs) (13 ran).

Ballamusic finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle (3 miles ½ a furlong) (16 ran).


Tomorrow Choc will be at Aintree, where he has 4 rides:

14:00 Captive Audience – Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (Class 1) (Rebecca Curtis)

15:10 Oh Crick - Melling Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (Alan King)

16:20 Chamirey - Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (Alan King)

16:55 Baddam – Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (Ian Williams)


Meanwhile, Alan King has 4 runners at Kempton Park tomorrow:

14:25 Masked Man (Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase

15:00 Luther (Wayne Hutchinson) & Anadama (Charlie Huxley) – Maiden Hurdle

17:55 No Substitute (Wayne Hutchinson) – Open NH Flat Race Div II


Choc had a few offers of Grand National rides but, as they were outsiders, he decided that he’d prefer to sit on the sidelines having competed in the past 13 renewals.  The ride aboard the newly purchased Character Building has been given to Nina Carberry!


Alan King has no runners entered at Aintree on Grand National day.


No blog tomorrow, as I’ll be on my way to Aintree at the crack of dawn! 


Wednesday 07 April 2010

The Aintree Festival begins tomorrow, and Choc has two riding engagements:

16:55 Somersby – Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) (Henrietta Knight).  I’m so pleased that Choc has, once again, been given the opportunity to team up with Henrietta’s very promising young chaser, this time over a 2½ mile trip.

17:30 Sir Harry Ormesher – Handicap Hurdle (Listed) (Class 1) (Alan King)


Martin Keighley also has a runner at Aintree tomorrow:

14:00 Wolf Moon – Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) ... although he is competing against Big Buck’s!

But, as they say, ‘If you ain’t in, you can’t win’!


There’s also a meeting at Taunton tomorrow, where Wayne Hutchinson has a number of rides for the Alan King yard:

14:25 Junior – Novices’ Chase.  Martin Keighley runs Willowpattern in this race, ridden by Gerard Tumelty.

15:00 Stormhoek – Novices Hurdle Div I

15:35 Whistlejacquet – Novices’ Hurdle Div II

16:45 Prince Du Seuil - Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 3½ furlongs)

17:55 Ballamusic - Handicap Hurdle (3 miles ½ a furlong)


As there was nothing worth watching on TV last evening, I was hoping to work on one of my ‘missing’ Cheltenham diaries ... however, having switched on the TV ready to play a recording of Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival, I got sidetracked into watching Racing UK presenters Graham Cunningham and Peter Naughton talking about their fancies for this year’s Grand National. 


As a result, I now have 4 ‘fancied’ each-way horses – Comply or Die (which Timmy Murphy has decided to ride again this year), Character Building, Niche Market and Backstage!  But I will mention that none of my 5 each-way fancies in last year’s race made the frame ... in fact I seem to recall that only one of them completed the course!  In general, there appears to be a common thread which runs through most of the horses which I fancy (but which fortunately I haven’t placed a bet on) ... they fall!


Tuesday 06 April 2010

The long trip up to Wetherby was rewarded, when Martin Keighley’s Love of Tara won the Novices’ Hurdle by an impressive 16 lengths!  It was Martin’s 25th winner of the season.


No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow, as there are no National Hunt meetings in the UK!


Monday 05 April 2010

Choc had a successful day at Huntingdon, riding 2 winners JJ

General Ting won the Novices’ Hurdle Div I, giving Choc his 62nd winner of the season (11 ran)

Forzy Origny won the Handicap Chase by 17 lengths, Choc’s 63rd winner of the season (9 ran)

Hilfiger finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle Div II (11 ran)

Chervonet finished in 10th in the NH Flat Race (16 ran)


Bluesea Cracker, ridden by Andrew McNamara and trained by Cork-based James Motherway, won the Irish Grand National today.


Choc has no riding engagements tomorrow, but Martin Keighley runs Love of Tara in the 16:25 Novices’ Hurdle at Wetherby.  Young Sam Twiston-Davies takes the ride, claiming 7lbs.


I’ve spent time working on my Cheltenham diaries this weekend, and have now completed my entry for Day 3:



I was hoping to complete 2 diaries this weekend ... but, despite having 4 days off work, time has defeated me!  I return to work tomorrow, for 3 days, and then I’m heading to Aintree early on Friday as I have tickets for Day 2 and 3 of the Grand National meeting. 


Sunday 04 April 2010

Towcester survived an early morning inspection, and this is how Choc fared:

William Hogarth finished a head 2nd, having led for most of the race and rallied to almost get back up again on the line in the Novices’ Hurdle (4 ran).

Backfromthecongo finished 6th in the Handicap Chase (10 ran).


Martin Keighley’s Pavanne finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).


Tomorrow Choc has 4 riding engagements at Huntingdon:

15:20 General Ting – Novices’ Hurdle Div I (Lucy Wadham)

15:55 Forzy Origny – Handicap Chase (Alan King)

17:05 Hilfiger – Novices’ Hurdle Div II (Ian Williams)

18:10 Chervonet – NH Flat Race (Lucy Wadham)


I’ve read that neither Choc nor Richard Johnson have a ride in this year’s Grand National as yet ... both will be extremely disappointed if they cannot take part.  Wayne Hutchinson has been booked to ride Oliver Sherwood’s Eric’s Charm, who I saw at the Lambourn Open Day, in his dual aspect corner stable!


I’m following the ‘Over the Rainbow’ show on TV – last evening was the first ‘proper’ show and my favourite ‘Dorothy’ is Jessica from Middlesbrough, with my second choice Sophie (as she reminds me of my niece Kim). 


Saturday 03 April 2010

Choc has 2 riding engagements at Towcester tomorrow:

14:10 William Hogarth – Novices’ Hurdle (Ken Goldsworthy)

15:40 Backfromthecongo – Handicap Chase (Richard Lee)


Martin Keighley also has a runner at Towcester:

15:10 Pavanne – Handicap Hurdle, to be ridden by Warren Marston


And I’m pleased to report that my car has now been cleaned ... there was so much mud in the wheel arches, and along the bottom of the doors.


Cambridge won this year’s University Boat Race ... I support Cambridge, although I would like to live in Oxfordshire!  It’s a ‘colour’ thing – I prefer light blue to dark blue, which was the reason for my choice many moons ago.


Friday 02 April 2010

William Bonney red.jpg

My Car reduced.jpg

William Bonney at Charlie Mann’s

My car needs a wash!

Household Cavalry 1 red.jpg

Household Cavalry 2 red.jpg

Blues and Royals

Life Guards


I decided to go to the Lambourn Open Day, despite the dire weather forecast.  I set out just after 07:00, and arrived at Nicky Henderson’s yard (my first stop) at 08:45.  The weather was bright and sunny at this point.


Next I drove down into Lambourn and parked in the car park opposite Harry Dunlop’s yard.  I then decided to visit Oaksey House, to see the facilities set up by the Injured Jockeys Fund.  Visitors were given a guided tour – there are 12 residential properties on site – 8 for permanent residents, and 4 for respite care.  There is a large meeting room upstairs and, of course, gym facilities downstairs!  I was especially interested to see where Choc had ‘worked out’ during his rehabilitation from his recent back injury.  I was told that he’d visited the facility every day in order to regain his fitness to return to race riding.  Lord Oaksey was there today, but he was resting!


Having left Oaksey House, I set off for Upper Lambourn, visiting Oliver Sherwood’s yard – Ballygalley Bob was very friendly (Choc won on him at Towcester last October).  From there, I set off to visit Brendan Powell’s yard and, after that, Charlie Mann’s.


The heavens opened late morning and I became stuck in one of Charlie Mann’s barns during the downpour.  But, I made a new friend, William Bonney (which was Billy The Kid’s real name).  Having written many diaries, I just knew that I’d recently mentioned him, and I knew where (Kempton) and why (he took a nasty tumble).  Here’s the diary link, race 7.  He has run once since that mishap.  And he competed in the race won by Nikos Extra at Folkestone last November.  He is a very sweet natured horse, and very friendly too. 



Following the downpours, the lanes were flooded.  The going in the Arena, which would be used for the afternoon events, was now very soft.  Having been delayed by the rain, I arrived half way through the terrier racing, but I was in time to see the Household Cavalry Musical Ride (above).  Evidently they are hoping to make a return appearance next Good Friday – it has been confirmed that there will be no racing, so the Lambourn Open Day should go ahead.  And, hopefully, the weather will be better, as Easter falls at the end of April in 2011!


The Musical Ride was followed by the Equine Personality Parade – Earth Mover, Celibate, Large Action, Looks Like Trouble, Binocular, Barbers Shop and Caracciola. 


However, the afternoon’s entertainment was curtailed as, for safety reasons, the schooling demonstration couldn’t take place.  Even more disappointing, the Jockeys vs. Soldiers Puissance Show Jumping event was cancelled too, as the ground in the Arena had been badly damaged by the Musical Ride!!!   


I also experienced a first today ... my car got stuck in the mud in the car park and I had to be towed out by a tractor!  But, I hasten to add, so did many other cars!!!  Above, you can see a picture of my car, which I took when I arrived home – I must wash it this weekend.


No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow, but he has riding engagements at Towcester on Sunday.


Thursday 01 April 2010

No racing results to report today, as Choc wasn’t riding.


However, I found this article yesterday regarding Voy Por Ustedes.  Concerns have been raised about his form this season and he may have to undergo a thorough check-up before a decision is made about his racing career.  Retirement being a possibility.




Also news today that Well Chief has been retired.


I’ve checked Alan King’s website to see if there is any news of imminent runners  ... Alan plans to send a very small team of just 3 or 4 to Aintree this year.  Also, following his injury, Mille Chief will not be ready in time to take part at either Aintree or Punchestown, so they’ve put him away for the season.


And I’ve uploaded my diary entry for last Saturday which, of course, included my second course walk with Choc!






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