APRIL 2013

 

 

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Three runners of interest this evening and this is how they fared:

 

Worcester:

Fairyinthewind (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (11 ran); Wayne’s 1st winner of the new season.

Up In Flames (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 5th in the Selling Hurdle (7 ran).

 

Exeter:

Shady Lane (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 4th in the Mares’ Novices Hurdle (7 ran).

 

And Martin Keighley’s stable jockey, Ian Popham, rode out his claim at Exeter this evening. 

 

My preference was to watch ATR’s coverage of Worcester this evening ... although the business end of the first four races were recorded and shown later in the evening due to a problem with the broadcast feed from the track.   

 

No runners of interest tomorrow; but I may well tune in to RUK to watch Cheltenham’s Hunter Chase evening.

 

Anthony Knott has decided that he will send Hunt Ball to next month’s Doncaster Bloodstock Sales.  More  From what I gather, Keiran Burke would dearly love to have the horse back ... but without the current owner!

 

And I’ve completed and uploaded Part I of my outstanding Cheltenham diary.  Click here to read about the beginning of Day 3. 

Monday 29 April 2013

Three runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Worcester:

18:45 Fairyinthewind (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle

19:15 Up In Flames (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Selling Hurdle

 

Exeter:

19:35 Shady Lane (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Mares’ Novices Hurdle

 

Hunt Ball has changed stable, with trainer Keiran Burke requesting that owner Anthony Knott remove the horse from his yard.  More  I’m not surprised, as Anthony is a bit of a ‘wide boy’.

Sunday 28 April 2013

A number of runners of interest today and this is how they fared:

 

Huntingdon:

Pollystone (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Mares’ National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Arthur’s Oak (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 3rd & Calypso Princess (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 5th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).

Kauto The Roc (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).

 

Wetherby:

Fair Trade (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) blundered badly 3 out and unseated when challenging for the lead in the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran); Wayne was stood down for the remainder of the day. 

Letsby Avenue (Alan King/Paddy Brennan) finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).

 

The Topham Chase winner, Triolo D’Alene, won the big race at Huntingdon under Barry Geraghty. 

 

Jason Maguire got off to a flying start to the new season, riding four winners at Wetherby; although two of those may have been fortuitous due to a home straight departure of their main rivals.  Leighton Aspell rode a double at Ludlow.  There appeared to be a higher number of fallers, etc, today than would be expected.  

 

Kim Bailey trained three of today’s winners; all at Wetherby.

 

Ardlui won a 2-mile flat race at Ripon yesterday, a nice prize of £15,562 to the winner.  Stablemate Manyriverstocross finished 7th in this 10-runner race. 

 

National Hunt racing at Kelso and Towcester tomorrow, but no specific runners of interest. 

 

I’ve completed and uploaded the final part of my Aintree Ladies’ Day diary.  Click here to read. 

I’ve also finished drafting Part I of my remaining Cheltenham Festival diary and will probably proof-read and upload it tomorrow. 

 

Here is an overview of the year-end jockey rankings, in terms of winners.  Where an equal number, the position is determined by percentage of winners to rides. 

 

Pos.

No.

Jockey

Pos.

No.

Jockey

1

185

AP McCoy

17

47

Jamie Moore

2

144

Jason Maguire

18

46

James Reveley

3

133

Richard Johnson

19

44

Brian Hughes

4

89

Aidan Coleman

20

38

Wayne Hutchinson

5

87

Sam Twiston-Davies

21

38

Lucy Alexander

6

85

Tom Scudamore

22

36

Micheal Nolan

7

73

Daryl Jacob

23

36

Robert Thornton

8

70

Tom O’Brien

24

35

Brendan Powell

9

66

Nick Scholfield

25

34

Henry Brooke

10

64

Noel Fehily

26

32

Leighton Aspell

11

63

Paddy Brennan

27

32

Andrew Thornton

12

60

Paul Moloney

28

31

Timmy Murphy

13

57

Ruby Walsh

29

31

Peter Buchanan

14

57

Barry Geraghty

30

31

Tom Cannon

15

53

Dougie Costello

31

30

Danny Cook

16

50

Denis O’Regan

 

 

 

 

Saturday 27 April 2013

Here are today’s results from Sandown Park’s mixed card:

McVicar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Vendor (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was badly hampered and Wayne was unseated when Barbatos fell 3 out in the Handicap Hurdle (18 ran).

Hold On Julio (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 12th in the Bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase (19 ran).

 

The jump vs flat jockeys’ race was won by Dane O’Neill riding the ‘reserve’ horse Carazam.  Ryan Moore finished 2nd and Jimmy Fortune 3rd.  Jump jockey honours went to Wayne Hutchinson in 4th, having held off Joe Tizzard’s challenge by a head.  Having won the race last year, Aidan Coleman finished last this. 

 

Sire De Grugy won the Celebration Chase from Finian’s Rainbow; the latter having run his best race of the season due to the improving ground.  More

 

And the Henry Daly trained Quentin Collonges, ridden by Andrew Tinkler, won the Bet365 Gold Cup.  More

 

Artist Darren Bird frequently tweets cartoons and this is an excellent one of Quentin Collonges and Andrew Tinkler. 

https://mobile.twitter.com/DarrenBirdie/status/328186202559770626/photo/1

 

The season end prizes were awarded at Sandown Park today; the currently sidelined AP McCoy won his 18th consecutive championship and was on hand to accept his trophy.  He’s targeting 4,000 career winners and is hoping for another title next season too.  But many believe that 2013 /2014 may be his last; he turns 39 on 04 May. 

 

Nicky Henderson won the trainers’ title; it is the third time he’s won it, the last occasion being way back in 1987.  JP McManus was champion owner.  Lucy Alexander won this season’s champion conditional jockey title, the first lady to win it.  More

 

And trainer Richard Lee had a Punchestown Festival winner today.  More

 

Despite Sandown Park being one of my favourite courses, I’ve not made it to the track this season, and I only visited there once last season too. 

 

I’ve been to the races 17 times this season – 5 visits to Cheltenham, 5 to Kempton Park, 3 to Newbury, 2 to Aintree, 1 to Ascot and 1 to Stratford.  Choc was on the injury sidelines for 6 of these 17 days. 

 

And I’ve seen Choc ride 4 of his 36 winners – Henry San (8th gained at Stratford), McVicar (11th gained at Kempton Park), L’Unique (28th gained at Kempton Park) and Midnight Sail (36th and last, also gained at Kempton Park).

 

Choc suffered 8 mishaps (falls, unseated, etc) this season – the last of which, at Southwell, resulted in him re-breaking his upper right arm.  I seem to have seen him on the deck more times than I should have done – 3 out of 8 (37.5% thereof). 

 

Tomorrow, on Day One of the 2013 / 2014 season there are National Hunt fixtures at Ludlow, Huntingdon and Wetherby and runners of interest at the latter two:

 

Huntingdon:

14:20 Pollystone (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Mares’ National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle

15:55 Arthur’s Oak (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) & Calypso Princess (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

17:35 Kauto The Roc (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Handicap Chase

 

Wetherby:

14:00 Fair Trade (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:10 Letsby Avenue (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

 

More car-related expense today ... I went to move my car and discovered that the battery was flat.  Having driven over 400 miles three weeks ago, and around 15 two weeks ago, I had a feeling the battery must have completely died, as I can normally park it for two weeks without a problem.   Besides the car, and the battery, are now 5 years old. 

 

If I haven’t used the car for two weeks, I’ll run the engine for 20 minutes or so, just to make sure it doesn’t go flat, rather than take it out for an aimless drive. 

 

I called out the RAC late morning and the guy confirmed the battery had come to the end of its life, so he fitted a new one.  Cars are expensive beasts!   It was fortunate that it didn’t happen when I was due to set off on my trips to Cheltenham or Aintree, or whilst I was in Gloucestershire or Merseyside.

 

But the good news is that, following the problems encountered by the security staff at Aintree, the bonnet closed without trouble today.  So I don’t need to have it checked out by my garage after all. 

 

It’s been typically April today (and yesterday for that matter) with sudden showers, of rain or hail.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way after the winter and early spring we’ve had!

 

I’ve finished writing the second half of my Aintree Ladies’ Day diary and hope to proof and upload it later this evening.  That leaves me with just one two-part diary to complete – Cheltenham Festival Day 3 – with my self-enforced deadline of May Day Bank Holiday; this allows me 9 days.

Friday 26 April 2013

A number of runners of interest today and this is how they fared:

 

Chepstow:

Mortlestown (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 7th but Seventh Sign (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).  Ugly Bug finished 4th. 

The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 13th & Ali Baba (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (18 ran).

 

Plumpton:

Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) won the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

 

Seventh Sign was Wayne’s 37th winner of the season ... so he has beaten Choc ... and just for good measure he also won aboard Dolatulo later in the evening. 

 

Here is a link to Wayne’s column on the Sporting Life website; he outlines his rides at Sandown tomorrow and reviews his victory in the Scottish National too.  More

 

And also a link to Martin Keighley’s column in the Gloucestershire press.  More

Unfortunately Any Currency was balloted out of tomorrow’s Bet365 Gold Cup and doesn’t get a run.

 

Hurricane Fly won the Punchestown Festival’s Champion Hurdle for the fourth consecutive year.  More

 

Tomorrow is the last day of the 2012/2013 National Hunt season and there are three runners of interest on Sandown Park’s mixed card:

13:30 McVicar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

14:05 Vendor (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

15:50 Hold On Julio (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase

 

The jump vs flat jockeys’ race takes place as the last event on the card.  Due to take part are Nick Scholfield, Joe Tizzard, Wayne Hutchinson, Richard Johnson, Aidan Coleman, Sam Twiston-Davies, Jimmy Fortune, Tom Queally, Ryan Moore, William Buick, Dane O’Neill and James Doyle. 

 

I’ve almost completed the second half of my Aintree Ladies’ Day diary – having just crossed the Melling Road to head out into the country for the one and only time in the Topham Chase!  I’ve already completed the notes for the three races at the end of the card. 

Thursday 25 April 2013

A number of runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Chepstow:

16:50 Mortlestown (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Seventh Sign (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle.  Ugly Bug also runs in this race.

17:20 The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Ali Baba (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Plumpton:

16:40 Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

This afternoon Quevega won the World Series Hurdle at Punchestown for the fourth successive year, although her task was made easier by the late withdrawal of Solwhit.  More

 

I’ve been flicking through this week’s Horse and Hound and discovered a reference to this summer’s Heythrop Country Fair.  They intend to have donkey races, inter-hunt rounders, terrier racing, space hopper races, a junior gymkhana and a high-jump competition. Lined up for the donkey races are Marcus Armytage, RUK presenter Oli Bell, Denis O’Regan and ... Robert Thornton!  There will also be an inter-hunt relay, tug-of-war, hound racing, fairground rides and a bouncy castle.  The Fair takes place on Sunday 16 June at Cocklebarrow Farm, Northleach in Gloucestershire. 

I went for a lunch-time walk yesterday, although I took an easier route than my Monday/Tuesday expedition.  Today I didn’t go out as I had too much work to do and missed my lunch break altogether.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

 

Photographs courtesy of Sandra Stewart

 

041[1]

 

Godsmejudge is unsaddled following

his victory in the Scottish Grand National

 

050[1]

 

RIP Reddy Tobouggie

Such a shame the youngster

lost his life in the Ayr bumper race

 

 

Sandra Stewart kindly sent me the above photographs of Godsmejudge and the unfortunate Reddy Tobouggie.

 

Three runners of interest today and this is how they fared:

 

Taunton:

King Of Dudes (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran); Wayne’s 36th winner of the season, so he’s now equal with Choc. 

 

Sedgefield:

Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).

 

The Alan King-trained Kuda Huraa finished second in a one mile four furlong Handicap at Epsom today. 

 

Sir Des Champs won the Punchestown Gold Cup today.  More

 

And Ryan Mania rode a treble at Sedgefield, including victory in the Durham National.  More

 

No runners of interest tomorrow. 

 

Choc has tweeted this lovely picture of William playing with his trucks. 

https://mobile.twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/327148868322082816/photo/1

Tuesday 23 April 2013

One runner of interest today, at Newton Abbot:

Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

 

Sprinter Sacre won again, this time at Punchestown.  More

 

Wayne Hutchinson rode a winner at Ffos Las today for Warren Greatrex ... so he’s now ridden 35 winners this season.  So one more will equal Choc’s total for the season, and two more will beat him.  L

 

There are three runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Taunton:

17:55 King Of Dudes (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

Sedgefield:

17:45 Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

19:55 Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Choc has tweeted a photo of young William out for a morning stroll in the country (with his dad):

https://mobile.twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/media/grid?idx=0

 

Talking of strolling, I went out for another lunchtime walk today; same route as yesterday, so it included the big hill again.  I’m not totally sound at the moment, as my left hip continues to hurt, but you have to make the best of it don’t you?  And it’s just so wonderful to have sunshine and warmth. J

 

Note to self ... avoid surfing the web when taking a break from my diary writing; as I continue to find new types of ‘yarn’ which I’d like to use to create scarves – these ones are made of ‘material’ and/or lace which can be knitted into a frilly scarf!  And you know how much I love frills ...

http://disswoolandcrafts.com/acatalog/Woolcraft_Desire.html

Monday 22 April 2013

One runner of interest tomorrow, at Newton Abbot:

14:00 Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle

 

I actually had a lunch hour today ... hooray!   I decided to take a walk and I didn’t want it easy, so choose to take a route which took me up the steepest hill in St Albans – Holywell Hill.  This pictorial from an NHS website gives you an idea of how long a ‘drag’ it is to the top; I started at the absolute bottom, having walked along Prospect Road and continued all the way up Chequer Street and into St Peter’s Street too.  I don’t feel very fit at the moment, but I didn’t find it difficult today.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Today it was confirmed on Alan King’s website that Reddy Tobouggie lost his life when he stumbled and fell during the bumper at Ayr yesterday; and following on from Bakbenscher’s sad demise at Cheltenham last Wednesday.  I don’t have a photograph of Reddy Tobouggie to post here, as his only other racecourse appearance was at Warwick in mid-January.  RIP younger pretender and old stager.

 

It certainly demonstrates the ups and downs of jumps racing following yesterday’s wonderful victory by Godsmejudge in the Scottish Grand National. 

 

Here is a link to Geoff Lester’s latest news from Barbury Castle.

http://alankingracing.co.uk/news.htm

 

Three runners of interest at Wincanton this afternoon and this is how they fared:

Soixante Six (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Ali Baba (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).

Fair Trade (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Maiden Hurdle Div II (7 ran); Wayne’s 34th winner of the season.

 

With just six days to go to the end of this NH season, it’s going to be touch and go whether Wayne will equal or beat Choc’s tally of 36; although, of course, he’s won far more prize money having triumphed in a Cheltenham Festival handicap, a Grade 1 at Aintree and the Scottish Grand National too.

 

It was pointed out by the Racing Post that despite being at Ayr yesterday, neither Ruby Walsh nor Barry Geraghty had a ride in the Scottish National; I noticed that too. 

 

National Hunt racing solely at Hexham tomorrow, so no runners of interest.

 

I’ve still got the bit between my teeth and have now finished and uploaded Part I of my Aintree Ladies Day diary.

 

Click here to read. 

Saturday 20 April 2013

Here are today’s results from Ayr, including a very big win for the Alan King yard:

Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Scottish Champion Hurdle (Grade 2 Limited Handicap) (8 ran).

Oh Crick (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (Listed) (7 ran).

Godsmejudge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase in style (24 ran); Wayne’s 33rd winner of the season.

Reddy Tobouggie (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) stumbled and fell on the flat in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (9 ran); Wayne was fine and walked away following the incident. 

 

I must spare a thought for poor old Choc ... as he’s missed another big winning opportunity. L 

 

I should have had a bet on Godsmejudge today; I know the horse is an excellent jumper, he stays well and I wouldn’t have dreamt of putting my money on any of the other horses.  Wayne won the 2006 Welsh Grand National aboard Halcon Genelardais and has now added the Scottish version to his portfolio. 

 

Here is the report on the ATR website.  More  

 

And one of the Racing Post’s site too. 

http://www.racingpost.com/news/live.sd?event_id=1053445

 

A couple of jockeys in the wars today were Timmy Murphy and Tom Scudamore.  The former suffered a couple of broken bones in his hand when falling aboard Ifandbutwhynot in the Scottish Champion Hurdle; and Tom Scudamore was also taken to hospital, having sustained suspected concussion after Problema Tic fell during the Scottish Grand National.  More  And AP McCoy has been detained in hospital for a third night.  More

 

Jim Crowley rode his 1000th winner at Nottingham this evening; having ridden over both jumps and on the flat during this career. 

 

Meanwhile at Bangor:

Willoughby Hedge (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

 

Three runners of interest at Wincanton tomorrow:

14:40 Soixante Six (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:40 Ali Baba (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

16:40 Fair Trade (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle Div II

 

I found these photographs, taken at Newbury on 01 March, of Choc in the Weighing Room ... lovely!

 

http://photos.racingpost.com/app/WebObjects/RPShop.woa/wa/p?p=M1b52o6VvE1zJwKX-2q7CA..a

 

http://photos.racingpost.com/app/WebObjects/RPShop.woa/wa/p?p=dYk7irwwYT3srvNdt2F7yQ..a

 

My Grand National Day diary has now been completed and uploaded in its entirety. 

Click here to start at the beginning thereof.

Friday 19 April 2013

A couple of runners of interest at Ayr this afternoon and this is how they fared:

Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (5 ran); Martin Keighley’s 30th winner of the season.

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 11th in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

 

It was Seymour Eric’s 5th victory of the season:

Hereford 16 December, Towcester 26 December, Huntingdon 7 February, Haydock 15 February and today.  He’s been an absolute star this season, grinding out his wins from the front.   

 

A number of runners of interest tomorrow:

Ayr:

14:40 Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Scottish Champion Hurdle (Grade 2 Limited Handicap)

15:15 Oh Crick (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase (Listed)

15:50 Godsmejudge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Scottish Grand National Handicap Chase

17:35 Reddy Tobouggie (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Bangor:

13:55 Willoughby Hedge (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

Here is a link to Martin Keighley’s column in the Gloucestershire press.  More

 

In his Sporting Life column, Wayne Hutchinson outlines his rides at Ayr tomorrow.  More

 

AP McCoy is spending a second night in hospital following yesterday’s unseating at Cheltenham.  More

 

Will Kennedy was in the wars today and has tweeted a photo of his bloodied face, which I gather happened when his horse was hampered and he was unseated during the last race at Fontwell today.

https://mobile.twitter.com/WTKJockey/status/325307411051212800/photo/1

 

And another long day at the office ... 9.25 hours without a break today; and I can’t even recall going for a wee either!

Thursday 18 April 2013

More runners of interest at Cheltenham this afternoon and this is how they fared:

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle (17 ran).

Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 7th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Bull And Bush (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd & Midnight Cateria (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 6th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (17 ran).

 

AP McCoy was taken to hospital having been injured when unseated from Quantitativeeasing in the 16:20 at Cheltenham today.  More

 

I watched the replays of yesterday’s Cheltenham action before turning in last night.  It was difficult to see, but I think poor Bakbenscher broke a foreleg, which is why he fell on the flat.  African Broadway lost his life too having fallen in an earlier race.  It is also reported on the Racing Forum’s Memorial’s page that Zaynar is no longer with us either, following his last run at Taunton on 04 April.    

 

That’s interesting ... did the Stewards change their mind about the one day suspension (applicable for 19 April) handed out to 24 jockeys following the Topham Chase?  Because many of them appear to be riding tomorrow! 

 

Evening racing returns too ...

 

Tomorrow, a couple of runners of interest at Ayr:

14:10 Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

16:25 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

 

My diary writing continues this evening ... bang on, if not slightly ahead, of schedule.

 

And, yes, it was another bad day at the office – 9 hours without a break again!

Wednesday 17 April 2013

 

Race 2 e r.jpg

 

RIP Bakbenscher

 

I hate days when I have to report an equine fatality ... and the sad news is that Bakbenscher lost his life at Cheltenham today.  I’ve not seen the race, but it is reported he fell or slipped and fell before the second last flight; perhaps he fell because he sustained the injury, I don’t know anything more at present.

 

Here are details of today’s relevant results from Cheltenham:

Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th & Valdez (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).

Bakbenscher (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) suffered a fatal injury; Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (17 ran).

Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Silver Trophy Handicap Chase (Grade 2 Limited Handicap) (7 ran).  Many congratulations to the team, their 29th winner of the season and a well-deserved victory for Champ following many excellent placed efforts. 

Faultless Feelings (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (17 ran).

 

Here is a lovely picture of Champ following his win today:

https://mobile.twitter.com/GoffsDBS/status/324540383147204608?p=v

 

More runners of interest at Cheltenham tomorrow:

16:20 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

16:55 Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase

17:25 Bull And Bush (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Midnight Cateria (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

The retirement of unbeaten super mare Black Caviar was announced today.  More

 

It was another one of those days when I had to work 9 hours without a break ... I never learn.  And I’ve still got loads to do tomorrow.

 

The good news is that my jodhpur boots arrived today ... they fit fine ... I ordered size 43 (9)!  My last pair of walking boots were a size 9, and they were expertly fitted by a specialist at the ‘outdoor’ shop so that I could wear a couple of pairs of socks too.  My previous walking boots were size 8 and I lost a couple of toenails during the early days when I wore that particular pair!  I normally wear standard fit size 8 shoes, and sometimes 7½ if wide fit.  Unfortunately my mother failed to bind my feet when I was a child!!!

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Runners of interest at Kempton Park and Exeter today and this is how they fared:

 

Kempton Park:

Cold Knight (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (7 ran).

Salmanazar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd & Gold Ingot (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Call Me A Star (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Mares’ National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle Finale (Listed Limited Handicap) (11 ran).

Kenai Peninsula (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran); Wayne’s 32nd winner of the season.

Patsy Finnegan (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles] (10 ran).

 

Exeter:

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7½ furlongs] (12 ran).

Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 7th in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (9 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Cheltenham:

14:10 Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Valdez (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:20 Bakbenscher (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

15:55 Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Silver Trophy Handicap Chase (Grade 2 Limited Handicap)

16:30 Faultless Feelings (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

 

I can’t stop yawning this evening ... probably because I worked 9¼ hours without a break today – I hate days like this.  It always amazes me how colleagues ever find the time to take fag breaks!

Monday 15 April 2013

Runners of interest at Kempton Park and Exeter tomorrow:

 

Kempton Park:

14:20 Cold Knight (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

14:50 Salmanazar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Gold Ingot (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) - Novices’ Hurdle

16:00 Call Me A Star (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle Finale (Listed Limited Handicap) [postponed from Newbury’s abandoned end of March fixture]

16:35 Kenai Peninsula (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

17:10 Patsy Finnegan (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]

 

Exeter:

14:30 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7½ furlongs]

17:20 Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

 

Ryan Mania has been passed fit by the BHA’s Chief Medical Advisor and is set to partner Auroras Encore in Saturday’s Scottish Grand National.  More

Sunday 14 April 2013

Here are today’s relevant results:

 

Ffos Las:

Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Novices’ Chase (6 ran).

 

Wincanton:

Fair Trade (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the Maiden Hurdle.

Seventh Sign (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

Kauto The Roc (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the Novices’ Chase.

Dalavar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

Money For Nothing (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I (7 ran).

Simply A Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II (8 ran).

 

No ‘proper’ racing tomorrow – National Hunt that is!

 

My weekend mission has been accomplished; both my Ladies Day diary (a 2-parter) and my Grand National Day diary (a 3-parter) have been topped and tailed.  And I’ve also transferred the RUK coverage for both days to DVD.   My new goal is to complete all three of my unfinished diaries by the end of May Day Bank Holiday weekend (06 May); that gives me three weeks and one day. 

Saturday 13 April 2013

Here are today’s results:

 

Stratford:

Midnight Sail (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Iolith (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles ½ a furlong] (11 ran).

 

Uttoxeter:

Ukrainian Star (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles] (12 ran); an excellent effort from Boris having made most of the running. 

Taffy Dare (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 13th in the Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race (17 ran).

 

It was good to see the ex-Alan King trained Shalone win today, ridden by Gerard Tumelty; I will always remember the horse taking an awful fall when clipping heels on the flat during the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2011.

 

Blackstairmountain, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh, has won Japan’s premier jump race.  More

 

Black Caviar won again today.  More

 

Ryan Mania rode out this morning for the first time since his accident at Hexham last Sunday.  More

 

Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Ffos Las and Wincanton:

 

Ffos Las:

15:55 Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Chase

 

Wincanton:

13:40 Fair Trade (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

14:10 Seventh Sign (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:40 Kauto The Roc (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase

15:45 Dalavar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Handicap Hurdle

16:50 Money For Nothing (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I

17:20 Simply A Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II

 

I’ve topped and tailed my Aintree Ladies’ Day diary and am now working on the Grand National day diary; I’m hoping to complete the top and tail thereof by the end of play tomorrow. 

Friday 12 April 2013

A number of runners of interest today and this is how they fared:

 

Chepstow:

Champagne N Caviar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle Div I (12 ran).

Dundee (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle Div II (12 ran).

Fairyinthewind (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Araldur (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs] (9 ran); Wayne’s 31st winner of the season.

 

Wetherby:

Iron Chancellor (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs] (19 ran).

Ulys Du Charmil (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles ½ a furlong] (8 ran). Charlie’s 11th winner of the season.

 

Runners of interest tomorrow at Stratford and Uttoxeter.

 

Stratford:

15:05 Midnight Sail (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

16:15 Iolith (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles ½ a furlong]

 

Uttoxeter:

15:55 Ukrainian Star (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]

17:35 Taffy Dare (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race

 

Here is a link to Martin Keighley’s column in this week’s Gloucestershire Press, where he talks about his trip to Aintree last Saturday and Any Currency’s successful completion in the big race.  Click here to read.

 

Very sad news from the gallops today, with Martin losing one of his string, the mare Midnight Myth. 

 

The yard has been awarded a 28th winner of the season, by default, with Always Bold promoted to first place in a race run at Uttoxeter on New Year’s Eve; the original winner (named Award Winner) having been disqualified following a positive drugs test. 

 

The 2011 Grand National winner Ballabriggs has been retired.  More  

 

Choc attended a Speed Awareness Course this morning, having been caught doing 47 mph in a 40 mph limit.  I can’t refer to him as naughty, as around 20 years ago I was ‘done’ for the first and only time when doing 43 mph in a 30 mph limit!

 

Just five weeks until my Western Riding adventure in the New Forest; I ordered a pair of black jodhpur boots today!  I only ever had three pairs of riding boots – my first were a pull-on pair of jodhpur boots (in brown) like the pair I ordered today, a pair of buckle-fastened jodhpur boots (also in brown) and a pair of black rubber long riding boots.  I kept the latter for years, using them instead of Wellingtons when cleaning my car!  Even if I never ride again, I can always wear today’s purchase for walking to and from work. 

I’ve been rummaging through old photograph albums and have found a photograph of me (aged 10) with one of my favourite ponies, Shane.  It was taken at the annual gymkhana held by the riding school at Cross Farm in Harpenden.  On the right, I’m pictured riding the grey Kϋmmel; I recognise the bay on the right to be Grock, the other pony is Marcus.

Jane and Shane r.jpg

Jane riding Kimmel r.jpg

 

Thursday 11 April 2013

Today’s results are as follows:

 

Wincanton:

Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs] (17 ran); Wayne’s 29th winner of the season.

Henry San (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs] (8 ran).

Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (11 ran); Wayne’s 30th winner of the season.

Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II (12 ran).

 

Fontwell Park:

Midnight Sail (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 6 furlongs]

The Mumper (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs] (8 ran).

 

A number of runners of interest tomorrow too:

 

Chepstow:

14:10 Champagne N Caviar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle Div I

14:40 Dundee (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle Div II

15:50 Fairyinthewind (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

17:00 Araldur (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]

 

Wetherby:

16:00 Iron Chancellor (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs]

17:10 Ulys Du Charmil (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles ½ a furlong]

 

Wayne is catching up with Choc’s total of winners for the season, with just six more to ride before he equals 36.  The season ends of 27 April, which is just over two weeks away; although he does have a one day ban to serve, along with 24 other riders, for an offence incurred prior to the start of the Topham Chase!  That rules the jockeys out of riding on the first day of the 2-day Ayr Scottish Grand National meeting. 

 

The Stewards held an enquiry following a report from the Starter that the riders attempted to line up for the start before being instructed to do so. They interviewed the following riders, Ryan Mahon, Andrew J McNamara, Sam Twiston-Davies, Wayne Hutchinson, Richard Johnson, Daryl Jacob, Paul Townend, Denis O’Regan, Jason Maguire, Bryan J Cooper, Sam Thomas, David Bass, Aidan Coleman, Barry Geraghty, Nick Scholfield, Dougie Costello, Andrew Tinkler, Tom Scudamore, Davy Condon, Martin Ferris, Jamie Moore, Brian Hughes, A E Lynch, Jake Greenall and Wilson Renwick and the Starters. Having heard their evidence and viewed recordings of the start the Stewards found the riders in breach of Rule (D)44.4 and suspended them for 1 day as follows: Friday 19 April.

It would be far easier to list those who didn’t incur the Starter’s wrath, namely Tom O’Brien, Ruby Walsh, Brian Harding and Liam Treadwell!  Although I understand the latter is injured at the moment. 

Wednesday 10 April 2013

After three very quiet days, there are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:

Wincanton:

14:30 Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs]

15:00 Henry San (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs]

16:00 Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]

17:35 Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II

 

Fontwell Park:

16:20 Midnight Sail (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 6 furlongs]

16:50 The Mumper (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]

 

Choc has begun his road back to fitness at Oaksey House, supervised by the PJA Physiotherapist, Daloni Lucas.  Dominic Elsworth is recovering from a damaged sternum (breastbone) and Tom Garner from a broken collarbone; I saw Tom at Aintree last weekend. 

 

Here is a link to a photo Daloni has uploaded onto twitter, showing the guys working out ... and AP McCoy too.

https://mobile.twitter.com/dalonilucas/status/321259329460240384/photo/1

 

Having set up the Aintree diary templates yesterday, writing begins this evening!

And last, but not least, many happy returns to the day to my nephew James who is 18 today. 

Monday 08 April 2013

Grand National winning jockey, Ryan Mania, is hoping to be discharged from hospital tomorrow, Tuesday.  More

 

National Hunt racing solely at Carlisle tomorrow, so no runners of interest.

Barry Geraghty tweeted this photograph showing the end of his 2013 Grand National ‘experience’:

https://mobile.twitter.com/BarryJGeraghty/status/320963970066436097/photo/1

 

And Choc tweeted this photograph of William tucked up in bed:

https://mobile.twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/320995511911997440/photo/1

And I’ve completed the task of uploading the photographs I took at Aintree on Ladies Day.

Click here to view my photograph gallery index.

Sunday 07 April 2013

The ups and downs of National Hunt racing.  Grand National winning jockey Ryan Mania was air-lifted to hospital this afternoon having been injured in a fall at Hexham.  Here is further information from the ATR website.  More

 

Poor lad, I hope his injuries aren’t as bad as first feared and that he’s back in the saddle very soon.

 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

 

I confess to twice having been within a hair’s breadth of cancelling my trip to Aintree this year ... firstly when I couldn’t get to sleep on Thursday evening and again 10 minutes before departure on Friday morning!  I think part of it is the 200 mile drive each way.  Especially as Choc is always my biggest incentive to make the trip!  

 

But I went.  Friday was so cold; although I was fairly warm having worn 8 layers (including 3 thermal vests) plus my heavyweight faux sheepskin coat.  Also my long black skirt with thick tights and leggings underneath.  I didn’t particularly enjoy the day.

 

However, Grand National day was brilliant.  Bright sunshine, positively tropical compared to recent weeks and, best of all, I spoke with Choc!  And kissed him on the cheek too, of course!  I had no idea he was due to be at Aintree until I read a number of tweets early on Saturday morning; as you can imagine that put a whole new spring in my step and I was mighty relieved that I’d not called off my trip!

 

I thought my best chance of spotting him would be to follow the racing action but also ensure that I returned to the steppings above the Winners’ Enclosure and below the Weighing Room at the end of each race.  I was soon rewarded, when Choc accompanied Andrew Thornton into the Winners’ Enclosure to speak with the media after the Charity race had been completed, the first race on the card.  And I wasn’t about to move from there until Choc had disappeared into the crowd again; especially as I hoped to speak with him too.  I missed the 13:45 ... but what the heck! 

 

Anyway, here is my round-up from Friday:

 

Aintree:

 

Walkon - Topham 2nd r.jpg

 

Walkon gets a very well-deserved drink

having finished 2nd in the Topham Chase

 

 

Walkon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was an absolute star when he finished 2nd in the Topham Chase [National fences] (29 ran).  Owner Max McNeill is hoping to run him in next year’s National, although he needs to persuade his wife and daughter to agree to this plan. 

Uxizandre (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (9 ran).

Meister Eckhart (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) finished 3rd and Manyriverstocross (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (Listed) (21 ran).

Our Pollyanna (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) finished 16th and The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race (Listed) (19 ran).

 

It was very sad that Little Josh lost his life when he fell in the Topham, having fractured a shoulder.  More

 

Sedgefield:

Up In Flames (Martin Keighley/Mr Conor Shoemark) finished 7th in the Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (6 ran).

 

And the results from Saturday:

 

Aintree:

 

The winner r.jpg

 

The Grand National winning jockey

Ryan Mania and his mount Auroras Encore

 

Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Carl Llewellyn) finished 6th and King Of Dudes (Alan King/Adrian Maguire) finished 5th in the Aintree Legends Charity Race (11 ran).

Smad Place (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd and Medinas (Alan King/Richard Johnson) was pulled up before two out in the Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1). (13 ran)

Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 17th (last of those who completed) in the Grand National (40 ran).

Wilde Blue Yonder (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 11th in the Champion Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2).

 

Chepstow:

Shady Lane (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

 

I backed two horses at £2.50 each-way in this year’s Grand National ... Cappa Bleu and Any Currency.  So, for the second year running (I had the 3rd and 4th last year), I won back some of my money!  I don’t bet ... because I never win.  It must be osmosis I guess!

 

Here are a number of ATR reports regarding this year’s race.

 

National Mania Breaks Out

Pitman full of praise for Smith

The National – where they finished

Encore enjoying National status

 

Aurora's Encore and Ryan Mania r.jpg

 

Auroras Encore, having been relaxing in his stable since the race,

is led out onto the racecourse to enable the race-goers to take photographs.

He is held by winning jockey, Ryan Mania.

 

For the record, when I walked Newbury racecourse with Choc in March 2010, he mentioned Ryan Mania as a young jockey to look out for in the future!  More

 

And, finally, the results from Ascot today:

Forresters Folly (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Maiden Hurdle by a nose (15 ran).  Wayne’s 28th winner of the season.

Pantxoa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th, last of those which completed, in the incident packed Novices’ Chase (8 ran).

McVicar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Juvenile Hurdle (16 ran).

Hold On Julio (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Veterans’ Handicap Chase (13 ran).

 

With the National Hunt season now winding down to it’s conclusion at the end of this month, there’s just one National Hunt fixture tomorrow, at Kelso.  Being north of the border, there are no runners of interest. 

 

And just in case you missed Choc’s tweet regarding his ‘appearance’ in May’s issue of FHM magazine in connection with an article about AP McCoy ... here is a link to a very picturesque view!

https://mobile.twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/320254044838957056/photo/1

 

When I spoke to Choc yesterday he said that he didn’t realise the photographer had taken the picture until the magazine contacted him to ask for permission to publish it!  He thought why not, as he didn’t mind.  I did tell him he was looking smart yesterday, with his clothes on ... which made him laugh.  And nice without them too.  He asked if I’d already got the magazine.  No, I said, but I am on the lookout; and will add it to the picture gallery on my bedroom wall!  I’m just a teenager at heart! 

 

Since speaking with him, I’ve now ‘rescued’ a number of copies from the local supermarket – one for my wall, one to keep and, maybe, one to be autographed on the bottom by Choc (to clarify, that’s on the bottom of the page, not on the bottom of the jockey!). 

 

I took over 300 photos during my two-day trip – so I still have Friday’s selection to upload.  But here is a link to the photo index, as I’ve set up seven links for Saturday’s photos.  Click here to view.

Choc chats to Jonathan Powell r.jpg

Choc chats to journalist Jonathan Powell

Had Choc been fit and riding, I’d have gone to Ascot today ... as I would have to done to Kempton Park on the day following the end of the Cheltenham Festival.  So, in a way, every cloud has a silver lining; because I would have been absolutely ‘cream crackered after the end of each Festival. 

I’ve just been watching the Antiques Roadshow ... no, watching is not the correct description, playing in the background to keep me company whilst I’ve been working on my website.  Tonight’s programme was recorded in Cheltenham and a member of staff from the racecourse arranged for the Stewards’ Room ‘horse-leg’ table to be taken to the show for it to be valued; although they had to remove the Weighing Room’s rear doors to get it out of the building.  According to the expert, the table is worth £15,000 to £20,000! 

The current state of play is that I’m very happy and looking forward to Choc returning to action in the not so distant future, hopefully.  So, having gone to Aintree in a disheartened mood, I’m now feeling much more positive. J

Thursday 04 April 2013

A number of runners of interest today and this is how they fared; super-sub Wayne Hutchinson on the scoreboard with a Grade 1 winner too!

 

Aintree:

L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) at 10-1 (10 ran).  This race is Alan’s speciality, having now trained the winner on four occasions during the past six years!  More  Wayne’s 27th winner of the season.

Raya Star (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) fell in the Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1); the horse was reported to be fine following this mishap, as was the jockey.  Zarkandar beat The New One in a driving finish.  More

This year, the Liverpool Hurdle and the Aintree Hurdle have swapped days; with the former now being run on Saturday.

 

First Lieutenant won the Grade 1 Bowl Chase.  More

 

Amazing prices for the winner and placed horses in the Fox Hunters’ Chase for amateur riders over the Grand National fences of 100-1; 33-1 & 40-1.  Sadly Katie Walsh’s mount Battlefront was a fatality, having collapsed and died after being pulled up out in the country.  More

 

Oiseau de Nuit won the Red Rum Handicap Chase.  More

 

Captain Conan won the Grade 1 Manifesto Novices’ Chase.  More

 

Young Brendan Powell had an excellent day; riding two winners at Aintree when he also won the last aboard Battle Group.

 

Evidently a record 32,340 attended the Aintree Festival today.  I know someone who had a ticket but didn’t go ... me!

 

Taunton:

Hollow Penny (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ a furlong] (9 ran).

Midnight Sail (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase

Custer Of The West (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 9th and The Fox’s Decree finished 5th (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs] (13 ran).

 

Tomorrow, runners of interest at Aintree and Sedgefield:

 

Aintree:

15:40 Walkon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Topham Chase [National fences]

16:15 Uxizandre (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

16:50 Meister Eckhart (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) & Manyriverstocross (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle (Listed)

17:25 Our Pollyanna (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) & The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race (Listed).

 

Sedgefield:

14:10 Up In Flames (Martin Keighley/Mr CP Shoemark) – Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Hurdle

16:30 The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Choc dropped William off at nursery today ... William became upset because he didn’t want his dad to leave him ... and, as a result, Choc ended up in tears too!  Bless both their cotton socks!

 

Having visited his specialist today, I tweeted Choc to ask how he got on.  He replied to say the healing process is ‘going the right way’ but that he’s in no rush because the best bit of the season has been missed.

 

No blog tomorrow but, hopefully, there will be an Aintree round-up late Saturday.

 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

 

Choc has written a column for this week’s Horse and Hound; he confesses that since he broke his arm, he’s been bored silly.

 

He reports that he now has full movement in his right arm but it’s not as strong as he’d like it to be.  He writes that his back injury was just superficial; both injuries needed a little pain management but nothing desperate.

 

He mentioned that he was visiting his specialist today and hoped for news of when he can begin riding again.

 

Choc attended the Cheltenham Festival on the Wednesday and the Thursday [I saw him on Wednesday but not on Thursday, as I didn’t venture away from the course-side rails on the latter day].  He says it’s not something a jockey would really enjoy if not riding, but wonders if he will feel differently when he’s retired.  Because although happy when horses from your yard are running well, it’s bitterly disappointing when you miss a winner.

 

Choc says the thoughts of everyone in racing are with JT McNamara and his family.  He was speaking to the rider 20 minutes before his accident.  Choc describes him as a great guy and hopes that there is more improvement in his condition that is currently suggested.

 

He then discusses Davy Russell’s recent injury; the Irish jockey missed most of the second part of the Festival when he sustained a punctured lung.  He was permitted to ride in Ireland just a week later, but the British Horseracing Authority has denied him the opportunity to ride in the UK at the moment; he will miss Aintree as a result.

 

Choc has watched Davy riding on TV since the injury and says he is looking fantastic, but Choc can also see it from the side of the BHA who don’t want him to risk further damage in a fall; falls being a certainty in racing.

 

He is also surprised that the Irish authorities are taking a more relaxed view, because if you go to ride in Ireland your safety kit is checked extremely carefully and, whereas in the UK 2½lbs is allowed for your safety kit, in Ireland it’s 4lbs.

 

Choc then discusses his fancies for this weekend’s Grand National.  Firstly, Imperial Commander – who, despite being top-weight, is the best horse in the field, is trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and should be ‘well in’, as the weights are compressed for this race.  He also likes Seabass, Sunnyhillboy and whichever horse Ruby Walsh rides!

 

Alan King doesn’t have a runner in the National this year, but will send a similar team to Aintree as he did to the Cheltenham Festival.  Choc said he was shocked by Medinas’ win in the Coral Cup – he describes him as a tough little horse and one which continues to surprise him.  If the ground is slow, Medinas may well spring another surprise.

 

Choc doesn’t think Smad Place will run at Aintree [although on Thursday the horse was still listed as an entry in the Liverpool hurdle] but, after being placed 3rd in the World Hurdle, he believes the horse is in line for a big win; the owners deserve it too.

 

He is concerned that Musselburgh racecourse has applied to hold a race fixture on Good Friday next year.  There are only two non-race days a year – Christmas Day and Good Friday – so why take away one of these?  Besides, the Lambourn and Middleham Open Days traditionally take place on Good Friday.  These days provide relaxed access to the sport, and if trainers have runners on Good Friday they are less likely to open their yards to the public.

 

Finally he writes about the Lesters, the jockeys’ annual awards ceremony which took place last Thursday evening.  Another good reason he says not to have racing on Good Friday [the jockeys being worse for wear the next day].  It was good to see the late Campbell Gillies honoured in front of his family; AP McCoy win his 19th Lester and Lucy Alexander win her first award for being Lady Jockey of the Year.  He said it was great for a jump jockey to win the latter award, and she thoroughly deserved it.

Wednesday 03 April 2013

Three runners of interest at Wetherby today and this is how they fared:

Our Phylli Vera (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Div I (9 ran).

Volcan Surprise (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Fighter Jet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (14 ran).

 

Runners of interest at both Aintree and Taunton tomorrow:

 

Aintree:

14:00 L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)

15:05 Raya Star (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)

 

Taunton:

14:45 Hollow Penny (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:55 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ a furlong]

16:30 Midnight Sail (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Handicap Chase

17:35 Custer Of The West (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) & The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 ½ furlongs]

 

I’ve been obsessed with the idea of completing a third Cheltenham diary before Aintree ... and I’ve done it!

 

Click here to read about Day 2 of the Festival.

 

So much to do and so little time ... and I’m worn out already!

Tuesday 02 April 2013

Three runners of interest at Wetherby tomorrow:

14:40 Our Phylli Vera (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Div I

16:10 Volcan Surprise (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

17:40 Fighter Jet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

The sad news reported today that Fair Along has died following a bout of colic. More

 

Having worked today, I’m actually now on leave for the next three days ...

Monday 01 April 2013

Runners of interest at Fakenham and Huntingdon today:

 

Fakenham:

Awesome Bella (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 8th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

Calypso Princess (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) finished 12th & Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Maiden Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).

 

Huntingdon:

Kuda Huraa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Hurdle Div I (11 ran); Wayne’s 26th winner of the season.

Fine Words (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (14 ran).

 

With 8 withdrawals at the Grand National 5-day declaration stage, Martin Keighley’s Any Currency has made it into the line-up, so fingers crossed nothing goes wrong between now and next Saturday.  Click here for more news regarding a number of other runners. 

 

Liberty Counsel won today’s Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse at odds of 50-1.  More

 

There’s National Hunt racing at Exeter tomorrow but no runners of specific interest. 

 

And just in case you think I’ve been resting on my laurels this Easter weekend ... I’ve now completed and uploaded both parts of my Day One and Day Four Cheltenham diaries.  In fact I’ve dedicated so much time to them these past three days that I’ve missed a number of TV programmes I’d intended to watch!  Never mind, it keeps me out of mischief ...

 

Click here to begin reading my Day One diary

 

And click here to begin reading my Day Four diary too.


 

 

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