Thursday 31st December 2009

Choc rode at Warwick this afternoon, and this is how he fared:

Epidavros finished 3rd and Enfant De Lune (Wayne Hutchinson) finished last in the Beginners’ Chase (6 ran).

Miss Overdrive finished 5th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).

Bobby Donald finished 5th in the Handicap Chase (12 ran).

Awesome Freddie won the NH Flat Race, giving Choc his 44th winner of the season (12 ran). J

A point of trivia via Racing UK – Awesome George won the first race of 2009, held at Cheltenham, and half-brother Awesome Freddie has won the last!  (The horses have the same dam - Awesome Aunt.)


Martin Keighley’s Deep Reflection finished 4th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Ponchatrain was withdrawn from the Handicap Chase

Check out Martin’s blog – voted the best trainer’s blog by the Racing Post:


It should be a veritable Choccie fest at Cheltenham tomorrow, as Choc has 7 riding engagements:

12:30 Paddy Live – ‘NH’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Ian Williams)

13:05 Nenuphar Collonges – Handicap Chase (Alan King)

13:40 Bensalem – Novices’ Chase (Alan King).  I’m particularly looking forward to this one, as Punchestowns, Seven Is My Number, Knockara Beau and Pigeon Island have been declared for this race too.  Take The Breeze, who beat Bensalem by 2 lengths at Exeter, and won very convincingly at Newbury on Tuesday, has paid an enormous compliment to Bensalem, so I’m hopeful of a good race.

14:10 Hold Em – Handicap Chase (Keith Goldsworthy)

14:45 Trenchant – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

15:20 Katchit – Freedom Hurdle (Alan King).  Just 2 rivals for Katchit – Mr Thriller and Sentry Duty.

15:50 Romulus D’Artaix – Junior NH Flat Race (Alan King).  Alan also runs The Laodicean in this race, under Wayne Hutchinson.


Martin Keighley also has 3 declared runners:

12:30 King Ozzy (race details as above); ridden by Warren Marston

13:05 Any Currency (race details as above); ridden by Warren Marston

14:45 Wolf Moon (race details as above); ridden by Wayne Hutchinson


Cheltenham has deployed the frost covers, so should be okay for tomorrow – Fairyhouse, Musselburgh and Catterick already having been abandoned.  Unfortunately, Cheltenham shares its frost covers with Sandown Park, so the latter course is rather pessimistic about the chances of Saturday’s card surviving as the next cold snap sets in – the meeting having been lost last season too. 


Wednesday 30 December 2009

Choc rode at Taunton today, and this is how he fared:

Asturienne won the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).  Choc’s 43rd winner of the season J

Spirit of Adjisa finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Dona finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Nehemiah finished 8th in the NH Flat Race Div II (11 ran).


Martin Keighley also had runners at Taunton:

Brimham Boy finished 4th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (12 ran).

Ross Leader was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (13 ran).

Spring Moon (who has the same dam as the talented Wolf Moon) finished 4th in the NH Flat Race Div I (10 ran).  He ran very green, becoming tailed off very shortly after the start – but then made up a lot of ground as he got the hang of it – definitely one to watch once he’s gained a little more experience! 


Tomorrow’s fixture at Uttoxeter has been abandoned;  Choc is scheduled to ride at Warwick:

13:20 Epidavros – Beginners’ Chase (Alan King); Wayne Hutchinson rides Alan’s other runner Enfant De Lune.

14:20 Miss Overdrive – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

14:50 Bobby Donald – Handicap Chase (Richard Phillips)

15:50 Awesome Freddie – NH Flat Race (Alan King)


Martin Keighley also has 2 horses scheduled to run at the fixture:

12:50 Deep Reflection – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

14:50 Ponchatrain – Handicap Chase


My office is due to close early tomorrow, at 13:00, for the New Year celebrations so, hopefully, I’ll be home in time to see all of Choc’s rides.


Tuesday 29 December 2009

Choc remained in Ireland to ride Voy Por Ustedes in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.  The ground was testing and, unfortunately, his mount didn’t seem to get the 3 mile trip, finishing 6th.  However, Voy Por jumped immaculately today.


The Lexus Chase was won by the Paul Nicholls trained What A Friend, ridden by Sam Thomas.  Choc was the first to congratulate his friend on his win.  Second place went to another English trained raider Money Trix.  Cloudy Lane was withdrawn. 


As Choc was unavailable, Wayne Hutchinson stood in for him aboard the Alan King runners at Newbury:

Kings Troop finished 5th in the Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).

Iolith finished 6th in the Introductory Hurdle (10 ran).

Disappointingly, Manyriverstocross could only finish 7th in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).

Karabak, piloted by AP McCoy, ran well to finish 2nd in the Long Walk Hurdle, unsurprisingly the race was won by Big Buck’s (8 ran).

Midnight Prayer finished 4th and Yukon Quest (ridden by Charlie Huxley) finished 11th in the NH Flat Race (18 ran).


Martin Keighley withdrew Wychwoods Legend from the Novices’ Handicap Chase; Total Submission finished 10th in the NH Flat race. 


Tomorrow’s Haydock Park fixture has been abandoned; Choc is scheduled to ride at Taunton:

12:40 Asturienne – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

13:10 Spirit of Adjisa – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

14:15 Dona – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

15:55 Nehemiah – NH Flat Race Div II (Henrietta Knight)


Martin Keighley also has 3 horses scheduled to run at Taunton:

13:40 Brimham Boy – Novices’ Handicap Chase

14:50 Ross Leader – Handicap Chase

15:25 Spring Moon – NH Flat Race Div I


I’m working tomorrow and Thursday, so it’s back to the grindstone for me!


Monday 28 December 2009

Choc went all the way to Leopardstown and everything seemed set for the big race ... when the course was enveloped in mist just a few minutes before the event was due off.  The horses had already reached the start and were called back to base, with the race put back until 15:30, hoping visibility would improve.  However, the mist still didn’t clear and the remainder of the card was abandoned, with the Lexus Chase now due to be run tomorrow!


That means jockey arrangements have been thrown up in the air, Paul Townend will take the ride on Cooldine tomorrow, as Ruby Walsh is due to ride Big Bucks in the rescheduled Long Walk Hurdle at Newbury.  Andrew McNamara reportedly replaces Jason Maguire aboard Cloudy Lane, no announcement as I write regarding the replacement for Barry Geraghty aboard What A Friend, and no definite news yet regarding Choc! 


Meanwhile at Chepstow today, Alan King’s horses fared as follows:

Starburst Diamond slithered on landing and fell in the Beginners’ Chase (6 ran).

Halcon Genelardais finished 7th and Old Benny pulled up in the Welsh Grand National (18 ran).

No Tears finished 10th in the Maiden Hurdle (13 ran).

Yukon Quest was a non-runner in the NH Flat Race – and is engaged at Newbury tomorrow


Dream Alliance won the Welsh Grand National, trained by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Tom O’Brien – the jockey having recently returned from sustaining a broken leg in a paddock accident at Hereford.  And a wonderful recovery for the horse too, having cut through a tendon at Aintree in 2008, and it being doubtful that he would race again.


Meanwhile Martin Keighley also had 3 runners at the fixture:

Mistress To No One finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Monty’s Revenge finished 8th and Robin De Vassy finished 9th in the NH Flat Race (9 ran) – the former needing time to ‘develop’, the latter running out of time to take part in a bumper as he will turn 7 on Friday, and has experienced lots of niggling problems preventing a racecourse appearance before today! 


And at Leicester, Alan King ran 3 horses:

Double Pride finished 2nd and Mr Valentino 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Sahrati finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).


If Newbury is on tomorrow, then Alan King is due to run the following horses:

12:30 Kings Troop – Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle

13:30 Iolith – Introductory Hurdle

14:05 Manyriverstocross – Challow Novices’ Hurdle

14:40 Karabak – Long Walk Hurdle (AP McCoy to ride for JP McManus)

15:45 Midnight Prayer and Yukon Quest – NH Flat Race


Martin Keighley runs Wychwoods Legend in the 15:15 Novices’ Handicap Chase and Total Submission in the NH Flat race at 15:45 (Robin De Vassy having run at Chepstow today). 


I was hoping to go to Newbury tomorrow but, firstly having seen the weather forecast which predicts heavy rain and even the possibility of snow, and secondly not knowing for definite where Choc will be tomorrow (although an Irish report mentions that Alan King wishes Choc to be at Newbury rather than Leopardstown) I’m going to ere on the side of caution (a very good Capricorn trait) and remain at home – Newbury being a 70 mile journey each way for me. 


The weekend weather isn’t looking promising either, with more snow predicted – so will Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day fixture survive, or Sandown on Saturday or the Sussex National at Plumpton on Sunday?


Sunday 27 December 2009

Choc rode at Kempton Park this afternoon, and this is how he fared:

Mille Chief won the Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle, giving Choc his 42nd winner of the season (9 ran). J

Quaspia finished 3rd in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.  Martin Keighley’s very consistent Love of Tara finished 2nd, and Alan King’s Gold Reef finished 4th (10 ran).

Briareus was pulled up in the Desert Orchid Chase, the race was won by the Nicky Henderson trained Petit Robin (8 ran).

West End Rocker finished 7th in the Handicap Chase (15 ran)


As hoped, I went to Kempton Park to watch Choc, and I was very pleased he rode a winner. 

His facial injury is indiscernible ... which is fabulous news, but very puzzling!

And he’s had his hair trimmed a little – which I had noticed when I saw him on TV back on 16th December ...


Congratulations to Timmy Murphy, who rode his 1,000th career winner today. 

Barry Geraghty rode a treble at Kempton today, but also received a 3-day ban for dangerous riding following his victory aboard Riverside Theatre! 


Another busy day of racing tomorrow, weather permitting (Catterick has already been abandoned):

Choc rides Voy Por Ustedes in the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown; there are 3 other English trained runners – Cloudy Lane, Money Trix and What A Friend.  Barry Geraghty rides the latter, as Ruby Walsh is due to ride Cooldine.


Meanwhile at Chepstow, Alan King runs:

12:25 Starburst Diamond

14:10 Halcon Genelardais and Old Benny – Welsh Grand National

15:20 No Tears

15:50 Yukon Quest

Martin Keighley also has 3 runners at the fixture:

13:35 Mistress To No One

15:50 Monty’s Revenge and Robin De Vassy


And at Leicester, Alan King runs:

12:50 Double Pride and Mr Valentino

15:35 Sahrati


I’m planning a day of rest and relaxation tomorrow – although I plan to start writing my Kempton Park diary too.  I’ve booked Tuesday as holiday (Newbury?) but must return to work on Wednesday L.  


Saturday 26 December 2009

Choc was at Wincanton this afternoon, and this is how he fared:

Chilli Rose finished 2nd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran)

Blue Dark finished 5th in the 2 miles 5 furlongs Handicap Chase (14 ran)

Bormo finished 3rd in the 2 mile Handicap Chase (10 ran)

Pride in Battle finished 3rd in the NH Flat Race (11 ran)


Meanwhile at Kempton Park, Alan had 3 runners:

Lake Legend won the Handicap Hurdle (19 ran); Alan’s other runner in this event, Forzy Origny, finished 6th.

Nikos Extra finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (13 ran); Martin Keighley’s Rodrigo Gonzales finished 8th in this event.


Finally at Huntingdon:

Chamirey was a non-runner in the 12:05; The Hairy Lemon finished 3rd in the 13:15 (7 ran); and Sudden Beat finished 3rd in the 15:00 (7 ran).


Tomorrow Choc will be at Kempton Park, where he has 4 riding engagements:

13:00 Mille Chief – Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

14:05 Quaspia – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Francois Doumen).  Martin Keighley runs Love of Tara in this event.

14:40 Briareus – Desert Orchid Chase (Grade 2) (Andrew Balding)

15:15 West End Rocker – Handicap Chase (Alan King)

Another day at the races for me?  I very much hope so ...


As I had a ticket for Kempton Park today, I spent this afternoon at the races.  I took a few photos, below left to right: Handicap Hurdle winner Lake Legend and Wayne Hutchinson; Ruby Walsh and Kauto Star win the King George VI Steeplechase for the 4th consecutive year (annihilating the opposition!); Martin Keighley’s Rodrigo Gonzales.


Wayne & Lake Legend 26 Dec 09 red.jpg

Ruby & Kauto Star 26 Dec 09 red.jpg

rodrigo gonzales red.jpg

Thursday 24 December 2009



The extremely good news is that Choc will be back in action on Boxing Day at Wincanton ... the bad news is that I’ve made plans to go to Kempton Park that day!!!  Never mind, I have the option to go racing on Sunday to Kempton Park and/or next Tuesday to Newbury and/or to Sandown Park on Saturday week, so hopefully I’ll get to see him again soon. 


Choc’s scheduled riding engagements for Wincanton on Saturday are:

12:35 Chilli Rose – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

13:10 Blue Dark – Handicap Chase – 2 miles 5 furlongs (Alan King)

14:20 Bormo – Handicap Chase – 2 miles (Alan King)

15:55 Pride in Battle – NH Flat Race (Alan King)


Meanwhile at Kempton Park, Alan has 2 runners to be ridden by Wayne Hutchinson:

13:20 Lake Legend – Handicap Hurdle

15:40 Nikos Extra – Handicap Chase

Martin Keighley’s Rodrigo Gonzales also runs in the 15:40.


Alan also has 3 horses scheduled to run at Huntingdon on Boxing Day:

12:05 Chamirey; 13:15 The Hairy Lemon; 15:00 Sudden  Beat


Towcester’s Boxing Day fixture having been abandoned earlier this week, Wetherby and Sedgefield have now followed suit.


I worked until lunchtime today – and walking to work this morning was an absolute nightmare – the pavements resembled an ice rink, as it had rained last evening and had then frozen on top of the compacted snow and ice.  My colleague Sue slipped over on the way to work, and Fay had to be helped across the car park despite the fact she was wearing snow boots!  Luckily the thaw had set in by the time I walked home and there were only a few icy patches remaining.  Needless to say, following my fall in October, I’m now paranoid about slipping over. 


Tomorrow I’ll be driving my parents up to Bedfordshire, as we will be spending Christmas Day at Silsoe with my brother Neil and his family. 


Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas. 


Monday 21 December 2009

I’ll begin with a Choccie news update …


I’ve been doing some internet research and discovered an article by Alan Lee from today’s Times Online:


And Geoff Lester writes about Alan King’s staff Christmas Party, and of course mentions Choc, in his blog update on Alan King’s website:


Having read these articles, I was really worried that Choc’s face would be ‘a real mess’ as described, so Meally’s brilliant Eclipse blog (the latest edition of which appeared today) is a life-saver for his fans … as she’s written about last Wednesday’s racecourse accident – and has published a picture of Choc post-repair (although evidently the ‘pre-stitching’ picture is far too gruesome to show us).  The doctors have done a very good job and I’m extremely pleased to report that Choc is as cute as ever!  Here is the link:


Today’s card at Musselburgh was abandoned, and tomorrow’s fixture at Bangor on Dee has been lost too.  So there’s no National Hunt racing until Boxing Day (Saturday).  Katchit is going to be re-routed to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, rather than compete in the Long Walk Hurdle re-scheduled for Newbury a week tomorrow.


Ffos Las went ahead today, and this is how Alan King’s horses fared:

Causeway King finished 2nd, and Ballingaddy finished 4th in their respective events.


Hertfordshire was hit by more snow this evening – it’s stopped falling at the moment but, according to the forecast, the weather front is going to change direction later and will be travelling back across the area again, so we will be getting even more snow! 


Sunday 20 December 2009

There’s still a good covering of snow in Hertfordshire, and a little more fell last night too.   In addition to Ascot, Newcastle and Haydock Park were lost yesterday, and Carlisle was lost today.


A Google Alert found this online article from the Guardian, the reporter visiting Newbury last Wednesday to meet with AP and Ruby.  There’s a paragraph two thirds of the way through, where AP explains in gory detail the reason why he deputised for Choc in the last race of the day L L L L L :


If Ffos Las goes ahead tomorrow, after its 08:00 inspection, Wayne Hutchinson takes the ride on Alan King’s horses, as Choc remains sidelined:

12:30 Causeway King

14:40 Ballingaddy


Friday 18 December 2009


Back Garden 1.jpg



The promised snow materialised with a vengeance in the South East of England, and Ascot was abandoned, both for today and tomorrow.  Haydock and Newcastle will go ahead tomorrow if they pass their inspections, however the abandonment of Ascot leaves Choc without any riding engagements.  As there are no National Hunt meetings in the south on Sunday, I expect Choc will make his comeback at Ffos Las on Monday, weather permitting.


It’s Alan King’s Christmas party tomorrow night, so Choc may wish to drown his sorrows following last Wednesday’s nasty fall at Newbury.


Following the deployment of frost covers and a late inspection, Uttoxeter went ahead today and this is how Alan King’s runner fared:

Masked Man finished 4th in the Beginners’ Chase under Christian Williams (7 ran).


Thursday 17 December 2009

Firstly an important news update on Choc – gleaned from Alan King’s website.

Choc is expected to be back in action on Saturday, at Ascot (weather permitting of course). 

He lost a couple of teeth in yesterday’s fall, and needed around 15 stitches inserted in his lip ... for further details, here’s the link to Alan’s official blog, written by Geoff Lester:


This is how Alan King’s runners fared at Exeter this afternoon:

Sagalyrique finished 5th in the Handicap Chase, Sam Thomas deputising for Choc (12 ran).

Over Sixty was a non-runner in the Mares’ Novices’ Chase

Junior finished 4th in the Beginners’ Chase, under AP McCoy (8 ran).


Martin Keighley also had a couple of runners at the track:

Heezagrey finished 11th of 18 in the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle, ridden by Danny Hiskett

Wychwoods Legend finished 3rd of 8 in the Mares’ Novices Chase


Tomorrow, Alan King has a couple of runners engaged at Ascot:

12:45 Mr Valentino – NH Maiden Hurdle – to be ridden by Gerard Tumelty

13:20 Call Me A Legend – Novices’ Handicap Chase – ridden by Wayne Hutchison


Whilst at Uttoxeter, Alan has another runner:

13:45 Masked Man – Beginners’ Chase – to be ridden by Christian Williams


As I write this blog, the BBC forecast for Ascot is -2 with light snow showers tonight; light snow showers tomorrow, 0 by day -3 overnight; and sunny on Saturday, 0 by day and -2 overnight!


Wednesday 16 December 2009

It has turned out to be a day of triumph and disaster.  Today, instead of writing my blog and then watching the video of today’s races, I decided to watch the races first ... so I’m up to speed with the misfortune which befell Choc at Newbury.


The day started off well for him, with a winner in the first race of the day, and a runner-up berth on his fourth ride ... and then disaster struck L.  Choc’s mount, Minella Four Star, came to grief at the penultimate fence, kicking Choc in the face as he fell.  Choc was shown walking away to the ambulance, holding a dressing to his lower face.  It was later reported that his chin was split open and he needed stitches in the wound. 



Poor Choc, I do so hope he’s feeling better soon, and I wish him a very speedy recovery.


But I guess I should tie up the loose ends from today’s racing too:

Salden Licht won the Maiden Hurdle Div I, giving Choc his 41st winner of the season (18 ran)

Perception finished 10th (last) in the Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran)

Parpaillot was pulled up in the Novices’ Chase (10 ran)

Spirit of Adjisa finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle Div II (14 ran)

Minella Four Star fell in the Handicap Chase (6 ran) – see note above

AP McCoy replaced the injured Choc aboard Soft Drink in the Fillies ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race, and they finished 4th.


Congratulations to Richard Johnson, who rode his 2,000th career winner at Newbury aboard the Richard Lee trained Fighting Chance.  (And he rode his 2001st winner too.)


And the Bangor results for the Alan King runners:

Devil to Pay finished 4th in the Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Tifoso finished 8th in the 2½ mile Handicap Hurdle (11 ran)

Trigger The Light finished 5th in the 3 mile Handicap Hurdle (9 ran)

It was a hurdles only card, following the recent flooding.


Alan King has 3 runners at Exeter tomorrow:

14:20 Sagalyrique – Handicap Chase

15:20 Over Sixty – Mares’ Novices’ Chase

15:50 Junior – Beginners’ Chase


Martin Keighley also has a couple of runners at the track:

12:50 Heezagrey – Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (ridden by Danny Hiskett)

15:20 Wychwoods Legend (details as above) (ridden by Tom Scudamore, as Warren Marston is currently on the sidelines).


Tuesday 15 December 2009

Today it was Folkestone’s turn to be abandoned due to the ground being frozen.


Choc is due to ride at Newbury tomorrow, where he has 6 rides scheduled, weather permitting!

11:50 Salden Licht – Maiden Hurdle Div I (Alan King)

12:20 Perception - Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

12:50 Parpaillot – Novices’ Chase (Francois Doumen)

13:25 Spirit of Adjisa – Maiden Hurdle Div II (Alan King)

14:35 Minella Four Star – Handicap Chase (Alan King)

15:40 Soft Drink – Fillies ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Francois Doumen)


If Newbury goes ahead, will Richard Johnson ride his 2,000th career winner?


Meanwhile, at Bangor tomorrow, Alan King has 3 runners, all to be ridden by Wayne Hutchinson:

12:40 Devil to Pay – Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle

13:10 Tifoso – Handicap Hurdle (2½ miles)

14:20 Trigger The Light – Handicap Hurdle (3 miles)


Tomorrow, my work colleagues and I go for our Christmas lunch ... I hope it doesn’t snow heavily, as I don’t wish to be stuck at the hotel and unable to get home! 


Monday 14 December 2009

Two rides for Choc at Plumpton this afternoon:

Peter Grimes finished 3rd in the Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

Rathnaskillogue was pulled up before 2 out in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).

The JP McManus owned Franchoek finished last of the 5 finishers in the Novices’ Chase.  The race was won by King Edmund, who was runner-up to The Betchworth Kid in a novices’ hurdle event at the track last month, and appears to be a talented novice.


No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow.


Ayr was abandoned today due to part of the course being frozen.  Evidently there’s a possibility of sleety showers along the M4 corridor on Wednesday (Newbury) and, although Friday looks like being sunny in the Ascot area, it’s going to be very cold (down to -4 at night?)  I have a day’s holiday on Friday ... so, if the racing survives, I might venture out to the track on both Friday and Saturday.


Sunday 13 December 2009

Choc had one ride at Hereford this afternoon:

Starburst Diamond finished last of the 3 runners in the Novices’ Chase, beaten a distance.


Tomorrow Choc will be at Plumpton, where he has 2 rides:

13:05 Peter Grimes – Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

15:10 Rathnaskillogue – Handicap Chase (PA Roche)

The JP McManus owned Franchoek runs in the Novices’ Chase at 13:35 under AP McCoy.


Following Friday’s run at Cheltenham, novice hurdler Lidar is out for the rest of this season having been struck into on his hind hoof, which is split from top to bottom.  Medermit will stick to hurdling for the remainder of this season, with the hope of competing in the Champion Hurdle. 


Saturday 12 December 2009

I enjoyed my day out at the Paddy, Ruby and Barry show in Cheltenham.  Unfortunately no other jockeys got a look in, as Paddy rode a treble (including Khyber Kim in the International Hurdle); Ruby rode a double (including Poquelin in the Gold Cup Handicap Chase); as did Barry Geraghty (including Zaynar in the Relkeel Hurdle).


Anyway, this is how Choc fared today:

Ebiayn finished 6th in the Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).

Hold Em finished 6th in the Gold Cup Handicap Chase (17 ran). 

Medermit finished 3rd, behind Khyber Kim and Celestial Halo in the International Hurdle (7 ran). 

Shalone finished 3rd in the Relkeel Hurdle (6 ran). 


Meanwhile, at Doncaster:

Alan King’s Penn Da Benn unseated Wayne Hutchinson in the Beginners’ Chase; and Wind Instrument finished 8th in the Handicap Chase. 

Saticon’s and Sir Harry Ormesher’s race was voided for safety reasons – due to Philip Hobbs’ runner Spanish Conquest having broken a leg after jumping the first fence.  This resulted in there being insufficient room for the remaining runners to complete the course as they could not bypass the stricken horse with safety on the final circuit.


At Lingfield Martin Keighley’s Ross Leader finished 9th in this event.  Wychwoods Legend was non-runner.


Tomorrow Choc will be at Hereford, where he has one ride for Alan King:

14:10 Starburst Diamond – Novices’ Chase


Friday 11 December 2009

Choc was at Cheltenham, for the first day of the Boylesports meeting, and this is how he fared:

Pomme Tiepy finished 6th in the Handicap Chase (12 ran).  Martin Keighley’s Any Currency finished 3rd in the same race, but was staying on at the end.

Trying 3 miles for the first time, Trenchant finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).  Martin Keighley’s Wolf Moon finished 8th, having blundered badly at the second last flight.

Having his first public outing over hurdles, Lidar was a little disappointing, finishing 4th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

News of Alan King’s other Cheltenham runners:

Awesome George finished a distant 5th (last) in the 12:05 (Weird Al won this race, having won at Cheltenham last month too) and Sovereign King finished 5th of 17 in the 14:25, both ridden by Charlie Huxley


Meanwhile at Doncaster, Alan King had 4 runners:

Hong Kong Harry finished 6th of 14; Enfant De Lune finished 5th of 10; Latin Scholar finished 14th and Sadler’s Star 5th of 18 in the 14:00.


Tomorrow Choc will be at Cheltenham:

12:10 Ebiayn – Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

14:25 Hold Em – Boylesports Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Ken Goldsworthy).  Hold Em has been running very consistently of late – Choc having finished 3rd aboard him in the big race at the Cheltenham Showcase meeting.

15:05 Medermit – Boylesports International Hurdle (Alan King).  He’s running against current Champion Hurdler Punjabi, and runner up Celestial Halo in this race.

15:40 Shalone – Relkeel Hurdle (Alan King).  Choc’s mount has to compete against Zaynar in this one! 


Meanwhile, at Doncaster tomorrow:

Alan King runs Penn Da Benn in the Beginners’ Chase at 13:35; Saticon and Sir Harry Ormesher in the Handicap Hurdle at 14:45; and Wind Instrument in the Handicap Chase at 15:20.


Lingfield is holding a ‘bumper’ and Steeplechase card tomorrow, the hurdles course being unfit for racing!

Martin Keighley has a couple of runners: Ross Leader in the 2 mile 4 furlongs Handicap Chase at 12:55; and Wychwoods Legend in the 3 mile Handicap Chase at 14:30.


It has been announced that one of Alan King’s former stable stars, My Way De Solzen, has been officially retired.


Lesley and I will be off to Cheltenham tomorrow – so I’ll be setting my alarm very early, as it takes over 2 hours to drive there and I need to go via Bedfordshire to pick her up too!  I’m very pleased that Choc has one early race and 3 late races, because that will allow me time to eat lunch in the restaurant (which is part of my charity auction prize).   So my intended timetable is – Watch Race 1; Go to Lunch; Watch Races 5, 6 and 7!


And don’t forget to watch Jonathan Ross tonight, as one of his guests will be Andre Agassi.  I’m not keen on Jonathan, but I’ll make an exception on this occasion!


Thursday 10 December 2009


Agassi 09 Dec 09 red.jpg


As mentioned earlier in the week, last night I attended ‘An Evening with Andre Agassi’.  Luckily I had a few days holiday to take from work before the end of the year, so I decided to book a day’s leave yesterday so that I could get to the event in London with plenty of time to spare.  My friend Denise travelled up from Caversham and I met her in Covent Garden early afternoon.  The event was held at The Institute of Education near Russell Square, and began at 19:00, so we spent the afternoon visiting two of my favourite bead shops – in Tower Street and Earlham Street. 


Not surprisingly, we arrived early at the Institute and waited in the foyer until the Logan Hall theatre opened its doors at 18:30.  Having been at the front of the queue, we got centre front row seats!  By 17:00 the theatre was full, holding 900 people. 


The Chief Sportswriter for The Sunday Times, David Walsh, was then introduced to the audience, followed by Andre – who received a very warm welcome.  Despite having read Andre’s autobiography, it was still fascinating to hear him talk about his father (a control freak), his career, the fact that he hated tennis, and about testing positive for the highly addictive drug, crystal methamphetamine (he escaped a ban by claiming he had taken the drug by accident).  He also spoke about his relationships with Pete Sampras and Boris Becker, and Andre proved that he is a very good mimic, as he stood up and demonstrated their serving styles! 


At the end of the evening, a number of audience members were permitted to ask Andre questions ... being shy and retiring I didn’t put my hand up for that!  (I never used to put my hand up in class when at school either!)  Andre then set off for the foyer, where he signed copies of his recently released autobiography – so we joined the queue, despite both of us already having a copy of the book at home!  A signed copy is a nice keepsake.  


The event ended at 21:30, and we set off for Russell Square underground station to catch our respective trains, Den heading for Heathrow to catch the coach back to Reading, and me heading for St Pancras International to catch a First Capital Connect train home.  It was then a 20 minute walk, luckily along the main road, to reach home, which I did at 22:50.


If you’d like to see excerpts filmed at last night’s event, The Times have put a short video on their website:


And now back to today’s racing!


Choc rode at Taunton this afternoon, and this is how he fared:

Beautiful Vision was a non-runner in the Selling Hurdle

Little George finished 5th in the 3 mile Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Cracboumwiz was pulled up in the Novices’ Chase (8 ran).

The Betchworth Kid finished a very close 2nd in the 2 mile 1 furlong Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Moment Present finished 5th in the 2 miles 3 furlongs Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).

Sagalyrique won the Handicap Chase (10 ran), giving Choc his 40th winner of the season. J

Long Hop finished 5th in the 3 mile Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).


Ruby Walsh rode a treble and it could have been a 4-timer had his mount not fallen at the final fence!


Meanwhile at Huntingdon:

Alan King had 4 runners: Shabenito finished 13th; Balzaccio won; Raduis Bleu finished 3rd; Bless The Wings finished 6th in their respective events.

Martin Keighley’s Mistress To No One finished 3rd in her event, the 12:30.


At Ludlow, Martin Keighley’s Hareem finished 5th in the Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle


Tomorrow Choc will be at Cheltenham:

13:50 Pomme Tiepy – Handicap Chase (WP Mullins)

15:00 Trenchant – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

15:35 Lidar – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

Alan King has a couple of other runners at the meeting: Awesome George in the 12:05 and Sovereign King in the 14:25, both ridden by Charlie Huxley


Martin Keighley also has a couple of runners at Cheltenham, Any Currency in the 13:50 and Wolf Moon in the 15:00.  Both will be ridden by Tom Scudamore, as the horses are due to carry 10 stone.


Meanwhile at Doncaster, Alan King has 4 runners:

Hong Kong Harry in the 11:50; Enfant De Lune in the 12:50; Latin Scholar and Sadler’s Star in the 14:00.


Wednesday 09 December 2009

Just a quick blog tonight ... it’s now 23:30 and having spent this afternoon and evening in London ... it’s definitely bedtime!


The results from Leicester:

Alan King’s runners: Dona finished 2nd; and Parlesotho finished 10th in their respective events.

Martin Keighley’s runners: King Ozzy finished 3rd; Mr Newton fell; and Deep Reflection finished 6th in their respective events.


Choc is making up for lost time – tomorrow afternoon he’s amazingly busy when he rides at Taunton (with a ride in every race):

12:50 Beautiful Vision – Selling Hurdle (Evan Williams)

13:20 Little George – Novices’ Hurdle 3 miles 110 yards (Alan King)

13:50 Cracboumwiz – Novices’ Chase (Alan King)

14:20 The Betchworth Kid – Novices’ Hurdle 2 miles 1 furlong (Alan King)

14:50 Moment Present – Handicap Hurdle 2 miles 3 furlongs 110 yards (Charlie Mann)

15:20 Sagalyrique – Handicap Chase (Alan King)

15:50 Long Hop – Handicap Hurdle 3 miles 110 yards (Alan King)


Meanwhile at Huntingdon:

Alan King has 4 runners: 12:30 Shabenito; 13:30 Balzaccio; 14:30 Raduis Bleu; 15:30 Bless The Wings

Martin Keighley has 1 runner: 12:30 Mistress To No One


And, finally, at Ludlow:

Martin Keighley runs Hareem in the 15:10 Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle


And, of course, I’ll tell you all about my trip to London in tomorrow’s blog.


Tuesday 08 December 2009

Choc was at Sedgefield this afternoon, and he rode a winner: J

Ballybriggan finished 5th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran)

Hector’s House won the Juvenile Novices’ Selling Hurdle (5 ran).  Choc’s 39th winner of the season.


And at Fontwell Park, this is how Martin Keighley’s runners fared:

Ponchatrain unseated his jockey (Warren Marston) in the Handicap Chase

The very consistent Love of Tara finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle


Choc has no riding engagements tomorrow.


However, Alan King does have a couple of runners at Leicester:

Dona runs in the Conditional Jockeys’ Novices Hurdle at 12:40; and Charlie Huxley rides Parlesotho in the Handicap Hurdle at 15:10.


Martin Keighley also has 4 runners engaged at Leicester:

King Ozzy in the 12:40; Mr Newton and Ponchatrain in the 13:10 (Ponchatrain ran at Fontwell Park today); and Deep Reflection in the 15:10.


Tomorrow evening my friend Denise and I will be in London for ‘An Evening with Andre Agassi’.  Andre will be talking about his career with The Sunday Times chief sportswriter.  I’ve read Andre’s recently released autobiography, but I’m still very much looking forward to the event. 


I’m going to Cheltenham races on Saturday as part of my winning Worcester charity auction prize, but I’ve requested a rain cheque until late January or sometime in February for the racecourse walk (hopefully to walk around Newbury or Ascot or Sandown Park), as it wouldn’t be fair if Andre detracted from my ‘Choc experience’ or vice versa.  Andre and Choc are very special and I wish to enjoy both experiences to the full. J   


Monday 07 December 2009

Tomorrow Choc is scheduled to be at Sedgefield, where he has 2 rides:

13:20 Ballybriggan – NH Novices’ Hurdle (JJ Quinn)

14:20 Hector’s House – Juvenile Novices’ Selling Hurdle (Evan Williams)

I remember the children’s TV programme of the same name ...'s_House


And Martin Keighley has a couple of runners at Fontwell Park tomorrow:

14:10 Ponchatrain – Handicap Chase

14:40 Love of Tara – Novices’ Hurdle


Sunday 06 December 2009

Choc rode at Warwick today, and this is how he fared:

Himrayn was pulled up in the Maiden Hurdle (18 ran)

Magnetic Pole finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (13 ran)

Awesome Freddie finished 5th in the NH Flat Race (16 ran) – but was the result affected when jockey Michael Murphy pulled up his mount early in the race due to a tack problem, hampering Choc’s mount?


No racing in the south tomorrow, so Choc won’t be in racecourse action. 


Saturday 05 December 2009

Choc was riding at Chepstow this afternoon, and this is how he fared:

Victory Parade finished 4th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran)

Stolen Moments was pulled up 4 out in the Handicap Chase (14 ran)


Having ridden a double yesterday, Wayne Hutchinson had another good day, riding 2 winners at Chepstow – for trainers Warren Greatrex and K Bishop.


At Sandown Park, Twist Magic won the Tingle Creek Chase with ease.

And Henrietta Knight’s Somersby beat the favourite Crack Away Jack in the Grade 2 Novices’ Chase.


Tomorrow Choc will be at Warwick, where he has 3 rides:

14:40 Himrayn – Maiden Hurdle (Mrs ALM King)

15:10 Magnetic Pole – Handicap Chase (Richard Lee)

15:40 Awesome Freddie – NH Flat Race (Alan King).  As the name suggests, this horse is a half-brother to stable companion Awesome George – they have the same dam Awesome Aunt.


Warwick is one of the courses I want to visit ... but not tomorrow.  Mind you, I’ve visited Warwick itself and was very disappointed.  There’s nothing to see apart from the castle, and entry to that was very expensive and definitely not good value for money.


Friday 04 December 2009

Yet again, the rain came in and the mist descended on Exeter racecourse! 

You could see the horses running in the first race, it had become relatively misty by the time the second race took place ... and by the third race you could barely see anything!  Conditions got so bad that the last 2 races of the day were abandoned due to the poor visibility. 


In the third race, the Novices’ Chase, Bensalem finished 2nd.  (5 ran). 

In the fifth race, the NH Novices’ Hurdle, Swincombe Rock completed in 2nd. (16 ran).

The final race, in which Choc was due to ride Al Sirat, was abandoned.


However, Alan King had a better day at Sandown Park, where Manyriverstocross won the Novices’ Hurdle, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.  It was a good day for Wayne, who rode a double, his other winner Temoin being a 40-1 shot for trainer Richard Phillips!


Choc will be riding as Chepstow tomorrow:

12:30 Victory Parade – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Miss R Curtis)

14:35 Stolen Moments – Handicap Chase (Alan King)


As I’m sitting out both days of the Tingle Creek Festival this season, I’ll be tuned to Attheraces tomorrow to watch the racing from Chepstow.


Hopefully Alan King’s horses will soon be back to their best, now that he’s discovered that the cause of their recent lack of form is a muscle enzyme problem.  And I’m looking forward to Choc riding a lot more winners as a result!  


Thursday 03 December 2009

Good news, Choc’s only ride of the day was a winner! J

Bakbenscher won the Beginners’ Chase by a neck (5 ran).  Choc’s 38th winner of the season.


Alan King’s runner at Leicester – It’s A Date – finished 7th in his event under Wayne Hutchinson.


And more success for the Martin Keighley yard, this time at Market Rasen:

Deep Reflection won the Handicap Hurdle under Warren Marston – Martin’s 20th winner of the season

Heezagrey finished 6th of 8 in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle under Ian Popham


Tomorrow Choc will be at Exeter ... so I’ll be tuned into Attheraces, not Racing UK. 

I like the Tingle Creek Festival at Sandown, so I’ll watch highlights of that meeting on Racing UK later in the evening. 

Anyway, Choc has 3 rides:

13:35 Bensalem – Novices’ Chase (Alan King)

14:45 Swincombe Rock – NH Novices’ Hurdle (RH & Mrs S Alner)

15:50 Al Sirat – ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Brendan Powell)


Alan King has one runner at Sandown tomorrow:

14:00 Manyriverstocross – Novices’ Hurdle, to be ridden by Wayne Hutchinson


Wednesday 02 December 2009

Nothing to report today, as Plumpton was abandoned due to water-logging!  I’m not surprised, as I got soaked-through walking home tonight.


Tomorrow Choc has one ride at Wincanton:

14:45 Bakbenscher – Beginners’ Chase (Alan King)


Alan King also sends a runner to Leicester – It’s A Date competes in the 14:35 under Wayne Hutchinson.


Martin Keighley has a couple of runners at Market Rasen tomorrow:

14:55 Deep Reflection – Handicap Hurdle (Warren Marston)

15:25 Heezagrey -  Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Ian Popham)


I hate these dark evenings – Autumn is my least favourite season – November my least favourite month ... so at least that’s over for another year!  My favourite season is Spring – crocuses; daffodils; lambs; new leaves; flowering rhododendrons and azaleas; and horse chestnut tree blossom ...


Tuesday 01 December 2009

Choc was at Southwell this afternoon, where he had 4 riding engagements:

Chamirey finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran)

Saltagioo finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle (14 ran)

Mistress Eva finished last in the Handicap Hurdle (5 ran)

Habbie Simpson finished 3rd in the NH Flat Race (14 ran). Alan King’s other runner, Kericho, finished 7th. 

Quetzel, under Gerard Tumelty, finished 7th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).


Tomorrow Choc will be at Plumpton, where he has 2 rides:

14:05 Bobby Donald – Handicap Chase (Richard Phillips)

15:40 Goring Two – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (Mrs D M Grissell).  There’s a stable companion called Goring One running in the same race!!!


It must be very frustrating for Choc that Alan King’s horses haven’t reached top form yet ... especially when he sees his peers riding winners at all the big fixtures.  L




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