APRIL 2015



Thursday 30 April 2015

Jezki got the better of Hurricane Fly in the Punchestown World Hurdle this evening; both horses were trying three miles for the first time ... and I think The Fly loves the mud too, which he would not have got today.  More


And no surprise that Un De Sceaux won the Ryanair Novice Chase; his main rival ... if any horse can be called a rival in this instance ... decided to bolt on the way to the start and was withdrawn.  More


Tom Scudamore, Sam Twiston-Davies and Richard Johnson all rode one winner today ... so the race is on!  For the record, Conditional Jockey James Cowley rode the first winner of the 2015/2016 season when riding the Donald McCain Jnr-trained Prince Khurram at Sedgefield.


Jockey Sam Jones retired this evening; he went out with a winner at Towcester. 


There’s National Hunt racing at Bangor-on-Dee and Fontwell Park tomorrow and there are two runners of interest at the latter:

17:05 Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 6 furlongs]; I wonder if he will be in a ‘going’ mood tomorrow!

17:40 Kuda Huraa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 2½ furlongs].  


I’m gradually working my way through my Sandown Park photos, deciding which ones I wish to upload and formatting them accordingly.  Hopefully this task will be completed before the end of the weekend, along with some photos from Aintree too.

Wednesday 29 April 2015

The 2015/2016 NH season kicks off tomorrow and I wonder who will ride the first winner?  There are three fixtures, Sedgefield, Newton Abbot and Towcester, and the honour will definitely go to a Conditional Jockey riding in the first race at Sedgefield ... for the other two are evening meetings!


Don Cossack won the Punchestown Gold Cup today.  Cue Card finished 4th but both other GB raiders Ballynagour and The Giant Bolster fell; they are reported to be okay following their mishaps.  More  


Aintree winner Thistlecrack had to settle for runner-up spot against Cheltenham victor Killultagh Vic. More


Douvan was in action yesterday and won.  Valseur Lido won the Champion Novice Chase, with Don Poli trailing in last of the 5.  


Un De Sceaux is due to be in action tomorrow, as is Hurricane Fly and Jezki.


I try not to follow the Irish racing scene too closely, as it’s depressing to know just how many very good horses they have on the other side of the Irish Sea!!!


Ian Popham is back riding out and hopefully will return to race-riding again soon.


Jeans Lady, who is a sweetie and a favourite of mine, is back in training having been in pre-training with John Suthern.  


It’s Andre Agassi’s 45th birthday today ... Happy Birthday Andre. 

Monday 27 April 2015

I was successful in my endeavour to buy a copy of today’s Racing Post; I arrived at the local supermarket five minutes before they opened and bought one of the two copies available. J


There’s news that Jason Maquire underwent back surgery today in an attempt to rescue his career; if it doesn’t work, then he will be forced into retirement evidently.  More


There was an article about Alan King’s Assistant trainer Ollie Wardle in yesterday’s RP Sunday.  He grew up around his mother’s horses and went to ride out for John O’Shea at the age of 15 (he’s now 25).  He left school before taking his A-levels and went to work for Richard Barber, following which he briefly flirted with a career in floor-laying for his uncle! 


Ollie describes himself as ‘not the best rider in the world’ because he’s always been a bit fat!  So the idea of entering training was suggested to him by Rachael Green who worked at Richard Barber’s.  He emailed Alan King, which secured him a trial, and after riding out two lots, a chat and a handshake, he became the trainer’s new pupil assistant.  Having risen to the position of Assistant Trainer, he spends a lot of mornings on the gallops and six days a week at the races. 


During the summer months he enjoys going shopping for store horses, after which their head lad Ciaran O’Brien will break them in; he loves to watch the horses as they progress through their careers when they’ve had them from the outset.  Ollie currently has no plans to move on, but would like to begin with young horses when he does.      


The best moment he’s experienced in racing was when Medinas won the Coral Cup in 2013 and Meister Eckhart finished 2nd.  It was the first time he’d walked into the winners’ enclosure at the Festival while involved with a yard.


The best bit about being in racing is any winner, no matter what the level.  The worst is when any horse gets injured; whether you train it or not.  He mentions Balder Success.


Ollie’s ambition is to train a Cheltenham Festival winner.   

Sunday 26 April 2015

AP has been thanking everyone who made yesterday’s farewell at Sandown Park so special for him.  More  


This story is years old but interesting.  Boo!  More


Meanwhile Choc has spent the weekend at home in Gloucestershire with Willie and Jennie ... that sounds just like the Woodentops (Willy and Jenny)!   All Choc needs now is a Dalmatian named Spotty Dog ... but he would have to be “the very biggest spotty dog you ever did see!


Here is a round-up of this year’s Jump Jockeys’ Championship:






Strike Rate


AP McCoy





Richard Johnson





Tom Scudamore





Sam Twiston-Davies





Brian Hughes





Noel Fehily





Aidan Coleman





Gavin Sheehan





Paul Moloney





Paddy Brennan









Sean Bowen (Champion Conditional)









Wayne Hutchinson





If Richard, Tom and Sam continue in this vein, then next year’s Championship will be a close run thing.


I woke up this morning with a headache, but I know why – my neck and shoulders feel sore today.  But the good news is that I’ve more or less finished the vital top and tail sections of yesterday’s diary. 


I slept in a little later than usual this morning, but still went in search of a copy of the Racing Post before 09:00.  They had sold out at the first newsagents I visited, but I did buy my fortnightly lotto ticket.  Fortunately there was one copy at the second shop I tried; I snapped it up.  I will need to be up early tomorrow in order to buy a copy of the AP souvenir issue on my way to work; I believe they stock just one copy at the local supermarket on a Monday, so I need to be there when they open at 08:00!


Here I am at Sandown Park yesterday ... the photo was taken at 13:30 according to the Sandown Park clock! 


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Saturday 25 April 2015


AP & Don't Push It.jpg


Happy Retirement AP McCoy

pictured here with his 2010 Grand National winning mount Don’t Push It



Farewell to the Champ.  More


AP admitted that today was one of the hardest days of his life.  More


There’s a tribute from his retaining owner, JP McManus.  More


Tributes flooded in for the Champ.  More


AP accepts his 20th Champion Jockeys’ title.  More


And there were tributes from family and friends too.  More


The retiring Champ hopes that Richard Johnson will be able to win the title next year.  More


Sean Bowen, son of Peter, won the feature bet365 Handicap Chase for trainer Paul Nicholls.  Today he was also crowned the 2014/2015 Champion Conditional Jockey.  More


The popular Menorah won the Listed Oaksey Chase for the second year running.  More


And, following a good run in the Grade 1 Celebration Chase, Sprinter Sacre will remain in training.  More



Rolling Aces.jpg


RIP Rolling Aces...


... who today collapsed and died on the rhododendron walk following the bet365 Oaksey Chase.  


It was reported yesterday that Noel Fehily will no longer be Charlie Longsdon’s stable jockey; the working partnership had lasted 3 years.


And I forgot to mention that Scottish Grand National winning trainer, Hilary Parrott, has retired along with her winning horse Wayward Prince.


Also, the Warren Greatrex-trained 13-year-old Tranquil Sea has been retired; he finished 7th in this year’s Grand National.


Friday 24 April 2015

AP’s long farewell goes on ...


JP McManus will be at Sandown Park tomorrow to celebrate AP’s retirement; he also has two runners, both ridden by AP.   More


AP will keep the Champion Jump Jockey’s trophy ... having looked after it for the past 19 years, it is part of the furniture anyway!  More


AP talks about his association with Martin Pipe.  More


The 5th and the 7th race at Sandown have been swapped ... which means AP’s final race will be the 5th on the card.   


Tom Scudamore rode his 150th winner of the season today, at Plumpton; he’s only the sixth person to do so – the others being his dad Peter Scudamore, Adrian Maguire, Richard Dunwoody, AP McCoy and Richard Johnson.  Coincidentally, Richard Johnson also rode his 150th winner of the season today, at Perth; in fact he rode a treble! 


There are no Alan King runners at Sandown tomorrow, but we do have a number of well-known equines making an appearance, in addition to Sprinter Sacre; namely Al Ferof and Menorah in the Listed chase, and Rocky Creek, Bobs Worth, Unioniste, Wonderful Charm, The Package and Duke Of Lucca in the Bet365 Chase ... it’s still the Whitbread as far as I’m concerned!  And Ruby Walsh is riding at Sandown too. 


With little Menace resting, to provide some racing interest, my Twitterati syndicate will be leasing Galactic Power for the month of May! 


There won’t be any National Hunt racing on Sunday; in fact there is a short-break until Thursday, when the 2015/2016 season commences. 


And I will have 5 racing diaries to complete, plus my Aintree and Sandown photos to upload ... but, when it gets to this stage of the year, there’s no urgency and I will pootle along at my own pace! 

Thursday 23 April 2015


Bet365 Jump Finale is a sell-out!


I bought my tickets as soon as they went on sale ... back in February - 2 for the price of 1!  I’ve just got to remember to take them; I packed my handbag this evening, and they are definitely in there. J


I guess it will be heaving in Esher ... I don’t know what the maximum number of attendees permitted at the course is but, if I can cope with Cheltenham on Gold Cup Day and Aintree on Grand National Day, I guess I can cope with anything! 


And the weather forecast for Saturday sounds remarkably like the weather experienced last year on that day, when there was a heavy shower mid-afternoon and again when race 7 was in progress! 

Race 4 z 3.jpg

Race 7 j.jpg


Paul Nicholls will be providing AP McCoy’s final Grade 1 ride on Saturday, when Mr Mole takes on 6 rivals – Sprinter Sacre, Somersby, God’s Own, Vibrato Valtat, Court Minstrel and Special Tiara.  With Barry Geraghty not quite ready to return to action yet, Nico de Boinville will partner Sprinter Sacre; obviously he’s no stranger to the horse, as he is his work rider too!  More


Wayne Hutchinson rode his 42nd winner of the season when partnering Witness In Court to victory at Perth for Donald McCain Jnr.  Although the horse did almost throw it away with a bad blunder at the last; Witness In Court had failed to complete on his previous two runs!


Bless The Wings Davy Condon.jpg


Davy Condon, who suffered a second occurrence of spinal concussion as a result of a fall from Portrait King during the Grand National, has been forced to retire following consultation with a neurologist.  Pictured above, he is riding Bless The Wings ahead of this year’s Topham Chase.  More


There’s racing at Perth, Plumpton and Chepstow tomorrow but no runners of interest yet again.  And I don’t even wish to think about Chepstow, as that is the fixture where Choc was injured last year. L 

Wednesday 22 April 2015

I’m a numpty ... I checked today’s cards for runners of interest but failed to notice any ... but, in fact, there was a runner for Menace’s trainer, in other words, my trainer:


Ffos Las:

King Kayf (Noel Williams/James Banks) won the Standard Open NH Flat race (8 ran); he was aided by his unpredictable rivals, but a winner is a winner! 


Menace continues to suffer from a recurring problem – the vet has diagnosed some slackness in his hind suspensory ligaments, which means there is slight movement in the long and short pastern bones.  So he needs more rest to recover and special shoes too.  But you know I don’t really mind, as he is a sweetie and at least when he’s at home, he’s safe! 


The Gloucester Echo has interviewed Jonjo O’Neill regarding the retiring Champ.  More


I can’t see any runners of interest tomorrow, at Perth or Warwick ...

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Today there was one runner of interest, at Exeter, and he was a winner:

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) won the Handicap Chase [3 miles] (4 ran); Martin’s 17th winner of the season. 


There’s National Hunt racing at Perth, Ffos Las and Taunton tomorrow, but no runners of interest.


Sandown Park is expecting their fixture to be a sell-out on Saturday.  More


Both Sprinter Sacre and Bobs Worth are due to run at Sandown Park on Saturday; with Nico de Boinville taking the ride aboard Sprinter if Barry Geraghty is not ready to return to the saddle by then.  More


Steve Ayres is looking after Mrs Prowting’s Simply A Legend for the remainder of the season; the horse has been on the sidelines due to injury. 


I find it very frustrating when items appear to be formatted okay in Word but, once uploaded, they go completely haywire ... I’ve already separated my Aintree statistics page from the blogs ... and now the tables have been completely reworked too.  But hopefully I’ll get there in the end ...

Monday 20 April 2015

There was one runner of interest at Kempton Park this afternoon:

Coyaba (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) finished 4th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).


Tomorrow just one runner of interest, at Exeter:

15:00 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]


It’s nip and tuck for the Conditional Jockeys’ Championship which concludes on Saturday; with Nico de Boinville drawing level at Kempton Park this afternoon, only for Sean Bowen to ride a double at Newton Abbot this evening to regain his lead.  The score is currently 42-44. 


It didn’t feel like a Monday at work ... probably because I’ve been slaving over a hot laptop all weekend! 


Sunday 19 April 2015

Today there were three runners of interest and this is how they fared:



Spanish Arch (Martin Keighley/Tom Bellamy) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 4 furlongs] (7 ran).

Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).



Dardenella (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs] (7 ran).


But what are the odds that all three would finish 3rd of 7!  How strange!


The ground conditions decimated the fields at Wincanton, with three of their races having just 3 runners and the bumper just 2 runners.  The biggest field at Stratford had 8 runners, the smallest 5 runners. 


Jockey Tom O’Brien failed an alcohol breath test ahead of his one ride at Stratford this afternoon; naughty naughty.  He was subsequently replaced by Richard Johnson aboard the Philip Hobbs-trained No Likey.  More


And there’s a report from Lucinda Russell following her runners’ efforts at Ayr yesterday, and in particular Lie Forrit.  More


Tomorrow there are National Hunt fixtures at Hexham, Newton Abbot and Kempton Park, with one runner of interest at the latter:

13:45 Coyaba (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle


Looking forward, Alan King has a number of runners entered at Punchestown:

Carriag Mor, The Tourard Man, Ordo Ab Chao, Turn Over Sivola, Pain Au Chocolat and Winner Massagot.


Good news and bad news today ... RUK’s Racing Breakfast programme this morning consisted of the entire highlights from the Aintree Festival ... but the bad news is that I didn’t know until I accidently tuned in towards the end of race 4 on Day 1 ... poodles!  L   But obviously the good news is that I now have a recording of the final three races on Day 1 (from the Fox Hunters onwards) and all of Day 2; in addition to Day 3 highlights which I already had. J J J


After a spell of pleasant and mainly dry weather, the long range forecast is for lows to move in from the Atlantic bringing rain by next weekend.  Typical; I had my Sandown Park wardrobe all planned out ... but may have to reconsider if the wet weather does materialise.  Poodles again!  We had one or two heavy April showers last year at the fixture. 

Saturday 18 April 2015

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



Sego Success (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Scottish Grand National (29 ran).  He made a number of errors; the final one of which put paid to his chance, as he then faded quickly and was pulled up. 


The race was won by the veteran Wayward Prince, trained by Hilary Parrott and ridden by Robbie Dunne.  More


And the Philip Hobbs-trained Cheltenian won the Scottish Champion Hurdle.  More  


Alan King has said that his horses ‘aren’t firing’ at the moment ... yes, I have noticed that!  It’s been a long season; some are over the top, some returning from a break and the few summer horses are just beginning their campaigns. 


Bangor on Dee (EPDS syndicate horses):

Galactic Power (Robin Dickin/Joseph Palmowski) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle Div I (9 ran).

Ami Desbois (Graeme Mcpherson/Lizzie Kelly) finished 5th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (Conditionals and Amateurs) (12 ran).


Wolverhampton AW (EPDS syndicate horse):

Celtic Artisan (Rebecca Menzies/Shirley Teasdale) finished 2nd in the extended 1 mile 1 furlong race (7 ran).


Tomorrow there are three runners of interest:



15:30 Spanish Arch (Martin Keighley/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 4 furlongs]

16:00 Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle



15:40 Dardenella (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs]

The final race is a bumper ... with just two entries – how ridiculous is that?


Willie Mullins reports that all his Aintree casualties are fine following their mishaps.  More


I love this compilation of ‘jockey-cam’ shots from Channel 4’s Grand National coverage – filmed from onboard Unioniste, Super Duty, Tranquil Sea and, of course, Many Clouds. 



Channel 4 has tweeted a couple of photographs of the recovering Balthazar King:





And here is a photograph of Sire De Grugy jumping the Chair having fallen during the Melling Chase:



Presenting Lisa, who is on her summer holiday at home in Buckinghamshire, has made friends with Rich Buddy:



Ryan Hatch broke his collarbone and wrist when Astracad fell at Ayr yesterday.  More


I’ve been working on my Aintree blogs all this week and have finally finished them. J


Friday 17 April 2015

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



Chosen Well (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & half a furlong] (11 ran).

Hollow Penny (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 11th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles & 4½ furlongs] (Listed) (13 ran).

Gabriella Rose (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).


Fontwell Park:

Ronaldinho (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 2½ furlongs] (6 ran).



Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) unseated at the last when leading in the Handicap Chase [2 miles] (8 ran).


Tomorrow there are four runners of interest:



15:45 Sego Success (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Scottish Grand National


Bangor on Dee (EPDS syndicate horses):

14:25 Galactic Power (Robin Dickin/Joseph Palmowski) – Handicap Hurdle Div I

17:20 Ami Desbois (Graeme Mcpherson/Lizzie Kelly) – Standard Open NH Flat Race (Conditionals and Amateurs)


Wolverhampton AW (EPDS syndicate horse):

21:10 Celtic Artisan (Rebecca Menzies/Shirley Teasdale) – extended 1 mile 1 furlong


Irving heads a field of 15 for tomorrow’s Scottish Champion Hurdle.  More


There’s a run-down on the Scottish Grand National too.  More


My tickets for the Bet365 Jump Finale at Sandown Park have arrived.  J

Thursday 16 April 2015

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

L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Listed) (13 ran).

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs] (8 ran).


There are runners of interest at three fixtures tomorrow ... and evening NH racing begins too ... Aaaarrrrrgggh!



14:30 Chosen Well (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & half a furlong]

15:05 Hollow Penny (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles & 4½ furlongs] (Listed)

16:10 Gabriella Rose (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle


Fontwell Park:

14:10 Ronaldinho (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 2½ furlongs]



17:55 Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Handicap Chase [2 miles]


It is reported that Davy Condon faces a long spell on the sidelines, and his career may even be in jeopardy.  The spinal concussion he suffered following his fall during the Grand National left him paralysed for 10 minutes and he’s been advised not to ride again until he’s had surgery to discover how bad the damage is inside his neck. 


There are some interesting statistics in this week’s Horse and Hound regarding the origins of the horses which were successful at the Aintree Festival.  French-bred horses provided 7 winners, 7 seconds and 7 thirds; Irish-bred horses 7 wins, 10 seconds, 10 thirds; British-bred horses 6 wins, 4 seconds, 4 thirds; Germany bred 1 winner, namely Don Cossack.  I shall add the full run-down of which horse falls into which category at the end of my Day 3 Aintree blog.


French AQPS non-thoroughbreds have an excellent record in recent Grand Nationals – namely Mon Mome, Neptune Collonges and Pineau De Re.  Current horses in this category include Sire De Grugy, Sprinter Sacre, Un De Sceaux, Aux Ptits Soins, Activial, Vyta Du Roc, Volnay De Thaix, Un Atout, Vasco Du Ronceray, Sire Collonges, and Rivage D’Or.  And from the past - My Way De Solzen, Quevega and Garde Champetre.  The only problem being that their names are often difficult to spell and pronounce! 


I notice The Osmonds are bringing their ‘Andy Williams’ Christmas show to Watford in December ... will I be tempted!


I woke at around 05:15 again this morning ... but, unlike yesterday, I was so tired that I just turned over and went to sleep again!

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Two runners of interest at Cheltenham today and this is how they fared:

Laser Blazer (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle (for Conditional Jockeys’ & Amateur Riders) (9 ran).

Dontminddboys (Robin Dickin/Charlie Poste/EPDS Racing) finished 16th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (19 ran).


Tomorrow there are two runners of interest on the second day of Cheltenham’s April meeting:

15:15 L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Listed)

15:50 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs]


JP McManus has purchased the Scottish Grand National favourite, Gallant Oscar.  More


Having been away at Aintree, I overlooked Martin Keighley’s runners at Chepstow last Saturday and one for Alan King too.  So, belatedly, here is a run-down of how they fared:

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3½ furlongs] (4 ran).

Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) finished 7th in the NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Div II (12 ran).

Kerrow (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 2nd and Sugar Mix (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) finished 11th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).


Choc tweeted a photograph of William dressed as a cowboy ...



With a dad named Choc, he must be the Milky Bar Kid!


Here is Steve Ayres with the Grand National winner, Many Clouds:



And more memories of Balder Succes #baldersuccesforever:







The horses taking part in Sandown Park’s season finale parade have been announced – Many Clouds, Coneygree, Dodging Bullets, Silviniaco Conti, Irving, Don’t Push It and Deano’s Beeno; the latter is now 23-years-old and lives at the Greatwood Sanctuary. 


There’s still no sign of those promised Sandown Park tickets; as I have to sign for them, I envisage having to collect them from the local sorting office later in the week!


To make up for the time I missed on Monday evening, I got up at 05:20 this morning to work on my website before I went to work!  It wasn’t intentional but, as I woke early, I thought I might as well.

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Just one Barbury Castle runner at Cheltenham tomorrow:

17:30 Laser Blazer (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle (for Conditional Jockeys’ & Amateur Riders)


Meanwhile, EPDS Racing has its first ever runner at the Gloucestershire track too:

16:25 Dontminddboys (Robin Dickin/Charlie Poste) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle


Talking of EPDS Racing, Menace is back in full training following his recent setback, so we may see him on the racecourse again soon. 


Tonight I’m hoping to get further than I did yesterday evening with regards to my Aintree write-ups ... I think I ate too much yesterday for, by 21:00, I was feeling rather nauseous and eventually I was sick ... on two separate occasions!

Monday 13 April 2015

There has been National Hunt racing today and two fixtures tomorrow also, but no runners of interest. I would expect a number on Wednesday and Thursday, as Cheltenham’s April fixture is taking place ... and I wonder if Choc will go; he’s looking after William at the moment and it would make a lovely day out for them.


Talking of William, he appears to have found a job ... I need someone to do this:



Here is a further article I’ve found regarding the Grand National winner, Many Clouds.  More


Following the very sad demise of Balder Succes, fortunately there’s better news regarding Balthazar King.  More


Steve Ayres, Balder’s dedicated lad, has tweeted a couple of photographs of his best mate; with the warning that these may make you tearful:





And couple of heart-felt Balder Succes memorials which have been written too:





Sire De Grugy may or may not run at Sandown Park on Saturday week; it all depends on the ground.  More


Talking of Sandown, I phoned to check regarding tickets as they’ve not been delivered yet ... the organisers have only just received the stationery to print them out upon and, thus, will be sending them out this week.  Talk about leaving it until the last minute!


I wish I was a lady of leisure and could go to Cheltenham this week ... but I’ve just completed my main annual holiday period and don’t expect to take more than a day or two off between now and October.  L

Sunday 12 April 2015


Team Balder - Memorial.jpg


RIP Balder Succes



There was very sad news reported this morning; Balder Succes was put to sleep as a result of a shoulder injury he sustained during the Melling Chase on Friday.  Initial news seemed hopeful but, having been transferred on Saturday morning to an Equine Hospital for treatment, this morning it was announced that the injury was inoperable and he had been lost.  A heavy blow for the stable and absolutely devastating news for stable-lad Steve Ayres, who adored the horse and regularly tweeted news and photographs regarding his ‘best mate’. 




And not forgetting poor Seedling too, who lost his life when he fell during the first race at Aintree yesterday.


Many Clouds’ Grand National win is considered the best victory in the race since 1998.  More


The plan is to aim the winner at next year’s Grand National too.  More


The news seems promising regarding Balthazar King who fell during yesterday’s Grand National.  More


Davy Condon escaped serious injury during the big race; he was the sole rider to seek medical treatment following the race.  More


Ruby being Ruby, not only was he the first to go across to see if he could assist with Balthazar King, he also prevented the race from being null and void by removing the plastic rails surrounding one of the corrals to enable the remaining runners to bypass the fence on the second circuit.  You will have seen footage and photos of him wavering a chequered flag to warn the riders prior to the Canal Turn ... and he also acted as wrangler by riding the French raider River Choice back to the enclosures in front of the stands so that the connections could collect him! 


There’s further news regarding seriously injured jockey Robbie McNamara, who missed riding Lord Windermere in the Grand National as a result of fall on Friday in Ireland.  More  Wishing him a full and speedy recovery; Robbie is JT McNamara’s cousin ...


Also Josh Moore a speedy recovery; he damaged his collarbone when Sire De Grugy fell during Friday’s Melling Chase. 


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


Market Rasen:

Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 6th & Howwrongcanyoube (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle (12 ran).

Mighty Tigress (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 11th in the Mares’ Maiden Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).


I was going to begin transferring recordings of RUK’s Aintree coverage today ... but I can’t find them on the hard drive; I really have no idea what happened, as I remember double-checking the planner to make sure it was set up correctly.  However I do have limited coverage of Saturday’s action because I randomly added RUK’s highlights programme to the list. 


I shall write my diaries regardless, omitting the race comments for Day 1 and 2.  And then, if RUK show the highlights at a future date I can add the details at that point ... although it might be Christmas by then!  But it may happen sooner, because RUK tend to show Cheltenham and Aintree recorded highlights on days when they have no live racing to broadcast.  I did check the Fixture List but the first qualifying day of no live racing on RUK appears to be 02 June!  Surely not ...


Nothing is going right today – my printer is having one of its non-printing days too ... just what I need ...


So much has gone awry since I got up this morning that I almost forgot to mention that I found someone very special yesterday ... J Y


Jane and Choc for blog.jpg


Thursday 09 April to Saturday 11 April 2015 – The Aintree Festival


Click here to read my Aintree blogs

Wednesday 08 April 2015

The Aintree Festival begins tomorrow and here are my runners of interest on Day 1:

14:15 Winner Massagot (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Anniversary 4-year-old Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)

14:50 Smad Place (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Bowl Chase (Grade 1); his rivals are Ballynagour, Holywell, Menorah, Silviniaco Conti, Vukovar and Ma Filleule.

17:15 Ulzana’s Raid (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & The Tourard Man (Alan King/Richard Johnson) – Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) [3 miles & ½ a furlong]


The runners declared for the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle are Arctic Fire, Blue Heron, Jezki, Melodic Rendezvous, Rock On Ruby, Vaniteux and Volnay De Thaix; Hurricane Fly will be kept for Punchestown.  More   


I’m looking forward to Friday’s Melling Chase too, with Sire De Grugy taking on Al Ferof, Cue Card, Champagne Fever, Don Cossack, Balder Succes, Simply Ned, Wishfull Thinking, Johns Spirit and Croco Bay.  More


In his final Weekender column of the season, Alan King notes that the ground was against The Pirate’s Queen at Fairyhouse on Sunday, and she also came into season.  He confirms she has now been retired and will pay a visit to Kalanisi ... he mentions that Kalanisi was Katchit’s sire; I forgot that.  Interesting; perhaps the Dunkley and Reilly Partnership, with Choc providing the expert knowledge, hope for another Katchit!  


This will be my last blog until Sunday, as there’s no surprise that I’m heading up to Liverpool early tomorrow morning.  I’m also very looking forward to meeting up with fellow Choc fan, Sandra Stewart, for all three days.  So I won’t be ‘Norman No Mates’ this year! J  In fact, everything would be perfect if only Choc was okay to take part too. L

Monday 06 April 2015

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



Bravo Bravo (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles] (11 ran).

Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [3 miles] (8 ran).



Chance Taken (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 3rd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Training Series Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4½ furlongs] (10 ran).

Salmanazar (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished last in the Novices’ Chase (3 ran).



Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (12 ran).

Tiger Feat (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).


I notice that Aintree has swapped the Mares’ Listed Standard Open NH Flat Race with the Grade 2 Champion Standard Open NH Flat Race.  In other words, the Mares’ race will now be run as the final race of the meeting and the Champion Bumper will be the last race on Friday this year. 


There’s a possibility that Sprinter Sacre and/or Bobs Worth will run at Sandown Park on the final day of the season.  More


Thunder And Rose won the Irish Grand National, ridden by Katie Walsh and trained by Sandra Hughes, the latter having recently taken over the trainer’s licence when he father Dessie passed away.  More  Sadly 2014 Cheltenham Festival winner Tammys Hill was pulled up having sustained a serious injury during the race and had to be put to sleep as a result. 


There’s no National Hunt racing in the UK until Thursday ... when the Aintree Festival commences J


Right; I’ve completed and uploaded my Cheltenham Festival Diaries for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3; and I’m now going to put Day 4 on hold while I concentrate on Aintree!

Sunday 05 April 2015

There were two runners of interest at Fairyhouse this afternoon:

Bitofapuzzle (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) won and The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) was pulled up in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Championship Final (Grade 1) [2 miles 4 furlongs] (14 ran).


Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest, although none at Fakenham or Market Rasen:



15:15 Bravo Bravo (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]

15:50 Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]



14:20 Chance Taken (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Conditional Jockeys’ Training Series Handicap Hurdle

14:55 Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4½ furlongs]

17:15 Salmanazar (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Novices’ Chase



15:25 Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]

16:35 Tiger Feat (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle


I washed my car this morning ... although I’ll probably regret it by the end of the week! 


According to the long range forecast, temperatures are due to rise this week but, by Friday, there may be a weather-front moving into the north-west, bringing rain ... not what I need when I’m in Liverpool L

Saturday 04 April 2015


Race 3 w.jpg



Oh dear, the lovely Uxizandre has suffered a set-back and won’t run again this season.  That means he misses an engagement in next Friday’s Melling Chase, but Sire De Grugy may step up in distance and Cue Card is also expected to return for the race.  More


And here is an overview of next Thursday’s Aintree Bowl contenders.  More


In the meantime here are today’s results for my runners of interest:


Haydock Park:

Ziga Boy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 4 furlongs] (13 ran).

Hindon Road (Alan King/Wayne Hutchison) finished 5th in the Series Handicap Hurdle Final [2 miles 4 furlongs] (16 ran).

Pantxoa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [3 miles] (12 ran).

Wishing And Hoping (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (9 ran).


Newton Abbot:

Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs] (11 ran); the horse is a character and his trainer says you never quite know whether it’s a going day or not!


Tomorrow there two runners of interest at Fairyhouse:

15:20 Bitofapuzzle (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) & The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Championship Final (Grade 1) [ 2 miles 4 furlongs]


Jockey Tom Cannon and trainer Chris Gordon were the guests on today’s The Morning Line.  Tom has ridden a few horses for Alan King, including winning aboard Sego Success at Warwick earlier in the year; Chris said that last summer he’d organised for his stable jockey to ride out for the Wiltshire yard.  Tom is one of the young jockeys to follow and I think he will be ‘snapped up’ by one of the bigger yards soon.  


Chris also spoke about losing King Edmund at Ascot last January; the horse was diagnosed as having suffered a heart-attack on take-off, it wasn’t a jumping error which killed him after all.  The yard took the loss badly, as Chris’ wife had point-to-pointed King Edmund’s dam, so they’d been associated with him from birth.  


Having been checked over thoroughly by their vet, the Martin Keighley-trained Spanish Arch will be given one more chance to impress, rather than being retired just yet.


As always happens, my diary took more of my time than expected today but, nevertheless, I’d completed the full draft of Day 2 by 23:00!  I love it when I remain on schedule J.  Mind you, I can only do it because I’m a completer finisher by nature; otherwise I’d have given up years ago.  And I can categorically state that I won’t be adding to my final Cheltenham Festival diary draft, for Day 4, until after I’ve returned from Aintree ... and, probably, not before I’ve completed those too!  Mainly because I’m now shattered!  But, of course, I still have three diaries to proof, format and upload ... there’s no rest for the wicked ... or the righteous either!

Friday 03 April 2015

There are three National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, Carlisle, Newton Abbot and Haydock Park, with five runners of interest at the latter:


Haydock Park:

14:00 Ziga Boy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 4 furlongs]

14:35 Hindon Road (Alan King/Wayne Hutchison) – Series Handicap Hurdle Final [2 miles 4 furlongs]

15:10 Pantxoa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]

16:55 Wishing And Hoping (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race


Newton Abbot:

16:45 Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs]


Kings Bayonet trailed in last of the 11 runners in his race at the All-Weather Championships at Lingfield Park today.


Hurricane Fly is an entry in next Thursday Aintree Hurdle, along with a host of other Irish entries and Rock On Ruby leading the GB team representatives.  More


Having attended the first day of the Aintree Festival for the first time last year, I confess to it being my favourite day because it caters for the racing fan rather than the wider general public ... who do their utmost to spoil the Friday in particular! 


There’s news today that Shilpa, who used to be trained by Alan King, prior to being owned by EPDS Racing, is now a mummy having taken delivery of a little filly foal; the foal’s sire is Kayf Tara.  J  Shilpa was their first ever winner and here is a link to a photo of mother and daughter: 




And the foal’s first selfie too!



Giovanna, who you may recall running when trained by Richard Phillips, has given birth to a colt by Passing Glance; he’s been named ‘Roger’ until he gets an official name when registered prior to beginning a racing career.

I’ve had a fairly productive day; my Day 3 diary has been completed, bar the proofing, and I’m half way through my Day 2 diary.  But I called time on it at 21:00 this evening because I had the beginnings of a spondylosis headache; a common problem during the past year. 

Thursday 02 April 2015

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



Uriah Heep (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs] (7 ran).



L’Amiral David (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).


Tomorrow Kings Bayonet runs in the Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield over a distance of almost 2 miles; he will be ridden by Tom Queally.  I don’t approve of holding race meetings on Good Friday; not from a religious standpoint as I don’t ‘do’ religion, but on principle. 


Choc is attending Sid’s Retirement Party this evening at the Horse and Hound pub in Broadway; Sid being Tom Siddall. 


Martin Keighley took Annacotty to Lambourn yesterday to school him over their Grand National style fences ahead of his run in the Topham Trophy a week tomorrow. 


I’ve got absolutely no plans for the weekend, having ruled out the Lambourn Open Day because I’m afraid I might get stuck in the mud in the car park!  It has happened once, at the Lambourn Open Day, when I had to be towed out by a tractor, along with a number of other motorists!


However, my lack of plans will afford me more time to work on my Cheltenham diaries but, regardless, I aim to call a halt at the end of Sunday, which will give me a day to relax and to make a start on my preparations for Aintree. 

Wednesday 01 April 2015

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



Solstice Star (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) finished 5th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

Laughingalltheway (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) finished 7th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (9 ran).



Spellbound (Alan King/James Banks) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran).


Tomorrow there are two runners of interest:



16:00 Uriah Heep (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs]



14:50 L’Amiral David (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle


There’s literally breaking news regarding Jamie Moore; the jockey has broken a tibia and fibula (lower leg) following an accident on the horse-walk at Towcester today.  Get well soon Jamie.  Brother Joshua Moore will deputise aboard Sire De Grugy for the remainder of the season.  More


I purchased a copy of this week’s Weekender, because I like to read Alan King’s column to find out what the plans are for his horses.  As mentioned previously, The Pirate’s Queen will head to Fairyhouse on Sunday to run in the 100,000 euros Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares’ Novice Hurdle Final.  Mind you, he thinks she will probably have her work cut out, because Willie Mullins is bound to have plenty of runners in the race too!  He confirms that this will be her final race, and she will stay in Ireland to be covered by stallion Kalanisi.  Presumably, once in foal, she’ll return to Paul Dunkley and Danny Reilly’s stud farm. 


He also discusses his team of horses for Aintree.  Godsmejudge will run in the Grand National, as nothing could be found wrong with him following his disappointing hurdles run at Bangor recently.  Uxizandre holds an entry in the Melling Chase, as does Balder Succes; although the latter might wait for Punchestown ... because he can run right-handed! 


Smad Place might run in the Betfred Bowl, while The Tourard Man and Ulzana’s Raid are expected to run in the 3 mile handicap hurdle.  Carraig Mor will be entered in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase, but he may wait for Punchestown too.  Finally Ordo Ab Chao will have two entries, in both the 2 mile 4 furlong and 3 mile novice hurdles; the one he runs in will be ground pendent.  


Alan will have three entries in the Mares’ bumper, won by Avispa last year, namely Miss Crick, Angel Face and Katie Too.  There is a typo in the paper, with Miss Crick referred to as Miss Creek!


Having run disappointingly earlier in the week, Spanish Arch will be found a new home, possibly as a point-to-pointer. 


Being a glutton for punishment, I did manage a couple of hours work on my website yesterday evening before I got too tired to concentrate; I may have the same problem today, having begun work at 08:30 this morning and worked through to 17:40 without a break.  I really don’t know how people find the time to take cigarette breaks or make a cup of tea, or have a lunch break for that matter!



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