Friday 31 December 2010



Many Congratulations

to Meally and Choc upon

the arrival of their baby son

William Robert


Baby William arrived at 6.00 p.m. yesterday, 30 December, and weighed in at exactly 7 lbs.

Mother and baby are doing well and hope to be home within the next day or two.


Amongst others, William shares his birthday with Rudyard Kipling and Tiger Woods.  I had a maternal great grandfather and a paternal great great grandfather named William, and it was also my paternal grandfather’s middle name.  It’s nice when children are given a traditional name and, in later life, it also has the advantage of not giving away one’s age! 


With William’s safe arrival, Choc was back in action for one ride at Warwick this afternoon, and here is that and the other results from the fixture:

Way Back When (Alan King/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen) finished 2nd in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Next Man In (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 8th and Tales to Tell (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (17 ran).


Meanwhile this is how Martin Keighley’s runners fared at Uttoxeter, where the going looked pretty dire:

Havingotascoobydo finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle Div 1 (10 ran).

Monty’s Revenge finished 8th and Saffron Lord finished 6th in the Maiden Hurdle Div 2 (11 ran).

Love of Tara was pulled up in the Beginners’ Chase (5 ran).

Deep Reflection was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 4½ furlongs) (11 ran).

Ukrainian Star finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (3 miles) (9 ran).


Everything is now set fair for Cheltenham tomorrow, where there are a number of runners of interest:

12:20 Habbie Simpson (Alan King/Choc) & Total Submission (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Novices’ Hurdle

12:55 Karabak (Alan King/AP McCoy) – Hurdle

13:30 Blazing Bailey (Alan King/Choc) & Il Duce (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) – Handicap Chase

14:00 Medermit (Alan King/Choc) – Dipper Novices’ Chase

15:45 Jojabean (Alan King/Choc) – Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race


Alan King also has a number of runners at Exeter tomorrow:

12:40 Lariat Sam (Charlie Huxley) & Lord Liath (Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

14:15 Salden Licht (Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

16:00 Bardolf (Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden NH Flat Race


Choc is scheduled to be at Plumpton on Sunday, and I’ll give details of his rides tomorrow.


Thursday 30 December 2010

Well, I have some results ... but the main item of news is that Choc didn’t ride at Taunton today as he’s been called away to attend the birth of his first child! 


Having returned to work yesterday after my Christmas break, I have been taking a peek at the racing results via my PC at work – so when I checked the early results today and noticed that Wayne Hutchinson had taken Choc’s intended rides I knew that it could mean only one thing ... the baby’s imminent arrival!


Anyway, here is an overview of today’s results:

Iolith (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Chilli Rose (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 9th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Kings Troop (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th and Tuanku (Alan King/Peter Hatton) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Causeway King (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 9th and Gilded Age (Alan King/Peter Hatton) finished 4th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).


Warwick has passed its inspection and racing will go ahead tomorrow, with Choc scheduled to ride in the 15:50:

14:50 Way Back When (Alan King/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:50 Next Man In (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) & Tales to Tell (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race


Meanwhile Martin Keighley is scheduled to have 6 runners at Uttoxeter, which is subject to a 07:00 inspection:

12:10 Havingotascoobydo (Warren Marston) – Maiden Hurdle Div 1

12:40 Monty’s Revenge (Warren Marston) & Saffron Lord (Tom Siddall) – Maiden Hurdle Div 2

13:10 Love of Tara (Warren Marston) – Beginners Chase

14:10 Deep Reflection (Warren Marston) – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 4½ furlongs)

15:10 Ukrainian Star (Warren Marston) – Handicap Hurdle (3 miles)


I’ll keep an eye on the internet and hopefully I’ll have some definitive baby news tomorrow ... 

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Newbury went ahead today on very testing ground, and it was very difficult to see any of the action through the mist!  So perhaps after all I shouldn’t be too disappointed not to have been able to attend the fixture due to work commitments.


The ‘special interest’ results are as follows:

Little George (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th and Balzaccio (Alan King/Choc) completed in 4th in the Novices’ Chase (9 ran).

As expected, Smad Place was a non-runner in the Juvenile Hurdle.

Soleil D’Avril (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th in the Introductory Hurdle (12 ran).

Jetnova (Alan King/Choc) was withdrawn from the Challow Novices’ Hurdle; the race was won by the Jonjo O’Neill trained, AP McCoy ridden, Backspin.

Ravethebrave (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd but unfortunately Ikorodu Road departed at the last when leading (Martin Keighley/Johnny Farrelly) in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (15 ran).  Poor Ikorodu Road deserves a change of luck.

Batonnier (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (20 ran).


The Paul Nicholls trained, Nick Scholfield ridden, Pride of Dulcote won the Mandarin Graduation Chase, beating Punchestowns by a head.  Here is an overview of the earlier races on the Newbury card; and, not surprisingly, Big Bucks won the re-scheduled Long Walk Hurdle.


I did tape today’s action from Newbury and will watch the recording ... but I guess I won’t see much of the action!


Tomorrow, Choc is due to ride at Taunton, and here are the runners of special interest:

13:15 Iolith (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:25 Chilli Rose (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

15:00 Kings Troop (Alan King/Choc) & Tuanku (Alan King/Peter Hatton) – Handicap Hurdle

15:30 Causeway King (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) & Gilded Age (Alan King/Peter Hatton) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle


Meally Thornton’s latest Eclipse diary has now appeared on-line.


And I’ve booked my ticket for ‘Super Saturday’ at Kempton Park – 15 January 2011 – when the re-scheduled King George VI Chase is just one of the races on a 9-event card. 

Tuesday 28 December 2010

With the thaw gaining momentum, Ffos Las went ahead today and here are the relevant results:

Iron Chancellor was beaten a nose into 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle; Alan King’s other runner, Rivermouth, finished 13th (16 ran).  As this race ‘clashed’ with Leopardstown, there was no commentary on ATR and it was very difficult to see the runners through the mist!  However despite this, I did recognise Choc’s ‘style’ so knew he was involved in the photo-finish but was disappointed when it was announced that he had just lost out to the Nicky Henderson trained, Andrew Tinkler ridden winner.

Squadron finished 2nd in the Novices’ Chase, again beaten by a Nicky Henderson trained, Andrew Tinkler ridden runner (7 ran).

However, Genstone Trail won the Newcomers’ Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race, giving Choc his 14th winner of the season (5 ran).  Alan King’s other runner in this race, Astralogical finished 4th.


Meanwhile at Leopardstown, Pandorama won the Lexus Chase, but AP McCoy took a fall during the race and hurt his left wrist, but hopes to be passed fit to ride Big Buck’s in the re-scheduled Long Walk Hurdle and Punchestowns in the Mandarin Graduation Chase at Newbury tomorrow.  


There are 8 races on the card at Newbury, with a number of runners of special interest:

12:00 Little George (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Balzaccio (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Chase

Smad Place is listed as a doubtful runner in the Juvenile Hurdle.

13:35 Soleil D’Avril (Alan King/Choc) – Introductory Hurdle

14:10 Jetnova (Alan King/Choc) – Challow Novices’ Hurdle

14:45 Ravethebrave (Alan King/Choc) & Ikorodu Road (Martin Keighley/Johnny Farrelly) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

15:50 Batonnier (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race


Sadly, as I have to return to work tomorrow, I won’t be in attendance at Newbury L.  And it’s very disappointing that my last 5 opportunities to go racing have all been thwarted by the weather ... but, hopefully, my luck will change soon.


Monday 27 December 2010

National Hunt racing is aiming to resume tomorrow, when Ffos Las is hoping to become the first jumps fixture since 16 December.  But unfortunately it’s in the wrong location and far too late for me to take advantage of a day out at the races during my Christmas break ...


If Ffos Las goes ahead, then Choc is scheduled to have 3 rides, all for Alan King:

12:25 Iron Chancellor – Novices’ Hurdle; Alan also runs Rivermouth in this event, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson

14:05 Squadron – Novices’ Chase

15:50 Genstone Trail – Newcomers’ Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race


Meanwhile there’s a Jumpers’ Bumpers card at Southwell tomorrow too.


There’s an update on Alan King’s smart juvenile hurdler Smad Place, who is expected to run at Newbury on Wednesday, weather permitting of course.


Following ongoing problems with his wrist injury, Noel Fehily is expected to be out of action for two months.  More


As today is Monday, I set out for the local supermarket at 08:00 this morning to buy a copy of the Racing Post in order to read the next instalment of Choc’s weekly column.  More

Sunday 26 December 2010

Both days of Kempton Park’s Winter Festival have now been abandoned, however arrangements are being put in place to run the King George VI Chase at their next fixture on Saturday 15 January; and Paul Nicholls isn’t worried about the change of date for Kauto Star.  


The new date suits me fine as being a Saturday I have hopes that I will be able to attend to see Kauto Star attempt his fifth consecutive victory in the main event. 


Ffos Las believes they have a good chance of racing on Tuesday, but Newbury desperately need rain before their Wednesday fixture to clear 3 inches of snow! 


It’s amazing that the lying snow is taking so long to thaw ... and it’s a bit worrying that my mother is now likening the current weather to the winters of 1946/1947 and 1962/1963! 

Friday 24 December 2010


Wishing everyone


Merry Christmas



Unfortunately there is bad news on the racing front, as Sunday’s meeting at Kempton Park has been abandoned, although the two main events – the King George VI Chase and the Christmas Hurdle will be transferred to the Monday card if that passes the planned Boxing Day inspection.  More  


I have a ticket for Sunday but don’t have one for Monday so, if it goes ahead, I’ll have to park in the centre of the course and upgrade a basic entry ticket to an enclosure one (which I did on arrival for the second day of the meeting last year). 


However today, and as one of the early pre-bookers for the Boxing Day fixture, an envelope containing one of the Kautographs dropped through my letterbox!


Fontwell Park intends to inspect their course tomorrow (Christmas Day) in the hope of saving their Boxing Day fixture.  More


If Fontwell goes ahead, Alan King has one runner at the meeting:

12:35 Squadron – Beginners’ Chase, to be ridden by Jimmy McCarthy


There’s a news update on Alan King’s website too:


And here is the link to Martin Keighley’s latest column in the Gloucestershire press


Plus another article from the same newspaper.  More


I’ll be spending Christmas Day with my parents and, in the afternoon, my younger brother Neil, sister-in-law Karen, niece Kim and nephew James will be driving down from Bedfordshire to visit us and exchange presents.

Thursday 23 December 2010

Huntingdon’s Boxing Day card has been abandoned, as has Wincanton and Wetherby.  Leopardstown has lost Monday’s card, but intends to reschedule those races for later in the week as their Festival continues through until 30 December.


And Chepstow has already decided to move their Welsh National fixture to Saturday 08 January 2011! 


Despite a slow thaw at Kempton Park, the wind chill factor is currently their problem, with the covers currently frozen to the turf!  They intend to inspect at noon tomorrow (Christmas Eve) in order to decide if Sunday’s card can go ahead.  More


With severe doubts about the fixture, travel plans for the Irish runners have now been put on hold too. 


In the event that Sunday’s card goes ahead, the ‘important’ engagements are as follows:

12:40 Iolith (Alan King/Choc) & Araldur (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle.  The talented Megastar and Toubab are also intended runners in this event.

13:15 Like a Hurricane (Alan King/Choc) & Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Handicap Hurdle

15:00 Forpadydeplasterer (Tom Cooper/Choc) – King George VI Chase.  Obviously Kauto Star is the ‘star’ of this event, the others being Long Run, Riverside Theatre, Albertas Run, Nacarat, Madison Du Berlais, Sizing Europe, Ollie Magern, Planet of Sound and The Nightingale.

15:35 Swansbrook (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Chase


Binocular, Khyber Kim, Overturn and Starluck are amongst the runners due to compete in the Christmas Hurdle.

And to think that I had such high hopes of attending 2 days racing at Ascot and 2 days racing at Kempton Park during my extended 12-day Christmas break ... I now believe I’ll be very lucky if I get to go racing even once before I have to return to work next Wednesday L.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

The snow is beginning to thaw in Hertfordshire – St Albans having received only a slight dusting yesterday evening; and the snowfall expected by Kempton Park overnight didn’t materialise.


Market Rasen’s Boxing Day fixture has been abandoned.  More


Huntingdon will be inspecting on Christmas Eve to decide whether their Boxing Day card will go ahead.  More


Both Wetherby and Wincanton will be inspecting tomorrow ahead of their Boxing Day fixtures.  Fontwell Park is posting updates on its website regarding the course conditions ahead of their 26 December meeting.


Chepstow intends to inspect at noon tomorrow (Thursday) to see if their Welsh Grand National card can go ahead on Monday 27 December.  More


Wayne Hutchinson was interviewed on the telephone by At The Races this morning and he said that all his riding arrangements, and Choc’s, were ‘up in the air’ for Boxing Day – however, since then, it has been announced that Choc has picked up the ride aboard Irish raider Forpadydeplasterer in the King George VI Chase and will be at Kempton Park ... weather and the arrival of his first child permitting of course! 


AP McCoy has now picked up the ride aboard Kauto Star in the King George, as Noel Fehily has stood himself down due to ongoing concerns about his wrist injury. More


Tuesday 21 December 2010

Kempton Park passed its inspection early this morning, so the ‘Jumpers’ Bumpers’ card went ahead and this is how Choc fared aboard the Alan King runners:

Aldiva finished 3rd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).

Management finished 3rd in the Jumpers’ Bumper in the 13:20 (11 ran).

Shrewd Investment finished 9th in the Jumpers’ Bumper at 13:50 (10 ran).

Perception finished 5th in the Jumpers’ Bumper at 14:50 (8 ran).

Enfant De Lune finished 6th in the Jumpers’ Bumper at 15:20 (12 ran).


Charlie Huxley rode the Alan King trained Awesome George to finish 7th in the 15:50 (9 ran).


Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls and Warren Greatrex all trained doubles on today’s card, the other winning trainer being Noel Chance. 


There’s due to be another ‘Jumpers’ Bumpers’ card at Southwell tomorrow, but no runners for Alan King or rides for Choc.  However, Wayne Hutchinson will be hoping to follow up today’s double with rides aboard a number of other Warren Greatrex trained, Malcolm Denmark owned runners.


There has been a slight thaw in the Southeast today, increasing hopes that Kempton Park’s Winter Festival will be able to go ahead provided the course misses any additional heavy snow showers.  More  


Here is the current forecast for Sunbury on Thames.  However, there may be heavier snow showers to the northwest of London which, as it just happens, is where I live!  Towcester’s Boxing Day fixture has already been abandoned.


The Long Walk Hurdle which was lost last Saturday when Ascot was abandoned has been rescheduled for Newbury on Wednesday 29 December.  More


Tomorrow is the last racing day before Christmas.  And will there be baby news soon I wonder? 

Monday 20 December 2010


Sunday 19 December 2010.jpg


No new snow since Saturday and, so far, I’ve resisted the urge to build a snowman! 


Despite being on holiday this week, at 08:00 this morning I walked down to the local supermarket to buy a copy of the Racing Post – please click here for this week’s overview of Choc’s column.


Firstly, congratulations to AP McCoy for winning Sports Personality of the Year 2010.  Evidently he got almost 42% of the total vote – I voted for him 8 times. 


Tomorrow there is due to be a ‘Jumpers’ Bumpers’ card on the All Weather surface at Kempton Park, weather permitting of course.  The ground staff have been clearing the snow off the track this afternoon, but there is further expected overnight thus prompting a 07:00 inspection in the morning. 


If tomorrow’s racing goes ahead, then Choc is scheduled to have 5 rides, all for Alan King:

12:50 Aldiva – Standard Open NH Flat Race

13:20 Management – Jumpers’ Bumper

13:50 Shrewd Investment – Jumpers’ Bumper

14:50 Perception – Jumpers’ Bumper

15:20 Enfant De Lune – Jumpers’ Bumper

Charlie Huxley rides Awesome George in the 15:50.

All the races are run over a trip of 2 miles.


I can’t wait to see Choc riding ‘live’, but I won’t be venturing out tomorrow with the weather being so unpredictable at present. 


With the current cold spell lasting longer than expected there are fears that the Boxing Day card at Kempton Park will be lost.  However, if the course loses Sunday but the following day’s card goes ahead, then the King George VI Chase and Christmas Hurdle will be run on Monday instead. 


But should any of the big races need to be transferred to Newbury on Wednesday week then unfortunately I cannot attend as, when Christmas work plans were being finalised some time ago, I volunteered to work the 3 days between Christmas and the New Year as I thought Choc would be absent from race riding until January. L


Sunday 19 December 2010

The snow has arrived and National Hunt racing has disappeared for the foreseeable future. L However, there may be a special ‘jumpers’ bumpers’ card at Kempton Park on Tuesday and another at Southwell on Wednesday. 


We’ve probably been fortunate in St Albans, as there appears to be a mere 4 to 5 inches of snow.  I managed to get to the supermarket early yesterday, before the third significant snowfall arrived at around 11:00, and have been holed up at home in the warm ever since ... apart from popping into the garden to feed the birds and to clear a pathway down the drive ... and to dust the snow off the satellite dish with a broom as I’d lost the signal! 


Strictly Come Dancing 2010 was won by Kara Tointon and her professional partner Artem – the best dancers, so justice was served this year.  BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year show takes place this evening, so remember to vote for AP McCoy.

And, of course, Meally and Choc’s baby is due to arrive this week ...

Friday 17 December 2010

Today began very much like last Sunday, with any hopes of National Hunt racing taking place diminishing by the hour.  Ascot called a second inspection for 11:00, after which today’s card was abandoned and, later in the afternoon, tomorrow’s card was also called off.  Choc was part of today’s inspection ‘committee’ – pictured second left in the photo accompanying this Racing Post article.  More  Uttoxeter was lost too.


Many thanks to Belinda and Martin Keighley, who kindly sent me this ‘photo link’, which includes piccies of Choc aboard yesterday’s winner, De Forgotten Man:


And congratulations to Martin’s stable jockey, Warren Marston, who rode his 700th career winner at Towcester yesterday.


Here is the link to Martin’s regular column in the Gloucestershire press


Haydock inspects at 08:00 tomorrow, but hopes for racing are slim.  More

However, if the fixture does proceed, Martin Keighley has one runner:

13:45 King Ozzy – Handicap Chase, to be ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies


Although not forecast, St Albans was subject to snowfall late morning, so we’ve currently got an inch or two’s covering of the white stuff on gardens and pavements; but fortunately the roads are currently clear.  The TV weather forecasters seem very uncertain as to which areas will catch the heavy snow showers expected tomorrow, so we will just have to wait and see – luckily I’ve already bought all my Christmas presents, so the only shopping which may be required is for essential supplies. 


Thursday 16 December 2010

Another day, another winner!  J


Choc was at Towcester today, and this is how he fared:

De Forgotten Man (Martin Keighley) won the Novices’ Hurdle (16 ran).  Choc’s 13th winner of the season and Martin’s 11th I believe.  Congratulations to everyone concerned.  

Asturienne (Alan King) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle (17 ran).

Rustarix (Alan King) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase (12 ran).


Alan King also had a runner at Exeter:

Tsarinova (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Mares Novices’ Hurdle (18 ran).


Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest at Ascot; 4 due to be ridden by Choc:

11:55 Shrewd Investment (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Div I)

12:25 Iron Chancellor (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Div II)

13:35 Iolith (Alan King/Choc) & Araldur (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle. 

14:10 Squadron (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Chase

15:20 Good Reef (Alan King/Peter Hatton); Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Handicap Hurdle


Having trained numerous winners this week, there’s another update on Alan King’s website:


We’ve got a slight covering of snow in Hertfordshire this evening, with no additional showers due until tomorrow evening/night.  But it will be very icy in the morning.


Ascot is due to hold an inspection at 07:30 in the morning to see if Friday’s card can go ahead.  I’m not sure whether I will be able to make it to the fixture, as other events have now overtaken me.  But we shall see. 


Oh dear ... Saturday’s forecast is for up to 20 centimetres of snow in my locality ... and at Ascot too. 

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Today’s racing was marred by the death of the enigmatic but very talented Twist Magic at Newbury, who broke his off-hind pastern when falling at the second last, trainer Paul Nicholls paying tribute to his charge.  Tartak was the Peterborough Chase race victor. 


But it was a good day for the Alan King yard, with a treble at Newbury, although none of his three runners won at Bangor on Dee.  Despite this, Choc did ride a winner, but he also suffered his first fall since his return – fortunately he was fine as he went on to ride in the bumper at the end of the card.


Here are the detailed results, from Bangor first:

Mister Stickler (Alan King/Choc) finished 7th in the Novices’ Chase (9 ran).

Incentivise (Richard Lee/Choc) won the Handicap Chase, Choc proving his fitness too as the event was 3 miles 6 furlongs in distance!  (11 ran).  Choc’s 12th winner of the season.

High Benefit (Alan King/Choc) fell at the 5th flight in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (16 ran).

Raya Star (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race; Mickytaker (Alan King/Peter Hatton) dead-heated for 5th (17 ran).


Whilst at Newbury:

Ikorodu Road (Martin Keighley/Johnny Farrelly) ran very well to finish a close 3rd and Double Pride (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Novices’ Chase (Limited Handicap) (16 ran).  Martin’s charge definitely deserves a win soon.

West End Rocker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won and Old Benny finished 7th (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) in the Handicap Chase (13 ran).

Lord Liath (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 5th and Pride In Battle (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the NH Novices’ Hurdle (16 ran).

Tante Sissi (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd and Who’s Afraid (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) won the Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).


So that’s also a double for Wayne Hutchinson today and a win for Gerard Tumelty too.


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

12:40 De Forgotten Man (Martin Keighley) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:40 Asturienne (Alan King) – Handicap Hurdle

14:10 Rustarix (Alan King) – Handicap Chase


Alan King also has a runner at Exeter, the course being subject to a 08:00 inspection.

12:50 Tsarinova (Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares Novices’ Hurdle


I have just one more working day until Christmas (tomorrow).  But will I be able to go racing pre-Boxing Day?  The weather forecast for this weekend for the Ascot area seems to be deteriorating by the hour – when I checked at 22:00 this evening it was light snow showers for Friday and heavy snow showers for Saturday!  The forecast for my home City is sunny on Friday but, like Ascot, heavy snow on Saturday. 


Tuesday 14 December 2010

Firstly, today’s results from Folkestone:

American Ladie finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

Awesome Freddie finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle (16 ran).

Prince Du Seuil won the Handicap Hurdle (17 ran), giving Choc his 11th winner of the season. J


Tomorrow, Choc will be at Bangor, where he has 4 rides:

12:15 Mister Stickler (Alan King) – Novices’ Chase

13:15 Incentivise (Richard Lee) – Handicap Chase

13:50 High Benefit (Alan King) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:35 Raya Star (Alan King) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race; Alan also runs Mickytaker in this race, ridden by Peter Hatton.


Meanwhile, at Newbury, there are a number of runners of interest:

12:25 Ikorodu Road (Martin Keighley/Johnny Farrelly) & Double Pride (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase (Limited Handicap)

14:05 West End Rocker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Old Benny (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Handicap Chase

14:40 Lord Liath (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) & Pride In Battle (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:45 Tante Sissi (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Who’s Afraid (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race


The highlight on Newbury’s card is the relocated Peterborough Chase, which is to be run at 15:10, and features 7 runners – Deep Purple, Herecomesthetruth, Twist Magic, Master Medic, Ollie Magern, Breedsbreeze and Tartak.   Riverside Theatre now bypasses the race and will run in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day instead.


Towcester and Exeter are hopeful that racing will go ahead on Thursday.  More


Ascot is preparing for a cold weekend, the Clerk of the Course rating the chances of Saturday’s fixture going ahead, in light of the forecasted weather, as just 50-50.  More  Haydock and Newcastle are facing the threat of snow too.  More  Fortunately, Kempton Park is far more optimistic about their Winter Festival (26 and 27 December) taking place. 


I booked this Friday as holiday ages ago, pre-Choc’s injury in fact, so it has always been my intention to attend the first day of Ascot’s fixture should Choc be there.  So, if Saturday’s racing does have to be called off, then I must go on Friday.  


There’s news regarding Any Currency, who has been withdrawn from the Welsh National as a result of the leg injury sustained at the end of last week.  More


Good news regarding my laptop – last night I successfully uninstalled the offending application (Richard from my Systems Department having kindly downloaded the relevant uninstall program onto my laptop yesterday) and then I downloaded a new and up-to-date version via the internet and it reinstalled successfully.  So hopefully my PC will now behave itself over the Christmas period and into the New Year.  I hate it when I’ve got no internet connection ... it just makes me so grumpy, as I feel cut off from the world!

Monday 13 December 2010

Brilliant news, Choc rode a double at Plumpton today, thus recording his first wins since returning from injury, and his 9th and 10th winner of the season!  More


Here are today’s official results from Plumpton:

Balerina finished 6th in the Juvenile Hurdle (12 ran).

Jetnova won the NH Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Medermit won the Novices’ Chase (7 ran).


Tomorrow, Choc is due to ride at Folkestone, where he has 3 rides, all for Alan King:

12:35 American Ladie – Novices’ Hurdle

13:35 Awesome Freddie – Maiden Hurdle

15:05 Prince Du Seuil – Handicap Hurdle


More updates from the Alan King yard:


The Peterborough Chase has been transferred from Huntingdon to Newbury, and will be run as part of their card this coming Wednesday.  More


And Meally’s blog was published today too ... there’s no sign of the baby yet.  More


As it is a Monday, Choc’s latest column appeared in the Racing Post today.  More


Apologies that I couldn’t upload my blog yesterday, it was due to another hiccup with the laptop I’m afraid!  But, fortunately, a member of my Systems department at work took a look at it today and has sorted most of the problems, apart from one application which needs to be uninstalled and then reinstalled ... which I hope to attempt once I pluck up the courage!  And if that doesn’t work, then Richard said he’d take another look at it to see if he can fix that problem too.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Unfortunately today didn’t go as planned, Huntingdon finally being abandoned at 10:30; although I had already called off my trip shortly after 10:00, having discovered the course had failed its second inspection and knowing that any go-ahead after that time would probably be too late for my particular travel plans.  It always seems that the forecasts for lowest overnight temperatures are way off the mark, especially as they tend to dip further at day break.  


So my hopes to see Choc in action ‘live’ have now been postponed for a few days ... fortunately my Christmas break begins this coming Friday and runs through to Tuesday 28 December inclusive, so I may get the opportunity to see him at Ascot next weekend, where frost covers have been deployed; I have a ticket to go to Kempton for the King George on Boxing Day, and I hope to go to the second day of their Winter Festival too.  It now just depends on there being no further deterioration in the weather (the forecast is not great for the end of this week – frost covers are no help if there’s too much snow on top of them) and, of course, Choc not being called away to attend the birth of his first child on one of these race days!    


Hopefully Plumpton’s fixture will go ahead as planned tomorrow, where Choc has 3 scheduled rides, all for Alan King:

12:35 Balerina – Juvenile Hurdle

13:05 Jetnova – NH Novices’ Hurdle

13:35 Medermit – Novices’ Chase


Martin Keighley reports that there is positive news on Any Currency’s leg injury.


The semi-finals of Strictly Come Dancing took place this weekend and I’m pleased to report that the celebrity finalists are, in fact, the three best dancers.  I don’t mind who wins, Pamela Stephenson is representing all those glamorous grannies (she’s 61), Kara Tointon and her professional partner Artem Chigvintsev make a beautiful couple (both professionally and personally ... and I can’t blame Kara as he is rather nice!), and I like Matt Baker of Country File fame ... and he’s a Capricorn too (like me), which is a bonus!  Although I do have a penchant for Cancerian men!  


Saturday 11 December 2010

A great day’s racing at Cheltenham, but Choc is still waiting for his first winner since his return:

Oh Crick finished 6th in the 2 mile ½ furlong Handicap Chase (13 ran).

Having pulled hard early in the race, Pantxoa finished 5th in the Juvenile Hurdle (12 ran). 

The Brendan Powell trained Pullyourfingerout finished 2nd in this race – I found him to be the ‘friendliest’ horse in Brendan’s yard when I visited the stables on Lambourn Open Day.


With all the excitement of Choc being back in action, I forgot to mention that the Alan King trained, JP McManus owned, AP McCoy ridden Karabak was running today in the Relkeel Hurdle ... and he won.  More  Karabak was very game to fight off the late challenge of Any Given Day.  Celestial Halo finished 3rd and Zaynar 4th – both horses sporting blinkers today.


Time For Rupert put up a good display to win the Novices’ Chase.  More  Sadly, having finished 4th, Robo had to be put down following the race having suffered irreparable damage to a tendon.  Bentoto suffered a pelvic injury during the race, but subsequent reports said he would return to trainer Michael Scudamore’s yard with the hope of being saved.


Master Minded put his rivals to the sword when winning the Tingle Creek Chase very impressively.  More  

There was a very scary incident involving Somersby, who reared up and toppled over as his handlers were trying to encourage him to exit onto the racecourse.  However, he still took part in the race and finished with a flourish to almost get up for 2nd on the line!  He seems to have pre-race temperament issues, having played up under Choc at Aintree last Spring too.


Poquelin took the big Handicap Steeplechase, having won the same event last season.  More


Paul Nicholls trained horses thus won four of the eight races on the card today, Woolcombe Folly having won the 2 mile ½ furlong Handicap Chase, and Sam Winner the Juvenile Hurdle.  


And Menorah won today’s showdown with Cue Card and Silviniaco Conti.  More


Former Champion Hurdler Punjabi is to be given a break from racing this season, before starting a chasing campaign.  More


Huntingdon’s Peterborough Chase fixture has been saved, and will go ahead tomorrow.  More  Gates open at 10:35.


Choc has 3 rides:

12:35 Prince Du Seuil – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 5½ furlongs)

13:35 Kings Troop – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles ½ furlong)

14:35 Awesome Freddie – Novices’ Hurdle


Alan King also has a runner in the final race on the card:

15:35 Aldiva – Intermediate NH Flat Race for Conditional/Amateur jockeys, to be ridden by Charlie Huxley

Willie Twiston-Davies, younger brother of Sam, also rides in this event, aboard Accordingtoeileen.


Twist Magic, Deep Purple, Riverside Theatre, Kalahari King, Ollie Magern and Tartak are among those scheduled to run in the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase.


Yes, I have been tempted, and will make my first trip to Huntingdon tomorrow since August Bank Holiday Monday in 2009! 

Friday 10 December 2010

Firstly, today’s results from Cheltenham:

Maucaillou (Martin Keighley) finished 16th (last of the finishers) in the Handicap Hurdle (17 ran).

Wolf Moon was pulled up (Martin Keighley) & Ravethebrave (Alan King) finished 4th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (17 ran).

Total Submission ran in the Handicap Hurdle today after all (Martin Keighley) – running much better than his 9th place would suggest as, having travelled up with the pace for most of the way, he didn’t fade from contention until the last flight (16 ran). 

Any Currency didn’t run in the Handicap Chase having sustained a leg injury - Martin Keighley is hoping this is just minor and we await further news in his blog.


The highlight of the card was the win for the Neil Mulholland trained Midnight Chase in the Listed Handicap Chase, battling back bravely having been headed, to take the race by a neck on the line.  More


Noel Fehily rode today, but took a nasty tumble from Al Ferof in the National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle, fortunately horse and jockey were both okay.  More


The cross country race was abandoned after the course failed the inspection.


Tomorrow Choc will be back in action at Cheltenham, where he has two rides:

11:40 Oh Crick (Alan King) – Handicap Chase

12:10 Pantxoa (Alan King) – Juvenile Hurdle

No runners for Martin Keighley tomorrow.


Lots of news on Alan King’s website blog, including further details of Katchit’s injury; Thetwincamdrift being another victim of injury; but better news regarding Bensalem; and, of course, mention of Choc’s return:


And here is the link to Martin Keighley’s weekly column in the Gloucestershire Press.  More 


It’s still uncertain for racing to take place at Huntingdon on Sunday, where today the course would still have been unraceable ... but it is thawing.  More  Choc currently has three rides scheduled for the fixture ... I have to admit I am tempted if it goes ahead, as it is a mere 100 mile round trip to the course!  Fakenham’s fixture on Sunday has already been abandoned. 

Thursday 09 December 2010

Cheltenham’s 2-day meeting goes ahead, although there are still concerns regarding the cross country course and another inspection of that will be made at 10:30 tomorrow.  More


No rides for Choc tomorrow, Doncaster’s 2-day meeting having been abandoned, and none at Cheltenham either.


However, there are a number of runners of interest at Cheltenham tomorrow:

12:40 Maucaillou (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Handicap Hurdle

13:15 Wolf Moon (Martin Keighley/David Bass) & Ravethebrave (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase

13:50 Total Submission (Martin Keighley/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle – however (according to Martin’s blog) the preferred option is the Novices’ Hurdle at 15:40 on Saturday.

14:25 Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Wayne Hutchinson) - Handicap Chase (Listed)


After what appeared to be a delay in Noel Fehily’s return to the saddle, it appears he may now be able to ride at Cheltenham this weekend after all.  More


Today’s abandoned fixture at Huntingdon has been rescheduled to take place on Sunday and Twist Magic is to be rerouted from the relocated Tingle Creek Chase (due to be run at Cheltenham on Saturday) to Huntingdon’s Peterborough Chase.  Twist Magic being far more suited by right-handed tracks such as Huntingdon.  More


Lingfield has lost their National Hunt fixture on Saturday due to frost and snow, and will now hold an All Weather card instead (apart from one NH Bumper race!).  More

Monday 06 December 2010

The outlook for National Hunt racing is still bleak with tomorrow’s fixtures at Fontwell and Sedgefield abandoned, as are Leicester and Hexham on Wednesday. 


Huntingdon’s fixture on Thursday, featuring the Peterborough Chase, is doubtful. More  Taunton and Ludlow have already gone.


Even hopes for racing at Doncaster on Friday are bleak.  More  And Choc was hoping to ride Medermit at the track on Friday, having been denied an outing at Sandown last Saturday.  


There’s news that Imperial Commander won’t run in the King George on Boxing Day, due to currently having a slight infection in his leg.  More


And ATR’s Matt Chapman won the Broadcaster of the Year Award today, finally managing to ‘wrestle’ the award away from Nick Luck!  More  I didn’t used to like Matt, but over the months he has ‘grown’ on me and I find him quite amusing!  Not long ago he was presenting on a Sunday evening alongside Jason Weaver, and they were a very funny double act ...


Although the snow disappeared last Saturday from my home city I still managed to slip over on the pavement at lunchtime today ... but fortunately no damage done apart from a slight graze to my right knee, although it is on top of the scar I sustained when tripping over at work a few years ago and ripping open my knee on the carpet due to someone leaving a sealed length of nylon strapping protruding out from under a table.  And the same spot I grazed again when I fell over during a ‘tree rat’ (squirrel) chase across the lawn – well it was stealing flower bulbs out of the planter! 


As it is Monday, Choc’s latest column appeared in the Racing Post today.  More

Sunday 05 December 2010

Warwick failed their inspection and racing was abandoned today.  However, after much deliberation following a number of inspections, Exeter got the go-ahead ... although 4 fences were omitted on the steeplechase track, as was one flight on the hurdles track.


Fabulous to see Choc back in the saddle again, Causeway King finishing 2nd of 4 in the Exeter Hurdle, beaten by the rank outsider and 22-1 shot Salontyre ridden by Isabel Tompsett.  Although there were a few scary moments as his mount jinked before jumping a number of the flights!


Here is the Racing Post’s story behind Choc’s return to the saddle this afternoon: Exeter Hurdle


And the At The Races article too:  More


The Sporting Life too.


Also a lovely photo of Choc and Causeway King on the ‘Choc Thornton Kempton Park Face of Jump Racing’ Facebook page: Click here to view


Choc’s other scheduled rides, Incentivise and Turn Over Sivola, were non runners. 


Alan King’s popular hurdler, Katchit, has been ruled out for the remainder of this season due to injury.  More


There’s a mixed All Weather card at Southwell tomorrow ie. 3 flat races and 3 NH Bumper races, but Choc is not in action.

Saturday 04 December 2010

There has been a thaw in the weather today, all signs of snow have disappeared from St Albans, and it was raining here a little earlier rather than snowing.  


Exeter is going to carry out a precautionary inspection early tomorrow, but is hopeful that racing will go ahead.  More


Warwick also inspects at 08:00 in the morning to confirm that racing is on.  More


Having watched the long-term weather reports, I believe the overall outlook for the whole of December isn’t going to be very conducive for National Hunt horse racing. 


I found this Wayne Hutchinson/Choc related link via a Google Alert.


And Martin Keighley’s latest column in the Gloucestershire press too.  More


As much as I’d love to go to Cheltenham next weekend to see Choc ride, I’m not feeling particularly confident about driving the 200 mile round trip at this time of year, especially as I’d be going racing alone.  However, if the weather permits Ascot to go ahead the weekend after, then I can go to that fixture. Although, by then, Choc might be on standby for the arrival of ‘Baby Thornton’!


I’ve been wrapping Christmas presents today, and I’ve also finished my photo gallery/diary for last Saturday’s Hennessy Gold Cup.  As mentioned yesterday, ATR has been broadcasting Luke Harvey’s interview with Choc at various times today, so I hope you caught at least one of the transmissions. 


I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that Exeter goes ahead and I can watch Choc’s return to race riding on ATR tomorrow. J


Friday 03 December 2010

If the current cold spell relents and Exeter goes ahead on Sunday (re-scheduled from today), Choc will make his much anticipated racecourse re-appearance.  He is booked for 3 rides:

12:50 Causeway King – Exeter Hurdle (Limited Handicap) (Alan King)

13:50 Incentivise – Handicap Chase (4 Miles!) (Richard Lee)

15:20 Turn Over Sivola – Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race (Alan King)


Meanwhile at Warwick, there are a number of runners of interest too:

13:40 King Ozzy (Martin Keighley) (Warren Marston) & Enfant De Lune (Alan King) (Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

14:10 Bless The Wings (Alan King) (Wayne Hutchinson) & Tsarinova (Alan King) (Charlie Huxley) – Maiden Hurdle


Here’s an article from the Gloucestershire press regarding Choc’s return to racecourse action.  More


And confirmed news regarding arrangements for the postponed Tingle Creek Chase.  More  Interestingly, as this Grade 1 race has been added to the card, Sam Twiston-Davies will be permitted to ride Little Josh in the December Gold Cup despite a 3-day ban.  More 


ATR’s Luke Harvey has been out and about filming segments for the racing channel and, yesterday, he paid a visit to Oaksey House in Lambourn to interview Choc and to see him exercising in their gym.  They showed the film on ‘Get In’ this evening and, hopefully, the item will be repeated over the next few days as they try to fill in air-time due to the current lack of racing fixtures!


Wednesday 01 December 2010








I almost decided not to write a blog this evening seeing as there’s no National Hunt racing at present due to the severe weather conditions ... or even to switch my laptop on ... however, I later changed my mind thinking that I’d make a start on my Newbury diary draft.  The first task, however, was to check my emails ... then I took a look to see if there was any interesting racing news ... OH WOW ... I’d discovered the most exciting news possible – Choc has been given the go-ahead to race ride by both his surgeon, Jonathan Webb, and today was passed fit by the BHA’s Chief Medical Advisor, Dr Michael Turner.  Choc will be back in racecourse action as soon as the current freeze relents.  More


It’s been slightly less than 5 months since his accident, and he’s worked so hard to return to the sport he loves so much.  I’ve missed watching him ride, although I have had the privilege of seeing him at the London Racing Club’s ‘An Evening with Choc Thornton’ event, and at Kempton Park on 3 occasions since then.  So now I can’t wait to go racing again!


Welcome back Choc and here’s to your next winner!






Rounded Rectangle: RETURN TO BLOG INDEX
Rounded Rectangle: RETURN TO HOME PAGE