AUGUST 2012

 

 

Friday 31 August 2012

Choc was at Bangor On Dee this afternoon, where he had one riding engagement:

Ut Love (M Palussiere) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

 

National Hunt racing at Market Rasen tomorrow evening and, subject to passing an inspection, at Newton Abbot on Sunday.  But no riding engagements for Choc L

 

I’ve nothing special planned for this weekend, apart from having my hair trimmed on Sunday.  But, as always, there are plenty of hobbies to keep me occupied ... knitting, jewellery making or cross-stitching and I’m hoping to be inspired to do the latter!

Thursday 30 August 2012

Runners of interest at a couple of National Hunt fixtures this evening and this is how they fared:

 

Fontwell Park:

Backfromthecongo (Richard Lee/Choc) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 2½ furlongs] (7 ran).  As he carried two stone more than the winner Heezagrey, who won over hurdles at Huntingdon on Monday too, it wasn’t too bad an effort for the oldest horse in the field. 

 

Hereford:

Midnight Myth (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) won the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran); congratulations to the team, their 8th winner of the season.

Pollystone (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (14 ran).

 

I wondered what had become of Nikos Extra – he’s now trained by Evan Williams and finished 6th in Hereford’s two mile one furlong Handicap Hurdle this evening ... one place behind Causeway King who is now trained by Philip Hobbs!

 

Tomorrow Choc will be at Bangor On Dee for one riding engagement:

17:15 Ut Love (M Palussiere) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Newton Abbot’s Saturday card has been abandoned, with an inspection due to be carried out on Saturday to ascertain whether their Sunday fixture will go ahead.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Three National Hunt fixtures tomorrow and runners of interest at two of them, Stratford being the exception:

 

Fontwell Park:

19:10 Backfromthecongo (Richard Lee/Choc) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 2½ furlongs]

 

Hereford:

19:00 Midnight Myth (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) - Handicap Hurdle

19:30 Pollystone (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Having said that my teeth were okay following a check-up earlier this month, I think I may have lost one of my buccal fillings whilst brushing my teeth this morning ... damn.  Very annoying, as I only had them (two) done last summer to ease the sensitivity on the gum line.  I did mention to the dentist that I was experiencing sensitivity again on the left side, so perhaps it was in the process of becoming loose before falling out.  More expense ...

Tuesday 28 August 2012

National Hunt racing at Worcester tomorrow, but no runners of interest.

 

Fortunately, today was fairly quiet at work ... but that will probably change as the week progresses.

Monday 27 August 2012

Choc was at Bangor on Dee today and he rode a winner J:

Quinsman (Caroline Bailey) won the Maiden Hurdle (7 ran); Choc’s 6th winner of the season.  It was a ‘slippery’ race with two horses sliding and coming to grief having made fairly innocuous jumping errors, a third one doing the same when he tried to avoid one of the fallers. 

Prince Des Marais (Caroline Bailey) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (6 ran).

 

National Hunt racing solely at Sedgefield tomorrow, so no riding engagements for Choc.

 

News today that following his summer break, Kauto Star has returned to the Paul Nicholls yard and a decision will be made soon as to whether retirement beckons.  Denman, who is already enjoying retirement, has now moved on to pastures new.  More

 

I forgot to mention that Will Kennedy won the Jump Jockeys’ High Jump challenge which took place at the Bicester and Finmere show on Sunday 12 August.  Choc has competed in this event in the past.

Yesterday I spent my time making a number of items of jewellery, and another couple of necklaces with matching earrings this morning too.  I then dusted my bedroom, and have spent the afternoon knitting and watching the horseracing on TV.  I’m not looking forward to this week at work, as one of our team is on holiday and, workload wise, this is usually a nightmare. 

Sunday 26 August 2012

As expected, Choc will be at Bangor on Dee tomorrow, where he has two riding engagements:

14:50 Quinsman (Caroline Bailey) – Maiden Hurdle

16:00 Prince Des Marais (Caroline Bailey) – Handicap Chase

 

Cartmel’s Bank Holiday fixture has been abandoned due to water-logging ... typical Bank Holiday weather!

 

Yesterday I drove down to Caversham to meet up with my friend Denise; we took the bus to Oxford.  The journey took around an hour but it cost less than £6.00, a bargain.  There were many Reading Festival revellers in Caversham itself, the site being only a stone’s throw away from the high street.  In fact, during the late afternoon and evening, when outside, you could hear the dull base sound of the distant music despite her house being on the Henley side of the town.  It didn’t bother Den though, as she had enjoyed watching the highlights on TV.

 

It had started off quite cold and damp early morning in Hertfordshire, but was quite warm and pleasant in Berkshire, and also in Oxford too.  However, as stood atop the motte at Oxford Castle at around 14:45, we noticed rain clouds and lightening blowing in from the west.  We immediately decided it was time to return to ground level as the mound was exposed, so we headed back towards St Aldates, by which time the heavens opened and we had to take shelter in a shop.  The worst of the rain had passed after around 45 minutes and we caught the bus back to Caversham. 

 

Den has lost lots of weight and is very fit these days, in contrast to myself who cannot shift the stone which I put on last year when suffering from my sinus related breathing problems.  We’d walked to Caversham in the morning, and walked back beside the Thames in the evening.  My legs felt quite tired yesterday, which is unusual for me.  I know that I currently weigh too much, as my legs ache when I first get out of bed in the morning, something which didn’t happen when I was a stone lighter!

Friday 24 August 2012

One runner of interest today, on the mixed card at Ffos Las:

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the 3 mile 1½ furlong Handicap Chase (9 ran).

 

No runners of interest tomorrow and solely flat racing on Sunday.  There’s National Hunt racing at Cartmel, Bangor-On-Dee and Huntingdon on Bank Holiday Monday and, unfortunately for me from a logistics point of view, Choc currently has provisional riding engagements at Bangor not Huntingdon.  This means it will be at least a fortnight before I might have the opportunity to go racing to see him and it may be a lot longer. L

 

The weather is forecast to be dire tomorrow and on Monday, a typical Bank Holiday weekend in fact!  I do have plans to visit my friend Denise this weekend and we plan to take the bus trip from Caversham to Oxford; there’s no point driving there, as the city is ‘park and ride’!  I fancy a bit of culture ... and I’ve not visited Oxford since I was a teenager.  I recall my parents took my younger brother and me to visit the city on one of our Sunday afternoon car excursions; on another occasion we went to visit Cambridge.  Needless to say, I’m very familiar with the A40 Oxford bypass, and the A34 which runs along the western outskirts of the city and southwards to Newbury.  And I once passed through Oxford station on my way to and from Worcester races. 

Wednesday 22 August 2012

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

Shannon Spree (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (6 ran).

Manor Court (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Novices’ Chase (5 ran).

The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (11 ran).

A touch of fourthitis today it would appear!

 

National Hunt racing at Cartmel and Ffos Las tomorrow but no runners of interest.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Two runners of interest at Worcester today and this is how they fared; and unfortunately no change of luck for Choc:

Suburban Bay (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Chase (5 ran).

Golbelini (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 16th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (17 ran).

Tomorrow, three runners of interest at Newton Abbot:

17:30 Shannon Spree (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Maiden Hurdle

18:30 Manor Court (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) - Novices’ Chase

19:30 The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) - Handicap Chase

 

Martin Keighley sadly reports that Pilgrim’s Lane has damaged a tendon and will therefore be on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.

Monday 20 August 2012

Two riding engagements for Choc this afternoon, at Stratford, and this is how he fared:

Cailin Ceol (Liam Corcoran) was pulled up sharply and dismounted in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Blitzed Eckie (Liam Corcoran) finished 8th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (9 ran); the 9th runner, Renagisha, having bucked and unseated AP McCoy at the start!

 

It’s been a very bleak summer, with rides few and far between and no winners for Choc since 21 June.  But at least he earned £300 today, for riding two horses.

 

Tomorrow there are two runners of interest at Worcester:

16:50 Suburban Bay (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Chase

19:50 Golbelini (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Perhaps Choc will be lucky tomorrow; Suburban Bay certainly deserves to get his head in front having been placed on numerous occasions over the larger obstacles.  And Choc always earns his fee in getting the highly-strung chestnut safely to the start!

Sunday 19 August 2012

Two riding engagements for Choc tomorrow, at Stratford:

14:10 Cailin Ceol (Liam Corcoran) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

17:10 Blitzed Eckie (Liam Corcoran) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race

 

I missed the fact that Choc went to Southwell on Tuesday 24 July to ride Blitzed Eckie on his previous outing, which was an Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (17:10); they finished 4th on that occasion (9 ran).

Saturday 18 August 2012

Two riding engagements for Choc this evening, at Market Rasen, and this is how he fared:

Via Archimede (Lucinda Russell) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (7 ran); with the sun low in the sky, and after Choc had voiced his concern, the three fences in the home straight were omitted.  This reduced the obstacles from 17 down to just 8!

Top weight Compton Blue (Alan King) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (7 ran); but one refused to start and the other was pulled up injured. 

 

No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow.

 

I took my mum to an outpatient’s appointment at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage this morning.  My mum has a blue disabled badge but this particular NHS trust charges for parking regardless.  However, the parking meter stated £2.90 for two hours ... but it did not issue tickets for any amount other than £1.00, so we had to purchase three tickets for £3.00.  What is that about? 

 

I had a run-in with the parking scheme’s operators VINCI last year when we were issued with a parking ticket at the QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City; on a previous visit we’d enquired as to whether disabled drivers/passengers were required to pay and were told no, we didn’t need to pay.  At West Herts NHS, my local authority, disabled drivers/passengers don’t pay for parking.  The officious men in the QEII kiosk had called us liars, shut the window, and laughed between themselves when we went to complain; having told us the payment scheme had been in operation for a number of years and prior to our alleged enquiry.  But it wasn’t just us who were under the impression that parking for the disabled was free, as the vehicle parked next to us was also issued with a ticket that day.  I wrote a letter to VINCI to complain about the treatment we had received and they didn’t even bother to reply.  However they didn’t pursue us for the fine.

 

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised today when it was impossible to pay the correct amount using the ticket machine!  I have no objection to paying for parking, but I do take objection when the staff they employ are unpleasant jobsworths.

Friday 17 August 2012

Two riding engagements for Choc tomorrow, at Market Rasen:

19:10 Via Archimede (Lucinda Russell) – Handicap Chase

20:10 Compton Blue (Alan King) – Handicap Hurdle

 

No specific plans for the weekend, apart from crafting as usual!  And it’s still two weeks until pay day; I don’t like this year’s pay day schedule, there seem to be far too many 5-week months. I presume it’s a side effect of it being a leap year L

 

Following on from yesterday, evidently my nephew James has been studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Biology, not Chemistry.

Thursday 16 August 2012

Starting at Stratford, Choc had two riding engagements this evening and this is how he fared:

On Alert (Seamus Durack) finished 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Henry San (Alan King) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

 

Meanwhile, at Fontwell Park:

Tower (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 14th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 2½ furlongs] (16 ran).

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs] (15 ran).

 

The next National Hunt racing takes place on Saturday. 

 

My nephew James is undecided which one of his four ‘A’ level subjects to drop, having scored four grade A’s at the midway stage!  He was hoping that he’d get a B grade in any one of them to make his decision easier!urHurdleHur

  I think he’s studying Maths, Physics, Biology and Chemistry ... and I think I can safely say it won’t be Maths that he quits!  

Wednesday 15 August 2012

The National Hunt season springs back into action tomorrow, although there will be another 10-day break between 13 to 22 September inclusive:

 

Starting at Stratford, Choc has two riding engagements tomorrow:

17:40 On Alert (Seamus Durack) – Novices’ Hurdle

19:10 Henry San (Alan King) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Meanwhile, at Fontwell Park:

19:00 Tower (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 2½ furlongs]

19:30 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]

urHurdleHur

 

As I don’t arrive home from work until 17:50 at the earliest, I shall set my recorder this evening in preparation.  I’m almost out of the habit of taping the racing because there’s been so few rides for Choc this summer L

Although Monday’s visit to the dentist and dental hygienist was expensive (£85) because it’s a private practice, the good news is that nothing needs to be done.  I’m fortunate to have very strong teeth ... although my gums are susceptible to gum disease, which is hereditary.  Hence the very regular visits to see the hygienist. 

Sunday 12 August 2012

The Olympics are now over, bar the closing ceremony, and Team GB have certainly done us proud - 29 Gold Medals, 17 Silver and 19 Bronze; 65 in total this time around.  Having been glued to the action for the past 16 days, life is going to be pretty boring until the main part of the National Hunt season begins in earnest in mid-October! 

 

The highlight of the games, for me, was Mo Farah winning both the 10,000 and 5,000 metres titles.  Bradley Wiggins was also brilliant in winning a gold medal less than two weeks after winning the Tour de France.  Also, Chris Hoy winning two more gold medals to become the winning-most gold medallist in GB history.  The equestrian competitors were amazing too.  With Tom Daley’s thrill at winning bronze.  And Nicola Adams wonderful smile having won gold in the women’s boxing tournament.  The women have made such a huge contribution to this Olympics.  My most emotional moment is still our first gold of the games, when Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won the Women’s pairs rowing. 

 

This year’s Sports Personality (SPOTY) will be very difficult – I won’t be able to decide between Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins; for either one to lose would be unjust!   And the show-jumpers or dressage riders should win the Team award. 

 

After the Paralympics, the next major Championships to be held in the UK will be the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and, for solely athletics, the 2017 World Championships.

 

Having found The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert amongst my un-read books collection, I’ve begun reading it ahead of the serialisation on TV this autumn.  More  

 

I’ve done a bit of knitting too this weekend, starting a cardigan this time around, as opposed to yet another scarf!!!  Although I still have an extensive range of scarf yarns remaining in my collection. 

 

And I re-booked my hotel accommodation for Aintree – rooms have been released at the Golborne Premier Inn (my preferred hotel), so I’ve now arranged to stay there instead of the Travelodge.  My decision was spurred by an article in today’s Sunday Express stating that Travelodge might be facing administration due to huge debts which it cannot service.  Hence my cancellation and re-book! 

Choc has been in Liverpool this weekend, taking part in a mate’s stag-do.  He was complaining, however, that another mate had booked him in to share a double room, and bed, with Ollie McPhail!  Choc’s mum has been looking after William.

Work and dentist/dental hygienist appointment tomorrow L but looking forward to National Hunt racing returning on Thursday after its 10-day break.

Monday 06 August 2012

Pity I’ve been working today ... I’d have loved to have watched Team GB win gold in the Team Show Jumping competition.  That was a surprise ... I’d given up expecting them to upstage the likes of Stroller/Marion Mould and Psalm/Ann Moore in the late sixties/early seventies!

Sunday 05 August 2012

Time to round up this weekend’s results:

 

One runner of interest at Newton Abbot yesterday:

Shannon Spree (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Juvenile Hurdle (9 ran).

 

And two runners of interest at Market Rasen on Sunday:

Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished last in the Handicap Hurdle Div II (2 miles 1 furlong) (11 ran).

Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) won the Handicap Chase (2 miles 4 furlongs); Martin’s 7th winner of the season (4 ran).

 

Choc and William are currently visiting his parents in Leicestershire and he’s tweeted a couple of photographs:

http://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/232084075857461248/photo/1

http://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/232090429359792128/photo/1

I hate to tell him, but lawn mowing is one of a son’s prime duties.  Just ask my two brothers!

 

What an exciting weekend at the Olympics for Team GB ... the 6 gold medals won yesterday were brilliant, and we’ve done pretty well again today; Andy Murray excelled himself by thrashing Roger Federer at Wimbledon; Ben Ainsley clinched his fourth Olympic gold medal.  I’m wickedly envious that my brother and his family spent yesterday in the Olympic stadium watching Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah triumph. 

 

Back to work tomorrow. L  It will be difficult to drag myself away from the TV, as I’m addicted to the sporting events!  Not only do I like to watch my chosen events happening live but I watch the replays in the highlights programmes too. 

Not that I’ve been sitting around doing nothing ... I’ve completed three Katia ‘Big Snow’ scarves this weekend.  Addicted to knitting too!

Friday 03 August 2012

One runner of interest at Newton Abbot tomorrow:

14:00 Shannon Spree (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle

 

And two runners of interest at Market Rasen on Sunday:

14:20 Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle Div II (2 miles 1 furlong)

16:30 Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) – Handicap Chase (2 miles 4 furlongs)

 

And then it will be holibobs time, with the National Hunt season taking the first of two 10-day breaks. 

 

The Galway Festival and Ruby Walsh seem to have developed an aversion to each other ... having missed the fixture for the past couple of years due to injury, Ruby broke some bones in his ankle when he fell during yesterday’s Galway Hurdle.  More

 

With the gold rush in full swing, Team GB has overtaken France and now lies in fourth place in the medals table.  We now have eight gold medals following Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins win in the double sculls, Victoria Pendleton’s win in the Keirin and the triumph of the men’s cyclists in the team pursuit, both in the velodrome.

 

The athletics began today and I shall be glued to the TV this weekend to enjoy the action ... although, of course, I shall take a short break tomorrow afternoon to watch Choc ride at Newton Abbot!  My younger brother Neil and his family will be attending the athletes tomorrow; they’ve also been to see the table tennis and badminton.  But they missed the men’s football match in Manchester eight days ago due to a mix up with their hotel booking. 

Thursday 02 August 2012

It’s very quiet on the racing front once more; no riding engagements for Choc again tomorrow and then just two more days until the first 10-day break of the season.

 

Choc has posted a brief video of himself and William playing on the ‘death slide’; a slight exaggeration ... but William is certainly having fun!

http://yfrog.com/jmbalnevihufrgmuyetgvxziz

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my day off yesterday ... my Aintree tickets are booked ... for all three days this time around!!!  I just need to book my hotel accommodation for the Thursday night, having already booked at my chosen Travelodge for the Friday night.  And, of course, I need to save up for my Cheltenham Festival tickets now!

 

I spent the day knitting two scarves and watching the Olympics coverage – I confess to feeling a little emotional when the girls won their rowing gold medal, the first time that GB has won the gold in any women’s rowing event.

 

Bradley Wiggins was brilliant in the cycling time trial ... and he’s so down to earth and entertaining when interviewed.

 

As always seems to happen, once someone has won gold then the remainder of the British team gains in confidence and the medals start rolling in ... three more today, one from the shooting, one from the canoeing and one in the Velodrome.  Not to mention the silver and bronzes.  We’ve zoomed up the medal table and I think GB is now in 5th position behind those bloominFrenchies ... I hope we overtake them soon!


 

 

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