Wednesday 31 August 2011

Having run on Monday, The Fox’s Decree was a non-runner today at Hereford.


Tomorrow, Choc has one riding engagement at Newton Abbot:

16:35 Sir Benfro (Keith Goldsworthy) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race


As I write this diary entry there are no additional ‘tweets’ from Choc ... so perhaps he hasn’t got the hang of it after all!


Although initial reports suggested that Hayley Turner had suffered just bruising following a fall at Bath today, precautionary x-rays have revealed a broken left ankle.  More


I survived my first day back at work ... and ensured that I got some fresh air at lunchtime, when I went to sit in the local park opposite the office where I work.  The same park where my appearance on ATR’s The Weighing Room was filmed last August!

Tuesday 30 August 2011

The big news today is that Meally has been teaching Choc how to use Twitter!  It’s worth checking out as, in addition to a number of ‘tweets’, he’s posted photos of himself and of William.!/Choc_Thornton


There’s also a write-up of the Owners’ Open Day on Alan King’s website.  More


One runner of interest tomorrow, at Hereford:

16:40 The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase


I’m due back at work tomorrow, having spent the last two weeks on ‘emergency’ annual leave, ie. in lieu of sick leave.  Sinuses still not great.  My nose is less ‘bunged up’ but I need to clear my throat regularly once more (possibly because the antibiotics have worn off?), which means I have laryngitis again.  I can’t win.  Just seven more sleeps until my much awaited ENT appointment!

Monday 29 August 2011

Firstly, here are today’s results:

Bangor on Dee:

Allonby Bay (Norma Twomey/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (3 ran).

Art Exhibition (Miss C Dyson/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).



Won More Night (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) fell two out in the Handicap Chase when booked for 3rd place (6 ran).  I believe both horse and jockey were fine.

The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Hurdle (8 ran).



Snake Charmer (Martin Keighley/Sam Drinkwater) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).


As hoped, today’s Racing Post carried a report from Alan King’s Owners’ Open Day.  So, just in case you missed it, I’ll give a brief overview.


Alan currently has 130 horses in his charge, although he admitted he doesn’t have any superstars in the yard at present.  A number of horses have been sold and he has restocked over the summer, and he now has some potentially exciting youngsters.  


Old favourite Katchit is back from injury and will probably run in conditions hurdle events this season over a trip of 2 miles 4 furlongs.  Alan hopes that Medermit will fulfil his potential this year, and is initially being aimed at the 2 miles 2 furlongs Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, before perhaps attempting the Peterborough Chase or similar event later in the season.  His feeling is that Medermit is currently best suited by a 2 mile 4 furlong trip but might, in time, get further. 


West End Rocker has undergone a Hobday operation during the summer and will run in Aintree’s Becher Chase to confirm whether he’s a Grand National horse, having been brought down in the melee at Becher’s Brook in his first attempt in April.  Alan is looking forward to novice Stoney’s Treasure progressing from last season and to running Million In Mind’s new ‘Saturday horse’ Irish import Torphichen in 2 mile chases. 


The giant Araldur will return to chasing; Mille Chief will remain over hurdles for the time being, although his campaign has not been decided upon.  Kumbeshwar and Dhaafer will continue hurdling this season, with the former being aimed for the Greatwood Hurdle, following a possible run on the flat.  The Betchworth Kid is expected to run in the November Handicap.  Manyriverstocross, Bensalem and Thetwincamdrift have been injury sidelined for the season. 


Alan is looking forward to a number of good novice hurdlers having their first outings over the larger obstacles.  These include Walkon, Habbie Simpson, Invictus, Iolith, Salden Licht and Trenchant.  Pride In Battle will probably start back over hurdles, with the possible aim of the Tote Silver Trophy at Chepstow.  Smad Place will also remain over hurdles for the time being. 


Last season bumper horses who will be going over hurdles include Montbazon, Bygones In Brid and Tante Sissi.  Golden Firebird may have another bumper run before going hurdling, as might Valdez.  Medinas will probably commence hurdling too. 


New horses include juvenile French import Volcan Surprise; Alan also has a number of new recruits from the Irish point-to-point field.  Two English pointer/hunter chasers, Quotica De Poyans and Hold On Julio, will go handicap chasing.  Finally, there’s a mention for French import Titeuf De Tierce, the four year old having won a chase on his only start and who will probably be sent novice hurdling, although he may be sent to Warwick for the Highflyer Chase.


News that Christian Williams, who broke both arms when brought down at Cheltenham last November, hopes to begin riding out for Alan King and Tim Vaughan this week; he aims to return to racecourse action by the first week in October, medical clearance permitting.  Christian needed seven operations as a result of his fall. 


And, finally, Ultima Business Solutions, founded by racehorse owner Max McNeill (Walkon, Mille Chief, etc.) is the yard’s new sponsor, taking over from Schroders Private Banking.

Sunday 28 August 2011

Good news and bad news ... the good news is that Choc has two riding engagements tomorrow ... the bad news is they run at Bangor on Dee not Huntingdon, which is too far for me to travel!


Bangor on Dee:

16:00 Allonby Bay (Norma Twomey/Choc) – Handicap Chase

16:35 Art Exhibition (Miss C Dyson/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle



15:10 Won More Night (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase

15:45 The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Hurdle



17:15 Snake Charmer (Martin Keighley/Sam Drinkwater) – Handicap Hurdle


The big flat race story this weekend is the retirement due to injury of this year’s Epsom Derby winner Pour Moi.  More


But the news regarding Jason Maguire is better than at first feared, following a fall at Cartmel yesterday.  More


I must make a trip to the local supermarket early tomorrow morning to buy a copy of the Racing Post; Alan King’s Owners’ Open Day definitely took place today, as Meally Thornton tweeted @Choc_Thornton to say she was on her way to the event!  I’m therefore hoping for a write-up of the Open Day in tomorrow’s Racing Post.


I found this amusing item in the ‘Hearts and Minds’ newsletter (St Albans and District Cardiac Support Group); which is credited to the Poole Hearts Support Group.


Proposed Cuts to the National Health Service

The British Medical Association has weighed in on the new Prime Minister David Cameron’s health care proposals:


The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had a sort of gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The Obstetricians felt they were all labouring under a misconception.

Ophthalmologists considered the idea short-sighted.

Pathologists yelled, “Over my dead body!” while the Paediatricians said “Oh, Grow up!”

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.

The Surgeons were fed up with the cuts and decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The ENT specialists didn’t swallow it, and just would not hear of it.

The Pharmacologists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, “This puts a whole new face on the matter ... “

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were p*ssed off at the whole idea.

The Anaesthetists thought the whole idea was a gas, but the Cardiologists didn’t have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the A**eholes in London.




Nine more sleeps (or should that be disturbed sleeps?) until my ENT appointment ... I cannot wait!!! 

Breathe Right strips may not be sexy but they are a Godsend at the moment!

Friday 26 August 2011




Brilliant news.  It was another good day for Choc, as he won aboard his only ride of the day! 


There were two runners of interest at Ffos Las this afternoon:

Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Jimmy Derham) ran very well to finish 3rd in the Handicap Chase (11 ran).

William Hogarth (Keith Goldsworthy/Choc) won the Handicap Hurdle; Choc’s 14th winner of the season (8 ran).

The ATR presenters mentioned that trainer Keith Goldsworthy was very keen on his horse’s chances before the race, the rain having arrived to soften the going.  William Hogarth was a 6-1 shot.


I missed a runner yesterday, the Martin Keighley trained Snake Charmer, ridden by Sam Drinkwater, finished 4th the Handicap Hurdle at Cartmel (7 ran).


National Hunt racing at just Cartmel tomorrow; and none on Sunday in Great Britain.  Three fixtures on Bank Holiday Monday – Cartmel, Bangor On Dee and Huntingdon.


Alan King usually holds his Owners’ Open Day on the Sunday before the August Bank Holiday, so I presume it will take place this coming Sunday with their stable jockey, Choc, in attendance.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Two runners of interest at Ffos Las tomorrow, where there is a mixed card:

16:50 Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Jimmy Derham) – Handicap Chase

17:25 William Hogarth (Keith Goldsworthy/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle


Today’s novice chase at Ffos Las was an eventful race ... there were just 4 runners, three of which had departed by the fourth fence, including Barizan who all but fell and unseated AP McCoy at the third obstacle.  The race was won by the Rebecca Curtis trained Black Jack Blues.  


I saw the two-year-old Dishy Guru win on the all weather at Lingfield Park today.  We ‘met’ the horse when we visited Michael Blanshard’s yard on Lambourn Open Day although, notably, he was sharing his stable with a family of rats!!!




More congratulations are in order; this time to my nephew James, who received his GCSE results today.  He attained 3 x grade A*; 8 x grade A and 1 x grade B.  Last year (one year early) James passed his GCSE Maths attaining a grade A*.  James will be staying on at school to do his A Levels; Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Biology.  I guess his choice of subjects shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, as his mum Karen has a Maths degree and his dad Neil (my younger brother) has a Physics degree.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

One horse of interest at Worcester today:

Jacko’s Boy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (6 ran).


There is National Hunt racing at Cartmel and Ffos Las tomorrow but still no future riding engagements listed yet for Choc. L


Having just returned from the injury sidelines after breaking his leg, young Willie Twiston-Davies was in the wars again at Worcester today and has now sustained a broken ankle.  More  That’s unbelievable bad luck for him.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

One horse of interest tomorrow at Worcester:

14:40 Jacko’s Boy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase


No future riding engagements listed yet for Choc. L

Monday 22 August 2011

Two runners of interest at Hereford this evening:

Tri Nations (Martin Keighley/Jimmy Derham) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 4th in the Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race (9 ran).


Still all quiet on the Choc front, with no forward riding engagements at the moment.


As I’m currently off work, and taking this time as annual leave, I took a trip to Reading today to see my friend Denise.  I decided to drive across country on my trip to Berkshire, as signs on the M25 warned of long delays on the anti-clockwise carriageway between junctions 20 and 12.  My route took me via Chesham, Amersham, Beaconsfield, Bourne End, Burchetts Green and Sonning.  I love the Chilterns and know the area extremely well, having spent a number of years rambling in the area with my friend Mark.  


As it was a warm sunny day, we walked from Denise’s home in Caversham into Reading, visiting Hobbycraft (I can never resist) before having lunch in Wetherspoons in the town centre.  We then took a look around the shops, before catching the bus back to Caversham.  Denise is a very keen gardener, so showed me around her extensive plot, and I stayed until 19:00 before returning home.  This time I travelled via Henley On Thames and Marlow, before taking the M40 and M25 home. 


Having spent most of the day in an environment filled with traffic fumes, my nose has become ‘bunged up’ once more and my sinuses have been ‘throbbing’ this evening but, hopefully, they will begin to improve again over the next few days ... and it’s now 15 days and counting to my ENT appointment. 

Sunday 21 August 2011

Choccie rode a winner! JJJ  Well done Choc.  Believe in yourself and the opportunities and winners will begin to happen once more. 


Unfortunately I had to go out this afternoon, to have my hair cut.  However, the first thing I did upon returning home was to check the racing results on the TV text service ... and I am so happy that Choc has ridden another winner.  I shall endeavour to watch the video recording of the race before I turn in tonight.


Here are today’s results from Newton Abbot:

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/AP McCoy) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Chase (5 ran).

Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Jimmy Derham) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (Listed) (2 miles 5½ furlongs) (14 ran).

Ice Warrior (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (3 miles 2½ furlongs) (6 ran).

Jocheski (Tony Newcombe/Choc) won the Handicap Hurdle; Choc’s 13th winner of the season (10 ran).

Busby Berkeley (Martin Keighley/Choc) finished 8th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).

Two runners of interest at Hereford tomorrow evening:

18:30 Tri Nations (Martin Keighley/Jimmy Derham) – Handicap Hurdle

20:00 Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race

No rides for Choc at the fixture.

I finished reading a Dick Francis novel today, Silks.  I recall Choc won a Handicap Chase named in honour of the recently published book at Cheltenham in October 2008.  His mount that day was Ouzbeck.  I enjoy reading horseracing related fiction, especially books that I find hard to put down!

Saturday 20 August 2011

Choc had one riding engagement today, at Newton Abbot:

Dereks (Mrs S Leech) was pulled up two out (the commentator mentioning that Choc had dismounted) in the Handicap Hurdle (17 ran); the race was won by Mad Moose ridden by Willie Twiston-Davies, having his first ride as a Conditional jockey following his return from injury.  The Emma Lavelle trained King’s Forest was pulled up having appeared to suffer an injury to a hind leg.


Just to recap, tomorrow’s runners of interest at Newton Abbot are as follows:

14:30 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/AP McCoy) – Novices’ Chase

15:00 Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Jimmy Derham) – Handicap Chase (Listed) (2 miles 5½ furlongs)

15:30 Ice Warrior (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase (3 miles 2½ furlongs)

16:35 Jocheski (Tony Newcombe/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

17:05 Busby Berkeley (Martin Keighley/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

I’m keeping everything crossed in the hope that Choc will ride his 13th winner of the season very soon.  He rode his last winner on 24 June at Market Rasen, so his confidence must be severely compromised at the moment.  Poor Choc. L

Overturn won today’s Summer Champion Hurdle at Perth.  More  The Brian Ellison trained 25-1 shot Moyenne Corniche won the Ebor at York.  More

Friday 19 August 2011

One runner of interest at Bangor On Dee this afternoon:

Consult (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished a very close 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran); Consult is so game and deserves to win another race very soon.


The Tim Vaughan/Richard Johnson bandwagon rolls on ... two more winners for the team at Bangor today (Spirit Is Needed and Postmaster), following 4 winners for the team at Fontwell yesterday evening and one at Hereford on Wednesday!  Confidence breeds confidence. 


Choc has one riding engagement tomorrow, at Newton Abbot:

14:50 Dereks (Mrs S Leech) – Handicap Hurdle


And there are a number of runners of interest at Newton Abbot on Sunday, where Choc has 2 riding engagements:

14:30 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/AP McCoy) – Novices’ Chase

15:00 Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Jimmy Derham) – Handicap Chase (Listed) (2 miles 5½ furlongs)

15:30 Ice Warrior (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase (3 miles 2½ furlongs)

16:35 Jocheski (Tony Newcombe/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

17:05 Busby Berkeley (Martin Keighley/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race


My Stitch-A-Photo chart arrived on Wednesday ... and it is going to be ‘wicked’ once stitched!  Yesterday I ordered my DMC stranded cottons for the chart from Sewandso in Stroud (my favourite cross stitch supplier), and the parcel arrived today.  So, as I purchased the aida fabric on which to stitch the picture some time ago, it should now be full steam ahead, current health problem permitting.  As all forms of dust seem to affect my sinuses at present, I shall wear a face mask when I commence the sewing; I’ve already taken to wearing a mask when I dust the house!     


Having run out of fully paid sick leave, I’m now on 10 days paid annual leave, having put in an emergency request due to my ongoing respiratory problems.  I am due to return to work on 31 August, although my symptoms show no sign of abating, in fact I’m sure they are getting worse.  My ENT appointment is less than three weeks away, but it’s beginning to feel like a lifetime.  But, looking on the bright side, at least it’s summer and opportunities to attend race fixtures are few and far between; hopefully my breathing problems will be sorted out by the time the main part of the National Hunt season gets underway. 

Thursday 18 August 2011

Choc had one riding engagement this afternoon at Stratford Upon Avon:

Melancholy Hill (Alan King) finished 2nd in the Juvenile Hurdle (8 ran); I’m sure the filly will find a race to suit, just so long as she learns to settle.


One runner of interest at Bangor On Dee tomorrow afternoon:

17:10 Consult (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle


Unfortunately the lack of rides, and lack of winners, continues for Choc. L  Currently, he has one provisional riding engagement at Newton Abbot on Sunday where he is booked for Busby Berkeley in the bumper for trainer Martin Keighley.





I received brilliant news today.  Both my nieces, Kim and Lydia, have passed their ‘A’ levels and will now be going to University this autumn to study subjects of their respective choice. 


Kim gained three A grades in Biology, Chemistry and Maths and has received unconditional offers from both Sheffield and Warwick Universities.  She has decided upon Sheffield, as it is her first choice, where she will be studying Biomedical Science. 


Lydia will be attending Bedford University; I’m not quite sure what her career plans are ... originally she wanted to be a midwife, then a policewoman, forensics has been mentioned, as has becoming a social worker!  Lydia is very much a ‘people’ person, so I’m sure she’ll be successful in whatever field she decides upon.


We now await my nephew James’ GCSE results, which I gather will be issued next week.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Choc has one riding engagement tomorrow afternoon at Stratford Upon Avon:

14:10 Melancholy Hill (Alan King) – Juvenile Hurdle


There’s good news regarding injured jockey Peter Toole; he has been discharged from Ireland’s National Rehabilitation Centre and will continue his convalescence at home.  More

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Just one horse of interest at Worcester this evening:

The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).


Check out trainer Richard Phillips’ blog – for a piccie of Choc, Richard Johnson, Assistant Trainer Gordon Clarkson and Richard Phillips at racehorse owner Liz Prowting’s lunchtime birthday bash today.  Click here


There’s racing at Hereford tomorrow evening, but no riding engagements for Choc ... no-one seems to love him but me L

Monday 15 August 2011

Just one horse of interest at Worcester tomorrow evening:

17:10 The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/newly appointed stable jockey Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle


Today it was announced that modifications will be made to the Grand National course in a bid to improve safety.  More


My respiratory problem began to deteriorate again towards the end of last week and throughout the weekend I’ve had difficulty breathing.  As a result I’ve now had to sign off as sick once more.  It’s becoming a nightmare, I want to work, I need to work, I am desperate to work.  I could perhaps understand it if I had hay fever or asthma, or smoked ... but I’ve never suffered from hay fever or asthma and have been a non-smoker all my life.  Roll on 06 September when, hopefully, the ENT specialist will be able to tell me what’s wrong ...

Friday 12 August 2011

No riding engagements for Choc at Market Rasen tomorrow evening or at Southwell on Sunday afternoon.


I’m pleased to learn that Howard Johnson has received his ‘just deserts’ for mistreating a number of horses in his charge; as a result he has decided to retire from training.  I don’t image he will be missed.  The only shock is that his age is given as 58 ... I always thought he was ancient!  And, no, for all you youngsters out there, 58 is NOT ancient!!!


Meally, Choc and William went swimming this afternoon ... I like to select the ‘Discover who @Choc_Thornton follows’ button on Twitter to find out which ‘tweets’ Choc has been receiving ... Meally having tweeted this information earlier!

I’m going to be at a complete loss this weekend; no Choc to watch on TV, I’m over my ‘mega-creative’ jewellery making phase, and I’m still waiting for my ‘stitch-a-photo’ cross-stitch chart to arrive from DMC (having taken a lot longer to organise than I’d expected).  I can’t even go out for a long walk or ramble ... because, with my current respiratory problems, I get worn out after walking a mere mile!  Besides, I never quite know what might happen to me if I try to walk too far.  And to think that just three or four years ago I’d think nothing of walking 10 or so miles ... oh how times have changed. L

Thursday 11 August 2011

Three runners of particular interest at Stratford Upon Avon this evening and this is how they fared:

Jacko’s Boy (Martin Keighley/Sam Drinkwater) finished 5th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Consult (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (16 ran).

Keltic Lord (PW Hiatt/Choc) finished 7th in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).


No National Hunt racing tomorrow, the next fixtures being Market Rasen on Saturday evening and Southwell on Sunday afternoon.

Although Bensalem and Manyriverstocross will be out of action for the foreseeable future, Katchit is back again this season ... however I know that Choc would like to see him have a long and happy retirement rather than be still plying his trade!

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Three runners of particular interest at Stratford Upon Avon tomorrow evening:

18:40 Jacko’s Boy (Martin Keighley/Sam Drinkwater) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

19:15 Consult (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

19:50 Keltic Lord (PW Hiatt/Choc) – Handicap Chase; Keltic Lord won this race last year and is now a spritely 15-year-old!


I remember seeing Choc ride Keltic Lord at Plumpton in September 2008; his saddle slipped that day, but he still finished 3rd.  Click to see photo


As hoped, I watched the video of yesterday’s Newton Abbot fixture.  It was a very bizarre incident when Snake Charmer ‘lost’ his hind legs and fell having safely cleared the last flight; I’m sure he would have won the Handicap Hurdle but for this mishap.  And it was 25th time lucky for The Fox’s Decree, who finally won a race although, of course, he did have the assistance of AP McCoy on this occasion.


ATR’s coverage of the fixture was blighted by sound loss for the second half of the afternoon ... however, before this occurred, I did discover that Choc has changed his agent.  He’s now with Chris Broad, having transferred from ‘super agent’ Dave Roberts.  Hopefully Choc will now get a more personalised service, and a few more rides, as they have been very sparse on the ground this summer.

And I’ve finally received notification of my ENT appointment; 14:40 on 06 September.

Tuesday 09 August 2011

Here are today’s results from Newton Abbot:

Golbelini (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (7 ran).

Management (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran).

Snake Charmer (Martin Keighley/David Crosse) fell at the last when leading and in command ... Oops; and Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (17 ran).

The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/AP McCoy) won the Handicap Chase (5 ran); Martin’s 10th winner of the season.  Many congratulations to the team.


I must watch the video recording of the races before I go to bed tonight. 


I’ve read today’s entry in Martin’s blog and Choc rode out two lots for him this morning; first lot aboard Pilgrims Lane and second lot aboard Busby Berkeley.  I was hoping his name would be mentioned in despatches at some point ... as I’m always eager to hear news of my favourite jockey!


The next National Hunt racing takes place at Stratford Upon Avon on Thursday evening.

Monday 08 August 2011

A number of runners of interest at Newton Abbot tomorrow afternoon:

14:45 Golbelini (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

15:15 Management (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:15 Snake Charmer (Martin Keighley/David Crosse); Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

17:20 The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/AP McCoy) – Handicap Chase


I had an ECG a couple of weeks ago and received the results today; there was a small ‘anomaly’ but both the doctor and I are of the opinion that it was probably caused by my recent bout of illness.  He felt my pulse today, and it seems to be back to normal.  I’m still waiting to receive an appointment with the ENT specialist; my doctor re-sent the request today, so I hope to hear soon. 

Sunday 07 August 2011

I’ve been busy today and have finished and uploaded my photo gallery/diary relating to my visit to Worcester on Friday.  Click here to read and see photos


And that is despite having to spend time troubleshooting a printer problem – but I sorted it out in the end ... and without help from anyone!  It transpired that I needed to reconfigure the wireless and default printer settings because I set up a new modem router last week!  


It’s amazing what you find on the internet.  This is an amusing one, with a couple of references to Choc, from Marcus Armytage’s Racing Diary in the Telegraph dated September 2005.  More  

Saturday 06 August 2011


Choc for blog r.jpg


Choc watches the charity football match.

As you can see, his hair has grown back to its optimum length ... beautiful!



Sorry there was no blog yesterday ... but I went to Worcester races and didn’t arrive home until 22:40. 


I had been concerned about driving so far – a 216 mile round trip – considering how unwell I’d felt less than a month ago.  However, I do actually feel better when I’m outdoors, so I kept the car window open to ensure I had plenty of fresh air ... and I have to say I had absolutely no problems whatsoever throughout the day and enjoyed my drive very much too, apart from queuing for 30 minutes in the lunchtime traffic in Worcester! 


My outbound drive took me via Aylesbury, Bicester, Banbury and Stratford Upon Avon, and my return journey via Evesham, Moreton In Marsh, Chipping Norton, then across country back to Bicester, before continuing through Aylesbury and Hemel Hempstead.  Although part of Hemel’s infamous ‘magic roundabout’ was being resurfaced under cover of darkness and I had to make a detour via a housing estate; but luckily I easily found my way through, as it was the route I’d taken when I paid a visit to Hemel Hempstead Hospital’s Urgent Care Unit in the early hours of the morning a few weeks ago!       


As Choc had just one riding engagement yesterday, and there were a number of unfortunate incidents during the race, I’m not going to do a full ‘race description’ diary for yesterday, but I will upload a number of photographs and write a general overview of my day. 


Unfortunately Marleybow, who was Choc’s mount in the feature event, the Pershore Plum Festival Land O’Plums Handicap Chase, went lame before the last fence and he had to pull up when probably booked for a place.  I spoke with Choc before the charity football match and he believes Marleybow will be okay, but will probably be off the racecourse for around a year or so. 


Choc also mentioned how quiet his book of rides has been this summer; he’s never known anything like it.  I can vouch for that, as writing this blog on a very regular basis it is been very noticeable that he’s had just one or even none at a lot of fixtures. 


I must confess that I still get a little tongue tied in Choc’s presence ... but that’s because I’m shy and retiring by nature!


I stayed to watch the National Hunt charity football match, as did Choc.  Although he was very much a distraction!  However, despite this, I can report that the Rest of the World team beat the Irish team 4 – Nil. 


Oh yes, I nearly forgot to mention.  Choc must have been in the sauna before racing yesterday and for a few moments he came out onto the steps beside the Weighing Room with just a rust coloured towel wrapped around his nether regions ... so that was a pleasant and unexpected treat!


So, all in all, it was a ‘magical’ day, as not only did I see and speak to the most gorgeous guy in the whole world ... Choc of course ... but it reaffirmed the fact that I adore him with all my heart! Y


Here is other news ...


In light of the recent Howard Johnson BHA enquiry, racehorse owner Graham Wylie has sent 6 horses to be trained by Paul Nicholls.  More  And Triumph Hurdle winner, Zarkandar, has undergone a breathing operation.  I think that’s what I need, in light of my recent sinus and breathing problems ... I could always try a tongue tie whilst I’m waiting to receive an appointment at the Ear Nose and Throat specialist!  And in light of this, I must join my employer’s private health care scheme!


Trainer Richard Phillips holds his annual charity cricket match at Adlestrop (near Stow on the Wold) on Monday; I wonder if Choc will be a member of his invitational team?


The next National Hunt fixture takes place at Newton Abbot on Tuesday afternoon.


And I found £40, which I didn’t know I had, in my ‘racing’ handbag!  That will pay for my Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag (from Strictly Come Dancing) Let’s Do It show ticket for 11 March next year!  And my friend Lesley is treating me to an Osmonds concert as my combined 2011 Christmas and 2012 birthday present.  The former is taking place in Watford and the latter in Birmingham; an Osmond’s concert in Watford takes place during the Cheltenham Festival so we’ve decided on a different venue so they don’t clash!


And, last but not least, I’ve booked my tickets for the Friday and Saturday of next year’s Grand National meeting!  I normally wait until the tickets go on sale via the internet (16 August this year) but I couldn’t wait, so I booked them by phone last Tuesday! 

Thursday 04 August 2011

Just one riding engagement for Choc at Worcester tomorrow:

16:50 Marleybow (Richard Lee) – Pershore Plum Festival Land O’Plums Handicap Chase


News today that champion miler Canford Cliffs has been retired to stud following an injury sustained during last week’s Sussex Stakes.  More


Also disappointing news for the Alan King yard, with Bensalem out for the season having picked up a leg injury when putting up a below par display at Aintree in April.  More


It’s Family Fun Race day at Worcester tomorrow, and includes the National Hunt jockeys’ annual charity football match after racing.  I returned to work on Wednesday following my recent absence due to illness, but months ago I booked tomorrow as leave; I’ll have to see how I feel in the morning as to whether or not I decide to take a trip to Worcester, as it would be disappointing to miss the fixture having so long ago planned to attend it.

Monday 01 August 2011

No riding engagements for Choc at Newton Abbot today; but trainer Martin Keighley had 3 runners, and this is how they fared:

Consult (Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle because his saddle slipped (11 ran).

Monty’s Revenge (Ian Popham) won the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (8 ran); Martin’s 9th winner of the season.  Congratulations to Martin and his team.

Won More Night (Sam Drinkwater) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).


Choc took part in a charity cricket match in the Somerset village of Milborne Port (just east of Sherborne in Dorset) on Sunday 24 July.  More


And I also found this news release relating to an event which took place on Thursday 28 April 2011 at Southwell racecourse, where Choc was the guest speaker.  More


No National Hunt racing until Friday, when Worcester racecourse holds its Pershore Plum Festival Family Fun Race Day, which includes the National Hunt jockeys annual football match - Ireland vs. The Rest of the World!!!  The match and a silent auction/raffle will be held in aid of Racing Welfare.  More




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