APRIL 2017

 

 

 

Sunday 30 April 2017

Here is an overview of yesterday’s results:

 

Sandown Park:

Fidux (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).  The race was won by recent French import, Call Me Lord.   

 

Menorah won the Grade 2 Oaksey Chase for the 4th year running and has now been retired.  He will live out his days at the home of Champion jockey Richard Johnson.

 

Altior was an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Celebration Chase, although Special Tiara didn’t show the sparkle he’d displayed when winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

 

My friend Lesley placed two £2 each-way bets in the feature race, the bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase; on The Young Master and Henllan Harri.  The latter triumphed at 40-1, so she won over £100!  I cannot claim any involvement in the selection on this occasion.  It was the smallest field for 10 years, with only 13 runners taking part.

 

L’Ami Serge put his best hoof forward and collected first prize in the Grade 2 Select Hurdle.

 

Shantou Village won the Josh Gifford Novices’ Handicap Chase and Wait For Me the Handicap Hurdle at the end of the card.

 

It was a double on the card for jockeys Richard Johnson (Menorah and Wait For Me) and Daryl Jacob (Call Me Lord and L’Ami Serge).  A double for trainer Philip Hobbs (Menorah and Wait For Me) and a treble for Nicky Henderson (Call Me Lord, Altior and L’Ami Serge). 

 

I’ve also discovered that Might Bite and Beat That are half-brothers, as are Altior and Silverhow.  Both Altior and Silverhow have a patch of white hair at the base of their tail, presumably a trait inherited from their dam Monte Solaro. 

 

And one result from Doncaster too:

Sam Missile (James Fanshawe/Daniel Muscutt/Apple Tree Stud) finished 2nd in the Handicap [1 mile 2 furlongs & 60 yards] (8 ran).

 

Richard Johnson won the Jump Jockey Championship for the second consecutive year, and Nicky Henderson won the Trainers’ Championship.

 

JP McManus won the Owners’ Championship. 

 

Sprinter Sacre was awarded the Special Contribution to Racing Award.

 

The Horse of the Year was Many Clouds, with an unprecedented 65% of the total votes.  I voted for Many Clouds.

 

Horse

Votes Cast

Many Clouds

2,416

One For Arthur

325

Sizing John

251

Thistlecrack

200

Un De Sceaux

181

Defi Du Seuil

161

Buveur D’Air

155

TOTAL

3,689

 

 

Anyway, here are the Top 20 and Top 10 of the Jump Jockeys’ and Trainers’ Championships respectively:

 

 

JUMP JOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP 2016/2017

Placing

Jockey

Wins

Rides

Strike Rate

Total Prize Money

1

Richard Johnson

188

1026

18%

£2,330,850

2

Brian Hughes

144

866

17%

£1,430,501

3

Sam Twiston-Davies

137

673

20%

£1,706,972

4

Aidan Coleman

122

761

16%

£1,722,505

5

Noel Fehily

118

547

22%

£2,188,595

6

Harry Skelton

101

531

19%

£1,106,996

7

Tom Scudamore

100

754

13%

£1,302,262

8

Paddy Brennan

95

454

21%

£1,282,711

9

Daryl Jacob

88

407

22%

£1,290,541

10

Tom O’Brien

81

584

14%

£967,342

11

Sean Bowen

79

432

18%

£958,589

12

Wayne Hutchinson

74

385

19%

£770,946

13

Harry Cobden

63

327

19%

£755,570

14

Will Kennedy

63

463

14%

£471,599

15

Nico de Boinville

59

299

20%

£855,364

16

Gavin Sheehan

56

372

15%

£461,492

17

Adrian Heskin

54

297

18%

£813,905

18

Danny Cook

51

279

18%

£473,080

19

Henry Brooke

48

388

12%

£411,932

20

Jamie Moore

47

429

11%

£626,560

 

 

JUMP TRAINER CHAMPIONSHIP 2016/2017

Placing

Trainer

Wins

Places

Runs

Prize Money

1

Nicky Henderson

154

271

618

£2,846,487.33

2

Paul Nicholls

170

305

672

£2,522,180.05

3

Colin Tizzard

57

184

405

£2,041,054.55

4

Nigel Twiston-Davies

95

271

586

£1,582,656.01

5

Philip Hobbs

110

261

593

£1,501,071.78

6

Alan King

104

238

490

£1,373,269.71

7

Dan Skelton

118

335

698

£1,329,107.00

8

Tom George

71

158

342

£1,095,737.23

9

Jonjo O’Neill

78

261

689

£1,012,872.40

10

Willie Mullins

9

17

52

£941,892.42

 

 

Meanwhile in Ireland …

 

Labaik’s career hangs in the balance, having suffered a suspensory ligament injury on a hind-leg.

 

Willie Mullins won the Irish Trainers’ Championship following a final flourish at Punchestown, with Gordon Elliott as runner-up.  It was the 10th consecutive win for Willie.

 

Jamie Codd – aka The Coddfather – won their amateur title, beating Patrick Mullins by just one.

 

Ruby was the Champion Jockey with 131 wins and Rachael Blackmore won the Conditional Jockeys’ title with 27 wins – the first lady to win this.

 

Gigginstown won the Owners’ Championship.

 

It’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow, so National Hunt racing returns for the start of the new season:

 

Kempton Park:

13:45 Ocean Eleven (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:20 Midnight Cowboy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase

14:55 Criq Rock (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:05 Ballymountain Boy (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] Div I

16:40 Brass Monkey (Martin Keighley/Lizzie Kelly) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] Div II

17:45 Our Three Sons (Jamie Snowden/Miss Page Fuller) & Cup Of Ambition (Martin Keighley/Mr A Hark) – Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Warwick:

14:05 Pique Rock (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Mares’ NH Maiden Hurdle

14:40 Bingo D’Olivate (Noel Williams/Robert Dunne) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

 

I’ve spent ages on the laptop today but don’t seem to have got much work done …

Friday 28 April 2017

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

 

Huntingdon:

Ocean Eleven (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was a non-runner in the Maiden Hurdle

Thady Quil (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 189 yards] (5 ran).

 

Chepstow:

McCabe Creek (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished last in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 98 yards] (4 ran).

Bettatogether (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the NH Maiden Hurdle (5 ran).

 

It was definitely Willie and Patrick Mullins’ day at Punchestown.  Wicklow Brave won the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle, with the perennial runner-up My Tent Or Yours in second; Bacardys beat Finian’s Oscar in the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle; finally, Montalbano won the Novice Hurdle.  All three were ridden by Patrick, with the latter fighting back to beat Ruby’s mount Riven Light.  These wins took Willie back into the lead in the Irish Champion Trainer title race; he’s neck and neck with Gordon Elliott.

 

Tom Scudamore rode his 100th winner of the season today.

 

It’s Oli Bell’s birthday. 

 

There’s just one ‘official’ runner of interest at Sandown Park tomorrow:

13:50 Fidux (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

 

However, Menorah attempts to win the Grade 2 Oaksey Chase for the 4th year running; he has 5 rivals – Josses Hill, Third Intention, Vibrato Valtat, Art Mauresque and Traffic Fluide.

 

The Grade 1 Celebration Chase pitches Altior against Special Tiara; they have two rivals – San Benedeto and Vaniteux.

 

There’s a small field of 13 runners for the feature race, the Bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase (I still like to think of it as the Whitbread Gold Cup!).  The race includes last year’s winner and runner-up, namely The Young Master and Just A Par.  The latter won the race in 2015.

 

The Grade 2 Select Hurdle features The New One; he will be having his first ever run at Sandown Park.  He’s due to have 7 rivals – Old Guard, Ptit Zig, Modus, Rather Be, Beat That, L’Ami Serge and Volnay De Thaix.  In other words, it’s Team Twiston-Davies, vs Team Paul Nicholls, vs Team Nicky Henderson!!!

 

The Josh Gifford Novices’ Handicap Chase features the admirable Theinval; he finished as runner-up in the Red Rum Handicap Chase at the Aintree Festival and also ran twice at Ayr last week. 

 

The card finishes with a 16-runner Handicap Hurdle over a distance of 2 miles 3 furlongs & 173 yards.

 

There’s one runner of interest at Doncaster too:

18:35 Sam Missile (James Fanshawe/Daniel Muscutt/Apple Tree Stud) – Handicap [1 mile 2 furlongs & 60 yards]

 

Meanwhile, Turn Over Sivola is due to run in the charity race at Punchestown.

 

There’s no National Hunt racing on Sunday, but the 2017/2018 season kicks off with Kempton Park and Warwick on Bank Holiday Monday.

 

I’m all set for tomorrow, as I’m heading to Sandown Park with my friend Lesley.  J  But I can’t believe the season is over already, time just flies.  It’s a slow burner until March, and then all hell lets loose!  No doubt there will be a few yard visits in the offing over the coming months and, of course, I have plenty of website updates to keep me occupied too until the autumn. 

Thursday 27 April 2017

 

RIP Amberleigh House

 

 

amberleigh house.jpg

 

 

Another Grand National hero has passed away, Amberleigh House succumbed to a severe bout of colic aged 25. RIP

 

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

 

Taunton:

Oliver’s Island (Jamie Snowden/Dave Crosse) finished last in the Maiden Hurdle (5 ran).

Kaspian Tern (Jamie Snowden/Micheal Nolan) finished 4th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (5 ran).

Cadeaux’s Fire (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th and Queens Cloak (Jamie Snowden/James Davies) finished 5th Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (7 ran); Ilovemints finished 3rd, I saw her when I visited Warren Greatrex’s yard during the Lambourn Open Day.

 

Punchestown:

Pinkie Brown (Neil Mulholland/E O’Connell) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 70 yards] (25 ran); he was priced 16-1 ... just a shame I didn’t have a bit of that, each-way!

Skipthecuddles (Graeme McPherson/Donagh Meyler) finished 12th in the Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) [3 miles] (25 ran).

 

Unowhatimeanharry triumphed, narrowly, over Nicholls Canyon in the Punchestown Stayers’ Hurdle.

 

The 12-year old veteran, First Lieutenant, was retired today following his 3rd place in the La Touche Cup cross-country race.  It was his 50th race today, and he will now begin an eventing career with Eddie O’Leary’s daughter Megan.

 

Meanwhile, the ex-Alan King-trained Pain Au Chocolat, who was latterly trained by Dan Skelton, won at Perth; he recently transferred to the Rebecca Menzies yard.  Rebecca is one of EPDS Racing’s trainers. 

 

There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Huntingdon:

16:40 Ocean Eleven (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Maiden Hurdle

20:00 Thady Quil (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 189 yards]

 

And the infamous penultimate evening of the season fixture at Chepstow:

17:50 McCabe Creek (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 98 yards]

20:10 Bettatogether (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Maiden Hurdle

It’s the fixture where Choc suffered his career-ending injury. L

I collected a new pair of ankle boots today, just £35 in the Hotter sale J ... not sure if I should mention that I also bought a pair of black Hotter ‘Danville’ boots earlier in the week, also in the sale.  I have a pair of flint-coloured Danville boots, which I adore, but I’ve often thought that I’d like a black pair too.  I just can’t resist a bargain when there’s a Hotter or Kipling sale!

Wednesday 26 April 2017

 

 

 

Me with the lovely Pasha Kovalev

 

 

Either the lense of my camera needs cleaning or The Grove at Dunstable is haunted ... just look at those orbs!

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening attending ‘Let’s Dance the Night Away’ starring Pasha Kovalev and his professional dance partner Anya Garnis.  Pasha is dating Rachel Riley, TV presenter on Countdown and also 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.    

 

The dance show features a Gangnam-Style routine; Ian and Natalie also did a Gangnam-Style segment in their show.  It’s all the rage since the ghastly Ed Balls performed said routine on Strictly Come Dancing last season.  I think it’s fun; I just can’t stand Ed!

 

There’s a new baby at the Apple Tree Stud, of the equine variety – by Golden Horn out of Astonishing:

https://mobile.twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/856970586697977856/photo/1

 

I keep forgetting to mention that, having retired from his second career, Denman has returned to the care of his owner Paul Barber; living at Paul Nicholls’ yard once again, I understand.  Meanwhile, Silviniaco Conti has been sent to Charlotte Alexander in his stead, with team chasing on his agenda.

 

There was one runner of interest yesterday, at Punchestown.  Miles To Memphis finished 8th of 11 in a Handicap Hurdle. 

 

The Colin Tizzard-trained Fox Norton claimed the scalp of Un De Sceaux in the Grade 1 Champion Chase. 

 

Meanwhile, the winner of Cheltenham’s Supreme Hurdle, Labaik, was up to his old tricks again; he refused to start initially in the Grade 1 Champion Novice Hurdle and thus finished last by a distance! 

 

And, today, Sizing John won the Punchestown Gold Cup, beating Djakadam and Coneygree.  It was a brilliant run from the latter, having his first run since 19 November last year. 

 

Veteran jockey Brian Harding has announced his retirement.

 

Also, wishing a happy retirement to Any Currency aka Woody; he heads off for a new career team chasing.

 

Race 5 o.jpg

 

 

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

Dynamo (Jamie Snowden/Sam Twiston-Davies) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

Madame Fiona (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 2nd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (6 ran).

Also, Sam Thomas’ Wonga Swinger won again!

 

And, tomorrow, at Taunton:

14:20 Oliver’s Island (Jamie Snowden/Dave Crosse) – Maiden Hurdle

14:55 Kaspian Tern (Jamie Snowden/Micheal Nolan) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

16:30 Cadeaux’s Fire (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Queens Cloak (Jamie Snowden/James Davies) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Punchestown:

15:40 Pinkie Brown (Neil Mulholland/E O’Connell) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 70 yards]

18:05 Skipthecuddles (Graeme McPherson/Donagh Meyler) – Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) [3 miles]

 

Meanwhile Lil Rockerfeller, One Track Mind and Unowhatimeanharry take on Nichols Canyon among others in the Stayer’s Hurdle at 17:30.

Monday 24 April 2017

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

Midnight Merlot (Noel Williams/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle (7 ran).

Midnight Jitterbug (Noel Williams/Ian Popham) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 3 furlongs] (9 ran).

The Tourard Man (Alan King/Kevin Dowling) won the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & 1 furlong] (7 ran).  Typical, when I bet on him he finishes unplaced and, when I don’t, he wins or places each-way!

 

There are no runners of interest tomorrow.

 

 

RIP Minella Mischief

 

s Minella Mischief.jpg

 

 

I’m sad to report that Mrs Prowting’s new horse, purchased at the Cheltenham Festival sale, has been put to sleep.  Minella Mischief, by Kayf Tara, developed an inexplicable lameness which continued to deteriorate and, despite the best efforts of a dedicated veterinary team, no solution could be found.  RIP.

I seem to have renewed my website domain name for a further three years, from October; crazy woman!!!  However, it cost me very little on this occasion, fortunately.  

Sunday 23 April 2017

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

 

Wincanton:

Breaking Bits (Jamie Snowden/Micheal Nolan) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs & 82 yards] (4 ran).

Baraymi (Jamie Snowden/Major Domenico D’Alo) finished 3rd in the Military Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (5 ran).

Between The Waters (Jamie Snowden/Sam Twiston-Davies) finished last in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 1 furlong] (4 ran).

 

Stratford:

Our Three Sons (Jamie Snowden/Miss Page Fuller) won the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran); it was a double on the card for Page. 

 

The Snowden’s are referring to this as their 25th winner of the season, although a couple of websites record it as the 26th!  Perhaps the anomaly arises due to the ‘lost’ race, when Graeme McPherson reported one of the winners because it didn’t qualify (by a matter of hours) to run under racing rules having transferred from the point-to-point field.  But, guess what?  I’m going to track his winners in my notebook next season, along with those of the Keighley’s and Wayne Hutchinson as I do at present. 

 

Wetherby:

Lostnfound (Jamie Snowden/Aidan Coleman) finished 4th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (9 ran).  The race was sponsored by the Royal Pigeon Racing Association ... that’s the organisation I reported the deceased pigeon to. 

 

All of today’s runners belied their odds, apart from Between The Waters. 

 

There are three runners of interest tomorrow, at Warwick:

13:50 Midnight Merlot (Noel Williams/Ian Popham) – Maiden Hurdle

14:20 Midnight Jitterbug (Noel Williams/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 3 furlongs]

14:50 The Tourard Man (Alan King/Kevin Dowling) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & 1 furlong]

 

Paul Nicholls has revealed that Arpege D’Alene had to be put to sleep, despite receiving the very best attention from a veterinary team, following what he described as a catastrophic injury to a hind-leg sustained during yesterday’s Scottish Grand National. RIP

 

It will come as no surprise that I’ve been slaving over a hot laptop again today, making further progress on the templates for my seven missing race-day diaries and, by next week, there’ll be another one to complete too!  I feel my progress is miles behind that of previous years; last year it took me until October to get back up to date again. 

 

Grantchester returns for series 3 tonight; I like James Norton! 

Saturday 22 April 2017

It’s catch-up time again ... so here are yesterday’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Ayr:

Sir Antony Browne (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).

Thomas Shelby (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Cajun Fiddle (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

 

Newbury:

Cecilator (Noel Williams/Oisin Murphy) finished last in the Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (14 ran); she was slow into stride for her first race but has to start somewhere in order to gain a handicap mark. 

 

The Alan King-trained Rainbow Dreamer won the 2 miles 2 furlong 8-runner Handicap at Newbury yesterday, with stable companion Oceane (Fergus Sweeney) completing in 5th place. 

 

And the results for today’s runners of interest too:

 

Ayr:

Label Des Obeaux (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Handicap Chase (12 ran); Wayne’s 74th winner of the season.

Sceau Royal (Alan King/Kevin Dowling) finished 9th and Winter Escape (Alan King/Mark Walsh) finished 15th in the Scottish Champion Hurdle (Limited Handicap) (Grade 2) (16 ran); Chesterfield, which won the Conditional Jockeys’ hurdle race on Grand National day, triumphed today. 

Gibralfaro (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs & 91 yards] (10 ran).

 

The Scottish Grand National was won by the Paul Nicholls-trained Vicente; the horse also won the race last year but has since changed ownership, with Trevor Hemmings purchasing him to replace the much missed Many Clouds.  Sam Twiston-Davies was aboard and he collared one of his dad’s runners Cogry very close home.  Nigel Twiston-Davies also trained the third-placed horse, Benbens. 

https://mobile.twitter.com/MCYeeehaaa/status/855830833873158144/photo/1

 

According to a report on twitter, Nico de Boinville is said to have been given the all-clear from hospital following his first-fence fall aboard Sugar Baron.  

 

Paul Nicholls is now under £200,000 behind Nicky Henderson in the Trainers’ Championship and, although the task of catching the Lambourn-based trainer will be an uphill struggle with just 7 days to go, Paul is ready for the challenge and has ‘loads left to run’ evidently. 

 

Bangor-On-Dee:

Rockchasebullett (Fergal O’Brien/Alain Cawley/EPDS Racing – Twitterati Racing Club) was pulled up before 2 out in the Handicap Chase [3 miles & 30 yards] (6 ran).

 

Meanwhile Jamacho, which was raised by Apple Tree Stud, finished 3rd of 8 in a Median Auction Maiden Stakes at Thirsk. 

 

There are runners of interest up and down the country again tomorrow, all representing Jamie Snowden:

 

Wincanton:

14:20 Breaking Bits (Jamie Snowden/Micheal Nolan) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs & 82 yards]

15:25 Baraymi (Jamie Snowden/Major Domenico D’Alo) – Military Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle; Guy Disney takes part in this race too.

16:30 Between The Waters (Jamie Snowden/Sam Twiston-Davies) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 1 furlong & 30 yards].

 

Stratford:

16:10 Our Three Sons (Jamie Snowden/Miss Page Fuller) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Wetherby:

17:20 Lostnfound (Jamie Snowden/Aidan Coleman) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

I’m sad to report that Turbo Du Ranch, which Choc rode his 999th career winner aboard back in March 2011, suffered a fatal injury at Fontwell Park yesterday.  RIP

 

Thomas Crapper suffered an injury at Cheltenham on Wednesday; he fractured an accessory carpel bone.  An operation has been carried out to remove bone chips and his connections hope he will make a successful recovery.

 

Annie Power is reported to be in foal to Camelot.  Presenting Lisa has also been covered successfully, by Flemensfirth.  Shilpa has been scanned and found to be in foal too; I can’t remember which stallion she visited!  I understand Money Maid also has a ‘date with a mate’!

 

Ardkilly Witness is for sale, as a suggested hunter chaser; he’s currently owned by a number of Jamie Snowden’s mates from the armed forces. 

 

I’ve been slaving over a hot laptop today, for over 6 hours in fact, setting up my Cheltenham and Aintree diary templates ready for completion; I’ve not finished the task yet, having completed 5 of 7 so far. 

 

I very much enjoyed yesterday evening, attending the ‘Somewhere in Time’ show starring Strictly Come Dancing’s Natalie Lowe and Ian Waite.  It was a brilliant mix of dancing, music and comedy too.  As the show’s title suggests, the couple did a dance routine to the music from Somewhere in Time; a romantic science fiction drama film from 1980 starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.  John Barry composed the music for the film and it also features the 18th variation of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini – the latter just happens to be ring tone on my old Nokia mobile phone ... because I love the film!  

 

The evening cheered me up no end ... and I certainly need cheering up at the present time.   All I can say is thank goodness I have interests outside of work to keep me occupied and happy in the evenings and at the weekends.

Thursday 20 April 2017

There’s news today that jockey Paul Moloney has announced his retirement; he’s 38 and had suffered nerve damage to his shoulder following a fall at Sedgefield on 29 January.  Paul and his family will return to his native Ireland where he has a farm in Tipperary; he intends to breed horses. 

 

Here are the results for my runners of interest today ... and I appear to have three winners!!!

 

Cheltenham:

Dusky Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd, Brillare Momento (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) won, and Naranja (Jamie Snowden/Nick Scholfield) finished 6th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Listed) (7 ran); Martin’s 16th winner of the season.

Briery Belle (Henry Daly/Tom O’Brien) was pulled up in the Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed) (5 ran).

Midnight Tour (Alan King/Davy Russell) won, Miss Crick (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th, and Midnight Silver (Jamie Snowden/Sam Twiston-Davies) finished 5th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Listed) (12 ran).

Solstice Star (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs & 213 yards] (11 ran).

Fact Of The Matter (Jamie Snowden/Gavin Sheehan) won the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (8 ran); only 4 of the runners finished, with two fallers, each of which ‘took out’ one of the other horses!  This was Jamie’s 25th winner of the season ... his best yet! 

Pique Rock (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished last in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race, but was not disgraced; having crawled for much of the race, the end was a sprint for the line (6 ran).

 

Taunton:

Londonia (Graeme McPherson/Danny Hiskett/EPDS Racing) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 104 yards] as he’s injured a foot.

Fine Jewellery (Jamie Snowden/Gavin Sheehan) finished 4th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (5 ran).

 

And here are tomorrow’s runners of interest:

 

Ayr:

14:10 Sir Antony Browne (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:15 Thomas Shelby (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

16:50 Cajun Fiddle (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Newbury:

15:40 Cecilator (Noel Williams/Oisin Murphy) – Maiden Fillies’ Stakes

 

I also notice that Alan King’s Oceane (Fergus Sweeney) and Rainbow Dreamer (Ryan Moore) run in the 2 miles 2 furlongs Handicap at 14:30. 

 

There may not be a blog tomorrow evening, as I’m going with my friend Lesley to see Strictly’s Natalie Lowe and Ian Waite at the Alban Arena.  It’s a busy few days – as I’m also going to see Pasha Kovalev next Tuesday, and Lesley and I will be attending the Sandown Park Jump Finale a week on Saturday!  

The Sandown Park tickets arrived today; evidently delayed because the badges were late in being delivered ahead of despatch.  With tickets being two for the price of one, it discriminates against single people who wish to attend; there’s a big difference between paying what amounts to £22.50 each and having to splash out £45.00 to gain entry to the Premier Enclosure.

Wednesday 19 April 2017

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

 

Cheltenham:

Azzerti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran).

River Frost (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner and Forecast (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 56 yards] (7 ran).

Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 4 furlongs & 21 yards] (10 ran).

Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Harry Bannister) was a non-runner in the Pony Racing Authority Graduates’ Handicap Hurdle (PRA Conditionals and Amateur Riders)

 

Wolverhampton:

Zabeel Star (Graeme McPherson/Liam Keniry) won the Handicap [1 mile 4 furlongs & 50 yards] (9 ran).

 

And here are tomorrow’s runners of interest:

 

Cheltenham:

14:05 Dusky Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Brillare Momento (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) & Naranja (Jamie Snowden/Nick Scholfield) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Listed)

14:40 Briery Belle (Henry Daly/Tom O’Brien) – Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed)

15:15 Midnight Tour (Alan King/Davy Russell) & Miss Crick (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Midnight Silver (Jamie Snowden/Sam Twiston-Davies) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Listed)

16:20 Solstice Star (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs & 213 yards]

16:55 Fact Of The Matter (Jamie Snowden/Gavin Sheehan) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

17:30 Pique Rock (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Taunton:

19:00 Londonia (Graeme McPherson/Danny Hiskett/EPDS Racing) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 104 yards]

19:30 Fine Jewellery (Jamie Snowden/Gavin Sheehan) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

 

The Twitterati Racing Club now has a second horse to run for them once more ... they are leasing Fergal O’Brien’s and Chris Coley’s (aka The Yes No Wait Sorries) Rockchasebullett for the next 6 months.  He’s a 9-year-old bay gelding which loves summer jumps racing ground; the horse holds an entry at Bangor on Saturday. 

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest ... it was not Alan King’s day ... but Jamie Snowden trained another winner!

 

Kempton Park:

Passmore (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 3rd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

Sego Success (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) fell three out when leading in the Handicap Chase [3 miles] (7 ran).

 

Ludlow:

Oliver’s Island (Jamie Snowden/Dave Crosse) finished last in the NH Maiden Hurdle (4 ran).

Lord Huntingdon (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) fell at the last when in third position in the Juvenile Hurdle (6 ran).

Dans Le Vent (Jamie Snowden/Aidan Coleman) won the Standard Open NH Flat Race (6 ran).

 

Hopefully those which had mishaps are okay. 

 

Here are tomorrow’s runners of interest:

 

Cheltenham:

14:05 Azzerti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:15 River Frost (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Forecast (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 56 yards]

15:50 Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 4 furlongs & 21 yards]

17:30 Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Harry Bannister) – Pony Racing Authority Graduates’ Handicap Hurdle (PRA Conditionals and Amateur Riders)

 

Wolverhampton:

19:45 Zabeel Star (Graeme McPherson/Liam Keniry) – Handicap [1 mile 4 furlongs & 50 yards]

 

Barry Geraghty faces three further months on the injury sidelines having fractured the radius in his left arm when his mount Minella Foru fell during yesterday’s Irish Grand National. 

 

I’ve just seen my ideal job advertised on the BHA website – a full-time yard person at Jamie Snowden Racing!  I wouldn’t mind mucking out and carrying out duties around the yard, as the only thing I can no longer do is ride a horse.  Although I might get a bit of back ache if I do too much lifting.  But it would be fabulous to chill out by looking after racehorses as a job ... and oh so much nicer than the job I currently have.  If only I was mobile as to my home location at the present time.  L

Monday 17 April 2017

There remains no rest for the wicked, as I’ve been working away on my Lambourn diary and my Aintree blogs today.  But good progress has been made. J 

 

Also good news that I have a recording of all 21 Aintree Festival races; Friday’s bumper has not been lost due to poor timings as I first feared. 

 

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

 

Huntingdon:

Kapgarde King (Jamie Snowden/Adrian Heskin) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 129 yards] (8 ran).

Bettatogether (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Want A Fairytale (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).

Winner Massagot (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 189 yards] (5 ran).

Cogburn (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).

 

Chepstow:

Corrie Loch (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 5th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

Cup Of Ambition (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) finished 2nd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (4 ran).

Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 131 yards] (7 ran).

Cybelle Colombe (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 7th and Oscar Star (Jamie Snowden/Sam Twiston-Davies) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I (8 ran).

 

Plumpton:

Pearls Legend (John Spearing/Jamie Moore) won the Handicap Chase [2 miles & 214 yards] (4 ran) J

 

Wonga Swinger (pictured below) won a race at the course today, for Sam Thomas; I had the opportunity to have my photo taken with him on Friday but declined. L

 

 

 

Market Rasen:

Galactic Power (Robin Dickin/James Nixon/EPDS Racing) finished 4th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).

 

Fakenham: (I missed this one when I checked yesterday!)

Presenting Pearl (Jamie Snowden/Aidan Coleman) finished 4th in the Mares’ Maiden Open NH Flat Race (8 ran).

 

Fairyhouse:

Fletchers Flyer (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) was pulled up in the Irish Grand National [3 miles 5 furlongs] (28 ran); he ran well for much of the race.

 

Robbie Power won the Irish Grand National aboard the Jessica Harrington-trained Our Duke.  Bless The Wings was a gallant 2nd again.  The first Gigginstown horse to pass the winning post was 4th-placed Thunder And Roses.

 

After yesterday’s disappointing display of jumping by Yorkhill, Willie Mullins said that he will consider returning the horse to hurdles next season.   I recall there being a rumour, not long before the Cheltenham Festival, that the trainer might reroute the horse before this year’s event too.  

 

There’s sad news; the racing pigeon which collided with the patio windows on Saturday afternoon is dead.  I discovered the body lying on top of the carport roof … I cannot reach it to remove it though.  Damn.  I wish I’d contained it now, rather than let it take its chance.  However, if it had gone AWOL at a previous date rather than on the current flight, the owner may have wrung its neck had it been returned into their care.  My granddad kept racing pigeons, and this was the fate which befell those which failed to return of their own accord. 

 

I’ve reported the poor pigeon’s fate, via the RPRA website; it was owned by a guy from Tilehurst near Reading. 

 

I’ve had to re-arrange my alpaca walk, as the original date I’d chosen can no longer be accommodated by the owners due to a change in their plans.  As my Spring diary is choc-a-bloc, I’ve postponed it by one week, in July; there are still no worries about it clashing with the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final, as that tournament is taking place later than expected this year!

 

Premier Inn are up to their usual tricks regarding hotels in the Merseyside area – many currently showing as fully booked during next year’s Aintree Festival, including my favourite.  Oh well, no doubt the rooms will be released in due course, so I’ll just have to regularly check over the next few weeks or so, to ensure I grab one as soon as they are!         

 

There are further runners of interest tomorrow, with three National Hunt fixtures, two of which are evening ones.

 

Kempton Park:

14:00 Passmore (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

16:15 Sego Success (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]

 

Ludlow:

17:00 Oliver’s Island (Jamie Snowden/Dave Crosse) – NH Maiden Hurdle

19:00 Lord Huntingdon (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Juvenile Hurdle

20:00 Dans Le Vent (Jamie Snowden/Aidan Coleman) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

There are no runners of interest at Exeter.

Sunday 16 April 2017

There are two results to report today, from Plumpton:

Our Reward (Jamie Snowden/William Featherstone/EPDS Racing) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (4 ran).

Adrrastos (Jamie Snowden/Aidan Coleman) won the Maiden Hurdle, despite a final flight scare (6 ran).

 

Meanwhile, Miles To Memphis finished 2nd in the 19 runner Handicap Hurdle at Cork.

 

Being Easter Bank Holiday Monday tomorrow, there are a number of fixtures, with many runners of interest:

 

Huntingdon:

13:20 Kapgarde King (Jamie Snowden/Adrian Heskin) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 129 yards]

13:50 Bettatogether (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:20 Want A Fairytale (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

14:55 Winner Massagot (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 189 yards]

16:05 Cogburn (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

 

Chepstow:

14:00 Corrie Loch (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

15:05 Cup Of Ambition (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:50 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 131 yards]

17:25 Cybelle Colombe (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & Oscar Star (Jamie Snowden/Sam Twiston-Davies) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I

 

Plumpton:

16:10 Pearls Legend (John Spearing/Jamie Moore) – Handicap Chase [2 miles & 214 yards]

 

Market Rasen:

14:10 Galactic Power (Robin Dickin/James Nixon/EPDS Racing) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Fairyhouse:

17:00 Fletchers Flyer (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) – Irish Grand National [3 miles 5 furlongs]

 

There are 33 runners declared for the race, with 14 of those owned by Gigginstown; JP McManus is a pauper by comparison, with a mere 6 horses due to take part!  No wonder there’s a worry that a few multi-millionaire owners are making Irish horseracing unviable for smaller owners and trainers. 

 

Yorkhill was beaten by Road to Respect at Fairyhouse today; they ran in the Grade 1 Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase.  The latter won this year’s Cheltenham Festival Plate.  The Willie Mullins runner, who was sweating and keen too, threw away his chances by jumping severely out to his left at almost every fence.  He lost by a neck at the finish.  Oh well, Fairyhouse is a right-handed track so I guess he’ll always be far more suited by Cheltenham.

 

Progress on my Lambourn Open Day diary, and my Aintree blogs for that matter, has not been quite as swift as I’d hoped.  Today was spent visiting family, so I’ve only had time to do a little PC ‘housekeeping’. 

 

I have however, spent a lot of time doing a puzzle whilst at my brother’s house, featuring the Half Dome in Yosemite Park I believe, as my niece Kim and her boyfriend recently returned from a holiday in the western USA and they spent time visiting the Park. The puzzle had been started before I got there and, although I completed quite a lot more, I was sad to tear myself away before it was finished. L 

Saturday 15 April 2017

Lambourn Open Day - Mounted Games

Noel Fehily

Leighton Aspell

Sam Thomas

Sir AP McCoy and Brian Toomey

Jamie Osborne ... following the

most stylish fall of the event!

Gavin Sheehan

Jerry McGrath

The winning team, Dorset – including Sam Thomas centre and ‘pretty in pink’ Sir AP McCoy

 

 

Apologies for my being absolutely rubbish at updating my blog on a daily basis at the present time.  There’s just so much to do and so little time at the moment.

 

There wasn’t much to report on Thursday, yesterday I was up at 05:00 and heading to the Lambourn Open Day before 07:00.  I didn’t get home until 19:00 and turned in at 22:30 intending to watch Graham Norton’s show on the TV in my bedroom, only to discover that RUK had been broadcasting the Cheltenham and Aintree highlights programmes yesterday.

 

I then decided to change my plans and waited up until they had finished broadcasting Day 3 – it turned out to be a nightmare because the actual programme contained moments when the screen froze and I lost sections of races 2 to 7; it transpired that the problem was theirs not mine!  Eventually, I turned in at 03:30 this morning.  I also have an inkling that race 7 on Day 2 of the Aintree Festival, the bumper, may be missing from my Skybox recordings too – but I just couldn’t stay up any longer to capture it, as I was exhausted with a busy morning ahead of me.  Zzzzzzzzz 

 

I was up again at 07:00, with a brief visit to the petrol station before breakfast to fill up a half-empty tank.  I didn’t do it last evening, as I was already running late having been expected back at 18:45.  I also discovered, upon pulling up at the side-gates of my home, that my near-side headlamp bulb had failed!  Excellent.  So, just after 09:00 this morning I took a trip to Halfords to get it replaced.  There’s no rest for the wicked is there?

 

I forgot all about ITV4’s Opening Show, so I missed that.  And I’ve been doing two weeks of clothes washing too – there was no more room in the clothes bin.  I have so much to transfer onto DVD; it’s going to take me far more time than I have available to me this weekend.   

 

I’ve also lost time this afternoon because I found a dazed homing pigeon on the patio … it collided with the glass patio doors whilst I was working on my laptop!  It was a little bruised and bloody – and, at one point, I even had to chase it through the garage, into the shed and out the other end!  It eventually made a recovery and flew over into neighbours gardens, but not before I’d caught it and recorded the number (GB16N 81882) just in case I had to contain it and report it to one of the racing pigeon societies!  I’m glad it went on its way, as I don’t have anything to feed it with and tomorrow is Easter Day when almost all shops are closed!

 

I loved my day out at the Lambourn Open Day; I can’t believe it’s 2011 since I last attended.  As on previous visits, my day started with a visit to Nicky Henderson’s yard at Seven Barrows.  I then drove back to Lambourn village and parked in the car park opposite Harry Dunlop’s Windsor House stables; fortunately it was dry all day, so there was no risk of getting stuck in the mud!  My next visit was to Jamie Snowden’s yard … no surprise there then … I also said hello to Jamie. J  I lost around 30 minutes here, having spent quality time with Pride of Pemberley (pictured below); we bonded!

 

 

 

 

I then headed across the road to Uplands where Warren Greatrex trains; Fred Winter sent out many famous racehorses from this yard – including Pendil, Bula, Jay Trump, Anglo, Crisp, Midnight Court, Lanzarote and Celtic Shot.  The stable doors still sport the metal plackets recording these horses and their exploits.  There was no sign of Cole Harden today.

 

I had hoped to visit Oliver Sherwood’s yard but ran out of time, instead I popped in to see Sam Thomas’ yard; it needs a little bit of TLC, but he’s not been there long. 

 

The afternoon events had already commenced by the time I reached the arena, with the Vine and Craven foxhounds parading; that was followed by a falconry and lurcher display.  The next item was a dressage demonstration by disabled rider Ed Chanin.

 

Following this, the majority of attendees headed across to the nearby gallop where a schooling session took place.  Taking part was Page Fuller, riding Jamie Snowden’s Grand Gold, along with Gavin Sheehan; Nico de Boinville paired with Leighton Aspell, and Sir AP McCoy with John Francome.  Page Fuller is a member of the Fuller’s Brewery family. 

 

This was followed by the parade of equine heroes – Sprinter Sacre, Buveur D’Air, Might Bite (who doesn’t – it’s a fishing term, and is related to his dam’s name … Knotted Midge), Long Run and Bobs Worth.

 

After that, there were Mounted Games, with eight current or former jockeys joining teams from Sussex, Kent, West Glamorgan and Dorset.  The jockeys were Gavin Sheehan, Jerry McGrath, Leighton Aspell, Brian Toomey, Jamie Osborne, Sam Thomas, Noel Fehily and Sir AP McCoy.  The Dorset team won, aided by Sam and AP.  With a proper competition taking place up-country today, Sussex wanted to recruit Gavin Sheehan and Jerry McGrath on a permanent basis!

 

The final event was a show-jumping competition, with just four jumps to be negotiated.  A dealer from Hampshire had brought along a number of ‘proper’ show-jumpers for the competitors to ride.  Taking part were Nico de Boinville, Sir AP, Jamie Osborne who was riding his own grey mare Florence, John Francome, Noel Fehily and Jerry McGrath.  Jamie was forced to ride topless, as penance for riding his own horse, rather than an unfamiliar one provided by the dealer.  

 

However, after two rounds John Francome gave up, complaining of hip pain.  But, instead of his horse dropping out of the competition, AP took over his ride (I think the horse was named Digger) having failed to gain enough points to qualify for the final aboard his original mount.  This left Nico de Boinville and AP to take part in the final jump-off … with no surprise that the latter won.  Commentator Merrick Francis (son of Dick and brother of Felix) joked that it had been written into the Champ’s contract that he had to win all competitions, regardless, with the rules liable to change to guarantee the outcome thereof! 

 

Just one result to report from Wetherby on Thursday … but it was a winner:

Lord Topper (Jamie Snowden/Sam Twiston-Davies) won the Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (8 ran).

 

There are no results to report from Good Friday, as Apple Tree Stud’s Ardamir was a non-runner at Bath due to unsuitable ground; he’s due to go to the sales soon, having been disappointing after suffering from breathing issues.

 

There are a number of results to report today:

 

Haydock Park:

Willoughby Hedge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Stayers’ Chase Series Final Handicap Chase [3 miles & 24 yards] (14 ran); he was a 25-1 shot today … I’d have bet on him!  Wayne’s 73rd winner of the season.

Midnight Maestro (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) was pulled up and Paddys Runner (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 11th in the Two Mile Hurdle Series Final Handicap Hurdle (17 ran).

Awesome Rosie (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle Series Final (11 ran).

 

Newton Abbot:

Pantxoa (Fergal O’Brien/Ali Stirling) won the Open Hunters’ Chase (6 ran); the ex-Alan King-trained horse is a 10-year-old now. 

 

Stratford:

Dalton Glance (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (7 ran).

 

Just two runners of interest tomorrow, at Plumpton:

14:05 Our Reward (Jamie Snowden/William Featherstone/EPDS Racing) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:20 Adrrastos (Jamie Snowden/Aidan Coleman) – Maiden Hurdle

 

Also of interest ... Miles to Memphis, having left the Alan King yard, runs in the 16:10 at Cork tomorrow.

 

I’m not sure about introducing the use of satnav as part of the new driving test – surely it should be encouraged for people to use maps and their inbuilt navigational skills instead?  There’s evidently an increased dementia risk due to the lack of use of the hippocampus area of the brain – London cabbies have a highly developed hippocampus having studied the Knowledge and then put it into practice on a daily basis.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocampus

 

However, I’m glad I don’t have to reverse parallel-park … because I can’t do it for toffee, even in a Fiesta!  I gather it’s a matter of lining up points on the car and the kerb in order to carry out the manoeuvre successfully. 

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Today there were a number of runners of interest at Fontwell Park:

Dingo Dollar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran); Wayne’s 72nd winner of the season. 

Kaspian Tern (Jamie Snowden/Micheal Nolan) finished 10th and Pattara (Noel Williams/Tom Garner) finished 9th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Blue Bullet (Jamie Snowden/James Davies) finished 7th and Peggies Venture (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle (8 ran).

 

Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Wetherby:

14:00 Lord Topper (Jamie Snowden/Sam Twiston-Davies) – Juvenile Maiden Hurdle

 

Following his disappointing run at Aintree, Holywell has been retired. 

 

Messire Des Obeaux has sustained a tendon injury and will be out of action next season.

 

It is Alan King’s final column of the season in this week’s Weekender.  His highlight of this season was three Grade 1 wins – 2 for Yanworth and one for Messire Des Obeaux.  The low point and mine too, was losing Laissez Dire at Plumpton. L  Alan was sad to say goodbye to old ‘friends’ Midnight Prayer and Montbazon which were retired recently. 

 

Alan needed just one more winner to reach a season’s tally of 100 winners … so I presume Dingo Dollar was that century!  It’s the first time he’s reached 100 since 2008 – 2009, and he’s earned over 1.2 million in prize money this season too.

 

Alan has been disappointed with Uxizandre’s last two runs.  The horse will have a proper holiday now and be reassessed in the autumn; Alan says he was reluctant to line up last Friday and, totally out of character, he backed off his fences too. 

Tuesday 11 April 2017

There were two runners of interest today:

 

Exeter:

The Wexfordian (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Selling Hurdle (9 ran); he was claimed by Martin Hill for £6,000.

Meanwhile on the all-weather at Lingfield Park, the ex-Apple Tree Stud’s Dalavand finished 8th of 10 in a 2 mile handicap race.

 

Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest, at Fontwell Park:

14:10 Dingo Dollar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:10 Kaspian Tern (Jamie Snowden/Micheal Nolan) & Pattara (Noel Williams/Tom Garner) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

16:10 Blue Bullet (Jamie Snowden/James Davies) & Peggies Venture (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

 

My face has broken out in spots again, and I have a very weird tan mark across my décolletage courtesy of the pendant I was wearing at a very sunny Aintree on Saturday! 

 

A robin has been spotted in my garden shed on more than one occasion just recently – I wonder if she (presumably) is looking for a suitable spot to nest?  A number of years ago, a robin nested on the ladder which was affixed to the side wall of the house when not in use; under the almost sealed carport.  At least any predators will be kept out of said shed, as it’s not even clear how she’s actually managing to find her way in there! 

 

The Lambourn Open day begins at 08:30 on Friday – yards of particular interest would be Nicky Henderson, Warren Greatrex, Richard Hughes, Brendan Powell, Oliver Sherwood, Sam Thomas, Harry Whittington and Clive Cox; the latter trains Tazmania for Apple Tree Stud.  Also, of course, is Jamie Snowden’s yard; Pride of Pemberley is still in situ ahead of his summer holiday which will commence fairly soon.  How many yards can one visit in 4½ hours?  I’d like to start at Nicky’s and end at Jamie’s, as the latter is situated next to the field where the afternoon events take place! 

 

Harry’s yard will be the most difficult to reach within the timescale, as he’s based even further from the nucleus of the village than Nicky is.  I’ve never been to Uplands, which is where Fred Winter trained; I always visit Oliver Sherwood’s yard; Richard Hughes is based at Weathercock House where Jenny Pitman used to train.  I need a plan!

Sunday 09 April 2017

I’m back and it’s now daily blog catch-up time …

 

 

 

Jockey Derek Fox celebrates his Grand National

win aboard One For Arthur

 

 

Sorry the zoom on my camera is poor by comparison with later models but, hopefully, I’ll be updating it soon. J

 

Here are the results from Thursday for my runners of interest at Aintree:

 

Top Notch (Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob) finished a disappointing 3rd in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (6 ran).  Flying Angel won, returning as fast as he’d charged out of the gate onto the racecourse; fortunately the people who were walking ahead of him heard the warning shouts and were able to duck out of the way before Noel Fehily’s mount mowed them down! 

 

Smad Place (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Bowl Chase (Grade 1) (7 ran); the race was won by Tea For Two ridden by Lizzie Kelly.  Following the race, it was announced that Silviniaco Conti had been retired. 

 

Dineur (Mr James King/Mickey Bowen) won the Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase (28 ran); the horse did, however, finish lame.  No surprise that I missed the opportunity to place a winning bet on him … sometimes I should just follow my hunches; his price was 16-1.

 

Thursday’s runners of interest at Aintree fared as follows:

 

The Unit (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Top Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

 

Uxizandre (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) finished 8th in the Melling Chase (9 ran); sadly the horse is just not his old self since returning from injury and lacks fluency when jumping.

 

And yesterday at Aintree:

 

Messire Des Obeaux (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) finished 3rd in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (13 ran).

 

Yanworth (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) won the Stayer’s Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1) (11 ran); thus proving that, as suspected by many including me, he’s been campaigned over the wrong distance this season.  

 

With Ziga Boy out of the race, my new pick for the Grand National was One For Arthur but, stupidly as it now turns out, I didn’t place a bet on him.  Doh!  I even passed on the name of my selection to one of my employer’s branch staff who works in Liverpool and who attended the Grand National for the very first time.  Needless to say, she won almost £200. 

 

However, my friend Sandra decided not to follow my selection, although she did win each-way on Blaklion; her other choice was The Young Master which fell at Becher’s on the first circuit. 

 

I did have one bet, on The Tourard Man in yesterday’s first race; sadly he finished 8th.

 

One of the stewards, under the impression that Sandra and I knew what we were talking about, asked me what I thought would win the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle.  I hedged my bets and chose two horses, The Worlds End and Debece; they finished 1st and 3rd respectively, with the latter losing the runner-up position by just a short-head!        

 

Meanwhile on the all-weather at Wolverhampton:

Ardamir (Alan King/Fergus Sweeney) finished 3rd in the Stayers Handicap (5 ran).

 

And at Newcastle:

Ami Desbois (Graeme McPherson/Wayne Hutchinson/EPDS Racing) won the Novices’ Hurdle (4 ran); Wayne’s 71st winner of the season.  There will be current opportunities to ride Graeme’s horses, due to Kielan Woods being on the injury sidelines at present.

 

Also at Chepstow:

Oliver’s Island (Jamie Snowden/Dave Crosse) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Double Treasure (Jamie Snowden/James Davies) won the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3½ furlongs] (8 ran).

 

There were no runners of interest today, and are none tomorrow either.  However, Coneygree did undertake a schooling session at Ffos Las today in preparation for a trip to the Punchestown Festival. 

 

My trip to Aintree went smoothly, apart from encountering problems with the catch on my car bonnet yet again; security checks in the Steeplechase car park stipulate that the engine compartment has to be searched, along with the boot and car interior.  So it’s now four out of the past five years when related issues have occurred.

 

In 2013 I couldn’t close the bonnet, and in 2014 I couldn’t open it.  In 2015 I couldn’t close it again and had to call the RAC – the man removed two rubber stoppers from the frame and it closed.  Last year I had no issues whatsoever, despite the rubber stoppers having been replaced; the original ones not new ones. 

 

This year I tried to close it half a dozen times and success was attained on Thursday by removing the stoppers once more.  This being the case, I was confident that no problem would be encountered yesterday, with the stoppers still removed.  How wrong could I be?  I tried over a dozen times and it flatly refused to close again.  In the end, I had to leave it unfastened, with the prospect of having to call the RAC when I returned to my car at the end of the day. 

 

However, by this point and with experience of the problem since 2013, I am convinced I’ve got a handle on the issue … I had an inkling that it would close and lock when the air temperature and engine had cooled, so I tried it when I got back to the car at around 19:30.  Surprise, surprise, NOT.  It locked first time.       

 

Although I’ve mentioned it on many occasions at the point my car is serviced, and although it seems that none of the mechanics actually believe me, it has to be related to how hot the engine compartment becomes, thus causing thermal expansion.  It’s easy to explain why I had no issue last year – it was cold and poured with rain on my way to Aintree on the first day of the Festival, and was still cold and damp on Grand National Day; Sandra drove us to the course in her car on the Friday, hence no issue either.  Mystery solved. 

 

It’s just a shame that no-one believes me.  Although, having said that, I’m not sure anything can be done to prevent it happening and it would probably be very difficult to recreate the exact conditions under which it occurs ahead of delivering the car to the garage; also, why would I wish to do that anyway, because it’s a pain in the rear!            

Wednesday 05 April 2017

Here is today’s result for my runner of interest, at Wincanton:

McCabe Creek (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) unseated his jockey three fences out in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs & 35 yards] (5 ran).  Only two finished, as two of the other runners fell at the same fence!

Balli Martine (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race.

 

Tomorrow’s runners of interest at Aintree are as follows:

13:45 Top Notch (Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob) – Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1); RUK filmed Top Notch whilst he was being saddled ahead of the JLT Novices’ Chase – he’s a lovely horse!

14:50 Smad Place (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Bowl Chase (Grade 1); he currently has six rivals – Aso, Bristol De Mai, Cue Card, Empire Of Dirt, Silviniaco Conti and Tea For Two.

16:05 Dineur (Mr James King/Mickey Bowen) – Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase; Pacha Du Polder and On The Fringe renew their Cheltenham rivalry, once again ridden by Miss Bryony Frost and Mr Jamie Codd respectively.

 

Alan King was hoping that Passing Call would make the line-up for tomorrow’s Grade 2 Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race but, sadly, she has been balloted out.

 

Uxizandre is due to run in Friday’s Melling Chase (Grade 1), and The Unit will probably take up his entry in the Grade 1 Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) rather than his alternative entry in the Handicap Hurdle.

 

Then, on Saturday, Yanworth is engaged in the Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1), and Messire Des Obeaux’s preference is the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) rather than Friday’s longer distance Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1).

 

The Tourard Man J is entered in Saturday’s extended 3-mile Handicap Hurdle, the first on the card.  Wishing And Hoping holds an entry in the same race, because Alan King thinks he will be balloted out of his first choice, the 2 miles 4 furlong Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle on Friday. 

 

Alan King reports that Master Blueyes is sound once more and he will have an outing on the flat before heading to the sales.  Coeur De Lion may also have a run on the flat before his summer holiday.  However, Dino Velvet is now lame.  

 

There’s racing at Taunton tomorrow too, with jockeys such as Nick Scholfield, Tom Scudamore, Leighton Aspell, Sean Bowen and Nico de Boinville heading to Somerset for the day, rather than Merseyside.

 

This is my final blog for a few days ... no points for guessing why!

Tuesday 04 April 2017

I’ve been fully engrossed in choosing my Aintree outfits for the past two evenings, and ironing, and securing buttons too, so ran out of time to write a blog yesterday.  I’ve reverted to my old glad rags this year – my black BHS coat, cerise BHS jacket, mauve BHS jacket – I believe the weather is going to be dry, but overcast and not especially warm.  The usual cardigans, skirts, thermal t-shirts and even fleeces too!   As always, I’d rather be too warm than too cold.  

 

I’ve still got to work my way through my inventory list whilst I pack my bags.  I think I preferred starting from scratch ahead of Cheltenham, rather than having to check through my vanity case to see what’s still inside and what needs to be replaced.  My Cheltenham trip definitely felt more organised ... and I thought that was just a practice run!       

 

Anyway, here are yesterday’s results for my runners of interest; sadly, there is also a fatality to report. L

 

Ludlow:

Avispa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [1 mile 7 furlongs & 169 yards] (5 ran).

Zeehan (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up due to injury in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Div II (9 ran); it was reported to have been fatal. RIP.

Breaking Bits (Jamie Snowden/Aidan Heskin) finished 8th and Brass Monkey (Martin Keighley/Lizzie Kelly) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs & 55 yards] (16 ran).

 

Huntingdon:

Lord Topper (Jamie Snowden/Gavin Sheehan) finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle (9 ran).

Between The Waters (Jamie Snowden/Gavin Sheehan) finished 5th, last of the finishers, in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (10 ran).

Double Chocolate (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 129 yards] (14 ran).

 

There were no runners of interest today.

 

There are two runners of interest tomorrow, at Wincanton:

14:20 McCabe Creek (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs & 35 yards]

16:55 Balli Martine (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) – Newcomers Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Molly’, the EPDS Delegator filly trained by Noel Williams, now has a registered racing name ... Cecilator ... I’m surprised the syndicate members didn’t choose a pretty, feminine name for her.  My submitted suggestions were Princess Xarifa or Hannah Brighteyes. 

 

Although Pride of Pemberley has now recovered from his recent foot infection, it’s been decided to wind him down for the season, rather than give him another run in a bumper.  He’ll be given further schooling over hurdles before being turned out to enjoy the spring grass.  However, hopefully, he’ll still be in situ at Jamie’s yard on Good Friday.  I’m hoping to attend the Lambourn Open Day, provided there’s no heavy rain which might result in me and my car getting stuck in a field and having to be rescued by a tractor ... for a second time!

 

EPDS Racing now have three brood mares - Shilpa has been covered by Swiss Spirit; Money Maid will be sent to Eagle Top whilst recovering from her current injury, as it’s uncertain whether she’ll be able to make a racing comeback; and Wildehearted Woman is recovering well from be career-ending injury and will go to stud in 2018.

 

Mrs Prowting’s Presenting Lisa, has been sent to mate with Flemensfirth.

 

And Graeme McPherson’s stable jockey, Kielan Woods, sustained a broken pelvis yesterday.  So here’s wishing him a speedy recovery.

 

Labaik, winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, has now been withdrawn from the Aintree Festival sale and will run at Punchestown instead ... if he consents to do so!!! 

 

It’s bedtime now ... as I have a busy day tomorrow.  But, fortunately, today was my ‘Friday’ at work!

Sunday 02 April 2017

As I uploaded yesterday’s blog without checking my email to see if an ATR tracker notification had arrived, I missed two runners which should have been listed as running today ...

 

So here are today’s results for a total of three runners of interest at Ascot:

Forgotten Gold (Tom George/Mr N George) finished 3rd in the Veteran’s Handicap Chase (Leg 5) (9 ran); the race was won by the admirable Loose Chips.

Beneagles (Alan King/William Featherstone) finished 5th and Billy No Name (Colin Tizzard/Angus Cheleda) finished 8th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran); the race was won by Dell’ Arca.

 

There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Ludlow:

15:00 Avispa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [1 mile 7 furlongs & 169 yards]

16:30 Zeehan (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Div II

17:30 Breaking Bits (Jamie Snowden/Aidan Heskin) & Brass Monkey (Martin Keighley/Lizzie Kelly) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs & 55 yards]

 

Huntingdon:

14:50 Lord Topper (Jamie Snowden/Gavin Sheehan) – Maiden Hurdle. I was wondering only the other day when he would make his racecourse debut over jumps; Lord Topper has already had a flat racing career.

15:20 Between The Waters (Jamie Snowden/Gavin Sheehan) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

16:50 Double Chocolate (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 129 yards]; the horse is now 14 years of age.

 

Today has been the calm before the storm.  I didn’t feel too good yesterday evening so went to bed early, then having woken just before 23:00, I watched a little bit of TV but then couldn’t get back to sleep again.  So, at around 01:30 this morning I decided to check through a number of unwatched recordings on my Skybox before deleting them to make way for any Aintree Festival recordings, fingers crossed as usual!  As a result, I went to bed for a second time at 03:00! 

 

I was up again at around 06:30, popped down to the local supermarket to fill up my car’s petrol tank at 08:20, before having breakfast and washing my car.  Late morning my sister-in-law visited to cut my hair.  Then, this afternoon, I constructed four necklaces in my favourite colours – purple, turquoise, true blues and deep pink.

 

Meanwhile, I’ve been rummaging in the cupboard to choose coats, cardigans and skirts ahead of my trip to Aintree.  I’m hoping the weather will be better than last year so, currently, I’ve selected my black BHS coat which cost me £20 in their sale a few years ago, the purple Per Una raincoat which I wore to Newbury last week, and a black suit-style jacket, also purchased from BHS.  However, I’ve not begun my packing yet – but I do have a long list to follow and tick off.      

 

I’m now heading off to find my suitcase ...

Saturday 01 April 2017

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

 

Stratford:

Lerichi Belle (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished a short-head 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle Div II (10 ran); Unlucky.

Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 70 yards] (7 ran).

Viking Mistress (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs & 7 yards] (15 ran).

Talkischeap (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd and Mahlermade (Alan King/Tom Cannon) finished 5th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (8 ran).

 

Uttoxeter:

Bingo D’Olivate (Noel Williams/James Banks) was hampered and fell at the first fence in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (6 ran), his chasing debut.  Hopefully he’s okay, I haven’t heard anything to the contrary; I like Bingo.

Sensulano (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 4th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).

 

Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Ascot:

16:50 Beneagles (Alan King/William Featherstone) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

 

I’ve been busy today and have finished my Noel Williams’ yard visit / Newbury races diary and also uploaded the associated photos.  Mission accomplished.  J

 

 


 

 

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