DECEMBER 2014

 

 

Wednesday 31 December 2014

It was no surprise that Uttoxeter was lost today, but Warwick didn’t survive the freeze either; so no results today. 

 

It was very cold when I walked to work this morning; white pavements every working day morning this week.  I’m always surprised at the number of joggers who decide to go out for a run very early; there was even one guy running in the dark at 06:45 today!  I wasn’t out at that time, I saw him run past my home!  Crazy people. 

 

And when I was walking home at lunch time I saw a red kite soaring over my residential area looking for carrion. They are commonplace in the Chilterns having been reintroduced, but far from common near my home.  In fact I only recall seeing one once before in this particular locality; although they are more frequent visitors to the countryside between Hemel Hempstead and St Albans. 

 

There are five National Hunt fixtures tomorrow – Catterick, Cheltenham, Exeter, Fakenham and Musselburgh.  That will be another nightmare on RUK, having to juggle four of these!  Mind you, Boxing Day was even worse with five! 

 

Cheltenham:

13:20 Ned Stark (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Dipper Novices’ Chase (Grade 2).

13:55 Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs]

14:30 Ulzana’s Raid (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]

15:40 Elkstone (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Laughingalltheway (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Exeter:

14:20 Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Tom Bellamy) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

14:55 Shadarpour (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & Hindon Road (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs]

15:30 Flementime (Martin Keighley/Tom Bellamy) – Beginners’ Chase

16:00 Ballochmyle (Alan King/Jack Doyle) – Maiden Standard Open Flat Race

 

I made a start on my Kempton diary race notes yesterday evening but got side-tracked this afternoon, having been allowed home at 13:00.  I discovered Death Comes to Pemberley on one of the freeview channels and, as I missed the serial when first shown on TV, decided to watch it instead.  I love a period drama!  James Norton was in it too ... loved him in Grantchester.  The Musketeers returns on Friday ... also lovely eye candy!  Santiago Cabrera, who plays Aramis, is my favourite. 

Tuesday 30 December 2014

 

 

Happy Birthday to William Thornton

4 today

 

 

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest at Taunton:

Pattara (Noel Williams/Gerard Tumelty) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 1 furlong] (17 ran).

Friendly Society (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & 1½ furlongs] (9 ran).

Howwrongcanyoube (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) clipped heels and slipped up and McCabe Creek (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

Dusky Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Bar A Mine (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 4th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

 

There was controversy at the track, with hurdles being omitted during three of the races due to the low sun.  But steeplechases interleaved these races without fences being bypassed.   More 

 

Tomorrow there is National Hunt racing at Uttoxeter, subject to an 08:30 inspection, and from Warwick too:

14:20 Spanish Arch (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) – Handicap Chase (Jockey Club Grassroots Jumps Series Qualifier)

14:50 Gabriella Rose (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) & Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Tom Bellamy) – Mares’ National Novices’ Hurdle

15:50 Ballochmyle (Alan King/Jack Doyle) & Sutton Mac (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Today’s escape from work time was 14:00 but, as I was having problems with our colour printer, I didn’t leave the office until 14:20.  Typical; the colour printer/photocopier is useless and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to stay after hours to wait for items to finish because it jams every few minutes.  I’ve now got fingers crossed for a finish time of 13:00 tomorrow.  I’m hoping that I’ve calculated my holiday correctly, if so, I’ve still got 5 days to take before the end of February or I lose them.

 

As hoped, birthday boy William is being looked after by Choc at the present time and they spent the day with his grandparents and cousins. J

Choc is going for his scans on Monday, 05 January, my birthday.  Vertebrae C7 and T1 are the problem (bottom of neck and top of back).  Fingers ... and everything ... crossed for good news. 

Monday 29 December 2014

It was a sunny but very cold day at Newbury but racing went ahead, as covers had been deployed a couple of days ago.  Doncaster and Kelso were lost due to the frost; even the all-weather racing at Southwell was abandoned today!

 

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Newbury:

Desert Joe (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (11 ran).

Ziga Boy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) unseated 3 out in the Mandarin Handicap Chase [3 miles 2½ furlongs] (7 ran).

 

As expected, Sprinter Sacre undertook a pre-racing gallop and schooling session at Newbury today.  More

 

The Grade 1 Challow Hurdle was won by the John Ferguson-trained Parlour Games.  More

 

And Hurricane Fly won Leopardstown’s Ryanair Hurdle today, for the fourth time.  More

 

Tomorrow’s Haydock Park fixture has been abandoned due to frost, but there are runners of interest at Taunton:

13:00 Pattara (Noel Williams/Gerard Tumelty) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 1 furlong]

13:30 Friendly Society (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & 1½ furlongs]

14:00 Howwrongcanyoube (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & McCabe Creek (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:00 Dusky Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

16:00 Bar A Mine (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Evidently there is a strain of flu doing the rounds which is not one of the varieties included in this season’s inoculation.  My elderly aunt and uncle picked up this flu bug just before Christmas and have been extremely poorly over the holiday period despite having had the flu vaccination.  So, if my elderly mother or I succumb to it, we will have no defence either.  Damn.

 

Well that was a bit more than half a day’s work ... I arrived in the office at 08:40 this morning expecting to work until not much after 13:00 ... but we didn’t get the okay to leave until 15:00, after which I’d already worked through my lunch hour.  So I worked just an hour and 10 minutes less than my normal contracted time.  Disappointing.  I wonder what time we will be let out of ‘school’ tomorrow.  But, hopefully, the office will be warmer tomorrow – my colleague wore her coat in the office today; I didn’t, but did feel quite cold despite wearing a thermal t-shirt, sweater and fleece.  

 

Ian Popham was discharged from hospital yesterday and is recovering at home.  Wishing him a speedy recovery; he deserves a change of luck. 

 

It is Choc’s son’s birthday tomorrow; William will be 4.  Choc mentioned that he will shortly have William again for 6 days so, hopefully, this includes tomorrow.  Sadly I don’t think it was his turn to have his son for Christmas this year, as he’s not riding at the moment. 

 

Having been busy at work today and arrived home later than expected, I’ve not worked on my diary.  However, I have now selected and uploaded my photographs.  Click here to view the photo gallery index.   

Sunday 28 December 2014

I forgot to mention Uxizandre, who ran at Leopardstown yesterday.  He was very disappointing, probably because he was unable to dictate the pace after the fifth fence, having made a jumping error.  Everyone knows he needs a left-handed track like Leopardstown but AP got very close to the inside wing on a couple of occasions too which wouldn’t have helped.  I know AP won on him at Aintree, but I reckon Barry Geraghty and Choc suit him better!  More

 

Road To Riches won the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown today.  More

 

Ian Popham had an operation on his jaw yesterday, having sustained mouth and jaw injuries at Market Rasen on Boxing Day.  It’s his birthday today, so will be hoping to be discharged from hospital.  That makes him a Capricorn, like me and young William Thornton too. 

 

Choc has been bemoaning the fact that he received a parking ticket on 23 December; he hates traffic wardens.  So I won’t tell him that I harbour a secret desire to be a traffic warden!  However, if he’s still got his personalised number plates I’d know it was his car and I’d let him get away with it ... but no-one else would!!!

 

Racing UK broadcast a number of very interesting programmes from behind the scenes and I caught the end of one of their repeats on Christmas morning.  They visited Midnight Legend at stud, and the presenter was introduced to three very friendly yearlings in one of the paddocks.  One was a brother of the ill-fated Tiqris, another was a colt out of Call Me A Legend by Passing Glance, who also stands at the stud and serves Midnight Legend’s daughters.  I remember Call Me A Legend well; she retired in 2011 and was trained by Alan King.  They also have Call Me A Star at the stud; no surprise from her name that she’s a full sister to Call Me A Legend (their dam being Second Call), but three year’s younger!  And more feisty!  She retired last November, also having been trained by Alan King.  The third was a very dark grey filly, whose mum is Katchit’s dam’s sister.  Greys run in his family, as Katchit’s mum was a grey!

 

Tomorrow there is racing from Kelso and Newbury; Doncaster having been abandoned due to snow.  The snow certainly came from ‘left-field’ and has disrupted racing in a belt across the country – Leicestershire to South Yorkshire, North Wales to Lincolnshire.  Racing north of it wasn’t affected yesterday, with Wetherby in North Yorkshire going ahead.  Kempton Park experienced far more sunshine than Hertfordshire yesterday; we only saw the sun for around half an hour during late morning. 

 

Newbury: (subject to a 07:30 inspection)

13:05 Desert Joe (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

13:35 Ziga Boy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mandarin Handicap Chase [3 miles 2½ furlongs]

 

And me, I’m working tomorrow; hopefully it will be for solely half a day on each of the next three days as is usually the case between Christmas and the New Year. 

 

I may need to visit the city centre after work on one of the days ... not for the sales, but to collect a pair of black boots I ordered online having seen them in the Hotter sale on Christmas Eve; £40 off!  That was very naughty of me, yet again!  I love Hotter shoes and boots but they are a touch on the expensive side, which is why I’ve only bought them when there is a special offer or, now, a sale. 

 

I like to buy comfy boots from M & S but, for the past couple of seasons, they’ve not stocked the kind of flexible/supple ankle boots I need for walking any kind of distance during the winter months i.e. to and from work.  I have two or three pairs at present which have almost reached the end of their life but I cannot find similar replacements. It’s annoying.  Especially as I need to be selective, as the stitching on some boots rubs the skin sore on my legs and it takes days or weeks for the redness to completely disappear.  

 

I bought my burgundy M & S ankle boots in October 2013, and this autumn a pair of grey M & S ones; they are both heeled and ‘clompy’, ideal for racing but not for long distances.  I wasn’t expecting so many of my racing plans to be put on hold this season ... or even indefinitely if the worst comes to the worst. L

 

I’ve now completed the top and tail of my Kempton Park diary; although I am suffering from intermittent headaches and slight dizziness at the present time; I’m positive this is because of my cervical spondylosis.  I’m very achy and creaky too, with stiffness in my shoulders.  I’ll be glad to loosen up with a walk to work tomorrow. 

Saturday 27 December 2014

I didn’t need a snorkel or a sledge this morning after all ...

 

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Kempton Park:

Balder Succes (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Desert Orchid Chase (Grade 2) (5 ran).  Irish-raider Special Tiara led all the way at a scorching pace under Barry Geraghty.  The winner did that once before, at Aintree.  So I guess it will be two and a half miles for Balder from now on; I’d prefer it that way, as it was scary seeing the horses travelling so fast. 

Chatez (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished a disappointing 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (11 ran); but he’s just a juvenile, and he pulled hard too. 

 

Chepstow:

Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Tom Bellamy) finished 8th in the Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).

Karezak (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) finished 2nd in the Future Champion Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) (10 ran).

Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) was a non-runner in the Welsh Grand National (19 ran).

 

Here is the report regarding the Desert Orchid Chase.  More

 

Vibrato Valtat won the Grade 2 two mile Novices’ Chase.  More  It was good to see Deep Trouble walk away from an awful fall at the last. 

 

The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Bristol De Mai won the Grade 1 Future Champion Finale Juvenile Hurdle.  More

 

The Welsh Grand National was won by the Venetia Williams trained Emperor’s Choice, by just a short-head from Benvolio.  More  I was mightily relieved as for a moment, it appeared that the Irish had stolen the race with Glenquest!

 

Martin Keighley reports that Ian Popham sustained facial injuries in yesterday’s fall at Market Rasen.  It made horrible viewing; Ian’s mount was leading at the time and brought down a second horse, with another falling separately too.  One appeared to kick him in the head and another rolled over him.  Ouch.

 

As I write this blog entry I haven’t begun my Kempton Park diary, but I have transferred yesterday’s racing to DVD. 

 

There’s racing at Leicester (subject to an inspection) and Catterick tomorrow, but no runners of interest. 

Friday 26 December 2014

 

King George VI Pre-race parade.jpg

 

King George VI Chase pre-race parade;

Al Ferof at the head of it

 

 

Unfortunately the weather conditions at Kempton Park today were not conducive to taking photos with such a basic camera as mine.  With the light fading fast, the photograph above was one of the last I managed to take before they became too blurred. 

 

Having seen the weather forecast earlier in the week I was still expecting a cold, dry but bright day ... it was anything but by the time the feature race arrived.  In fact I gave up after the King George, leaving before the final race of the day.  It was so wet that my hair was almost dripping as I set off on my drive home.  And I certainly didn’t enjoy my drive home along the M3 and M25, with all the surface water and spray.

 

And will there be a dusting of snow tomorrow?    

 

Sadly, little went according to plan for today’s runners of interest too:

 

Kempton Park:

Uriah Heep (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) was pulled up in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Carraig Mor (Alan King/Noel Fehily) unseated at the 8th and Creepy (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) was pulled up having made a bad blunder and lost touch in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (7 ran). 

 

The Kauto Star Novices’ Chase was an attritional race, with only three completing.  Favourite Saphir Du Rheu slipped and fell having landed over the 7th, and Sausalito Sunrise fell 6 out.  Basically, Coneygree put pressure on all of his rivals by travelling well and putting in a clear round; he won by 40 lengths from Warden Hill and ‘pony’ Virak.  More

 

There was no surprise with Faugheen running away with the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle.  More

 

And, of course, Silviniaco Conti retained the King George VI Chase having won the race last year.  Yet another victory in the event for trainer Paul Nicholls.  Yawn!  More

 

Wincanton:

Avispa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (18 ran).

Kerrow (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 9th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).

 

Towcester:

Seymour Star (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 5th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier) (11 ran).

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 6th in the NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) (7 ran).

 

Fontwell Park:

Chance Taken (Noel Williams/Joshua Moore) finished 4th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

 

Vautour dead-heated for second at Leopardstown, having made a bad error from which he never recovered; Clarcam won the race.  More

 

Uxizandre runs in the Grade 1 Chase at Leopardstown tomorrow, off time 13:20.  More

 

Ian Popham was injured at Market Rasen when Withoutdefavourite fell; I’m not sure what his injury is, but I’m sure Martin Keighley will report further news. 

 

Wayne Hutchinson rode his 19th winner of the season today, aboard Loch Ba at Wincanton.

 

Tomorrow’s runners of interest are as follows:

 

Kempton Park:

13:40 Balder Succes (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Desert Orchid Chase (Grade 2)

15:25 Chatez (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]

 

Chepstow:

12:25 Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Maiden Hurdle; jockey subject to further news.

13:55 Karezak (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) – Future Champion Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)

14:35 Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Welsh Grand National

 

By tomorrow, I expect everyone to require either snorkels or sledges!

Tuesday 22 December 2014

 

Merry Christmas everyone

 

Here are Boxing Day’s runners of interest:

 

Kempton Park:

13:25 Uriah Heep (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

14:00 Carraig Mor (Alan King/Noel Fehily) & Creepy (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)

 

There are ten declarations for the King George VI Chase – Al Ferof, Champagne Fever, Cue Card, Double Ross, Dynaste, Johns Spirit, Menorah, Silviniaco Conti, Wishfull Thinking and Wonderful Charm.  With Richard Johnson currently serving his unfortunate ban, Tom O’Brien rides Menorah and Barry Geraghty has been booked to ride Wishfull Thinking. 

 

Wincanton:

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

15:55 Kerrow (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Towcester:

13:00 Seymour Star (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier)

14:10 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier)

 

Fontwell Park:

12:55 Chance Taken (Noel Williams/Joshua Moore) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

 

Well, there’s a thing ... Masterson Holdings who own Carraig Mor, and Balder Succes, have decided to re-engage the services of Noel Fehily who won aboard Carriag Mor at Newbury when Wayne was on the injury sidelines last month.  Choc used to ride their horses, but he went out of favour following a number of reversals, after which Wayne took over.  Now Wayne appears to have gone out of favour too, having been plagued by injury absences in recent months.  It can be a fickle game; weekend indications were that Wayne would be at Kempton Park, with Tom Bellamy and Denis O’Regan riding for the yard at Wincanton.

 

There will be a post-Christmas treat for Sprinter Sacre fans – it is expected he will have a workout and schooling session at Newbury next Monday prior to racing taking place.  More

 

Choc has tweeted a photo of William helping out at his new stable yard; evidently there will be around 12 loose boxes once the building is complete. 

https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/547352991284875264/photo/1

 

My Aintree Festival tickets and car parking passes arrived yesterday.  It always puts my mind at rest when ordered tickets are safely delivered! 

Just half a day’s work now until Christmas, but it has been busy with no sign of a slow-down.  I worked almost 10 hours without a break yesterday and around 9 today, although I did have a short lunch break. 

Sunday 21 December 2014

Tomorrow is the last race day before Christmas and there’s just one National Hunt fixture – Bangor-On-Dee – no runners of interest but larger field sizes than recently, with 62 runners before defections!

 

The 2014 Lesters take place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole tomorrow evening.

 

There are eight National Hunt fixtures on Boxing Day – Fontwell Park, Huntingdon, Kempton Park, Market Rasen, Sedgefield, Towcester, Wetherby and Wincanton.  Later in the week I will need to check the declarations for Fontwell Park, Kempton Park, Towcester and Wincanton, as they are the four fixtures with possible runners of interest.

 

The 2002 Derby winner High Chaparral has been put to sleep following exploratory colic surgery; it was discovered he had a perforated intestine.  More  

 

I’ve filled my car with petrol, cleaned it too ... so I’m all set for any trips over the Christmas period.  The weather forecast for Boxing Day is a frosty start with temperatures slow to rise and reaching around 7 degrees.  But at least it’s going to be dry!  I’ve not extra days holiday over the Christmas/New Year period, but this Wednesday is a half day, as is next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

And I’ve now booked two tickets to see Pasha Kovalev at the Watford Colosseum next June, I’m going with Lesley; Caroline Flack and Pasha having been crowned this year’s Strictly Come Dancing Champions last night.  

Saturday 20 December 2014

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Ascot:

The Tourard Man (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (12 ran); he was beaten by Carruthers’ full-brother, Flintham, who made all.

Medinas (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Long Walk Hurdle (Grade 1) (5 ran).  The race had a very exciting conclusion with the long-time leader, Reve De Sivola, rallying after the last to claim the prize from Zarkandar; the latter had looked odds-on having made his challenge and initially gone two lengths clear on the run-in.  The winner has now equalled Big Bucks’ record in the race, with three consecutive wins; only Baracouda having won more with four victories in this event.   More

 

Irish Saint won the Graduation Chase; Puffin Billy took a crashing fall at the last but, fortunately, he was okay and lives to fight another day.  Unlike poor Lancetto who lost his life having fractured a humerus in the 2 miles 1 furlong Handicap Chase.  More

 

Here is a photograph of Puffin Billy, safe and sound at home following the race:

https://twitter.com/LisaKozak/status/546346438104719361/photo/1

 

The Ladbroke Hurdle was won by Irish-raider, Bayan.  However, the winning rider received a 15-day ban together with a £3,150 fine for overuse of his whip; and Sam Twiston-Davies on the runner-up received a 4-day ban for the same offence.  More

 

The Young Master gained compensation for his disqualification at Wincanton by winning the Silver Cup Handicap Chase.  More

 

Haydock Park:

Kumbeshwar (Lucinda Russell/Craig Nichol) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (8 ran).

The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) won the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran); Denis said he spoke at length to Choc yesterday evening regarding how to ride the mare, “produce her as late as possible”.  More  

Araldur (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles] (6 ran).

 

Un De Sceaux put in a clear round to win at Fairyhouse today.  More 

 

Ruby Walsh will be deserting Vautour, who has a date at Leopardstown on Boxing Day, in order to ride Faugheen and Champagne Fever at Kempton Park.  More

 

There are two National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, at Fakenham and Lingfield Park, but no runners of interest.  It’s probably fortunate in the case of the Alan King yard as it’s their staff Christmas Party this evening!  It was my work department’s Christmas lunch yesterday but, as I’d already booked the day as leave before they arranged it, I decided not to back-track on principle!

Friday 19 December 2014

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Ascot:

Yanworth (Alan King/AP McCoy) finished 2nd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (Listed) (13 ran).

 

Uttoxeter:

Smart Motive (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 4th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are three National Hunt fixtures, Newcastle, Ascot and Haydock Park, with runners of interest at the latter two:

 

Ascot:

12:45 The Tourard Man (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

14:25 Medinas (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Long Walk Hurdle (Grade 1); he has just four rivals – Aubusson, Dell’Arca, Zarkandar and Reve De Sivola, the latter going for his third consecutive win in the race. 

There was a £25,000 field-size bonus for this race ... but still only 5 runners have been declared. 

 

Haydock Park:

12:00 Kumbeshwar (Lucinda Russell/Craig Nichol) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]

13:30 The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

15:15 Araldur (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]

 

Presenting Lisa was Alan King’s 50th winner of the season. 

 

Also news that West End Rocker will be aimed at Warwick’s Classic Chase, which is run in January, followed by the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter in March.

 

I was filling up space on a DVD earlier today and discovered an RUK item I’d missed from Cheltenham’s Open Meeting regarding the Weighing Room refurbishment.  Evidently the wall behind the scales now features photographs of jockeys, past and present, who have ridden at least 50 winners at the course.  Members of the very exclusive ‘50 Club’ include AP McCoy, Ruby Walsh and Choc.  I just hope my favourite jockey will be okay and perhaps add to that tally in the future ... 

Thursday 18 December 2014

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Exeter:

Midnight Cateria (Alan King/Jack Doyle) was a non-runner in the Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase.

The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Mr Harley Cornock) finished 9th and Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Mr Archie Bellamy) finished 4th in the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (16 ran).

 

Towcester:

Dusky Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished a neck 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).

Kincora Fort (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 4th and Tiger Feat (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Christopher Ward) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles & ½ a furlong] (9 ran).

Presenting Lisa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (7 ran); Wayne’s 18th winner of the season.

 

Darren Bird has put pen to paper in celebration of Presenting Lisa’s win:

https://twitter.com/DarrenBirdie/status/545681757652418560/photo/1

 

Hannah Bishop, Liz Prowting’s Racing Manager, tells me that Choc was in attendance at the bloodstock sale (Brightwells at Cheltenham racecourse on 14 November) when Presenting Lisa was purchased and he liked the mare too!   

 

Just two runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Ascot:

15:40 Yanworth (Alan King/AP McCoy) – Standard Open NH Flat Race (Listed)

 

Uttoxeter:

12:10 Smart Motive (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Simonsig won’t be ready to take part in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.  More

 

I’m looking forward to Josses Hill making his chasing debut at Ascot tomorrow.  More

 

Here is the low-down from Martin Keighley in the Gloucestershire press following his double at Cheltenham last Friday; also Classic Colori’s win on the all-weather at Lingfield yesterday, their first ever flat winner.  More

 

The race won by Classic Colori was a seller but fortunately he was bought back in; he’s a particular favourite in the yard, especially with Belinda – she rode him in the charity race at Newmarket last summer. 

Mr Mole won at Exeter today, and Darren Bird also tweeted this amusing cartoon:

https://twitter.com/DarrenBirdie/status/545665986540867586/photo/1

I’ve got a day’s leave tomorrow, so will be chilling out watching the racing from Ascot p.m.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Here are today’s results from Newbury:

Winner Massagot (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Juvenile Hurdle (10 ran).

Walkon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished last in the Graduation Chase (4 ran); but he was returning following an injury sustained in the Grand National, the ground was testing, and I don’t think 3 miles suits!  He’s white now, bar his lower legs!  The race was won by the outsider of the four, Tinker Time, priced at 10-1.

Martha McCandles (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 4th and Miss Minx (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th in the Fillies ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (10 ran).

 

Evidently Kauto Star was far from happy, or at least initially, when taking part in a dressage display at the Olympia Show yesterday.  More

 

Also, a statue of Kauto Star is due to be unveiled at Kempton Park next week ... but where has Desert Orchid gone?  Surely they’ve not decided to move or get rid of the statue of the very popular grey just because they’ve now got Kauto Star in the Parade Ring?

https://twitter.com/kemptonparkrace/status/545208972022513665/photo/1

 

Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Exeter and at Towcester:

 

Exeter:

14:20 Midnight Cateria (Alan King/Jack Doyle) – Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase

15:50 The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Mr Harley Cornock) & Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Mr Archie Bellamy) – Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle; Archie is son of Robert and brother of Tom.

 

Towcester:

12:40 Dusky Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

13:40 Kincora Fort (Noel Williams/James Banks) & Tiger Feat (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:10 Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Christopher Ward) – Handicap Chase [3 miles & ½ a furlong]

15:40 Presenting Lisa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race; Lisa is an Irish point-to-point winner and was recently purchased by Liz Prowting to join her string of horses.  

 

I’ve just discovered that Pasha Kovalev, from Strictly Come Dancing, will be appearing in his own dance show ‘Life Through Dance’ at the Watford Colosseum next June.  So there’s a strong possibility this will be an entry in my 2015 diary!

Tuesday 16 December 2014

There are two National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, at Ludlow and Newbury, with four runners of interest at the latter:

12:10 Winner Massagot (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:15 Walkon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Graduation Chase.  More  He’s my absolute favourite!

15:20 Martha McCandles (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & Miss Minx (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Fillies ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

Monday 15 December 2014

Just one runner of interest today, at Plumpton:

Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 2nd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).  The race was won by King Edmund, who is usually known as a steeplechaser these days; but he won at Lingfield Park on Saturday too, also over hurdles!

Ugly Bug was pulled up in the Handicap Chase at Ffos Las, 8 ran but only 3 finished.

 

Here is a photograph of Martin Keighley with last Friday’s Cheltenham heroes, Any Currency (Woody) and Benbane Head (Benny):

https://twitter.com/martinkeighley7/status/544573548942340096/photo/1

 

All being well, Creepy is heading to Kempton Park on Boxing Day to run in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (formerly the Feltham Novices’ Chase); stable-mate Annacotty won the race last year.   

 

Medinas is one of just five entries remaining in Saturday’s Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.  More

 

There are no runners of interest at the sole National Hunt fixture tomorrow, namely Catterick.  However, field sizes are holding up well at the track, with 73 runners declared, an average of 10.42 per race.  The largest being 16 in the Juvenile Hurdle and the smallest 4 in the Beginners’ Chase.

 

Note to self: Endeavour to limit the number of Quality Street toffees I consume!  I overdosed on them this afternoon, which resulted in my suffering from a racing pulse for around an hour.  It was very scary.  I can only presume that my blood sugar level soared and then slumped, which usually just makes me feel tired.  But not today. 

Sunday 14 December 2014

Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Plumpton:

13:15 Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/James Banks) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

Although I will also include Ugly Bug who runs in the 14:40 Handicap Chase at Ffos Las!

 

Surprise news that Jamie Spencer has decided not to retire after all; sensible decision.  More

 

Connections of The New One are undecided as to whether to run him in the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day.  More

 

And Pineau De Re disappointed in a Handicap Hurdle at Carlisle this afternoon.  More

 

I’ve finally proof read and uploaded both parts of my Newbury Diary.  Click here

Saturday 13 December 2014

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Cheltenham:

Karezak (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Juvenile Hurdle (Triumph Hurdle Trial) (7 ran); More

 

Doncaster:

Kotkiri (Alan King/Jack Doyle) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran).

First Mohican (Alan King/Jack Doyle) bunny-hopped the last, his hindquarters slipped from under him and he fell in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & ½ a furlong] (5 ran); it looked nasty, but ATR race-day presenter Robert Cooper said he galloped rider-less past the post and appeared okay.

Another favourite of mine, Forgotten Gold finished 4th of 5 in the 3-mile Handicap Chase.

 

Lingfield Park:

Monksgold (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

West End Rocker (Alan King/Tom Bellamy), who is rising 13 now, won the Veterans’ Handicap Chase (4 ran); Tom Bellamy doesn’t appear to have suffered any ill-effects from yesterday’s ‘kicking’ at Bangor – he rode a double today.  Trainer Chris Gordon and jockey Tom Cannon teamed up to have three winners at the track today too.

 

The Cheltenham race-day didn’t start out well for Sam Twiston-Davies, his mount in the second race Little Jon ran out through one of the wings; in the third race Solar Impulse blundered badly at the same fence and was pulled up; finally, in the feature chase, Caid Du Berlais slithered on landing over the water-jump and was pulled up.  Niceonefrankie won the latter race.  More

 

Fortunately the day improved for Sam, as The New One won the International Hurdle impressively; having served a long ban imposed by the BHA, Mad Moose refused to start once again and he’s been referred back to them and is expected to be retired, finally!  More

 

Rock On Ruby won the Relkeel Hurdle.  More

 

There’s National Hunt at Southwell and Carlisle tomorrow but no runners of interest.

 

I’ve not proof-read my Newbury diary yet; but I have almost finished transferring the long version of the RUK race-day coverage onto DVD. 

 

At present I’m engrossed in reading Bad Things by Michael Marshall who wrote The Intruders, recently shown as a TV series on BBC2; both books are set in north-western USA.  I’d ordered an item of jewellery from GalaxyGlassStudio in a city named Ellensburg in Washington State earlier in the week and yesterday evening I decided to look at the tracker to check on its progress to the UK.  I found Ellensburg and noticed that the package had been forwarded to and sorted at a place called Yakima, which I also found on the map.  So you can imagine my surprise when, just an hour or two later, I reached a chapter in Bad Things where the city of Yakima was mentioned on the first of a number of occasions!  How spooky is that?

Friday 12 December 2014

Choc was one of the phone guests on ATR’s Get In show this evening ... but I missed it as I didn’t find out until too late, when I was reading back through this evening’s twitter feed.  Damn. L

 

However, ATR did publish a quote from Choc, “I’m waiting to have some more scans arranged and see what happens in the New Year.”

 

It’s all rather depressing ... LLL

 

But, anyway, my runners of interest certainly did me proud today ... there were five winners!

 

Cheltenham:

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) won the Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs] (10 ran); Martin’s 11th winner of the season.

Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) won the Cross Country Handicap Chase (12 ran); Martin’s 12th winner of the season.  Sadly Irish-raider and former Festival winner Big Shu collapsed and died having been pulled up during the race. 

Ulzana’s Raid (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won and Fighter Jet (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]; Wayne’s 17th winner of the season.

Miles To Memphis (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished a very disappointing 5th and Solstice Star (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) finished last in the NH Novices’ Hurdle Qualifier (7 ran).

 

Doncaster:

Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) was a non-runner in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

Enter Paradise (Noel Williams/Gerard Tumelty) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & ½ a furlong] (10 ran).

Kuda Huraa (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) fell in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs] (7 ran).

Pride In Battle (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs] (6 ran).

 

Bangor On Dee:

Handazan (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) won the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles] (4 ran).

Smart Motive (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) won the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (5 ran).

Bettatogether (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 2nd in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (5 ran); it was certainly an eventful experience for a couple of the jockeys in this event, including Tom.  Alan’s charge lashed out and kicked him in the chest prior to the race, and then Tom had problems getting aboard because, initially, the horse was rearing up.  Another of the runners spooked at the start and bolted across the course before colliding with the plastic railings and unseating his rider Graham Watters.  However, all five runners set off, but then one of Graham’s stirrup leathers broke as the horse bolted away from the starting gate; he did finish, although last, having ridden almost the entire distance without both irons. 

 

With Benbane Head (Benny) and Any Currency (Woody) making it a very memorable day for the Martin Keighley yard, here is the report from the ATR website.  More

 

It was good to see Starluck, much greyer now (aren’t we all), back in the winner’s enclosure too.  Also included in this link is a report regarding Ulzana’s Raid’s race.  More

 

Kings Palace is now the favourite for this season’s RSA Chase having won stylishly at Cheltenham today.  More

 

Meanwhile Melodic Rendezvous wasn’t so impressive on his chasing debut at Bangor.  More

 

Sam Thomas has confirmed that he will be setting out on a training career next season.  More  ATR’s Luke Harvey referred to this as a revelation ... not really, if one has been following facebook; I also mentioned it in my Cheltenham diary in mid-October!

 

There are three National Hunt fixtures tomorrow:

 

Cheltenham:

12:15 Karezak (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle (Triumph Hurdle Trial)

 

Doncaster: There’s a precautionary inspection at 08:00; it’s a frosty night!

12:30 Kotkiri (Alan King/Jack Doyle) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:05 First Mohican (Alan King/Jack Doyle) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & ½ a furlong]

Another favourite of mine, Forgotten Gold, runs in the Handicap Chase at 13:40.

 

Lingfield Park:

11:45 Monksgold (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:30 West End Rocker (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Veterans’ Handicap Chase

 

Concern about field sizes continues; not taking into account the inevitable non-runners and second preferences, 52 horses are declared to run at Cheltenham tomorrow, with solely the feature handicap chase in double-figures; 48 due at Lingfield Park and 41 at Doncaster.  Yet again today’s Bangor On Dee meeting attracted few horses, with just 34 horses in 7 races.  The racehorse population has declined but the fixture list has not. 

Thursday 11 December 2014

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Taunton:

Our Phylli Vera (Alan King/Tom Cannon) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 1 furlong] (13 ran).

Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs] (9 ran).

Money For Nothing (Alan King/Jack Doyle) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles & ½ a furlong] (6 ran).

 

Warwick:

Chatez (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) won the Juvenile Hurdle (13 ran).

Gone Too Far (Alan King/AP McCoy) finished 5th in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

Hurricane Vic (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) finished 5th in the Maiden Hurdle.

Stoney’s Treasure (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) was a non-runner and Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Christopher Ward) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 5 furlongs] (7 ran).

Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Mr Danny Burton) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (12 ran).

Sutton Mac (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) finished 7th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (10 ran).

 

Here is a round-up of today’s action at Warwick, with Alan King issuing a warning that the owners of Chatez aren’t keen to run their horse in the Triumph Hurdle.  More

 

Meanwhile it’s another busy day tomorrow:

 

Cheltenham:

14:10 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs]

14:40 Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) – Cross Country Handicap Chase

15:15 Ulzana’s Raid (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Fighter Jet (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]

15:45 Miles To Memphis (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Solstice Star (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) – NH Novices’ Hurdle Qualifier

 

Doncaster:

13:20 Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle ... but she did run today!

14:20 Enter Paradise (Noel Williams/Gerard Tumelty) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & ½ a furlong]

14:55 Kuda Huraa (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs]

15:25 Pride In Battle (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs] – the horse has been off the racecourse for 1125 days through injury.

 

Bangor On Dee:

14:30 Handazan (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]

15:05 Smart Motive (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

15:35 Bettatogether (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

 

Finally, I do actually feel relaxed ... so tomorrow I will be chilling out and watching the racing on TV.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

There was National Hunt racing at Hexham and Leicester today but no runners of interest.

 

However, it’s a busy day for runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Taunton:

13:10 Our Phylli Vera (Alan King/Tom Cannon) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 1 furlong]

13:40 Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs]

15:10 Money For Nothing (Alan King/Jack Doyle) – Handicap Chase [2 miles & ½ a furlong]

 

Warwick:

12:30 Chatez (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) – Juvenile Hurdle

13:00 Gone Too Far (Alan King/AP McCoy) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Hurdle

14:00 Hurricane Vic (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) – Maiden Hurdle; I hope he looks after my ‘big-eared’ favourite.

14:30 Stoney’s Treasure (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) & Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Christopher Ward) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 5 furlongs]; Alan King’s charge returns to action after 698 days.

15:00 Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Mr Danny Burton) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]

15:30 Sutton Mac (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Wayne Hutchison rode out yesterday and Alan King is hoping that he might be back in racecourse action by the weekend.  Alan’s highlight of last week was Nyanza winning at Aintree; she was Alan King’s 1,200th winner.  His biggest sadness this week was the death of the Nicky Henderson-trained Oscar Whisky; Alan was watching the race with owner Dai Walters who was totally distraught.

 

Sad news that Cockney Sparrow has died having succumbed to colic; she won last season’s Scottish Champion Hurdle and was just five years old.  RIP

 

Evidently Ruby Walsh is undecided whether to ride Faugheen and Champagne Fever at Kempton Park on Boxing Day or go to Leopardstown to ride Vautour instead.  Mattie Batchelor, who has recently joined twitter, tweeted that his problem is different ... he has to choose whether to go his sister’s or his mother-in-law’s for bubble and squeak on said day!

 

Tomorrow is my ‘Friday’, yippee!  I just hope I can relax this weekend, finally, as I was plagued with anxiety during my week off at the end of November and again last weekend.  I might put up the Christmas decorations, although no tree, and of course proof read my Newbury diary too. 

Monday 08 December 2014

There is National Hunt racing at Fontwell Park and Uttoxeter tomorrow but no runners of interest.

 

There’s upbeat news regarding Sire De Grugy.  More

 

More Of That is to undergo a wind operation following his disappointing run at Newbury.  More

 

Faugheen will probably run in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.  More

 

And Saphir Du Rheu will run in the Grade 1 Novices’ Chase on the same card.  More

 

The next target for Dodging Bullets is likely to be the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot next month.  More

 

Martin Keighley is concerned that many of his horses are running below par at the moment, although they cannot offer a logical explanation at present.  http://www.martinkeighleyracing.com/Martins_blog.php

 

Thinking back, Alan King’s horses had a mysterious mid-season slump beginning in early December last year. Animals aren’t machines and sadly you cannot ask them what’s wrong ... it must be so frustrating.  

Sunday 07 December 2014

Just one runner of interest this afternoon, at Huntingdon:

Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5½ furlongs] (11 ran).

 

The Peterborough Chase went to veteran Wishfull Thinking who put in the best round of jumping.  More

 

No runners of interest tomorrow, the sole National Hunt fixture being Musselburgh.

 

I guess it was always a possibility that Balder Succes wouldn’t like yesterday’s ground at Sandown Park ... I’m thinking back to the day when he and Medinas both took part in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las, when Choc chose to ride Balder and Wayne rode last week’s Newbury victor.  The limited handicap event took place on 02 February 2013 and it was won by Medinas with Balder Succes a disappointing 8th.  The ground was heavy that day; it was good to soft yesterday on Sandown’s chase course but perhaps he prefers better.

 

Barry Geraghty and connections have paid tribute to Oscar Whisky, lost at Sandown yesterday.  More

It hasn’t been Barry’s weekend, as a John Ferguson-trained horse he was riding this afternoon died after slipping up at Huntingdon today too. 

I’ve completed the first draft of my Hennessy Gold Cup Day diary, including race comments.  However, I think I shall wait until Thursday or Friday to proof read and upload it as I shall have fresh eyes by then. 

Saturday 06 December 2014

 

Race 6 c.jpg

 

RIP Oscar Whisky

 

 

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Sandown Park:

Balder Succes (Alan King/Richard Johnson) finished 4th in the Tingle Creek Chase [Grade 1] (10 ran); the ground didn’t suit him today.  The race was won by Dodging Bullets, but marred by the death of Oscar Whisky who injured a hind leg when he fell at the 6th fence.  More

 

Aintree:

Howwrongcanyoube (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

Nyanza (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) won the Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle [Listed] (8 ran).

Creepy (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs].

Medermit (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [Listed] (4 ran).  Sam Winner took the prize by just 1¼ lengths, with Medermit staying on best at the end to collar Ma Filleule.  However, 9 of the 19 fences (including the first three and the last three) were omitted due to the low sun but it didn’t prevent Holywell from unseating.  More

Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Ryan Hatch) finished 12th in the Sefton Handicap Chase [Grand National course] (16 ran); Poole Master was the surprise 25-1 winner and there was just one faller; jockey Tom Scudamore was delighted to have won his first race over the Grand National fences.  More

 

The Becher Chase was won by Oscar Time ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen; but there was one fatality, Irish raider Balbriggan who injured a foreleg on the flat.  Fourteen completed the course; there were no fallers, just 3 unseated.  More

 

Chepstow:

Dueling Banjos (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (8 ran).

 

And Kumbeshwar ran in a handicap hurdle at Wetherby; he finished 4th of 6.

 

Vibrato Valtat won Sandown’s now Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase.  More

 

Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Huntingdon:

12:35 Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5½ furlongs]

 

The Peterborough Chase takes place tomorrow, with Wishfull Thinking, Wonderful Charm, Eduard, De Boitron, French Opera and Rajdhani Express due to run.  It’s an excellent idea to schedule this Grade 2 event as part of a Sunday fixture, rather than its usual Thursday slot. 

 

Next year, the first National Hunt fixture of Sandown’s 2015/2016 season will take place on a Sunday, not its usual Saturday.  I like Sunday racing but very rarely get the opportunity to go; although it does make it more difficult to keep up with my resultant diary updates. 

 

Excellent news, my Kempton Park Boxing Day ticket and parking badge arrived today. J

 

Meanwhile Choc has been to Paris to visit a thoroughbred bloodstock sale (ARQANA) ...

Friday 05 December 2014

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Sandown Park:

Ordo Ab Chao (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle [Grade 2] (5 ran); it was a hot race despite the lack of numbers and he just didn’t get home in the conditions, having been travelling well when turning into the home straight. 

 

Exeter:

Salmanazar (Alan King/Paul Moloney) finished 3rd and The Wexfordian (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) was pulled up in the Novices’ Chase (8 ran); Saphir Du Rheu won the race.

Bar A Mine (Alan King/Paul Moloney) finished 6th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle Qualifier (18 ran); the horse sports the Dai Walters colours.  The runners jumped just 4 flights during the race due to the low sun!

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) took the wrong course in the Handicap Chase [4 miles] (11 ran).

Board Of Trade (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) won and Morning Herald (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished a close 3rd in the ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran); priced 6-1 and 50-1 respectively!

 

Richard Johnson picked up a 12-day ban for his error during the marathon 4-mile event at Exeter, resulting in him being on the sidelines from 19 December to 02 January inclusive.  Thus he misses a number of important races over the Christmas period including the King George VI Chase but, looking on the bright side, he will be able to spend more time with his three children, Willow, Caspar and Percy. 

 

I feel sorry for Richard as there will always be human error, and I think racecourses could do more to help prevent it.  Cones were placed across the inner track on the top bend to prevent riders taking the wrong line but, further along and just prior to the water jump, there was the gap where Richard chose to go the second time around too.  And all because on the first circuit the water-jump has to be omitted, to prevent it being the first jump due to its location.  More

 

Talking of the King George, I’ve been worrying because I’ve not received my ticket and parking badge for Boxing Day yet, especially as I ordered them on 10 September.  So I phoned the ticket line today, an advisor checked my booking details and confirmed the tickets were printed on Monday of this week.  She said that, as I’d requested they be sent via special ‘signed for’ delivery, it may take up to a week to arrive.  This being the case, they should be here by next Monday or Tuesday at the latest.  Phew!  And I know that the Christmas post is currently delaying items too. 

 

Anyway, there are four National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, Aintree, Chepstow, Sandown Park and Wetherby, with runners of interest at three of them:

 

Aintree:

12:00 Howwrongcanyoube (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Novices’ Hurdle

12:30 Nyanza (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle [Listed]

14:05 Creepy (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]

14:40 Medermit (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Handicap Chase [Listed]; just 4 runners, his rivals being Holywell, Sam Winner and Ma Filleule.  More

15:15 Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Ryan Hatch) – Sefton Handicap Chase [Grand National course]

There are 25 runners in the Becher Chase at 13:30 run over the Grand National course too. 

 

Chepstow:

15:45 Dueling Banjos ... aka Pickle (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Sandown Park:

15:00 Balder Succes (Alan King/Richard Johnson) – Tingle Creek Chase [Grade 1]; he has nine rivals, namely Dodging Bullets, God’s Own, Hinterland, Oscar Whisky, Somersby, Third Intention, Vukovar, William’s Wishes and Pepite Rose.

 

Steve Ayres, the lad who looks after Balder Succes, tweeted to say that he’ll be too nervous to sleep tonight which, in this instance, he says will be to his advantage as he has to feed the Aintree runners at 03:45!

 

I had hoped to spend most of my time working on my Newbury diary today but, in the event, I just got sidetracked into doing not much at all until early evening!  Never mind, as things stand, I’ve got until Christmas to complete it.  But I did manage to finish a Sudoku puzzle which I’ve been trying to figure out for 4 days!  When stuck, it does help to put the puzzle down and come back later with fresh eyes ... but not on this occasion.

Thursday 04 December 2014

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:

 

Market Rasen:

Pain Au Chocolat (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished ¾’s of a length 2nd in the Juvenile Hurdle (11 ran).

Desert Joe (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (6 ran).

Dardanella (Alan King/Jamie Moore) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (6 ran).

 

Wincanton:

Ziga Boy (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) won the Handicap Chase [3 miles 1½ furlongs] (10 ran).

Ronaldinho (Alan King/Noel Fehily) finished a short-head 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (12 ran).

Wishing And Hoping (Alan King/Richard Johnson) won and Chance Taken (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 10th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (14 ran); the winner sports the Smad Place silks. 

 

Tomorrow there is National Hunt racing from Sandown Park and Exeter:

 

Sandown Park:

13:55 Ordo Ab Chao (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Novices’ Hurdle [Grade 2]

 

Exeter:

13:10 Salmanazar (Alan King/Paul Moloney) & The Wexfordian (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) – Novices’ Chase ... bearing in mind that both Deputy Dan and Saphir Du Rheu also run in this event.

14:15 Bar A Mine (Alan King/Paul Moloney) – NH Novices’ Hurdle Qualifier

15:20 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) – Handicap Chase [4 miles]

15:50 Board Of Trade (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) & Morning Herald (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race; good to see Ian Popham back in action following his recent spell on the sidelines having broken a collarbone. 

 

News that Richard Johnson has been booked to ride Balder Succes in Saturday’s Tingle Creek Chase.  More  When he wrote his Horse and Hound column on Monday, Richard wasn’t sure if he’d have a ride in the race; but as soon as I read that, and knowing that Wishfull Thinking was heading to Huntingdon on Sunday for the Peterborough Chase, this was the obvious booking for Balder Succes. 

 

I’ve come to the conclusion that I should purchase a copy of ‘Weekender’ each week to find out any news in Alan King’s column regarding Choc; this week’s issue gives a little more information: 

 

‘Wayne Hutchinson was told to have three to four weeks of rest and he’s on week two now, while I don’t think they’re going to look at Choc Thornton again until Christmas.’

 

Alan is also very close to the 1,200 winner mark since he began training, which includes over 120 flat winners.  He states that he is 5 short of this total ... I’m not sure if The Tourard Man is one of the 1,195 or one of the five ... but he’s definitely added another two today, with two very near misses too! 

 

The riders due to compete in the Cheltenham Festival’s Charity Race have been announced.  More

 

And this has happened before, at Cheltenham a few years ago; Irish jockeys on that occasion too I recall.  More

Wednesday 03 December 2014

Here are today’s results from Ludlow:

Mystery Drama (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 4th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).

Uriah Heep (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles] (8 ran).

 

Three National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, Leicester, Market Rasen and Wincanton, with runners of interest at the latter two:

 

Market Rasen:

12:20 Pain Au Chocolat (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Juvenile Hurdle; Chocolate Croissant ... Chocolate pain may be more appropriate at the moment L

13:20 Desert Joe (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

14:25 Dardanella (Alan King/Jamie Moore) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]

 

Wincanton:

14:15 Ziga Boy (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 1½ furlongs]

14:45 Ronaldinho (Alan King/Noel Fehily) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]

15:50 Wishing And Hoping (Alan King/Richard Johnson) & Chance Taken (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race

 

At Christmas, my employer organises an Advent Calendar prize draw for the Head Office staff; this year the vouchers are £10 to be spent at Amazon, as opposed to Tesco as in previous years.  I never used to win but, during the past five years I must have been lucky on four of occasions, as my name was pulled out of the hat yet again today!  In fact, on nearly every occasion, my name appears during the first week!  And I still don’t think of myself as particularly lucky.  However, I’ve never won the £50 Christmas Eve prize ...

 

I’m feeling a little less tired today, although I did work two hours overtime.  And I’ve got plenty of time available to complete my Newbury diary, as I’ve booked Friday as annual leave too.  

Tuesday 02 December 2014

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest at Southwell:

The Tourard Man (Alan King/Richard Johnson) won the Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).

Spanish Arch (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ a furlong] (7 ran).

 

Two National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, at Catterick and Ludlow, with two runners of interest at the latter.

13:40 Mystery Drama (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

14:40 Uriah Heep (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Chase [2 miles]

 

Yesterday I uploaded a number of photographs taken at Newbury on Saturday and, despite feeling shattered this evening following another very busy day at work, I have completed the task.  Click here to view.

Monday 01 December 2014

There are two National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, Sedgefield and Southwell, with runners of interest at the latter:

13:15 The Tourard Man (Alan King/Richard Johnson) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:50 Spanish Arch (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ a furlong]

 

With the defection of Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy, there are currently 18 entries for next Saturday’s Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park; this includes Balder Succes ... and Mad Moose!  More

 

Also news that Uxizandre may be heading over to Ireland for a Grade 1 Chase at Leopardstown on 27th December.  More

 

It was back to work for me today.  It didn’t help that my colleague had booked two days leave unbeknownst to me ... so I had even more work than I’d bargained for today – so that was 9.5 hours without a break; 2 hours unpaid. L


 

 

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