APRIL 2014

 

 

Wednesday 30 April 2014

There were runners of interest at Punchestown today and this is how they fared:

Carraig Mor (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs] (10 ran); Cheltenian (Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson) finished 3rd & Medieval Chapel (Nicky Henderson/Barry Geraghty) finished 5th.

Medermit (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Punchestown Gold Cup (Grade 1) [3 miles 1 furlong] (9 ran); Long Run (Nicky Henderson/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen) finished 3rd.

 

The Nicky Henderson-trained Beat That, who won at Aintree, was victorious in the Grade 1 three miles Novice Hurdle; and the Harry Fry-trained Fletchers Flyer won the flat race at the end of the card.  More

 

Boston Bob won the Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup, in which Medermit was a creditable 4th.  It looks like the grey has successfully stepped in trip and presumably will run over longer distances from now on.  More

 

Along with Balder Succes, both Carraig Mor and Two Rockers are owned by Masterson Holdings.  After mishaps for the latter two at Ascot during the season, I wonder if that explains why Choc has lost the ride aboard the former. 

 

The main event at Punchestown tomorrow is:

18:40 Balder Succes (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Ryanair Novice Chase (Grade 1) [2 miles].

 

Other Brits in action include Parsnip Pete in the Handicap Chase at 16:15; Duke Of Lucca in the Cross Country Chase at 16:50; At Fishers Cross, Fingal Bay, Knockara Beau and Reve De Sivola take on Quevega amongst others in the World Series Hurdle at 17:30.  

 

The 2014/2015 National Hunt season kicks off tomorrow with three fixtures - Ffos Las, Sedgefield and Towcester, with runners of interest at the latter:

16:45 Dont Call Me Oscar (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) - Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]

17:55 Sequoia Forest (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) & Taffy Dare (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) - Novices’ Hurdle

18:30 Shady Lane (Alan King/Noel Fehily) – Maiden Chase

20:10 Briery Queen (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

I’ve topped and tailed the draft of my Sandown Park diary and will now concentrate on selecting photographs for the website; I’ve not transferred the race-day action to DVD yet so cannot complete the diary until I do so.

Tuesday 29 April 2014

News from day one of the Punchestown Festival:

 

Veteran Sizing Europe won the Grade 1 two mile Champion Chase.  More  But there’s still confusion as to whether the horse has been retired or not!

 

AP McCoy won the Grade 1 three mile one furlong Champion Novice Chase aboard Carlingford Lough.  More

 

And Faugheen trotted up in the Grade 1 two mile Novices Hurdle.  More

 

Meanwhile, there are runners of interest at Punchestown tomorrow:

16:20 Carraig Mor (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]; Cheltenian (Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson) & Medieval Chapel (Nicky Henderson/Barry Geraghty) also represent the home team in this race.

17:30 Medermit (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Punchestown Gold Cup (Grade 1) [3 miles 1 furlong]; Long Run (Nicky Henderson/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen) also runs in this one.

There are British representatives in other races too. 

 

And Balder Succes is ‘in da house’ More

 

In light of Sam Twiston-Davies’ appointment as Paul Nicholls’ first jockey, his father Nigel has no plans to appoint a new stable jockey.  More

 

Hannah Bishop has tweeted a photograph of Letsby Avenue; he’s wearing shoes again and will begin road work in a few more weeks to get him fit. 

https://twitter.com/HannahBishop79/status/461172021670735873/photo/1

Monday 28 April 2014

The big news today is that Sam Twiston-Davies has been appointed as Paul Nicholls’ number one jockey, with Daryl Jacob deciding to go freelance rather than be the yard’s number two jockey.  More  No surprise there then!!!

 

Alan King trained a couple of flat winners today – Gimme Five at Bath and Nyanza at Kempton Park.

 

Here is a link to Dave Crosse’s latest Love The Races blog and includes an overview of Saturday’s Jesters.  More

 

I’ve no further news to report regarding Choc’s injury but will continue to look and give an update when known.

Sunday 27 April 2014

Choc tweeted late this afternoon to say he’s out of hospital now and hopes to see the specialist tomorrow.  So it’s fingers crossed for a positive prognosis and hopefully I’ll be able to bring you further news soon. 

 

As you know, I love to do my research ... and have discovered that C4 is the middle vertebrae in the neck, which consists of C1 to C7; so that is the one which reports say Choc has damaged.  Necks are so vulnerable, both horses and humans. 

 

ATR’s Sunday Forum discussed the 2013/2014 jump season; it was presented by Matt Chapman today, with studio guests Alan Lee and Alistair Down. 

 

No surprise that they discussed jockeys; AP’s 19th championship, Richard Johnson playing bridesmaid once more, and how long might it be before Paul Nicholls officially offers his number one jockey role to Sam Twiston-Davies.  The trials and tribulations of Daryl Jacob in this context – evidently he’s just too nice a person, Noel Fehily’s ‘strengths’ as a rider despite his age, and all the girls adoring the new Conditional Champion Gavin Sheehan. 

 

And they also mentioned Choc ... I think it may have been as a result of a tweet from someone who suggested he should now reconsider his career, having sustained another injury.  The view in the studio was that, perhaps, he has been unlucky of late.  Confidence is all, they said, in respect of Daryl ... and I fear the same applies to Choc at the moment too.  What Choc needs is the love of a good woman ... if only I was many years younger. L   

 

Alan Lee mentioned that yesterday at Sandown Park Alan King told him that Choc’s got the ‘highest pain threshold of anyone he knows’.  So I hope that holds him in good stead with his current injury. 

 

Here a photograph posted on twitter of Taquin Du Seuil taken at Sandown yesterday, he surely is a very good looking horse!

https://twitter.com/_Coral01_/status/460370631486623744/photo/1

 

And two photos of Faultless Feelings receiving lots of TLC from his adoring connections whilst recovering, hopefully, from a foot injury:

https://twitter.com/HannahBishop79/status/460338257365331968/photo/1

 

https://twitter.com/HannahBishop79/status/460370543402033152/photo/1

 

And if you don’t already realise just how much people care about their racehorses, this is a very touching article regarding Red Rocco who lost his life at Haydock Park last weekend:

https://twitter.com/V_Binnie_Ryle/status/460330967983742977/photo/1

 

And, as promised, here is my round-up of the 2013/2014 season statistics:

 

TOP 30

JUMP JOCKEY WINNING RIDES

CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE FOR THE 2013/2014 SEASON

Position

Jockey

Wins

 

Position

Jockey

Wins

1

AP McCoy

218

16

Barry Geraghty

57

2

Richard Johnson

155

17

Wayne Hutchinson

54

3

Jason Maguire*

130

18

Ryan Mania

53

4

Noel Fehily

127

19

Paul Moloney

52

5

Sam Twiston-Davies

115

20

Gavin Sheehan

50

6

Tom Scudamore

100

21

Peter Buchanan

47

7

Aidan Coleman

97

22

Wilson Renwick

46

8

Brian Hughes

86

23

Liam Treadwell

42

9

Paddy Brennan

77

24

James Reveley

41

10

Tom O’Brien

74

25

Brendan Powell

41

11

Daryl Jacob*

70

26

Choc Thornton*

37

12

Leighton Aspell

65

27

Brian Harding

36

13

Denis O’Regan

64

28

Michael Byrne

34

14

Jamie Moore

60

29

Dougie Costello

32

15

Nick Scholfield

60

30

Felix De Giles

30

* Season affected by long-term injury ... and even AP’s season began late due to injury ...but he still won by a mile!

 

Choc failed to complete the course due to a mishap on 15 occasions this season, which is 5.08% of his rides, in other words 1 in 20.  Breaking it down into unseats and falls, there were 5 of the former and 10 of the latter (I counted Friday’s incident as a fall); that’s 1.69% unseats and 3.39% falls. He didn’t get brought down this season, but he did get stood down when Shady Lane fell at Wincanton and badly hampered one of the other runners.

 

And to all those people who criticise Choc for not being the jockey he once was, I found statistics from 2008 which stated that Ruby Walsh fell on 7.4% of his rides and was unseated 2.6% of the time.  For the same period Choc had 4.2% falls and 2.2% unseats to rides.  So his percentage has, in fact, improved.  And there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about losing the ‘naivety of youth’ and becoming more cautious in one’s approach to danger!

 

JUMP JOCKEYS WITH A ‘MILLION’ PLUS WINNINGS THIS SEASON

Jockey

Prize Money

Wins

Major races won

AP McCoy

£2,248,351

218 wins

Including the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, the Christmas Hurdle, JLT Novices’ Chase, Manifesto Novices’ Chase

Richard Johnson

£1,880,985

155 wins

Including Ascot Chase

Barry Geraghty

£1,671,482

57 wins

Including Hennessy Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, World Hurdle, RSA Chase, Topham Chase and bet365 Handicap Chase)

Tom Scudamore

£1,587,000

100 wins

Including Ryanair Chase

Sam Twiston-Davies

£1,549,696

115 wins

Including the Aintree Hurdle

(but he missed out on a big win aboard Splash Of Ginge in the Betfair Hurdle – Ryan Hatch taking the ride)

Noel Fehily

£1,315,413

127 wins

Including King George VI Chase and Bowl Chase

Daryl Jacob

£1,179,133

70 wins

 

Leighton Aspell

£1,176,513

65 wins

Including the Grand National

Aidan Coleman

£1,111,238

97 wins

Jamie Moore

£1,030,321

60 wins

Including Tingle Creek Chase, Clarence House Chase, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Scottish Grand National and Celebration Chase

OTHERS OF NOTE

Choc Thornton

£557,878

37 wins

 

Wayne Hutchinson

£533,622

54 wins

Including Maghull Novices’ Chase

Davy Russell

£529,772

3 wins

Including Cheltenham Gold Cup

Ruby Walsh

£438,697

7 wins

Including 3 wins in the UK aboard Annie Power, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle

 

Wayne may have finished first in the ‘winners’ duel but he didn’t beat Choc for prize money! J

 

TRAINERS CHAMPIONSHIP

PRIZE MONEY

(ie. how it is actually decided)

 

NUMBER OF WINNERS

(just as a matter of interest!)

Position

Trainer

Money

Position

Trainer

No.

1

Paul Nicholls

£2,469,893

1

Donald McCain

141

2

Nicky Henderson

£2,019,936

2

Jonjo O’Neill

134

3

Philip Hobbs

£1,583,308

3

Nicky Henderson

123

4

Jonjo O’Neill

£1,572,505

4

Paul Nicholls

114

5

David Pipe

£1,433,119

5

Philip Hobbs

105

6

Nigel Twiston-Davies

£1,166,345

6

David Pipe

90

7

Alan King

£1,112,823

7

Venetia Williams

86

8

Venetia Williams

£1,110,493

8

Charlie Longsdon

78

9

Donald McCain

£964,606

9

Nigel Twiston-Davies

76

10

Dr Richard Newland

£929,129

10

Alan King

73

 

11

Peter Bowen

69

12

Lucinda Russell

66

13

Sue Smith

61

14

Tim Vaughan

58

15

Evan Williams

55

 

 

LEADING HORSE PRIZEMONEY

1

Pineau De Re

£590,616

 

6

Silviniaco Conti

£250,793

2

Sire De Grugy

£483,572

7

Jezki

£238,051

3

Lord Windermere

£327,326

8

Dynaste

£236,806

4

Balthazar King

£289,300

9

My Tent Or Yours

£216,367

5

The New One

£266,909

10

More Of That

£209,608

 

As for me, I attended the races on 17 occasions this season:

5 x Cheltenham, 5 x Kempton Park, 3 x Aintree, 2 x Newbury, 2 x Sandown Park and saw Choc on 16 of those, yesterday being the only time I didn’t.  My ‘handicaps’ included the quiet spell in January when the Alan King yard weren’t sending out any runners, after which I caught a bad cold followed by flu!  

 

That’s comparable with last season, when I also went to the races 17 times, although it might have been more had Choc not been injured in early March:

5 x Cheltenham, 5 x Kempton Park, 3 x Newbury, 2 x Aintree, 1 x Ascot, 1 x Stratford; I saw Choc riding on just 11 occasions, and as a spectator on 2.  

I haven’t begun my Sandown diary or photograph selection yet, as I’ve been far too busy researching my year-end statistics!  But I do hope to proof read and upload my Newbury diary before I turn in tonight. 

But I have updated Choc’s 2013/2014 winners’ page to include the annual overview.  More

And his Career Winners’ page too.  More

Saturday 26 April 2014

 

Sire De Grugy for blog r.jpg

 

Sire De Grugy wins the Grade 1 Celebration Chase

 

 

Today’s main news is that Choc is currently being detained in Frenchay Hospital in Bristol; he was discovered to have sustained a broken rib and small chip to his C4 vertebra when Say When stumbled and fell during the last race at Chepstow yesterday evening.  More

 

I can’t even describe what happened, as the incident was out of camera shot on ATR.  All that could be seen was a horse possibly being hampered, and the legs of one as it headed out towards the outside rails in rear of the field; I can only presume it was the rider-less Say When.  This is the entry on the BHA website regarding the incident:

 

The Stewards held an enquiry into the fall of Robert Thornton, the rider of SAY WHEN, leaving the back straight. They interviewed Daniel Hiskett, the rider of ALL RILED UP, and Aidan Coleman, the rider of ROUQUINE SAUVAGE, but were unable to interview Thornton owing to his injuries. Having heard the evidence and viewed recordings of the incident, the Stewards found that the fall was caused by the gelding stumbling going down the hill. Being satisfied that no other horse or rider was involved, the Stewards took no further action.

 

L L L L L

 

My runners of interest at Sandown Park today were as follows and this is how they fared:

Saint Jerome (Jamie Osborne/Noel Fehily) finished 3rd and Ronaldinho (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th in the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

Godsmejudge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd and Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Jamie Moore) finished 13th in the bet365 Gold Cup (Grade 3) (19 ran).

Medinas (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished last in the Select Hurdle (Listed) (5 ran).

L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) carried top weight to win the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran); Wayne’s 54th (and last) winner of the season.  Vendor (Alan King) was a non-runner.

 

L'Unique for blog r.jpg

 

The camera lense has misted up a little but here is L’Unique

returning along the horse-walk having won the Handicap Hurdle

 

Here is an article I found this morning regarding Alan King’s hopes for today’s bet365 Handicap Chase.  More

 

Hadrian’s Approach won the feature bet365 Handicap Chase for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty.  More  

 

Sire De Grugy, Racing Post’s Racehorse of the Year as voted for by the public, won the Grade 1 Celebration Chase.  More   I tried to vote on two occasions, but the website wouldn’t allow me to do so either time; Sir De Grugy was my choice too.

 

Menorah returned to form to win the Oaksey Chase.  More

 

And Southfield Theatre won the Select Hurdle.  More

 

Meanwhile in France, Un De Sceaux continued his winning run.  More

 

Tidal Bay for blog r.jpg

 

During today’s Parade of Champions it was announced that Tidal Bay (above) has now been retired; he’s 13 years old. 

 

Taquin De Seuil for blog r.jpg

 

I was really taken with Taquin De Seuil (above); he’s a beautiful horse.  I saw him on Tingle Creek day at Sandown Park back in December, but probably only had eyes for Choc and Balder Succes in that particular race.  And again at Cheltenham, but not up close because I didn’t go to the Parade Ring ahead of the JLT Novices’ Chase, nor do the horses gallop up the walkway before a 2 mile 4 furlong race and, of course, I rushed to the Winners’ Enclosure to see Uxizandre and Choc arrive back having finished 2nd, so I didn’t see him walk back in front of the stands either.  And returning to the Winners’ Enclosure that day he would have got just a cursory glance and single photo in passing before I turned my attention back to Choc and his mount! 

 

I quite enjoyed my day out at Sandown Park, mainly because I didn’t learn the extent of Choc’s injuries until after racing had finished.  I would definitely recommend the Premier Enclosure again, as it gives a far greater variety of photo opportunity locations; I loved being able to view the horses walk down the rhododendron walk and back again.  The distance between the viewing area and the Winners’ Enclosure is comparable with that of the grandstand enclosure; both are initially uphill returning.  I also found myself in close proximity of the trainers when they go to greet back their horses.  The only things I missed were the ability to take a photograph as the runners cantered to the start, because I didn’t reach the rails in time, and as they jumped the fences. 

With another injury time-out, unfortunately, I’ll have a little more time on my hands than expected; I need to complete my year-end round-up of winners, write a diary for today, upload my photos from today and finish my Cheltenham and Aintree diaries, plus proof and upload my Newbury diary.  But first I must get some sleep .... Zzzzzzzzzz

PS. Balder Succes sets off for Punchestown tomorrow at 18:30 and will be catching the 02:40 ferry!

PPS. Today was the sixth anniversary of me first seeing Choc live in the flesh, on 26 April 2008.

Friday 25 April 2014

 

L L L

 

 

Choc had a mishap in the final race of the day, when Say When stumbled and fell on the final bend.  The entire race was ‘mysterious’, the atmospheric conditions really weird, with mist lying in a dip in the centre of the course and outstretching its arms across the track every few furlongs. 

 

I saw Matt Howells and the stable lad/lass standing beside the rails at the winning post; it was as though they weren’t quite sure why there was no sign of the horse, loose or not, returning. 

 

I stayed tuned to ATR for no apparent reason, it being Stateside and of little interest to me, and an hour or so after the race the studio presenter announced that Choc had been taken to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol for precautionary x-rays.  There is also a note on the Racing Post website which mentions that it is Choc’s back which is being checked.  

 

Anyway, with that bad news, I’d better complete a round-up of this evening’s results from Chepstow:

Monksgold (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) finished 3rd and Ned Stark (Alan King/Choc) won the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran); Choc’s 37th winner of the season.

Pyleigh Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) fell 3 out in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs] (10 ran).

Bendant (Mrs DA Hamer/Choc) finished last in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3½ furlongs] (6 ran).

Seventh Sign (Alan King/Choc) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]; Ugly Bug finished 7th (11 ran).

Say When (Alan King/Choc) stumbled and fell in the NH Maiden Hurdle (12 ran). 

 

With just one day to go, Choc has now ridden one more winner than his injury-curtailed 2012/2013 season.  He also missed the first 4½ months of this season due to the same injury (re-broken upper right arm).

 

But there’s far better news for Wayne Hutchinson; he has recovered from his recent keyhole knee surgery and is back in action at Sandown Park tomorrow.

 

My runners of interest at Sandown Park may or may not be as follows:

14:05 Saint Jerome (Jamie Osborne/Choc) & Ronaldinho (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

15:50 Godsmejudge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Choc) – bet365 Gold Cup (Grade 3); Any Currency was balloted out, as the maximum size field is 20, how infuriating.  

16:25 Medinas (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Select Hurdle (Listed)

17:30 L’Unique (Alan King/Choc) & Vendor (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle; Jack Doyle is currently serving his Grand National/Wayward Prince-related ban so is unable to take up the ride aboard the latter.

 

I’m now worried for Choc and in limbo regarding tomorrow ... as I don’t feel like I want to go to Sandown Park if he’s been injured this evening.  I don’t suppose I’ll hear any news until The Morning Line tomorrow, so I’ll get up at the planned time and start to get ready, and make up my mind once the situation is known.

 

Don’t you just hate it when Choc gets injured ...

Thursday 24 April 2014

A number of runners of interest at Chepstow tomorrow evening:

17:00 Monksgold (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) & Ned Stark (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

17:30 Pyleigh Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]

18:00 Bendant (Mrs DA Hamer/Choc) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 3½ furlongs]

18:35 Seventh Sign (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]; Ugly Bug is also taking part in this one!

20:10 Say When (Alan King/Choc) – NH Maiden Hurdle

 

There’s news regarding Balder Succes’ intended target at next week’s Punchestown Festival, and the possibility that Medermit may also make the trip to Ireland.  More

Having faded early yesterday, I stayed on towards the line today and have completed the racing notes on my Newbury diary!  It solely needs to be proofed now!  Not sure if I’ll have time to do that tomorrow evening, as I’ll be watching the racing from Chepstow and preparing for my day out at Sandown Park; hopefully Sunday will provide the opportunity.  

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Taunton:

Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 1 furlong] (15 ran).

Fountains Flypast (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) was pulled up before two out in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs] (5 ran).

Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th and Daisy Picker (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 6th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran); the winner won by miles and the second was well clear too, but the 4th, 5th and 6th could have been covered by a blanket!

 

Southwell:

Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Nick Slatter) finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 6th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

There are no National Hunt fixtures in England tomorrow; Friday’s at Newton Abbot and Chepstow are both evening meetings. 

 

Saturday is the final day of the 2013/2014 season and there’s actually a 4-day gap before the professional National Hunt jockeys begin their 2014/2015 campaign on Thursday week.  This year’s Jesters take place on Saturday evening at the Malt Shovel in Lambourn, so the attendees won’t need to worry about having a sore head on Sunday!

I was hoping to make big in-roads into my Newbury diary this evening but, in the event, I’ve only managed to complete around a third of what I’d intended because I feel really tired and my brain is refusing to function properly!!!

It must be time for bed ... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Just two runners of interest today, at Ludlow and this is how they fared:

Divine Intavention (Martin Keighley/Mr Mark Wall) won the Handicap Chase [3 miles 1½ furlongs] (9 ran); Well done to the team, their 21st winner of the season and second this week!  RUK’s ‘Moment of the Day’ too!

Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Choc) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles] (12 ran).

 

And just when I wanted to concentrate on completing my diaries, along comes evening racing ... and here are tomorrow’s runners of interest:

 

Taunton:

16:55 Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 1 furlong]

19:00 Fountains Flypast (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs]

20:00 Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Choc) & Daisy Picker (Noel Williams/James Banks) - Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Southwell:

19:15 Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Nick Slatter) - Handicap Hurdle

19:45 Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

This is cute; mum and ducklings currently in residence at Oaksey House:

https://twitter.com/OakseyHouse/status/458620757934080001/photo/1

Monday 21 April 2014

What a nightmare of a day for watching the racing coverage on ATR ... there were far too many fixtures resulting in a number of split screen clashes and the 17:00 at Chepstow was broadcast at 18:20, because it clashed with the Irish Grand National at its original time; typically it was one of Choc’s races. 

 

Anyway, here are the results for my runners of interest:

 

Chepstow:

Memberof (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Flementime (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) blundered three out and was pulled up, and Our Pollyanna (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Easter Dancer (Emma Lavelle/Choc) and Typhon De Guye were both non-runners in the Handicap Hurdle Div I. 

Noble Perk (AA Wintle/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle Div II (12 ran).

Simply Charles (Hilary Parrott/Choc) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles] (14 ran).

It was a Sam Twiston-Davies benefit at Chepstow today, with him winning 4 of the 8 races!

 

Plumpton:

Mystery Drama (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) finished 3rd in the Juvenile Hurdle (4 ran).

No Substitute (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (5 ran).

Hollow Penny (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (7 ran).

 

Huntingdon:

Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 3rd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Training Series Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).

Gone Too Far (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 2nd and Hung Parliament (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).

L’Admiral David (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 7th in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (10 ran).

 

Just two runners of interest tomorrow, at Ludlow:

15:00 Divine Intavention (Martin Keighley/Mr Mark Wall) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 1½ furlongs]

15:35 Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]

 

Shutthefrontdoor triumphed in the Irish Grand National for trainer Jonjo O’Neill and jockey Barry Geraghty.  It is the second time Jonjo has trained the winner of this race and a first winning ride for Barry, surprisingly.  More

 

There’s news of the horses still entered for this Saturday’s bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown Park.  More

 

Tom Scudamore rode his first century of winners in a season today.  More   Aidan Coleman is also hoping to ride a century before the season ends next Saturday; at the close of play today he needs 3 more. 

 

Retired BBC racing presenter Julian Wilson has passed away.  More

 

One down, eight to go ... my Kempton Park diary for 15 March has been completed!  Click here to read.  I never let the grass grow under my feet, and I’m kicking on!!!

Sunday 20 April 2014

Originally there were a number of runners of interest at Towcester this afternoon but then there was one and it won!

Roberto Pegasus (Alan King/Choc) was a non-runner in the Novices’ Hurdle

Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Novices’ Handicap Chase (8 ran); well done to the team, their 20th winner of the season.

Ned Stark (Alan King/Choc) was a non-runner in the Maiden Hurdle

The Geegeez Geegee (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) was a non-runner in the Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I

Bulfin Island (Alan King/Choc) was a non-runner in the Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II

 

Fortunately I was talked out of going to Towcester today, although I was far from happy about it at the time ... Phew!  But there’s nowhere for me to go tomorrow, with Choc heading to Chepstow L

 

Five National Hunt fixtures in the UK tomorrow, three with runners of interest as follows.

 

Chepstow:

13:30 Memberof (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

14:05 Flementime (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Our Pollyanna (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

16:25 Easter Dancer (Emma Lavelle/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle Div I.  Typhon De Guye also holds an entry in this race but ran and won at Towcester today.

17:00 Noble Perk (AA Wintle/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle Div II

17:35 Simply Charles (Hilary Parrott/Choc) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]

 

Plumpton:

14:20 Mystery Drama (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:50 No Substitute (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

15:25 Hollow Penny (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]

 

Huntingdon:

14:00 Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Conditional Jockeys’ Training Series Handicap Hurdle

16:20 Gone Too Far (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) & Hung Parliament (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Novices’ Hurdle

17:30 L’Admiral David (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

 

But, as a special belated Easter treat, I’ve booked my ticket online for next Saturday’s season Finale at Sandown Park!  I’ve also been a bit of a devil, because I’ve purchased a premier ticket rather than a grandstand ticket on this occasion; I can then take advantage of a wider range of locations from which to take photographs (including the horse-walk).  And it was a now or never decision regarding enclosure, as the premier tickets were now limited due to demand!!!  I hope I’m not tempting fate by purchasing in advance ...

 

Having got up-to-date with my Aintree photographs, I guess my project for the coming week is to complete one of my nine outstanding diaries ... decisions, decisions ... I wonder if I should put names into a hat to choose which one?  Although my initial thought is Kempton Park or Newbury, thus saving the juicier Cheltenham and Aintree diaries for completion over the quiet summer period.

Saturday 19 April 2014

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Haydock Park:

Midnight Sail (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 6 furlongs] (19 ran).

Howwrongcanyoube (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (8 ran).

 

Newton Abbot: 

Lidar (Alan King/Stephen O’Donovan) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles ½ a furlong] (6 ran).

 

There are a number of runners of interest at Towcester tomorrow:

14:15 Roberto Pegasus (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:15 Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

16:45 Ned Stark (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle

17:15 The Geegeez Geegee (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I

17:45 Bulfin Island (Alan King/Choc) - Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II

 

I’ve been out for much of today, but I did select and upload a further selection of my Aintree photographs onto the website early this morning; and I hope to repeat this feat before turning in tonight too. 

Friday 18 April 2014

Three runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Haydock Park:

15:15 Midnight Sail (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 6 furlongs]

16:50 Howwrongcanyoube (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Newton Abbot: 

15:55 Lidar (Alan King/Stephen O’Donovan) – Handicap Chase [2 miles ½ a furlong]

 

A sign that summer is on its way, when action returns to Newton Abbot!

 

Then looking ahead to Sunday:

 

Towcester:

14:15 Roberto Pegasus (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:15 Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

16:45 Ned Stark (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle

17:15 The Geegeez Geegee (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I

17:45 Bulfin Island (Alan King/Choc) - Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II

... and camel racing!!!

 

Letsby Avenue is looking well following his colic surgery earlier in the year; he continues to recover from his tendon injury:

https://twitter.com/HannahBishop79/status/456905533027790848/photo/1

 

But not such good news for the Willie Mullins-trained Arvika Ligeonniere who was injured when winning at Fairyhouse last month.  More

 

Wayne Hutchinson is recovering well from his knee surgery and Alan King reports that, although he may not be back in the saddle in time for next weekend’s Finale at Sandown Park, Wayne fully expects to return to action the following week (Punchestown Festival?)

 

Today I’ve been busy selecting and uploading photographs taken at Aintree a couple of weeks ago.  Also, transferring Day 2 and Day 3 action from my Sky hard drive to DVD.  Although I still need to transfer yesterday’s Cheltenham races (Choc’s 3 rides), hopefully before I turn in tonight.

 

I need to take time out tomorrow for a family visit, but hopefully progress will continue on Sunday and Monday ... although, at present, Towcester races looks interesting ... although the weather forecast for Easter Day leaves much to be desired!!!   

 

Here is a link to my photo gallery index, although there is still much to do.  Click here

Thursday 17 April 2014

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest, at Cheltenham:

Flementime (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was a non-runner and The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle [Listed] (9 ran).

L’Unique (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle [Listed] (19 ran).

Gabriella Rose (Alan King/Choc) finished 7th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (15 ran).

 

I notice that Forgotten Gold lost by a short-head to Mon Parrain in the Handicap Chase; he was collared on the line. 

 

When I was copying yesterday’s action to DVD, Stewart Machin ‘kindly’ reminded everyone that Choc hadn’t ridden a winner at Cheltenham for over 1,000 days ... no wonder he is fed up with finishing placed rather than winning.  It was actually Golden Firebird in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat race on 14 April 2011.  Thank goodness Pantxoa came to the rescue yesterday.   

 

No National Hunt racing tomorrow although, of course, there are couple of fixtures (Lingfield Park and Musselburgh) despite it being Good Friday.  

 

Meally and William spent yesterday afternoon at Cheltenham races ... and she posted a number of photographs on her facebook page, including one of Choc with his little boy.

https://www.facebook.com/Meallymoo

 

There’s camel racing at Towcester on Sunday, in addition to the horseracing of course; shame the weather is forecast to be wet. 

 

I’ve now got four Easter eggs – Chocolate Buttons, Flake, Mini-eggs and Minstrels.  Mum bought the first two for me ... they were on ‘special offer’ ... my Manager bought the Mini-eggs one and the company I work for gives all its Head Office employees a chocolate egg each Easter!  

 

I’ve still no specific racing-related plans for the weekend, apart from working on the backlog for my website!  But I am definitely looking forward to next weekend with the hope of attending Sandown Park’s end of season Finale.  And there may be a visit to Kempton Park on Early Spring Bank Holiday too. 

Wednesday 16 April 2014

 

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

 

Today was the first day of Cheltenham’s 2-day April fixture and this is how my runners of interest fared:

Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase (11 ran).

Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Jack Doyle) finished 5th in the Silver Trophy Chase [Grade 2 Limited Handicap] (10 ran).

Phone Home (Nick Mitchell/Choc) finished 12th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (19 ran).

Pantxoa (Alan King/Choc) won the Novices’ Chase by a short-head (5 ran). Phew; having led all the way he just held on, probably on the nod. Pantxoa (which I gather is pronounced Pancho) needs better ground and was returning from a 158-day holiday.  The course didn’t totally suit, as he jumped out to his right all the way too.  Choc’s 36th winner of the season.

Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Jack Sherwood) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (Conditionals and Amateur Jockeys) (13 ran).

 

All of my runners of interest tomorrow at Cheltenham are of the fairer sex!

14:05 Flementime (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle [Listed]

15:15 L’Unique (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle [Listed]

17:30 Gabriella Rose (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

I notice that evening National Hunt racing has returned ... that won’t help my cause when I need to watch recorded DVDs in order to write my racing diaries!  I plan my time thinking that it will only take a short while to complete tasks, and schedules just go out the window; take yesterday evening for example.  I closed down my laptop at around 22:30 with the aim of copying yesterday’s Exeter action to DVD before bedtime and thinking I’d be asleep by 23:30.  And I didn’t get to bed until gone 00:30!  An hour before midnight is worth two after, as they say!   No wonder I’m exhausted! 

 

Additional research tells me that the Heythrop Country Fair & Donkey Derby takes place on Saturday 28 June this year, not Sunday 29 June as previously thought.  So that’s the same day as this year’s Campbell Gillies Memorial Ball and the day after my trip to Birmingham for a concert.  So I guess it depends on whether Choc prefers driving a donkey or a trip to Liverpool to get drunk with friends! 

It appears that Friday and Saturday will be pleasant weather, but the rain rolls in from the south on Sunday.  I’ve failed to find anyone to accompany me to the Lambourn Open Day, so I think I will probably be at home on Friday either working on my website or sleeping all day!!! 

Tuesday 15 April 2014

There were runners of interest at both Exeter and Kempton Park this afternoon and this is how they fared:

 

Exeter:

Sego Success (Alan King/Choc) fell two out in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Forresters Folly (Alan King/Jack Doyle) was pulled up; Jojabean (Alan King/Choc) finished 12th; Pyleigh Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 13th; Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7½ furlongs] (17 ran).

Money For Nothing (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 1 furlong] (11 ran).

Kincora Fort (Noel Williams/Choc) finished 3rd in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race Div II (7 ran).

 

Kempton Park:

Super Lunar (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).

 

Tomorrow is the first day of Cheltenham’s 2-day April fixture:

14:40 Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase

15:50 Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Jack Doyle) – Silver Trophy Chase [Grade 2 Limited Handicap]

16:25 Phone Home (Nick Mitchell/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

16:55 Pantxoa (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Chase

17:30 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Jack Sherwood) Handicap Hurdle (Conditionals and Amateur Jockeys)

 

Choc has retweeted someone’s selfie taken at Ayr on Saturday ... it ‘stars’ Alan King and Choc too!

https://twitter.com/KevinMcG01/status/456125861125980160/photo/1

 

Well that was an absolute pain ... the diary typing which I did during my lunch-breaks at work, for some unknown reason, picked up ActiveX control characters within the text.  So I’ve just spent yesterday evening, 45 minutes before work this morning and a couple of hours this evening too re-typing the sections affected.  So that has wasted two evenings that I should have spent sorting out my Aintree photos.  A couple of day entries in this blog were also affected, so I sorted that out too and also moved my Aintree round-up to a blog link of its own.   

 

Hopefully I’ve now also sorted out my car bonnet problems ... last year the bonnet wouldn’t close when the engine compartment was checked by the Aintree security staff, and this year it wouldn’t open!  The fault on both occasions was as a result of the secondary release becoming trapped behind the radiator grill.  It cost £33 to fix ... no doubt £30 for the labour cost and £3 for a new part!!!

Monday 14 April 2014

Runners of interest at both Exeter and Kempton Park tomorrow:

 

Exeter:

14:00 Sego Success (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:30 Forresters Folly (Alan King/Jack Doyle) & Jojabean (Alan King/Choc) & Pyleigh Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) - Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7½ furlongs]

15:35 Money For Nothing (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 1 furlong]

17:45 Kincora Fort (Noel Williams/Choc) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race Div II

 

Kempton Park:

15:50 Super Lunar (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

I’ve begun transferring the Aintree races to DVD and I’m supposed to be sorting through my photographs this evening too ... if only I can stop procrastinating!!! 

 

My back has been bad this weekend too, the discomfort moves up and down between my neck and waist depending on what I’ve been doing; I think it may be nerve-related, as I get regular tingling sensations up the back of my head too and sometimes also feel dizzy.  I’ve returned to sitting on the floor at the coffee table to do my typing, rather than at the table and, strangely, this seems to have helped this evening; mind you, I am wedged between the sofa and the table to give my back some much needed support. 

 

As you get older, things certainly come back to haunt you ... my neck grinds because I fell off a horse in 1991, and it was sufficient to give me mild concussion, and the nerves in the middle of my back were damaged when I slipped over on a wet pavement in 2009.  Also, mum has osteoporosis, which can be hereditary, which is always in the back of my mind.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Here are the results for my runners of interest:

 

Wincanton:

Smart Motive (Alan King/Choc) finished 7th in the Maiden Hurdle Div II (11 ran).

 

Stratford:

Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (2 miles 4 furlongs) (9 ran).

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (3 miles 4 furlongs) (11 ran).

 

Wetherby:

Viking Mistress (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 9th in the Maiden Hurdle (13 ran).

 

No runners of interest tomorrow.

 

I gather Choc carried 2lbs extra in the Scottish National yesterday; I guess there’s only so much weight you can lose.  And Ryan Mania put up 3lbs over too.  That Tidal Bay certainly caused grief in the Weighing Room! 

 

Trainer Johnny Farrelly has decided to retire Battle Group following yesterday’s Scottish Grand National; sometimes it’s best to just call time when a horse doesn’t enjoy his racing any more.  Besides, in cases such as the two Grand Nationals, a horse which had wanted to run would have got their chance instead.

 

Choc retweeted this montage of very old photographs of him surviving a mistake at Wetherby many moons ago:

https://twitter.com/corkerinmajorca/status/455135481907671040/photo/1

 

My usually quiet post Aintree diary is filling up fast this year – a possible visit to the Lambourn Open Day (Friday 18th April), maybe a local Easter NH fixture, Sandown Park Jumps Finale (Saturday 26th April), May Day Bank Holiday NH Racing at Kempton Park (Monday 5th May), a Brighton trip with Lesley and Fay to see Angy (Sunday 18th May), Herts Show with work colleagues Michelle and Steph (Sunday 25th May), a Concert in Birmingham with Lesley (Friday 27th June), Heythrop Country Fair (Sunday 29th June) ... although I’ve just noticed the latter is the day after the Campbell Gillies Memorial ball in Liverpool ... so distance and hangovers may be a problem for any number of donkey derby jockeys if they attend the former!  It would be a great shame if Choc missed the Fair, as I love to have a Choccie treat in June!!!

And, finally, from tomorrow I think I’m ready to begin selecting and uploading my Aintree photographs!

Saturday 12 April 2014

 

Miles To Memphis 1.jpg

 

Miles To Memphis saves the day!

(pictured above following his win at Kempton Park last month)

 

It was turning out to be a pretty rubbish day for Choc until he won the last aboard Miles To Memphis ...

 

Ayr:

Valdez (Alan King/Choc) finished 20 lengths 2nd in the Future Champion Novices’ Chase [Grade 2] (5 ran). Eduard took the prize; the step up in trip to 2 miles 4 furlongs appearing far from ideal for the Alan King runner and he also jumped more markedly to his right today which is, presumably, why Choc keeps him to an outside birth.  More

 

Montbazon (Alan King/Choc) faded quickly and finished 7th in the Scottish Champion Hurdle [Grade 2 Limited Handicap] (11 ran); Alan King did express concerns about the ground earlier in the day; Cockney Sparrow won the race, a hooded and lacklustre My Tent Or Yours finished 3rd.  More  Sadly Cotton Mill passed away having burst a major blood vessel to/from his heart mid-race.

 

Manyriverstocross (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th (last) of the finishers in the Handicap Chase [Listed] (7 ran); probably a race too far, having run at the Cheltenham Festival and at Ascot within the past month and a day.  The race was won by Le Bacardy who ran at Ayr yesterday, finishing 2nd!

 

Godsmejudge (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) returned to form and put up a brilliant display to finish 2nd but Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Choc) fell at the last with one circuit to go (18th fence) in the Scottish Grand National [Grade 3]. No-one would begrudge Peter Bowen and Jamie Moore the win with Al Co, and the jockey lucky to survive two jinks from the horse on the run-in.  More  Only nine completed the course and Battle Group was recalcitrant once again and caused a false start; Brendan Powell did manage to get him going but, as he was such a long way behind, he pulled up before the 8th fence. 

 

Vendor (Alan King/Jack Doyle) was going well until making a bad blunder 4 out and then trailed in 6th (last of the finishers) in the Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).

 

Miles To Memphis (Alan King/Choc) won the Standard Open NH Flat Race (15 ran); Choc’s 35th winner of the season.  The horse was very keen today, but I like him; the other Alan King bumper horse I like is Hurricane Vic.

 

Bangor:

Billy Biscuit (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).

Gold Ingot (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

 

I saw Richie McLernon’s Ludlow unseating on The Morning Line and it was x-rated; he was catapulted into the air and was extremely lucky not to break his neck having hit the ground almost head first. Awful.

 

Wayne Hutchinson tweeted to confirm his injury is a torn cartilage in his left knee; he’s having key-hole surgery on Monday and hopes to be back within a month. 

 

And here is a recap of tomorrow’s runners of interest:

 

Wincanton:

14:50 Smart Motive (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle Div II

 

Stratford:

15:05 Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase (2 miles 4 furlongs)

16:45 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Chase (3 miles 4 furlongs)

 

Wetherby:

16:55 Viking Mistress (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Maiden Hurdle

 

Work continues on my diaries – Aintree Day 2 and 3 are more or less ready for the race comments to be added; so that leaves just Day 1 to prepare before I concentrate on uploading my photographs.  Big sigh of relief!

Friday 11 April 2014

The first news today is that Wayne Hutchinson injured a knee when one of his mounts fell at Towcester yesterday afternoon and was unable to ride today; he has also been forced to give up his ride aboard Godsmejudge in tomorrow’s Scottish Grand National.  More

 

So here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Ayr:

Ulzana’s Raid (Alan King/Choc) won the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran); Choc’s 34th winner of the season. J

Bless The Wings (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Bull And Bush (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

Dundee (Alan King/Choc) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

 

Fontwell Park:

Primo Blue (Noel Williams/Gerard Tumelty) finished 7th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).

 

Another jockey in the wars is Richie McLernon who injured his back in a fall at Ludlow yesterday.  More

 

And the final injury news is that Western Warhorse is likely to be out of action for all of next season having succumbed to a tendon injury during his race at Aintree last week.  More

 

Trainer Gary Moore is hoping for rain ahead of the season Finale at Sandown Park in a fortnight’s time, otherwise Sire De Grugy will not run.  More

 

Entries for Punchestown’s Champion Hurdle include Jezki and Hurricane Fly. More

 

Tomorrow, there are a number of runners of interest:

 

Ayr:

14:05 Valdez (Alan King/Choc) – Future Champion Novices’ Chase [Grade 2]

14:40 Montbazon (Alan King/Choc) – Scottish Champion Hurdle [Grade 2 Limited Handicap]

15:15 Manyriverstocross (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase [Listed]

15:50 Godsmejudge (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) & Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Choc) – Scottish Grand National [Grade 3]; the latter is carrying just 10 stone 1 pound thanks to Tidal Bay’s participation, and 19 of the 30 runners are out of the handicap!  So Choc will be starving tonight and riding knicker-less’ tomorrow!!!

16:25 Vendor (Alan King/Jack Doyle) – Handicap Hurdle

17:35 Miles To Memphis (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Alan King has faith that Godsmejudge will give a good account of himself tomorrow following his disappointing recent runs.  More

 

Bangor:

13.55 Billy Biscuit (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) - Novices’ Hurdle

16.50 Gold Ingot (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) - Handicap Hurdle

 

And with flat racing taking place at Newbury and Thirsk too, RUK is going to be choc-a-bloc with races from 4 fixtures tomorrow; which means wall-to-wall coverage of Ayr is just not going to happen unfortunately. L  Hopefully Channel 4 will come to the rescue, and maybe RUK’s racing replay too, as sometimes on the latter there are interviews shown which they couldn’t fit in during the live coverage because of time constraints. 

 

Meanwhile, on Sunday …

 

Wincanton:

14:50 Smart Motive (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle Div II

 

Stratford:

15:05 Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase (2 miles 4 furlongs)

16:45 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Chase (3 miles 4 furlongs)

 

Wetherby:

16:55 Viking Mistress (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Maiden Hurdle

 

The redevelopment work at Cheltenham racecourse continues; this photo was taken yesterday:

https://twitter.com/CheltenhamRaces/status/454289617223548929/photo/1

 

I’m having my hair trimmed on Sunday afternoon; it’s a week overdue.  But, apart from that, my quiet weekend will consist of writing my Aintree diaries and watching the races from Ayr on TV this weekend.

Thursday 10 April 2014

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

 

Ludlow:

Saint Jerome (Jamie Osborne/Choc) won the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran); Choc’s 33rd winner of the season. J

Tante Sissi (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (7 ran).

Divine Intavention (Martin Keighley/Mr Mark Wall) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Castle Conflict (Henry Daly/Choc) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

 

Towcester:

Genstone Trail (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase (12 ran).

 

The Ayr Scottish Grand National meeting begins tomorrow and there are a number of runners of interest:

15:15 Ulzana’s Raid (Alan King/Choc) - Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

15:50 Bless The Wings (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

16:55 Bull And Bush (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

17:25 Dundee (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Also, at Fontwell Park:

17:05 Primo Blue (Noel Williams/Gerard Tumelty) - Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

The writing of my Aintree diaries continues ... both in the evenings and during my lunch-break at work.  However, this evening, I’m going to give myself a break as I’ve been out for an Italian meal with my work colleagues to celebrate someone’s birthday and didn’t get home until gone 20:30.  So there’s just enough time for me to transfer today’s action onto DVD before I turn in for the night.  I find that I feel much better in the morning if I go to bed no later than 23:00, so that will be my aim on this occasion.

And, last but not least, many happy returns of the day to my nephew James who is 19 today.

Wednesday 09 April 2014

A number of runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Ludlow:

14:30 Saint Jerome (Jamie Osborne/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:00 Tante Sissi (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

16:00 Divine Intavention (Martin Keighley/Mr Mark Wall) – Handicap Chase

17:30 Castle Conflict (Henry Daly/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Towcester:

16:10 Genstone Trail (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase

 

Alan King is considering running Balder Succes at the Punchestown Festival.  More

 

Time to catch up with the news regarding Alan King’s other recent runners too.  Walkon is fine; he was pulled up because he took the tendon off his hock, so he will now be given plenty of rest to recover.   I’m so pleased my favourite horse is okay.  http://alankingracing.co.uk/news.htm

 

Here is a link to the Lambourn Open Day website:

http://www.lambourn.info/open-day/

 

I’ve also discovered which horse I had in the office sweepstake; purchased on my behalf by my Manager ... it was Teaforthree, the 10-1 joint favourite with AP’s mount Double Seven!  No wonder he got no further than the Chair!!!  However, I did win a Grand National sweepstake once, with Ben Nevis in 1980! 

Tuesday 08 April 2014

Ruby Walsh expects to be back in time to ride in the Punchestown Festival which begins at the end of this month, although he will be having an operation in June.  More

 

No National Hunt racing in the UK tomorrow ... just boring old flat racing!!!

 

Looking ahead, Choc is definitely engaged to ride Valdez, Montbazon, Manyriverstocross and Midnight Appeal this coming Saturday at Ayr.  Also Ulzana’s Raid on Friday.  Wayne is booked to ride Godsmejudge ... ummmmm ... strange that he rode Walkon in the Grand National if he also rides Godsmejudge in the Scottish National, the latter having been withdrawn from the Aintree race?  Not that I’ve got anything against Midnight Appeal, far from it, as Choc gave him a damn good ride in the feature Handicap Chase at Kempton Park at the end of February.  Perhaps the answer is that Choc rides Midnight Appeal because he also has the ride aboard Montbazon in the same ownership.

 

Balder’s stable lad (Steve Ayres) was given a free supply of Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer following the horse’s win on Saturday ... evidently he reckons it’s surprisingly good!

 

I still don’t seem to be getting anywhere fast as regards my Aintree photo uploads and diaries.  On this occasion I think I’m going to concentrate on topping and tailing the diaries before moving on to the photos and then back to the diaries again, because it will make me feel that the workload is under control far quicker if I do it in that order!

Monday 07 April 2014

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

 

A couple of photos from twitter of Balder Succes taken at the Aintree on Saturday:

https://twitter.com/PA_ImagesRacing/status/453111323019071488/photo/1

 

And that’s one hell of a jump at the last!

https://twitter.com/Gema1802/status/453051800502161408/photo/1

 

Balder Succes relaxing in his stable at home, courtesy of his stable lad Steve Ayres.

https://twitter.com/orse_racing_lad/status/453229433076592640/photo/1

 

I thought Choc had given up on using facebook some while ago ... preferring twitter instead ... so I gave up looking for him at the time.  However, I have finally found his facebook page; he’s not written any entries since January, but there are some lovely photos of him and of William on here:

https://www.facebook.com/robert.thornton.104203#!/robert.thornton.104203/photos

 

There’s not been a lot of progress on my website tonight ... as I appear to have been severely side-tracked by Choc’s facebook page!  And I think I’ve been overdoing the ‘slaving over a hot PC’ at the moment because I’m now suffering from neck pain and headaches whilst doing so at home and at work.  Very annoying. 

Sunday 06 April 2014

Just one runner of interest today, at Market Rasen:

Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Choc) finished a neck 2nd, just failing to hang on in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II (8 ran).  Damn!

 

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

 

I tweeted the photo of Choc and Avispa returning to the Winners’ Enclosure ... and my special star (Choc) favourited it ... he’s so lovely ...

https://twitter.com/jane_of_herts/status/452717256246444032/photo/1

 

News that Dr Richard Newland hopes to aim his charge at next year’s Grand National too.  More

 

And Balthazar King may be heading to France in late May to take part in one of their cross-country races.  More

 

Also, further news regarding yesterday’s Grand National start.  More

 

A link to an interview with winning jockey, Leighton Aspell.  More

 

The team has been back in action today, very successfully at Market Rasen.  More  

 

And trainer Pat Murphy has been singing the winning jockey’s praises.  More

 

Having suffered no long term effects, Long Run may be back in action again soon.  More

 

I hope that I can top-up my Choc dosage again before National Hunt racing goes quiet for the summer ... hopefully Sandown’s Finale fixture at the end of this month, and maybe an Easter fixture and Early Spring Bank Holiday fixture at Kempton Park too.  There’s also the Lambourn Open Day on Good Friday although, of course, that won’t provide any Choc therapy!!!

 

This blog catch up has taken far longer than expected.  I’ve not even begun to look through the main body of my photos to make selections for the website ... and I’ve not unpacked my suitcase either!  Hopefully the latter task will be done before I turn in tonight.    

Thursday 03 April to Saturday 05 April 2014

 

Aintree Festival 2014

 

Choc and his mum Sally fav photo.jpg

 

This is my best ... and favourite ... photo taken at the Festival.

Choc with his mum Sally following his victory aboard

Avispa in the Mares’ Bumper on Friday –

they were posing for a personal memento photo

 

 

Click here to read my Aintree 2014 blog

 

Wednesday 02 April 2014

What a Drongo?  I logged off my laptop having completed and uploaded today’s blog ... before realising Choc’s race at Wincanton was imminent and I still needed to record his result!   Obviously my brain is in full preparation and packing mode!

Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Choc) finished 13th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs] (14 ran).

 

Tomorrow is the first day of the Aintree Festival and there are a number of runners of interest:

15:05 Grumeti (Alan King/Choc) – Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) [2 miles 4 furlongs]

16:15 Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Choc) – Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3) [2 miles]

16:50 Uxizandre (Alan King/AP McCoy) – Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) [2 miles 4 furlongs]

17:25 Meister Eckhart (Alan King/Choc) & Two Rockers (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) [3 miles ½ furlong]

 

Medermit doesn’t run in the Grade 1 Bowl Chase but still holds an entry in the Listed Handicap Chase on Saturday.

 

Having thought I’d decided upon my final Aintree outfits, I’ve spent further time this morning mixing and matching coats, jumpers, skirts and scarves!  I think the problem is everything seems to go with everything, making it difficult to confirm those final decisions ... but my mauve jacket is now going again; along with the cerise one, and my bargain black coat purchased yesterday.

 

When I used to attend Wimbledon for the tennis, and stayed locally, I was renowned for taking everything including the kitchen sink; my excuse then was that I needed layer upon layer of very warm queuing overnight clothes and smarter daytime tennis viewing clothes too.  And, yes, we paid for continuous accommodation, despite spending every other night in a tent on the pavement.  But it was worth it, as one needed the luxury of being able to shower somewhere each morning, especially when tasks had included packing up a wet tent!   

 

There are still a few bits and bobs to do this evening ... but the majority of items have now been ticked off my packing list.  I aim to turn in fairly early tonight; my alarm clock set for 03:30!

Tuesday 01 April 2014

For some strange reason today feels like a Thursday ... but it doesn’t really matter, as I’m on leave for the next three days!

 

Yesterday I forgot to mention there were no runners of interest today.

 

However, tomorrow there is one, at Wincanton:

16:15 Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs]

 

There’s further news of Choc’s riding engagements at Aintree; in addition to Medermit and Wilde Blue Yonder, he’s also engaged to ride Grumeti in the Aintree Hurdle on Thursday and Ordo Ab Chao in the Bumper on Saturday.  So, all being well, he will be riding at the Festival on all three days. J

 

The weather forecast for the Liverpool area has been updated going forward.  Thursday is now light rain from mid-afternoon, with possibly heavy rain towards evening; just so long as I don’t have to sit in my car for over half an hour like I did in 2012 when downpours hit the area where I was staying overnight.  Friday is mainly cloudy but dry, and Saturday is sunshine and showers from mid-morning to early evening.   But temperatures are okay, at 14, 12 and 12 degrees respectively.

 

As I may get a little wet, I’m going to take my burgundy ankle boots just in case, and a coat and a jacket; with this in mind, I was pleased to find a black winter coat in the sale today, just £20 instead of the original £50 ... an absolute bargain and a fleece fits underneath too!!!  I would have taken my lovely grey and black block coat had it been forecast to be dry. 

 

However, having said the coat was a bargain, I broke the bank when purchasing two pairs of Hotter shoes ... although I did get £25 off for buying a couple of pairs (Clarissa style in pink and black).  I rather liked the off-white pair but they didn’t have my size in stock, otherwise I’d have bought pink and off-white!  It appears the off-white in size 8 are also out of stock on their website; they must be really popular.  I was surprised that standard fit was fine, as my feet have spread a little in recent years because I wear sensible shoes more often these days.


 

 

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