DECEMBER 2011

 

 

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Saturday 31 December 2011

A nice treat to wake up to this morning ... Choc was the special guest on Channel 4’s The Morning Line!  I enjoyed seeing him so much that I also re-watched it on Channel 4 +1!!!

 

However, the presenter did point out that Choc seems to appear on their programme when he is injured; yes, I had noticed that.  Today, of course, he has a broken arm; his last appearance on the show was in July 2010 when his leg was in a protective brace following knee surgery; and the time before that was on Cheltenham Trials Day in January 2010 when he was recovering from fractured vertebrae.    

 

I’m pleased to report Choc obtained a very respectable score of 8 in the Guest Test; equalling that of AP McCoy amongst others.  I had been worried should he appear on the programme and undergo the test, as he claims his memory is not very good!

 

Here are today’s racing results:

 

Newbury

Way Back When (Alan King/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen) ran well for a long way and finished 5th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (13 ran).

Vendor (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Juvenile Hurdle from Tango De Juilley; these two pulled 75 lengths clear of their rivals.  More  

Walkon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished a disappointing 3rd in the Novices’ Chase (for the Hallowe’en Trophy) (4 ran); Cue Card was the victor.  More

Quotica De Poyans (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) ran very disappointingly in the Mandarin Handicap Chase; he was pulled up before 6 out (8 ran).

Hard To Swallow (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) was a non-runner in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) due to a change in the going.

Torphichen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished an excellent 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran); the race was won by top weight Celestial Halo, making it 3 out of 3 in handicaps!  Carrying top weight of 11 stone 12 lbs, the Paul Nicholls trained runner carried a minimum of 20 lbs more than any of his rivals. 

 

Warwick

Flaming Charlie (Alan King/Christian Williams) finished 2nd & Jetnova (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) a very disappointing 5th (last of the finishers) in the Novices’ Chase (7 ran).

Trigger The Light (Alan King/Christian Williams) finished 7th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles ½ furlong] (12 ran).

Plum Pudding, although very game, was lucky to win this one.  His rival and race leader, Glens Boy under Timmy Murphy, were hampered by a loose horse which ran across the course at the winning line!  

Junior Jack (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4½ furlongs] (8 ran).

Awesome Bella (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 9th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

 

Uttoxeter

13:55 Consult (Martin Keighley/Charlie Poste) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle; although race notes say he was reluctant at the paddock bend.  Presumably a little unwilling to head out into the country!  (5 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Cheltenham and Exeter:

 

Cheltenham

12:30 Batonnier (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Hard To Swallow (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:05 Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) & Invictus (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase (registered as The Dipper Novices’ Chase)

14:10 Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Grade 3 Handicap Chase

14:45 Sir Harry Ormesher (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Exeter

13:45 Dona (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Beginners’ Chase

16:00 Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Dave Crosse) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race

 

Not surprisingly, AP McCoy’s rib injury incurred at Taunton yesterday has ended his hopes of riding 300 winners this season.  More

 

I collected my lotto winnings of £85 today; but I’ve not done any stitching on my cross stitch project.

Friday 30 December 2011

Many happy returns of the day to Choc’s son, William Robert, who celebrates his first birthday today. 

 

There were a number of runners of interest at Taunton today and this is how they fared:

Suburban Bay (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd (last) in the Novices’ Chase; the race was won by Menorah (3 ran).  More

Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) made an excellent winning debut in the Novices’ Hurdle; beating the now Paul Nicholls trained former Derby and St Leger runner Ted Spread by 14 lengths. (12 ran)

Balerina (Alan King/Peter Hatton) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).

Mister Chancer (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 7th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

 

AP McCoy took a nasty fall at Taunton; he walked to the ambulance, but was later taken to hospital having suffered an injury to his ribs.  More

 

Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Newbury, Warwick and Uttoxeter:

 

Newbury

12:20 Way Back When (Alan King/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

12:55 Vendor (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:05 Walkon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase (for the Hallowe’en Trophy); he has 4 rivals – Cue Card, Criqtonic, For Non Stop and Minella Class.

14:35 Quotica De Poyans (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mandarin Handicap Chase

15:05 Hard To Swallow (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Challow Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

15:40 Torphichen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Warwick

13:45 Flaming Charlie (Alan King/Christian Williams) & Jetnova (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Novices’ Chase

14:20 Trigger The Light (Alan King/Christian Williams) – Handicap Chase [3 miles ½ furlong]

14:50 Junior Jack (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4½ furlongs]

15:20 Awesome Bella (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

 

Uttoxeter

13:55 Consult (Martin Keighley/Charlie Poste) – Handicap Hurdle

 

It’s a shame (that’s an under-statement!) that Choc is out of action at the moment, as I would have liked to have taken a trip to Newbury tomorrow to see him ride one of my favourite horses, Walkon.  Consult is another one of my favourites; he’s a sweet-natured horse.  Kumbeshwar falls into this category too; he’s due to run at Plumpton on Monday.

 

Here is a link to Wayne Hutchinson’s latest column on the Sporting Life website.  More

 

Also a link to Martin Keighley’s latest column in the Gloucestershire press.  More

 

Triple Champion Hurdle winner, See You Then, has died aged 31.  More

Unfortunately I didn’t remove Monday’s video tape from my VCR when I arrived home ... and on Wednesday the machine ‘died’; so my recording of the King George VI Chase is stuck inside it!  Damn.  I wasn’t planning to write a detailed diary for Monday ... and now I can’t anyway.

Three days off now ... I must try to do some of my cross stitch project this weekend; and I need to collect my Lotto winnings of £85, which I won last week.  J

Thursday 29 December 2011

Today, there were runners of interest at Doncaster and this is how they fared:

Habbie Simpson (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Beginners’ Chase (5 ran).

Rustarix (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (9 ran); former classy chaser Air Force One won the race, having missed the whole of last season due to injury.

Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (15 ran).

 

There are a number of runners of interest at Taunton tomorrow:

13:10 Suburban Bay (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase; he has 2 rivals, one of which is Menorah.

14:20 Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle; Grumeti was purchased to replace the ill-fated Mille Chief.

14:55 Balerina (Alan King/Peter Hatton) – Handicap Hurdle

16:00 Mister Chancer (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Sadly, mare Sparky May has been retired having suffered a leg injury.  More

 

Master Minded is progressing well after surgery on the tendon injury sustained in Monday’s King George VI Chase.  More

 

Grands Crus’ co-owner is favouring running his horse in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, rather than the RSA Chase.  More

 

After a disappointing showing at Kempton Park on Tuesday, Peddlers Cross will run on a left-handed track next time out.  More

 

Today we were allowed to finish work at 13:30; hopefully it will be another early finish tomorrow, especially as heavy rain is forecast during the afternoon and I’d prefer not to get soaked walking home.

 

It’s a special little boy’s birthday tomorrow ... Choc’s son William Robert Thornton celebrates his first birthday.  Which reminds me, my birthday is next Thursday; I’ll be 21 again (I wish)! 

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Today there were runners of interest at Leicester:

Cosway Spirit (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) finished 10th; Medinas (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 3rd; Next Man In (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th in the Novices’ Hurdle (15 ran).

Kauto The Roc (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Novices’ Chase (6 ran).

Teshali (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

 

Tomorrow, there are runners of interest at Doncaster:

12:40 Habbie Simpson (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Beginners’ Chase

14:55 Rustarix (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

15:30 Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

The Jonjo O’Neill trained, JP McManus owned, AP McCoy ridden, Synchronised won the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown today.  More

 

Fortunately, today, my work colleagues and I were allowed to go home at 14:15; a lot earlier than expected. J 

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Today’s results are as follows:

 

Chepstow

Blazing Bailey (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) were both pulled up in the Welsh National (20 ran).  The race was won by the Richard Lee trained Le Beau Bai.  More

Secret Edge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) (9 ran).

 

Kempton Park

Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Charlie Huxley), wearing a first time visor, finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase; although admittedly benefitting from the departure of Promising Anshan 3 out, and Inside Dealer 2 out!  (12 ran).

Dineur (Alan King/Christian Williams) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).

 

Tomorrow, there are runners of interest at Leicester:

14:00 Cosway Spirit (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy); Medinas (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty); Next Man In (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:00 Kauto The Roc (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase

15:35 Teshali (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Having been operated on last night, Master Minded will remain at the Newmarket veterinary hospital for the next month.  More

 

Nicky Henderson’s Sprinter Sacre won the Grade 2 Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park; Peddlers Cross finished a well beaten second in the three runner race.  More

 

In Ireland, Big Zeb won the Grade 1 Chase; but the race was marred by the fatal fall of Golden Silver.  More

 

Just in case you’ve not checked Choc’s Twitter site over the Christmas period, there’s a cute picture of William having finished his lunch.   http://twitter.com/#!/Choc_Thornton/status/150920530592141313/photo/1

 

And another picture of William, this time with Choc’s brother Richard.  I understand Richard is a stalls-handler. 

http://twitter.com/#!/Choc_Thornton/status/150955371106811907/photo/1

 

It is William’s first birthday on Friday. 

 

I’ve uploaded the photographs I took yesterday at Kempton Park.  Click here to view.

 

This is the last day of my Christmas break; I return to work tomorrow.  Although, having said that, we are usually allowed to leave work an hour or two early during the period between Christmas and the New Year!

Monday 26 December 2011

 

Over the last - Kauto Star.jpg

 

Over the last; Kauto Star gallops on to win

a record breaking 5th King George VI Chase

 

 

The ‘Star’ of the day was Kauto Star, winning his fifth King George VI Chase; it was a privilege to watch the race.  Long Run was 1¼ lengths away in 2nd, with Captain Chris 17 lengths back in 3rd.  More

 

After finishing, Ruby rode down the course in front of the grandstand to cheers and much applause.  Once the victors had returned to the Winners’ Enclosure, it was five cheers for Kauto; after which the horse was led around two circuits of the Parade Ring before returning to the stables.

 

Master Minded, a distance behind, was pulled up late in the race, having gone lame.  More  

Diamond Harry was a non-runner.

 

Grands Crus won the Feltham Novices’ Chase.  More

 

And the enigmatic Binocular put his best hooves forward to win the Christmas Hurdle, beating Rock On Ruby.  More

 

The other results are as follows:

 

Kempton Park

Bless The Wings (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (13 ran).

Pantxoa (Alan King/Christian Williams) finished 11th in the Handicap Hurdle (17 ran). 

 

Huntingdon

Godsmejudge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Hurdle (9ran).

Mickytaker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Cool Steel (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Call Me A Star (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Towcester

Junior Jack (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) unseated in the Handicap Chase [2 miles & 3½ furlongs] (7 ran).

Ukrainian Star (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) won the Handicap Chase [3 miles & ½ a furlong] (9 ran); Martin Keighley’s 27th winner of the season.  Congratulations to the team.

One More Cookie (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 3rd in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (8 ran).

 

Wincanton

Tante Sissi (Alan King/Sam Thomas) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Midnight Sail (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) finished 4th & Trenchant (Alan King/Sam Thomas) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Chase (6 ran).

 

Tomorrow, there are runners of interest at Chepstow and Kempton Park.

 

Chepstow

14:10 Blazing Bailey (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Welsh National.

14:45 Secret Edge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)

 

Kempton Park

15:10 Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Handicap Chase

15:45 Dineur (Alan King/Christian Williams) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Conundrum ... I returned to my car after racing to find bird poo on the bonnet, windscreen and roof; my car was poo’ed on the last time I visited the track, despite me parking in a completely different area.  Lucky?  No, I think those seagulls must bear a grudge against me!

 

Whilst I was waiting for the queues to disperse after racing, a number of horseboxes drove past on their way to the exit; these included David Pipe’s horsebox, and I saw the head of a grey horse looking out through one of the windows ... it must have been Grands Crus.

 

I had quite an eventful journey to the course, as the M25 was closed between the M4 (Junction 15) and Junction 14, due to a road accident.  So I had to improvise my route.  I decided to take the M4 westbound to Slough Central, returning along the A308 through Old Windsor and Runnymede, bearing in mind I don’t have satnav and I didn’t have a map in the car today.  The unexpected ‘diversion’ had obviously flummoxed the driver of Jonjo O’Neill’s horsebox, as it was pulled up on the hard shoulder of the westbound carriageway of the M4!  Despite the diversion, I arrived just before 10:00.

 

Tomorrow is a ‘rest day’; I return to work on Wednesday.  However, I will endeavour to pop out to the local supermarket just after 08:00 to buy a copy of the Racing Post.

Saturday 24 December 2011

 

MC900105182[1]

 

 

Here is a link to Wayne Hutchinson’s most recent column on the Sporting Life website.  Click here

 

And also a link to Martin Keighley’s weekly column in the Gloucestershire Press.  More

 

Time to outline the runners of interest on Boxing Day ... just in case I don’t get time to do so tomorrow!

 

Kempton Park

13:25 Bless The Wings (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

15:40 Pantxoa (Alan King/Christian Williams) – Handicap Hurdle. 

 

Good to see Christian back in action following his prolonged spell on the sidelines following serious injury.

 

It looks like being an excellent day’s racing, with 8 horses scheduled to go to post in the King George VI Chase – Captain Chris, Diamond Harry, Golan Way, Kauto Star, Long Run, Master Minded, Nacarat and Somersby. 

 

Also looking forward to the Feltham Novices’ Chase, with Bobs Worth, Grands Crus, Mr Moonshine, Silviniaco Conti, Teaforthree and Emmaslegend declared.

 

Plus the Christmas Hurdle, with Binocular, Clerk’s Choice, Overturn, Rock On Ruby, and Sanctuaire in action.

 

Huntingdon

12:15 Godsmejudge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

12:45 Mickytaker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

13:20 Cool Steel (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

15:00 Call Me A Star (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Towcester

13:55 Junior Jack (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase [2 miles & 3½ furlongs]

15:00 Ukrainian Star (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase [3 miles & ½ a furlong]

15:35 One More Cookie (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

 

Wincanton

14:15 Tante Sissi (Alan King/Sam Thomas) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

15:20 Midnight Sail (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) & Trenchant (Alan King/Sam Thomas) - Novices’ Chase

 

No runners of interest at Ffos Las, Fontwell Park, Market Rasen, or Wetherby.

I hope Choc has a lovely day tomorrow, celebrating William’s first Christmas.  He won’t have to watch his weight this year, when eating his Christmas dinner; although I’m sure he’d far rather not be on the sidelines, especially with so many exciting prospects in the Alan King yard this season.  

Hope you remembered to watch ‘Get In’ with Luke Harvey and Jason Weaver on ATR today.  The programme was recorded at The Plough in Ford, and one of their guests was Martin Keighley, along with his eldest son, Freddie. 

I have a number of small surprise Christmas presents to open; plus I have asked for Midsomer Murders DVDs, to keep my collection up to date.  My friend Lesley and I will be going to see the Osmonds in concert in Birmingham at the end of March; she is treating me for my combined Christmas and birthday present.  Although I’d prefer my birthday not to be so close to Christmas, sometimes it does have its advantages!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas

Friday 23 December 2011

Forgot to mention that I had my Pre-Op Assessment yesterday; so, hopefully, my sinus operation won’t be too far away.  Although I will have to stay in hospital overnight (a first for me) ... and, evidently, there will be a lot of blood!  I need to take a week off work to recuperate too ... it will be annual leave not sick leave as, having been so unwell during July due to my sinuses, I don’t have any sick leave available to take until next summer. 

 

Just four days off for Christmas this year (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and ‘Holiday Tuesday’) ... and three for the New Year (New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Bank Holiday Monday).  I’m saving myself for when I might need to take the time off; as I should get first refusal next Christmas ... ie. if there are any specific race fixtures I wish to attend, such as the second day of Kempton Park’s Winter Festival, then I will be able to go racing.  

Thursday 22 December 2011

Choc was spotted on his way to Oaksey House again today; for physio and to spend a little time in the gym too.

 

A copy of the Times from Friday 09 December arrived today; an article about Choc written by Alan Lee fills the whole of page 86 – ‘Thornton starts to recover lost ground’.  I knew the article existed as, following Choc sustaining a broken arm at Hereford, reference had been made about him wanting to ‘get his career back on track’ just a couple of days earlier.  

 

And I had a feeling that Alan’s article might confirm to me that Choc’s relationship with Meally broke down this summer, something which I had been wondering about since mid-July.  To quote:

 

But it is away from the track that he has suffered most.  In early summer, his brief marriage to long-term partner, Meally Greenwood, broke down, only months after the birth of their first child, William.

 

It has been a harrowing experience and Thornton – ‘Choc’ to all in racing – remains raw.  “It’s not what I want and I wish it could be different,” he said this week.  “I feel sorry for her as well as for myself.  It’s very hard”.

 

But, with Choc recuperating from injury, at least he will be able to spend more time with William this Christmas.  It’s William’s first birthday on 30 December too.

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Choc reports on Twitter that he has been to Oaksey House in Lambourn today; he’s been using the Equicizer and exercise bicycle.  The swelling in his arm is greatly reduced too.

 

Three runners of interest today, all trained by Martin Keighley:

 

Ludlow

All For Free (Alain Cawley) won the Handicap Chase [2 miles] (9 ran); Martin’s 26th winner of the season. 

Always Bold (Alain Cawley) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles] (11 ran);.

 

Ffos Las

Mauricetheathlete (Mr N Slatter) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

 

No runners of interest tomorrow, the final day’s racing before Christmas.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Today there were a couple of runners of interest, at Taunton:

Genstone Trail (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

Management (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

 

Three runners of interest tomorrow, all trained by Martin Keighley:

 

Ludlow

13:30 All For Free (Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase [2 miles]

14:35 Always Bold (Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]

 

Ffos Las

14:15 Mauricetheathlete (Mr N Slatter) – Handicap Hurdle

 

There are 8 declarations for Boxing Day’s King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.  More

 

Raya Star, who has been raised to a rating of 140 following Saturday’s big win at Ascot, is now likely to be targeted at the Totesport Trophy run at Newbury in February (source: Alan King’s website). 

 

Walkon is most likely to reappear in the Halloween Novices’ Chase at Newbury on New Year’s Eve (source: Alan King’s website).

Monday 19 December 2011

One result today, from Bangor On Dee:

Trade On (Alan King/Peter Hatton) finished 9th in the Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).

 

Charlie Huxley survived his ride aboard Western Whisky ... he pulled up 2 out, but not before the horse had made a couple of errors.

 

Tomorrow, there are a couple of runners of interest, at Taunton:

12:30 Genstone Trail (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

15:05 Management (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

 

After tomorrow, there are just two National Hunt fixtures on Wednesday (Ludlow & Ffos Las) and two on Thursday (Sedgefield & Hereford) before Christmas.

My next day out will be Boxing Day at Kempton Park, as I have a ticket.   

Sunday 18 December 2011

Out early this morning, to fill up my car’s petrol tank ahead of the Christmas period.  Very cold overnight, the roads were icy ... and car skidded slightly when I negotiated a roundabout at a mere 30 mph on the way to the petrol station! 

 

We had a brief snow shower mid-morning but nothing settled; it’s still very cold outside.

 

National Hunt racing at Plumpton and Bangor tomorrow.  Just one runner of interest at the latter:

13:10 Trade On (Alan King/Peter Hatton) – Maiden Hurdle

 

I notice Western Whisky is running in Bangor’s Handicap Chase at 12:40 ... good luck to Charlie Huxley on that one.

 

I want to read Alan Lee’s article about Choc published in The Times on 09 December 2011.  So, as I cannot get hold of it on the internet without subscribing, I’ve ordered a back issue.

 

I understand that Choc will be starting his physiotherapy tomorrow, so I hope that goes well.  I believe he’s also investigating the possibility of undergoing cryotherapy in a freezer chamber, like AP McCoy did a few years ago for one of his injuries.  I recall it may have been a spinal injury ... yes, it was; I’ve just scanned through his autobiography.   (So far I’ve read just 7 chapters, as I’ve not been ‘gripped’ by it yet!)

 

I’m pleased Harry Judd won this season’s Strictly Come Dancing; he is an excellent dancer, although the other two finalists, Chelsee Healey and Jason Donovan were outstanding too.  However, Harry also has the advantage of being nice eye candy!!!  Mind you, Choc is my favourite eye candy ... he’s just so cute and I adore him!

Saturday 17 December 2011

The big news today is that the Alan King trained Raya Star won the big handicap of the day, The Ladbroke, at Ascot.  It was ‘able deputy’ Wayne Hutchinson’s biggest career win to date.  More

 

Choc was one of the first to congratulate his colleague, via Twitter.

 

Ascot

Romulus D’Artaix (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (Listed); I hope everything is okay with the horse (12 ran).

Raya Star (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Ladbroke (Listed Handicap Hurdle) (16 ran).

 

Big Buck’s won the Long Walk Hurdle, making it 14 consecutive wins.  More

 

Haydock Park

Caught By Witness (Martin Keighley/David Crosse) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

Mister Stickler (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 6th and Marleno (Martin Keighley/David Crosse) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).

 

The only National Hunt fixture tomorrow takes place at Carlisle.

 

Luke Harvey and Jason Weaver’s Christmas ‘Get In’ special, to be broadcast on ATR on Christmas Eve, was recorded at The Plough in Ford.  So don’t forget to tune in next Saturday.

 

I’ve finally received an appointment for my Pre Operative Assessment; next Thursday at 14:00.  So, finally, things are moving forward.  I’m hoping to get everything ‘done and dusted’ by the time Choc returns to the saddle.  Shame I didn’t take advantage of my employer’s Private Health Care scheme earlier ... but at least I’m covered in the future.

 

I’ve been doing some cross stitching today; the horizontal stitch count is 172, vertical 140 ... that’s 24,080 stitches.  It’s a big project.  Shame daylight hours are short this time of the year, as it’s always more difficult to stitch under artificial light.  Daylight lamps are available, but top of the range is around £160.  I’m going to add it to my ‘most wanted’ list, just in case my finances improve.

I’m going to be tuned into the final of Strictly Come Dancing this evening.  I hope Harry Judd wins.

Friday 16 December 2011

The news from the surgeon is that Choc will be out for 3 months.  Very disappointing for everyone, especially Choc. More But, with his determination, I’m sure he’ll do his best to return a little sooner. 

 

Choc has posted a photo of his scar on Twitter.  Not for the squeamish ... http://twitter.com/#!/Choc_Thornton

It does upset me to see him sustain such horrendous injuries because of the sport he loves.  L

 

Today there were a number of runners of interest:

 

Ascot

Denali Highway (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the NH Maiden Hurdle (13 ran).

All For Free (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) won the Novices’ Handicap Chase (8 ran); Martin’s 25th winner of the season.

Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Grade 2 Novices’ Chase (6 ran).  Zaynar won the race.

Patsy Finnegan (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 14th in the Handicap Hurdle (18 ran).

Golden Firebird (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 11th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).

 

Uttoxeter

The Mumper (Alan King/Gerard Huxley) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (14 ran).

 

Precautionary inspections at all the National Hunt meetings tomorrow:

Ascot

12:55 Romulus D’Artaix (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

15:05 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase (Listed)

15:35 Raya Star (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Ladbroke (Listed Handicap Hurdle)

I notice the infamous Hell’s Bay is running in the Graduation Chase at 13:55 tomorrow.

 

Haydock Park

12:40 Caught By Witness (Martin Keighley/David Crosse) - Handicap Hurdle

13:40 Mister Stickler (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) & Marleno (Martin Keighley/David Crosse) – Handicap Chase

 

Here’s a link to Wayne Hutchinson’s most recent ‘column’ on the Sporting Life website.  More

 

And a link to Martin Keighley’s column in the Gloucestershire Press.  More

 

Nothing special to do this weekend.  I’ve wrapped my Christmas presents; I no longer put up decorations; horseracing on hold; poor Choc ... I’m actually feeling very sad and tearful about Choc ...

Thursday 15 December 2011

The news today is that Choc is to stay in hospital for another night; but he’s had a very special visitor today, son William.  He’s posted a number of photographs on Twitter, so don’t forget to check them out.

http://twitter.com/#!/Choc_Thornton

 

Today’s results are as follows:

Exeter

Volcan Surprise (Alan King/DE Mullins) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).

Torphichen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Graduation Chase (4 ran).

 

Towcester

Frizzo (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) was a non-runner in the Maiden Hurdle

 

Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest:

 

Ascot

12:45 Denali Highway (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Maiden Hurdle

13:20 All For Free (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

14:30 Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Grade 2 Novices’ Chase

15:05 Patsy Finnegan (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

15:40 Golden Firebird (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Uttoxeter

15:30 The Mumper (Alan King/Gerard Huxley) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

With Choc being out of action, I’ve cancelled my day’s holiday originally booked for tomorrow.  I’m going to save it for the New Year when, if my sinus operation takes place in January or February, I can use it so that I get paid for my absence.  I will need to stay in hospital overnight and, rumour has it, I may be off work for a week.  So every leave day helps ... I get 27 days annually, starting from 01 January each year, with the option of carrying over 5 days to use before the end of February.   

 

Choc’s fortnightly column appeared in this week’s Horse and Hound although, not surprisingly, it was somewhat truncated, having been ‘dictated’ from his hospital bed in Hereford, just a couple of hours after breaking his right humerus. 

 

Choc said the Hereford race went wrong from the start.  He missed the break, because he thought the jockeys would take another turn before setting off.  However, he’d caught up by the first ditch, but a few fences later the horse galloped into the fence and fell.   Choc hit the ground okay, but then something landed on his arm and he knew straight away that it was broken.  Halfway between his shoulder and elbow his arm was bent 90 degrees. 

 

He praises the racecourse staff for giving him painkillers and splinting his arm; he was able to walk to the ambulance.  Having been taken in the first instance to Hereford Hospital, it soon became apparent that they couldn’t operate on him the following day.  Choc made two telephone calls and, as a result, he was moved Oxford, to consult Richard Keys; the surgeon having operated on Ryan Moore’s arm. 

 

Choc has been told he won’t be able to do anything for 3 months ... Choc is aiming to be back in 6 weeks.  (It’s 88 days until the start of the Cheltenham Festival ... so I’m rooting for him to make a full recovery by then, as Alan King has a number of excellent prospects this season, and I’d love him to ride his 17th Festival winner ... or more if possible!)

 

Choc also wrote about his second place aboard Medermit at Cheltenham on Saturday.  He says he is as pleased as he can be about finishing second!  Choc said he had a lovely position to jump off and flew over the first few fences.  A couple of horses crossed him at the first down the back straight, which resulted in his only mistake of the race.  But he says he was lucky, with Medermit avoiding a fair amount of trouble. 

 

Swinging into the home straight, he thought he could catch the horse in front of him, which he did, then the horse in front of that, which he also did.  But he could hear Quantitativeeasing behind him and it was a question of whether or not Choc would be caught ... and he was. 

 

The column ends by Choc saying that he was so pumped full of morphine that he could barely keep his eyes open.  But he was looking on the bright side, saying that at least he would be able to spend more time with William over Christmas. 

 

It was a very sad day today. I attended the funeral of Steve Cheesewright, the son of my best friend, Lesley.  He died aged just 30, following a two year battle with bowel cancer.  He was such a lovely lad; always smiling and cheerful, despite his illness.  And so brave in his fight against the disease.  He leaves two very young children, Phoebe and Harrison.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Choc is to remain in hospital until tomorrow.  More

Evidently the operation took place a little later than planned yesterday ... Choc was wondering if the hospital was waiting for some parts to arrive for him! 

 

Today’s results are as follows:

Newbury

Ardlui (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Juvenile Hurdle (10 ran).

Montbazon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).

Gospel Preacher (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

La Belle Doyenne (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 12th in the Fillies ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (16 ran).

 

Bangor On Dee

Ali Baba (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) was hampered at the first, and then unseated 4 out when colliding with faller Little Fritz as he got to his feet, in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Kings Troop (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 8th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

Forresters Folly (Alan King/DE Mullins) finished 7th in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (14 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Exeter and Towcester:

 

Exeter

13:20 Volcan Surprise (Alan King/DE Mullins) – Handicap Hurdle

13:50 Torphichen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Graduation Chase

 

Towcester

13:10 Frizzo (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Maiden Hurdle

 

Time For Rupert won today at Newbury, under new pilot Denis O’Regan.  More

 

The Paul Nicholls trained Sam Winner sustained an injury when falling at Cheltenham last Saturday and will be out for the remainder of the season.  More

I can’t wait to hear news of the date of my sinus operation; my breathing problems are making me feel fatigued and depressed.  L

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Choc’s operation took place at 14:00 today.  I hope it went really well.  Choc has been told that he can expect to be on the sidelines for three months ... but he’s aiming to be back in 6 weeks.  And, if his recovery from his knee injury is anything to go by, then he’ll probably make it in 6! 

 

Regardless, I’d better unpack my cross stitch project again; it looks like I’ll be doing a lot of sewing during the coming weekends!

 

Here is the report regarding Choc’s injury from the Horse and Hound.  More

 

Choc was over the moon late last night ... he discovered that he has over 10,000 followers on Twitter!!!

 

I’m a lot less popular ... I’ve got just 13 followers ... but one of them is Choc, and he’s worth a million!!!

 

Today there were 3 runners of interest at Folkestone:

Henry San (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (15 ran).

Soir D’Estruval (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Beginners’ Chase (6 ran).

Monturgeon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle (15 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are runners of interest at both Newbury and Bangor On Dee:

 

Newbury

12:20 Ardlui (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

13:25 Montbazon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

14:00 Gospel Preacher (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:40 La Belle Doyenne (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Fillies ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Bangor On Dee

13:45 Ali Baba (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

14:50 Kings Troop (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

15:25 Forresters Folly (Alan King/DE Mullins) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

 

Exeter, Kelso and Perth will transfer their TV coverage rights from ATR to Racing UK on 01 May 2012.  More

Monday 12 December 2011

The news today is that the IJF arranged for Choc to be moved from Hereford County Hospital to Oxford Manor Hospital; the former having been unable to find time on their schedule to operate today or, in all likelihood, tomorrow either.  Choc is now due to have an operation on his broken arm tomorrow afternoon in Oxford.  More

 

Choc has been tweeting today ... so please check out his twitter account: http://twitter.com/#!/Choc_Thornton

 

There were actually two runners of interest at Fakenham today:

Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Charlie Poste) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (12 ran).

Consult (Martin Keighley/Alan Cawley) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are 3 runners of interest at Folkestone:

12:40 Henry San (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:10 Soir D’Estruval (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Beginners’ Chase

13:40 Monturgeon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

 

Not sure what the weather conditions will be like at the Kent course tomorrow ... strong winds and rain are forecast for the southeast.  It’s raining quite heavily in Hertfordshire this evening; and it’s windy too. 

 

The Tatling signed off with a win at Wolverhampton in his final race before a well-deserved retirement.  More

Sunday 11 December 2011

 

MC900437789[1]

 

 

Choc had one riding engagement at Hereford today, but it ended in disaster, with a fall in which his mount brought down another horse and resulted in an injury to Choc ... tweets and the Racing Post reporting that he has broken his upper right arm.  More     

 

Western Whisky (Richard Lee/Choc) fell in the Handicap Chase (3 miles 1½ furlongs) (12 ran).

Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (2 miles 3 furlongs) (14 ran).

Ukrainian Star (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) won the Handicap Hurdle (16 ran).  Congratulations to the team on their 24th winner of the season.

 

No runners of interest to report tomorrow, at Fakenham.

As with Choc’s last extended injury absence, I will continue to report on his progress back to fitness which hopefully, and knowing his grim determination, will be a speedy one.  And I’ll keep up to date with the runners from both the Alan King and Martin Keighley yards. 

My racing diaries will be few and far between, although I will attend Kempton Park on Boxing Day as I have a ticket.  Fingers crossed, Choc will be back to full fitness in time for the Cheltenham Festival.  Horseracing is not quite the same without him. 

Better news regarding Jeremiah McGrath, who was discharged from Cheltenham General today having suffered solely bad bruising following yesterday’s fall from Dave’s Dream.  Although, evidently, the news is not so good regarding Keith Mercer, who sustained a broken arm when being unseated from Divers.

I knew there was a reason I gave up horse-riding at the age of 33; having been mildly concussed during a fall.  It’s far too dangerous.  And my neck has been ‘grinding’ and ‘creaking’ ever since.  Sometimes, if I’ve been sleeping in a draught, I can barely lift my head off the pillow in the morning. 

And last, but certainly not least, if you have a Twitter account, please don’t forget to tweet your ‘get well soon’ messages to Choc.  I know he will appreciate hearing from you.   

http://twitter.com/#!/Choc_Thornton

Saturday 10 December 2011

Today there were 4 runners of interest at Cheltenham:

Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Chase (5 ran).

Oh Crick (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th & Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 3rd in the 2 mile ½ furlong Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Medermit (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Spinal Research The Atlantic 4 Gold Cup (Grade 3 Handicap Chase) (16 ran).  Medermit caught the faltering Roudoudou Ville on the approach to the line, but unfortunately Quantitativeeasing (today ridden by Barry Geraghty) finished the best and beat both of them to the prize; I was gutted. L  More

 

The International Hurdle was won by the Nicky Henderson trained, Barry Geraghty ridden, Grandouet.  More

 

It was three winners on the day for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty, with Oscar Whisky winning the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle; it being Nicky’s birthday today.  It was not such a good birthday for jockey Jeremiah McGrath, who was taken to Cheltenham General Hospital with a back injury having been unseated by the Nicky Henderson trained Dave’s Dream in the 13:20.

 

Choc tweeted that he’d been given a ticket today, for parking illegally in Winchcombe, for 2 minutes he said.  I’d like to be a traffic warden and issue tickets to illegally parked drivers.  But, in Choc’s case, I might turn a blind eye!  Okay, okay, ‘would’ not ‘might’!!!

 

Lingfield Park was abandoned due to frost.

 

Tomorrow, Choc has one riding engagement, at Hereford:

14:15 Western Whisky (Richard Lee/Choc) – Handicap Chase (3 miles 1½ furlongs)

15:15 Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Handicap Chase (2 miles 3 furlongs)

15:45 Ukrainian Star (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle

Friday 09 December 2011

 

Newbury 28 Nov 09 for diary.jpg

 

The big news of the day is the retirement of Denman (pictured above having won the 2009 Hennessy Gold Cup) following a minor tendon injury.  More

 

Jockey Sam Thomas has also paid tribute to Denman, who he rode to a number of victories, including the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup.  More

 

Cheltenham

Bygones In Brid (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier) (9 ran).

 

Doncaster

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are 4 runners of interest at Cheltenham:

12:45 Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Novices’ Chase

13:20 Oh Crick (Alan King/Choc) & Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) - Handicap Chase

14:30 Medermit (Alan King/Choc) – Spinal Research The Atlantic 4 Gold Cup (Grade 3 Handicap Chase)

 

And 2 runners of interest at Lingfield Park:

14:35 Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]

15:10 The Mumper (Alan King/Gerard Huxley) – Maiden Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Doncaster is going to inspect in the morning, and tonight Cheltenham has deployed frost covers to the take-off and landing areas with temperatures set to drop.  More

 

And there was confusion in today’s Cross Country Chase.  More

 

Martin Keighley’s regular column has appeared in today’s Gloucestershire Press.  More

 

No plans to go racing this weekend. 

Thursday 08 December 2011

There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Huntingdon

Soleil D’Avril (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Dineur (Alan King/Choc) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle

Tuscan Gold (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (16 ran).

 

Taunton

Mister Chancer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Like A Hurricane (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Hurdle (5 ran).

Tomorrow there are just a couple of runners of interest:

Cheltenham

15:30 Bygones In Brid (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier)

 

Doncaster

15:20 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle

 

The Grade 2 Peterborough Chase was won by Gauvain; compensation following his fall in last Saturday’s Tingle Creek Chase.  More

 

Unfortunately Martin Keighley’s Havingotascoobydo has missed the cut for Saturday’s Spinal Research The Atlantic 4 Gold Cup at Cheltenham, but he is first reserve so he may get a run if others drop out before 9:00 tomorrow.  More  Fortunately Scooby does have an alternative engagement on Saturday too.

 

And Graham Lee was taken to hospital with a suspected broken collarbone having taken a nasty fall at Huntingdon; Keith Mercer will now take the ride aboard Divers in the aforementioned Spinal Research Atlantic 4 Gold Cup.  More  

Wednesday 07 December 2011

Just one riding engagement for Choc today, at Leicester, and this is how he fared:

Dhaafer (Alan King) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

 

There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Huntingdon

12:30 Soleil D’Avril (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

13:30 Dineur (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

15:00 Tuscan Gold (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

Taunton

13:20 Mister Chancer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

13:50 Like A Hurricane (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Hurdle

The highlight of Huntingdon’s card is the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase; competing, amongst others, are Tartak (who won it last year when run at Newbury), The Nightingale, Gauvain, Somersby, and Tchico Polos.  More

 

News that Will Kennedy has lost the ride aboard Time For Rupert. That’s a shame for him ... but, hopefully, you can’t keep a good jockey down for long.  More

And 1986 Derby winner, Shahrastani, has died aged 28.  More

Tuesday 06 December 2011

Today Choc was at Fontwell Park and this is how he fared:

Secret Edge (Alan King/Choc) won the Juvenile Hurdle (8 ran); Choc’s 33rd winner of the season. J

Kauto The Roc (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Beginner’s Chase (6 ran).

Cosway Spirit (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 8th and Medinas (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

 

Tomorrow Choc has one riding engagement, at Leicester:

15:00 Dhaafer (Alan King) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Jockey Johnny Farrelly will be out of action for a while, having taken a heavy fall at Fontwell in which he broke his collarbone.  More

Medermit is an almost certain runner in Saturday's Spinal Research Atlantic 4 Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.  More

But Menorah may remain hurdling for the remainder of the season if he wins the International.  More

Monday 05 December 2011

Another winner for Choc today, at Plumpton:

Marcus Antonius (JR Boyle) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Invictus (Alan King) won the Novices’ Chase (5 ran).  Choc’s 32nd winner of the season. J

Chilli Rose (Alan King) finished 4th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

 

Tomorrow, Choc has 3 riding engagements, at Fontwell Park:

12:40 Secret Edge (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle

13:10 Kauto The Roc (Alan King/Choc) – Beginner’s Chase

13:40 Cosway Spirit (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) & Medinas (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

My Newbury diary has been completed and uploaded.  Click here to read. 

Sunday 04 December 2011

Today, Choc had 3 riding engagements at Warwick, and this is how he fared:

Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles] (7 ran)

No Substitute (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th and Ransson (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 13th in the Maiden Hurdle (17 ran).

Trigger The Light (Alan King/Choc) won and Spring Moon (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished a neck 2nd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 5 furlongs] (6 ran); Choc’s 31st winner of the season.  Although I’m very pleased Choc won, it was a shame for Spring Moon, who put up an excellent jumping display and led for much of the race before being collared very close home. 

Railway Rico (Paul Rich/Choc) finished 9th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (19 ran).

 

Tomorrow, Choc will be at Plumpton where, again, he has 3 riding engagements:

12:40 Marcus Antonius (JR Boyle) - Novices’ Hurdle

13:10 Invictus (Alan King) – Novices’ Chase

13:40 Chilli Rose (Alan King) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

 

News that Walkon’s next target might be the Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.  More

 

There’s an update on possible plans following West End Rocker’s superb win in yesterday’s Becher Chase.  More

 

And I’ve finally completed the first draft of my Newbury diary ... which consists of almost 4,600 words.

Saturday 03 December 2011

Today there were a number of runners of interest:

 

Chepstow

Romulus D’Artaix (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Trenchant (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Novices’ Chase (8 ran).

Diamond Sweeper (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

General Kutuzov (Nick Gifford/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [3 miles] (14 ran).

Saffron Lord (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) was pulled up; Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Mr N Slatter) won the Handicap Hurdle (18 ran).  Martin’s 23rd winner of the season.  Congratulations to the team.

Prince Du Seuil (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3½ furlongs] (15 ran).

It was heavy ground and Choc said it was hard work today.

 

Aintree

West End Rocker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Becher Handicap Chase [National Course – 3 miles 2 furlongs] (14 ran).

Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Shane Byrne) unseated at the Chair in the Handicap Chase [National Course – 2 miles 5½ furlongs] (14 ran).

 

Sandown Park

Cold Knight (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 6th & Tante Sissi (Alan King/Sam Thomas) finished 6th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

The Betchworth Kid (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle (19 ran).

Lidar (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 5th in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (7 ran).

Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 3rd in the London National Handicap Chase (8 ran).

 

Tomorrow, Choc has 3 riding engagements at Warwick:

13:40 Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase [2 miles]

14:10 No Substitute (Alan King/Choc) & Ransson (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

14:40 Trigger The Light (Alan King/Choc) & Spring Moon (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 5 furlongs]

15:40 Railway Rico (Paul Rich/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

West End Rocker’s win was my highlight of the day; he jumped beautifully, apart from an error at the first, and won with ease.  More

 

Sizing Europe took the Tingle Creek Chase.  More  And Al Ferof won the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase.  More

 

My laptop has been behaving itself this evening ... but my internet connection has been ‘dropping out’ intermittently instead.  I just can’t win.

Friday 02 December 2011

Good news from Exeter today regarding a particular favourite of mine, Walkon, who shares this honour with Kumbeshwar.  When I told Choc, via Twitter, that these horses are my favourites, he said it was an excellent choice!  And they have both done extremely well on their debuts over fences this week. 

 

Exeter

Walkon (Alan King/Choc) won the Novices’ Chase (6 ran); Choc’s 30th winner of the season.  Walkon jumped extremely well and it was an excellent win. J

Saudi Pearl (Alan King/Choc) finished 12th in the ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (15 ran).

 

Sandown Park

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 2nd in the Future Stars Chase [Listed Intermediate Race] (5 ran).

 

Here is a report regarding Walkon’s victory.  More

 

Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest:

 

Chepstow

12:25 Romulus D’Artaix (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:00 Trenchant (Alan King/Choc) - Novices’ Chase

13:30 Diamond Sweeper (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

14:05 General Kutuzov (Nick Gifford/Choc) – Handicap Chase

14:40 Saffron Lord (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) & Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Mr N Slatter) - Handicap Hurdle

15:15 Prince Du Seuil (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase

 

Aintree

14:10 West End Rocker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Becher Handicap Chase [National Course – 3 miles 2 furlongs]

15:20 Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Paddy Brennan) – Handicap Chase [National Course – 2 miles 5½ furlongs]

 

Sandown Park

12:55 Cold Knight (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) & Tante Sissi (Alan King/Sam Thomas) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

13:25 The Betchworth Kid (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) - Handicap Hurdle

13:55 Lidar (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)

15:40 Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – London National Handicap Chase

 

Tingle Creek hope, Tataniano, has been ruled out for the season through injury.  More

 

Looks like I will be tuning in to watch ATR tomorrow ... as Choc out-trumps everything!   But I will definitely watch Racing UK’s highlights from the Sandown and Aintree meetings too.  

 

Over the past two or three days, my laptop has become very temperamental again ... so, if my blogs disappear for a few days, you’ll know why. L  And, if my laptop fails ... I won’t be able to tweet either, as I don’t have a smart-phone. L  However, this afternoon, I backed-up my files again, so all my recent photos have now joined the existing archive on my Seagate hard disk drive, together with a second copy of the directory containing all my up-to-date website pages ... phew!!!  Although, of course, I can also download my webpage files from my hosting service.

 

My Newbury diary is progressing ... although slowly!  But I now have two free weeks to work on it before I hope to go racing again (Ascot?). 

Not surprisingly, my recent cold virus has exacerbated my sinus problems once more.  I’m looking forward to my appointment with the ENT surgeon next Tuesday and will be relieved to get the issues sorted; after more than 6 months of mild to severe symptoms, I am now feeling rather fatigued.  Besides, my weight is continuing to creep up through lack of energy to exercise ... I definitely feel like a beached whale; very unglamorous!  I’m looking forward to feeling like a new woman after the sinus operation!!!

Thursday 01 December 2011

Today there were a number of runners of interest; Choc suffered two mishaps but also rode a winner.  Both he and the horses were fine.

 

Wincanton

Cool Steel (Alan King/Choc) was brought down two out in the NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

Habbie Simpson (Alan King/Choc) fell two out; Midnight Sail (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) finished 4th in the Beginners’ Chase (9 ran).

Dineur (Alan King/Choc) won the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran); Choc’s 29th winner of the season.

 

Leicester

Reyamour (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished finished 8th in the Juvenile Fillies’ Hurdle (11 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Exeter and Sandown Park, including one of my favourites, Walkon:

 

Exeter

13:00 Walkon (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Chase

15:50 Saudi Pearl (Alan King/Choc) – ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Sandown Park

14:30 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Future Stars Chase [Listed Intermediate Race]

 

Choc’s third column of the season appeared in this week’s issue of Horse and Hound.  Choc mentions that it was fantastic that Mattie Batchelor won the Hennessy Gold Cup; especially after having such a tough time recently when it was difficult to get rides and he was becoming fairly disillusioned with the sport.  Mattie is the life and soul of the Weighing Room and would be sadly missed if he called time on his career. 

 

He says all the jockeys were willing Carruthers on, once their chances had gone.  Choc takes pains to point out that he didn’t kiss Mattie when he congratulated him after the race ... Mattie kissed him!!!

 

Choc mentions how deserving it was that Lord Oaksey was the winning owner, especially after he’s done so much for the Injured Jockeys’ Fund over the years; it was such a shame he was too unwell to attend.

 

He says Blazing Bailey ran well and it should have set him up perfectly for the Welsh National at Chepstow on 27 December, especially if conditions are more testing.

 

Choc mentions that Jimmy McCarthy turned 42 recently.  Jimmy likes to keep his birthday a secret, and Choc drove him to the races on that day and didn’t even know until his colleagues sang Happy Birthday to him in the Weighing Room.  Choc says Jimmy is still as brave as a lion; he schools regularly at Barbury Castle and is brilliant at it. 

 

He mentions Andrew Tinkler’s recent injury, when he broke three bones in his hand at Newbury.  And he also feels sorry for Brendan Powell Junior who gave his mount a brilliant ride to win last week, but picked up a 9-day ban for going over the limit due to two slaps down the shoulder.

 

He likes Call Me A Star, a full-sister to Call Me A Legend, who won at Wetherby last week.  The nicest mare he’s ridden for a while.  Plans for Call Me A Star are one more run before taking part in the mares’ final at Sandown, followed by the mares’ bumper at the Aintree Grand National meeting.

 

He mentions looking forward to riding Kumbeshwar at Hereford (he won well); also West End Rocker running in the Becher Chase at Aintree this Saturday.

 

And, finally, he says it was great to see Kauto Star win at Haydock recently; he praises horses like Kauto and Big Buck’s for ‘connecting’ with horse racing fans.  It being a massive achievement by Paul Nicholls to keep his ‘stars’ running so well time and time again.

 

 


 

 

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