Thursday 31 December 2015

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



Authorized Too (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle (12 ran).

Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 207 yards] (7 ran).



Katie Too (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won and Viking Mistress (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 5th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran); Wayne’s 39th winner of the season. 

Informationisking (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd and Sugar Mix (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 5th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).


Provided no racecourses fail to pass an inspection, there will be five National Hunt fixtures tomorrow – Catterick, Cheltenham, Exeter, Fakenham and Musselburgh.


But just one runner of interest, at Exeter:

13:10 Bingo D’Olivate (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Maiden Hurdle


Having trained a winner at Warwick today, Alan King was interviewed by RUK’s Stewart Machin and he said he couldn’t remember the last time he’d not had any runners at Cheltenham on New Years’ Day!  The majority of his string received their flu vaccinations last week and are having a quiet few days before returning next week to cantering on the gallops.  He also mentioned that January is usually quiet for the yard, due to the worst of the winter ground conditions occurring during that month. 


Congratulations to Sir Anthony McCoy for the knighthood awarded to him in the New Year’s Honours List; this was awarded for services to horseracing. 





Another quiet day for me, beginning with a walk to the local supermarket to purchase a lotto ticket and a copy of the Racing Post. 


Once home, I did a couple of sewing alterations and a repair using a 97-year-old Singer sewing machine.  You just cannot beat a hand-operated sewing machine when it comes to doing minor sewing tasks.  I do have an electronic sewing machine which I bought in 1975, but it hasn’t been used for many years and, for all I know, may no longer be functioning. 


I’ve been watching the racing this afternoon and, again, drafting additions to my Kempton Park diaries this evening.

Wednesday 30 December 2015



Happy Birthday William



Many happy returns of the day to Choc’s son William who is five today.  Sadly Choc was unable to spend the day with him, as it must have been ex-wife Meally’s turn this year, but he planned to catch up with William early this evening to talk about his special day.


With high winds and rain, it came as no surprise that the majority of my runners of interest were non-runners at Taunton today:


Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 104 yards]

Board Of Trade (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th and Weyburn (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was a non-runner in the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) was a non-runner and Menace (Noel Williams/Thomas Garner) was also a non-runner in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle


It was always intended that Menace will have a rest now, regardless of whether he ran today, and he will return in a month or so when the going conditions have improved, hopefully. 


Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh completed a successful raid upon the Somerset track when winning the Mares’ Listed Novices’ Hurdle with Myska; Willie’s first runner at the track.  Typical.


If courses pass inspection for racing tomorrow, there will be a number of runners of interest:



12:20 Authorized Too (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Maiden Hurdle

13:20 Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 207 yards]



14:40 Katie Too (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Viking Mistress (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

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



Ned Stark after race r.jpg



In his Weekender column, Alan King reports that Ned Stark (above - pictured after the race) was very sore following Sunday’s race at Kempton Park, having been almost brought down at the first and he lost a shoe too. 


Following the King George, Alan is marginally favouring the Ryanair Chase for Smad Place, as he doesn’t think the horse can win a Gold Cup; although he says it won’t be easy to win the other Grade 1 race either!  They will still consider running him in the Cotswold Chase on Festival Trials Day. 


L’Unique will be retired to stud in the spring and he hopes to win an ordinary race with her prior to that. 


Having gained the all-weather record yesterday, La Estrella has been retired. 

Today was spent food shopping, watching afternoon TV and this evening drafting my Kempton Park diaries. 

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Here are the results for my runners of interest today:



Willoughby Hedge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) fell 5 out (the cross-fence) in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (14 ran); he was travelling well at the time and appeared fine as he galloped after the others, rider-less. 

Label Des Obeaux (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished last in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (3 ran); Barters Hill won easily.
William H Bonney (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Introductory Hurdle (10 ran).


David Bass rode a treble at Newbury; two for trainer Ben Pauling – Silvergrove and Barters Hill, and one for Nicky Henderson – Premier Bond. 


The aforementioned Barters Hill:



Angel Face (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) fell in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).

Pemba (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) won the Fillies’ Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, by miles! (4 ran).

Ziga Boy (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) won the Handicap Chase [3 miles & 6 yards] (13 ran); Godsmejudge finished 2nd.



Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Tom Queally) finished 6th in the Nursery Handicap [1 mile] (9 ran).


La Estrella, trained by Don Cantillon, became the winning-most horse on the GB all-weather when clocking up his 27th victory today; he turns 13 on Friday!


There are runners of interest at Taunton tomorrow:

12:40 Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 104 yards]

13:45 Board Of Trade (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Weyburn (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:55 Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) & Menace (Noel Williams/Thomas Garner) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle


OMG ... I’ve received an email today telling me that the Crabbies Grand National Festival is just 100 days away ... I won’t be counting down the days just yet!  Besides, there’s still the Cheltenham Festival to attend before that. 


I may be at risk of catching a cold ... I believe my niece Lydia had a cold when we visited on Saturday and my elderly mother has now got it too.  So I’m using Vicks First Defence for the next few days and will be crossing my fingers that I can fight off any germs which may come my way in the immediate future. 


I’ve been out and about this morning – to Hobbycraft and M & S.  I returned Christmas presents to Hobbycraft as, although I love crafting, I wasn’t convinced I’d be taking up colouring books any time soon; I know it’s all the rage at the moment, to combat stress, but it’s not for me!  I bought a number of Really Useful boxes instead, to store my DVD storage boxes in.  Plus a knitted hat kit – designed to look like a strawberry; they had ‘Apple’ kit hats too, but they were too green and I can’t wear too much green because of my sallow complexion. 


I also collected a Christmas ‘reindeer’ monochrome jumper I’d ordered online from M & S; reduced from £32.50 to £16.00 in their sale.  Wicked.


The ‘Being AP’ DVD arrived today, as did a copy of AP’s ‘Winner: My Racing Life’.  I think I only ordered them yesterday!  So that’s great service from Amazon, as I was expecting them to be delivered on Thursday.  Although, having said that, the order delivered today also included a new supply of empty DVD boxes for my racing recordings, and I had to pay a delivery charge for that part of the order; I usually go for the free, but longer time period, delivery of items when available. 

Monday 28 December 2015


Juvenile Hurdle:


Ar Mad r.jpg

Grade 2 Novices’ Chase:

(registered as The Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase)

Ar Mad


ar mad & vaniteux r.jpg

Grade 2 Novices’ Chase:

(registered as The Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase)

Ar Mad and Vaniteux clear the last

Sire de Grugy r.jpg

Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase:

Sire De Grugy

Sprinter Sacre r.jpg

Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase:

Sprinter Sacre

Ned Stark r.jpg

Handicap Chase:

Ned Stark



Sorry there was no blog yesterday evening, but I’d almost given up the will to live by the time I arrived home from Kempton Park ... at 18:20!  That was worse than on Boxing Day, when I’d left the racecourse at 17:20 and had arrived in Luton by 18:20 too.    


Yesterday I left the racecourse at 16:30 but was forced to turn left outside the gate, which meant I was heading to Hampton Court, not the M3.  Admittedly there was a long tail-back in the opposite direction but I was hoping to find a roundabout to do an 80-degree turn ... but the first one I encountered was upon the road outside Hampton Court itself.  But I’d already formed a new plan by that time, so I turned right to head down Hampton Court Way to the Scilly Isles roundabouts; it’s a double roundabout which locals originally nicknamed ‘silly islands’ and then evolved to become its politer present name! 


At the roundabouts I turned right again and headed up past Sandown Park racecourse; the trees lining the main car park were adorned with white Christmas lights, very pretty.  Thank goodness it wasn’t the first time I’d driven this route, although in the opposite direction in January 2011, otherwise I wouldn’t have been so confident without a satnav to rely upon ... in the dark that is!  I was able to join the A3 at the junction I use when attending a fixture at the Esher track.  There were two drawbacks to my new plan, however.  Firstly the time it had taken to travel this diversion and, secondly, the speed at which the traffic on the M25 was moving today! 


Prior to the final race, Kempton Park had announced that there were major delays on the M25 clockwise carriageway between the M3 and Watford; great!  And, of course, I’d just added two extra junctions to my M25 trip; Junction 10 as opposed to Junction 12.  I reached the M25 at 16:55 and it was stop start stop start until Junction 16, the M40.  Fortunately the congestion had eased between there and Watford but, as mentioned earlier, it still took until 18:20 to reach home.  A journey of one hour and 50 minutes, as compared with the usual 50 minutes without congestion!   


Needless to say by the time I got home my shoulders and neck were playing up too so, after an evening meal, I gave up and at 20:30 went to bed! 


But I am loving my night driving glasses which I bought a few weeks ago ... I may look like an idiot when wearing them, although hopefully not too many people will notice as it’s dark; but they were cheap and they do the job, minimising the glare from oncoming vehicles – headlights look yellow but don’t dazzle anywhere near as much as they do without them!  It also helps vision when vehicles behind drive too close, eliminating the dazzle in the rear-view mirror; occasionally in the past I’ve had to move the mirror because the reflection is too bright due to inconsiderate, and stupid, drivers who follow far too close for safety.  The glasses are designed to wear over normal glasses too. 


Here are the results for my two runners of interest at Kempton Park yesterday:

Gibralfaro (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson), still a colt, won the Juvenile Hurdle (7 ran); Wayne’s 38th winner of the season.

Ned Stark (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) was pulled up just before the last in the Handicap Chase [3 miles] (15 ran); the horse was never travelling, having been severely hampered at the first fence by the fall of Harry’s Farewell.  Very unlucky.    


There was one runner of interest today, at Leicester:

Handsome Sam (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).


A busy day for runners of interest tomorrow:



12:50 Willoughby Hedge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase; the Trevor Hemmings-owned horse has been absent from the racecourse for over two years due to injury.

14:00 Label Des Obeaux (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Challow Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1); just two rivals – the ‘very hard to pass’ Barters Hill, and Politologue which unshipped Sam Twiston-Davies on the flat at Cheltenham recently.

15:45 William H Bonney (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Introductory Hurdle



12:00 Angel Face (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

14:55 Pemba (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Fillies’ Juvenile Maiden Hurdle

15:25 Ziga Boy (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Chase [3 miles & 6 yards]



12:30 Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Tom Queally) – Nursery Handicap [1 mile]


I know the authorities are trying to encourage mares and fillies events, but there are three of 7 at Doncaster tomorrow.

Aidan Coleman rode his 100th winner of the season today; his maiden century. 

Meanwhile flat trainer Richard Fahey has equalled Richard Hannon Senior’s record of 235 winners in a calendar year with a double at Lingfield today.  

I forgot to mention that the Welsh Grand National is now due to be run at Chepstow on Saturday 09 January; weather again permitting of course.

York racecourse is only suitable for seahorses at the present time:


RUK presenter Alex Steedman is in training to ride in a charity horserace at the end of March; he visited Martin Keighley’s yard yesterday to have a ride up their gallops.

I was hoping for a lie-in this morning ... but still woke up at 06:45; despite this, I don’t seem to have got a whole lot done. L

Saturday 26 December 2015


King George 26 Dec 2015 r.jpg


King George VI Chase:

Vautour and Cue Card clear the last



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


Kempton Park:

L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (7 ran); Native River completed in 3rd.  The race was won by Tea For Two ridden by Lizzie Kelly – she is the first lady jockey to win a Grade 1 National Hunt race run in Britain! 

Smad Place (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the King George VI Chase (Grade 1) (9 ran); Cue Card nailed Vautour on the line, the winning distance a head! 

Simply A Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran); Billy No Name finished 7th.


Faugheen won the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle from The New One (5 ran).


Smad Place put in an amazing leap at the third open-ditch ... and made it, just:



Awesome Rosie (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) won the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).


Market Rasen:

Money Maid (Graeme Mcpherson/Kielan Woods/EPDS Racing) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).  

Jockey James Banks rode a treble at the track, including winning the Lincolnshire National; he rides Menace. 


My RUK recording worked today ... so why didn’t it work for Newbury on Hennessy Gold Cup Day? 


Wetherby lost their card today and tomorrow; Chepstow’s Welsh Grand National fixture has also been abandoned. 


There are, however, two runners of interest at Kempton Park tomorrow:

12:50 Gibralfaro (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:35 Ned Stark (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]


Tomorrow’s feature, the Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase, features Sire De Grugy, Sprinter Sacre, Vibrato Valtat, Sir Valentino and Somersby.


I arrived too early at Kempton Park today, 5 minutes too early, and they wouldn’t let me enter via Gate 1 ... again!  It’s ridiculous, because it causes all manner of problems having to reverse out into the roadway again when there are stationary vehicles behind you.  I had to head around to enter via Gate 3, before driving along a thoroughfare beside the disabled/owners/jockeys area to pass within feet of Gate 1 before parking.  I was not happy to see vehicles permitted through Gate 1 just five minutes later, before parking in the same area of the Main Car Park as me. 


I checked the back of the parking docket and it stated Gate 3 or Gate 1 and I dutifully followed the road-signs despite it being further than my preferred route to the racecourse.  I’ll give them ‘arrive early’!  And as for the car park stewards ... talk about ‘job worths’.  Surely the docket should state Gate 1 after 10:00 or Gate 3 all hours if that’s their intention, especially as it costs £15 for the so called ‘privilege’ of parking in the Main Car Park on Boxing Day.  Grrrrrr...........


I also had the misfortune to stand near a loud-mouthed ‘know it all’ beside the course-side rails.  When talking to his companions prior to the first race, he was saying how fantastic Willie Mullins is and that he hated the Tizzards having lost a lot of money many moons ago following the failure of an accumulator bet, with one of their horses having been the final leg.  I have no sympathy for punters who talk through their pockets and a number of them are evil with their social media comments.  


The funniest thing I heard was Vautour referred to as Vantour ... is that similar to a coach tour but for white van man?


I will add a number of twitter links soon ... I’ve run out of time this evening ... or I should say this morning, as it’s gone midnight and I need to go to bed.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz       

But, finally, Choc, William, Jennie and his parents have been spending the holidays in the Cotswolds and they went to a local hunt meet, on foot, today.

Thursday 24 December 2015


Wishing everyone


Happy Christmas




There are a number of runners of interest on Boxing Day:


Kempton Park:

14:00 L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (Grade 1); Native River also runs in this race.

15:10 Smad Place (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – King George VI Chase (Grade 1); his rivals are Al Ferof, Ballynagour, Cue Card, Don Cossack, Irish Cavalier, Silviniaco Conti, Valseur Lido and Vautour.

15:45 Simply A Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle; Billy No Name runs in this one.


Just five runners in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at 14:35 – Faugheen, Hargam, Old Guard, Sign Of A Victory and The New One; with Sam Twiston-Davies opting to ride Old Guard, Noel Fehily, who celebrates his 40th birthday today, rides The New One.  



12:30 Awesome Rosie (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle


Market Rasen:

13:00 Money Maid (Graeme Mcpherson/Kielan Woods/EPDS Racing) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle


There will be an inspection at 08:00 at Chepstow on Saturday, ahead of Sunday’s Welsh Grand National card as, following 10mm of rain today, the course is waterlogged in places and there’s a possibility they may encounter another heavy band of rain shortly. 


In contrast, Kempton Park will be okay as, despite heavy rain showers today and more rain forecast tomorrow, the gravel-based course drains well and it won’t be worse than soft; yesterday it was classed as good to soft, soft in places.   


Wayne Hutchinson is excited to be at Kempton Park this Boxing Day, and not just because he is riding Smad Place in the King George VI Chase.  More


Vautour and ‘friends’ having been exercising around Kempton Park ahead of Saturday’s feature event:


Meanwhile, Smad Place is chilling out at home ahead of the big race:


Blazing Bailey went out hunting with the North Cotswold Hunt today, ridden by owner and AppleTree Stud employee Sarah Welford, girlfriend of Gerard Tumelty.  I wonder if Gerard rode Medermit?


Jack Lander and his pony Splash are all set for Christmas:


And so is trainer Noel Williams!


Here is a photograph of the aforementioned Money Maid:


And here is a picture of AP McCoy’s 25 Lester awards, including the specially minted 2015 Jump Jockey of the Year Award:

I certainly wouldn’t want the job of dusting all these!!!


Choc and Jennie attended the Awards and he posted a number of photographs on his facebook page too.


I didn’t win a £10 Amazon voucher in this year’s advent calendar draw ... or the Christmas Eve £50 voucher either. L  Oh well, I shall order ‘Being AP’ and AP’s ‘Winner: My Racing Life’ from Amazon regardless.


Having suffered a flare-up of my neck and shoulder symptoms for the past week or so, I’ve come to the conclusion that stress exacerbates the problem.  As soon as I begin to feel stressed at work, my shoulder muscles tense up, the dull ache in that area begins and, after a while, I feel nauseous too.  But I have also discovered that the best remedy is walking!  I was feeling pretty rough by the time my lunch-break arrived yesterday, so I went for a walk and, after 15 minutes, the discomfort and nausea disappeared.  I was then fine until around 10:00 this morning, at which time I started to panic because I was worried that I wouldn’t get all my work done before my Christmas break began and the aching in my shoulders commenced again. 

So I’m now going to chill out and relax ... until 04 January ... apart from going to the races and updating my resultant diary or diaries ... I can feel myself stressing again already!!!  But it has to be done, because I regret not writing a diary relating to my Boxing Day excursion to Kempton Park in 2009; I remember nothing apart from watching the racing from Wincanton upon a screen within the grandstand due to Choc being at the Somerset track that day. 

But, as I appear to have a photograph of Wayne Hutchinson and Lake Legend in the Winners’ Enclosure that particular day, it would seem that the jockey’s memory about not having been at Kempton on Boxing Day previously is misplaced!!!

Tuesday 22 December 2015

The top story today is that John Ferguson is going to hand in his training licence at the end of the season to take up a new role with Godolphin.  The best of his horses will transfer to Charlie Appleby and his staff will be offered the opportunity to join Godolphin too.  Does this news leave Aidan Coleman up the creek without a paddle?  He still rides for Venetia Williams when he can, and I’m sure he will be snapped up by another trainer or trainers.  


The Christmas Hurdle entries have been announced – Arctic Fire, Dell’Arca, Faugheen, Hargam, Melodic Rendezvous, Nichols Canyon, Old Guard, Sign Of A Victory and The New One.


Entries for Sunday have also been published ... and Ned Stark holds an engagement in a Handicap Chase at Kempton Park.  So ... do I or don’t I?  I will if he runs, and if there’s no definite indication that Choc won’t be there.  


Menace is fine and will run at Taunton on 30 December, provided the ground isn’t too soft. 


The 25th Stobart Lesters took place this evening, presented by RUK’s Oli Bell and ATR’s Luke Harvey and here is the list of winners: 


Apprentice Jockey of the Year – Tom Marquand

Conditional Jockey of the Year – Sean Bowen

Lady Jockey of the Year – Cathy Gannon

Flat Ride of the Year – David Nolan for his ride aboard Rex Imperator at the Leger Meeting

Jump Ride of the Year – Sean Bowen for his ride aboard Just A Par in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown Park

Flat Jockey Special Recognition Award – Jack Berry

Jump Jockey Special Recognition Award – AP McCoy

Choc was nominated in this category – he’d didn’t stand a chance of winning, how annoying as AP has now won 24 Lesters.  I know Choc has one for Jump Ride of the Year aboard Nenuphar Collonges in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2008.

Flat Jockey of the Year Silvestre de Sousa

Jump Jockey of the Year – AP McCoy ... so that’s now 25 Lesters, 19 of which are for Jump Jockey of the Year, the sequence only interrupted once, in 2005, by Timmy Murphy evidently!


And I’ve finally finished proofing my Hennessy Gold Cup Day diary too. 

Monday 21 December 2015

News today that, following a pleasing schooling session and all being well in the run up to the race, Alan King has decided to let Hennessy hero Smad Place take his chance in the King George VI Chase on Saturday.  There are 10 entries remaining, namely Al Ferof, Ballynagour, Cue Card, Don Cossack, Irish Cavalier, Road To Riches, Silviniaco Conti, Smad Place, Valseur Lido and Vautour.  It should be a great race and, fingers crossed, the home team can see off the 4 Irish invaders ... even if the other team includes Don Cossack and Vautour!  I’ll be rooting for Smad Place and Cue Card of course, as they are both wonderful horses. 


Boxing Day’s Christmas Hurdle has been re-opened to entries, as there were only 8 runners remaining including Faugheen and The New One.  However, Paul Nicholls is only going to run Old Guard if the race doesn’t have many runners!


Two Kempton races on Sunday short of entries and re-opened are the Grade 2 Novices’ Chase (aka the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase) and the Grade 2 Desert Orchid Chase; they had 8 and 5 entries respectively.  Final entries for these three races will be announced tomorrow.


The EPDS runners didn’t make their mark today, with Stynes finishing 9th of 10 at Chelmsford and Celtic Artisan last of 12 at Wolverhampton; although it was the latter’s first race since he underwent an operation to remove fragments of bone having kicked a water trough!  Silly horse!


There’s no National Hunt racing tomorrow, as Bangor-On-Dee has been abandoned. 


I’ve checked RUK’s programme schedule and have discovered that they will be broadcasting highlights from the Aintree Festival between 05:00 and 09:30 on Christmas Eve, between 01:30 and 06:00 on Christmas Day and at the same time on Boxing Day.  

It’s not actually the shortest day today ... it’s tomorrow this year.

Only four sleeps until Christmas ... and five until Boxing Day racing at Kempton.  Yippee!

Sunday 20 December 2015

Sad news today that the revered Racing Correspondent at the Times, Alan Lee, has passed away aged just 61 and just a few weeks after he underwent heart surgery.  It has been reported that he’d been carefully following doctor’s orders since the procedure and all appeared to be well, as he’d attended the Friday of Cheltenham’s International fixture, and also drove himself to Ascot last Friday.  His friends and colleagues were therefore shocked by the news.  He was one of the most recognisable figures at the races and often appeared on ATR’s Sunday Forum too; he spoke a lot of sense and will be much missed by those within the racing industry, many of whom came into regular contact with him.  RIP Alan and condolences to his family and friends.  


After a disappointing showing in yesterday’s Long Walk Hurdle, and the Hennessy for that matter, Saphir Du Rheu will be undergoing a breathing operation shortly.


I didn’t get to see the steam train today, as I didn’t wake up until almost 08:00 this morning.  But I did clean my car before breakfast.  And, finally, put up some Christmas decorations; because I don’t have a tree, I hang the baubles on wall-mounted garlands instead.  My younger brother reported that his Christmas tree fell over earlier this week during the night.  Nothing was broken, and it didn’t even fall out of its pot.  They don’t have any pets, but perhaps they have a ghost!!!


I’ve finally finished and uploaded the first of my two Newbury diaries ... the smaller one!  I’m trying not to overdo my laptop workload due to my ongoing neck and shoulder problems, but I did stay up until 00:30 this morning having fallen behind schedule because I watched the final of Strictly Come Dancing.  I’m so relieved that Jay won, as his dances weren’t the best of the evening, but he danced consistently well throughout the season and deserved it.  I don’t vote until the final, but I did my bit yesterday evening by voting for Jay 10 times.  There were numerous sore losers on facebook ... and I would have been one of them had the result been different! 


There are no runners of interest tomorrow, unless you count two all-weather EPDS syndicate horses – Stynes at Chelmsford and Celtic Artisan at Wolverhampton.  Ayr’s National Hunt card has been abandoned but there is National Hunt racing from Lingfield Park.


I’m working until lunchtime on Thursday ... after which I’m on annual leave until 04 January; it’s been a number of years since I’ve not worked on at least two of the days between Christmas and the New Year.  Yippee!


But I need to be on the look-out for news of the Lesters on ATR later this week, and the probable replays of the action from this year’s Aintree Festival on RUK so that I can complete the full race comments for the first race on Day 1!

Saturday 19 December 2015

Here are the results for my runners of interest at Ascot:


The Wexfordian (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).


Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 2 furlongs & 175 yards] (10 ran).


Karezak (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Long Walk Hurdle (Grade 1) (8 ran).  It was no surprise that the race was won by Thistlecrack, with Reve De Sivola’s reign as the 3-times champ in this race ending with a gallant runner-up position today.  Saphir Du Rheu was a very disappointing 5th. 


Winner Massagot (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished a disappointing 15th in the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (21 ran).  After much deliberation, the result was declared a dead-heat between Harry Fry’s Jolly’s Cracked It and Philip Hobbs’ Sternrubin; the winning jockeys being Noel Fehily and Richard Johnson respectively. 


The Listed Silver Cup Handicap Chase went to Sue Smith’s Wakanda; it was her 1000th winner as a trainer, and a rare northern-based triumph in the south too. 


Meanwhile, at Haydock Park:


Briery Queen (Noel Williams/James Banks) fell in the Mares’ Novices Hurdle (Listed) (6 ran); thank goodness for plastic rails, as she also collided with some and fell when chasing after the field.  She got up and appeared sound as she galloped away again.


The ex-Million In Mind syndicate horse Pain Au Chocolat won the Novices’ Chase for Dan and Harry Skelton.


Ugly Bug fell at the last in the Handicap Hurdle, the last race on the card.  Hopefully it was just due to tiredness and he’ll be none the worse for the mishap. 


It was good to see the very consistent Seventh Sky defy top weight to win the Tommy Whittle Chase for Charlie Mann and Gavin Sheehan.  It was Gavin’s 200th career winner.  


Once more demonstrating the ups and downs of racing, Sue Smith’s Clan William was pulled up having suffered a life ending injury in the Handicap Chase.  RIP


Channel 4’s Morning Line broadcast part of its programme from Paul Nicholls’ yard this morning; poor old Dodging Bullets was suffering from stage fright when they entered his stable, the horse was shaking with nerves at the strangers’ intrusion; Clifford Baker showed viewers the lump on the horse’s off-fore caused by a splint, which is the reason for his delayed reappearance.


Paul Nicholls also mentioned that Ptit Zig had suffered from a nose bleed for 5 days following his final fence fall during the Peterborough Chase. 


It was Dawn Spooner who won the opportunity to name a race at Ascot yesterday and, as Champion Court’s Super-fan, chose to name it after her favourite racehorse; she also judged the best turned-out prize.


Nicky Henderson has announced that My Tent Or Yours won’t be back in time to run at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.


Jockey Daryl Jacob is hoping to return to race riding on Boxing Day; he’s bruised and sore following a schooling fall at Nicky’s yesterday morning.


Choc’s son William took part in his school’s nativity play; it appeared to be held in a local church.  William played a sheep!


There’s a steam train due to head along our local line between 07:30 and 08:00 tomorrow, on its way to York, but I fear that I may still be asleep at that time in the morning, as I slept in until 07:45 this morning ... which isn’t like me at all! 


I’ll be glued to Strictly Come Dancing this evening, hoping that Jay will win.  Katie isn’t good enough to win, Kellie’s okay but I can’t go mad over her ... and Georgia is just plain irritating!!!


I never have a Christmas tree these days and, this year, I’ve not even put up any decorations.  I think I’ve finally outgrown Christmas.  Bah humbug!  But I’ve actually ordered a number of knitting patterns for Christmas jumpers which may, or may not, be knitted in time for next December ... I wore my Capricorn jumper yesterday to raise money for charity, as I don’t own a festive sweater ... yet.    


There’s National Hunt racing at Fakenham tomorrow, but no runners of interest.

Friday 18 December 2015

Four runners of interest at Ascot today and this is how they fared:

Kerrow (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th and King Kayf (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 2nd in the NH Maiden Hurdle (13 ran).

Yanworth (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) won the Novices’ Hurdle (The Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle) (Grade 2) (5 ran).

Shadarpour (Alan King/William Featherstone) finished 5th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).


There was a race named ‘Happy Retirement Champion Court Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase’ on Ascot’s card today – it was won by Hollywoodien. 


Here are the details of tomorrow’s runners of interest at Ascot:

12:40 The Wexfordian (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

13:50 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 2 furlongs & 175 yards]

14:25 Karezak (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Long Walk Hurdle (Grade 1); also due to take part are Aqalim, Deputy Dan, Dynaste, Reve De Sivola, Saphir Du Rheu, Taglietelle and Thistlecrack.

15:35 Winner Massagot (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – The Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)


Meanwhile, at Haydock Park:

12:55 Briery Queen (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Mares’ Novices Hurdle (Listed); The Pirate’s Queen won last year’s race.

Ex-Barbury Castle inmate, Pain Au Chocolat which is now trained by Dan Skelton, runs in the Novices’ Chase at 12:25.

Ugly Bug runs in the Handicap Hurdle at 15:15.


And, finally, I’ve finished uploading my photos taken at Newbury last month.

Thursday 17 December 2015

There was National Hunt racing at Exeter and Towcester today and this is how my runners of interest fared at the latter:

Brod Na Heireann (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran); Wayne’s 37th winner of the season.

Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles & 102 yards] having been badly hampered early in the race (7 ran).

Give Him A Glance (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).

Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 179 yards] (9 ran).

Cajun Fiddle (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).


I almost missed the fact that Bitofapuzzle was making her chasing debut in a Mares’ Novices’ Chase at Exeter; she made all to win by 11 lengths, an impressive victory.  


Ian Wright, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Newmarket Equine Hospital has been confirmed that Coneygree has injured one of his hocks; the horse continues to be assessed. 


Tom Scudamore has been successful in his appeal against a 5-day ban incurred as a result of an incident during the Becher Chase in which he rode Soll; this enables him to ride Thistlecrack in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot this Saturday, and ride on Boxing Day too. 


AP McCoy is to receive this year’s Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award; the BBC1 televised event takes place in Belfast on Sunday. 


Four runners of interest tomorrow, at Ascot:

12:50 Kerrow (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & King Kayf (Noel Williams/James Banks) – NH Maiden Hurdle

13:55 Yanworth (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) – Novices’ Hurdle (The Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle) (Grade 2)

15:05 Shadarpour (Alan King/William Featherstone) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle


Having thought that I’d ease up slightly on my Newbury diaries and photos in order to catch up on missed sleep, I didn’t turn in until just gone midnight last night.  I’d love to spend just one whole day in bed, watching TV and sleeping, but there’s always too much to do.   


And still no win on the advent calendar draw L

Wednesday 16 December 2015

The big news today is that all plans for Coneygree are on hold, as he’s sustained another injury.  The current thinking is that he’s suffering from slab fractures in both hocks and he’s been sent to Newmarket for further veterinary assessment.  The problem is not thought to be career ending.  


There were five runners of interest this afternoon and this is how they fared:



Ardamir (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) was pulled up in the Juvenile Hurdle (8 ran).

Big Chief Benny (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier) (11 ran).


The race comments regarding Ardamir were “Always towards rear, well behind approaching 3 out, pulled up before 2 out”.  I wonder what the issue is, as both Alan King and Choc think a lot of the horse. 


O’Faolains Boy bounced back to form to win the Graduation Chase; trainer Rebecca Curtis’ runners are now returning to form having been affected by a ‘dodgy’ batch of hay for a recent period.


I like Exmoor Mist which won the Handicap Chase; he’s quirky, but eventually won well for trainer Victor Dartnell and Denis O’Regan.   


It was free entry to Newbury today for RUK members ... that would have been me!



The Tourard Man (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 171 yards] (11 ran).

Miss Crick (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 5th and Morning Herald (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 4th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).


Alan King was keen to support the Ludlow card, as they actually had more prize money on offer than Newbury did! 


Choc has tweeted a link to an interview he did with Irish Horse Tipping:


I need to look for Sam Missile for my tracker too, evidently. 


With Jennie keen to improve her snowboarding skills, I hope Choc is very careful as it sounds like he’s been tempted to have a go despite the fact he’s not meant to do anything which might cause additional problems with his neck.


My neck is less sore than it was on Sunday and Monday but, as soon as I get the slightest bit stressed, the dull ache across my shoulders returns and I can feel the tension travelling up the back and over the top of my head like a clamp.  Very annoying.  I’m really not keen on this arthritis problem, aka cervical spondylosis. 


There’s National Hunt racing at Exeter and Towcester tomorrow, with runners of interest at the latter:

12:40 Brod Na Heireann (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:10 Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [3 miles & 102 yards]

14:40 Give Him A Glance (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

15:10 Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 179 yards]

15:40 Cajun Fiddle (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race


I’ve not been lucky in this year’s advent calendar draw thus far, for the daily £10 Amazon voucher; just 8 chances to go, although I’d love it to happen on the 24 December as £50 is up for grabs that day!

Tuesday 15 December 2015

One result to report today, from the all-weather at Kempton Park:

Silca Wings (James Fanshawe/Shane Kelly/AppleTree Stud) finished 5th in the Maiden Fillies Stakes Div I [1 mile] (10 ran); an improvement on her first run, she was beaten 1½ lengths, a neck, a short-head and a neck ... so that’s not far. 


There are five runners of interest tomorrow, three of which have been notified to me via my ATR Tracker!



12:10 Ardamir (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Juvenile Hurdle

15:00 Big Chief Benny (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier)



14:40 The Tourard Man (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 171 yards]

15:10 Miss Crick (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & Morning Herald (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle


Needless to say, I’m working tomorrow so cannot go to Newbury to see Ardamir run.  Mind you, a return journey from the Berkshire track to St Albans on a weekday can only be described as a nightmare experience and not one which I’d be keen to repeat any time soon!  It took me ten minutes short of three hours on Friday 27 November, because I went cross-country due to signs warning of severe delays on the M25.  Without delays, it takes me 90 minutes to cover the 70 mile journey.    


Sam Twiston-Davies is endeavouring to make a small change to his riding style following the two ‘jink and unseat’ incidents in recent days.  He thinks it was probably caused by the fact he’s currently got an active lower leg action, which can leave him unbalanced if a horse jinks.  So he is going to quieten it down a bit. 


Jonjo O’Neill is keen to make an entry for More Of That in the Cheltenham Gold Cup; Coneygree having proved that it’s possible to win the race as a novice.


RIP Baradari, who has lost his life having fractured a bone in his neck following a schooling fall.  Formerly trained by Venetia Williams, he had been moved to the Dan Skelton yard and won a valuable fixed-brush hurdle race at Haydock Park last month for his new trainer.

And I’ve finally uploaded my Hennessy Gold Cup Day photos.  But still have to select and upload my photos for Day 2 of the same fixture.

Monday 14 December 2015

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

Authorized Too (Noel Williams/James Banks) fell heavily at the 6th flight in the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

Dun Bay Creek (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).    


I did check Noel’s twitter account for news of Authorized Too, and he replied to an enquiry from commentator Richard Hoiles saying that his charge seemed fine.  Phew.


Just one National Hunt fixture tomorrow, at Catterick, so no jumpers of interest.  Although Paul Nicholls has entered further horses tomorrow, following his first ever winner there earlier this month!


But there is one runner of interest tomorrow, on the all-weather at Kempton Park:

16:10 Silca Wings (James Fanshawe/Shane Kelly/AppleTree Stud) – Maiden Fillies Stakes Div I


It’s actually Silca Wings’ second run, having finished 11th of 12 on 18 November, also at Kempton.  She wasn’t on my radar until yesterday, when I did an up-to-date search for AppleTree Stud horses; I wonder if she’s the filly which visited Martin Keighley’s gallops a few weeks back. 


Looking ahead, Ned Stark hasn’t been declared amongst the 5-day entries for the 3-mile Handicap Chase at Ascot on Saturday, so I can cancel tentative plans to attend.  I don’t mind too much, as it will give me a further weekend to finish my outstanding diaries and photo selections before my next outing on Boxing Day.  And especially as I think I’ve overdone the hours spent on my laptop these past few days, because my neck and shoulders have been aching since yesterday morning.  So the plan now is to ease up slightly, but still to ensure I’m up-to-date by Christmas Eve. 


Also, at present, Ardamir is entered in the Juvenile Hurdle at Newbury on Wednesday, along with another Alan King horse named Gibralfaro; the latter is a French import owned by the McNeill Family and this would be his first run for the yard.    


Also in yesterday’s Racing Post article, Alan said he currently had a lot of horses which needed to be moved on, having kept them for a year too long; as many as a third of the yard!  He tries to concentrate of quality now, and doesn’t see much point in training a horse if it might only win one race.


It appears that connections would prefer Coneygree to run in the King George VI Chase, although they’ve not totally ruled out the Lexus.  The Gold Cup winner is due to school tomorrow, after which plans will be firmed up.


Yesterday evening, Choc and Jennie visited the Snowdome Snowboarding Centre in Tamworth.


My nephew James is currently on a skiing holiday; he finished his University term last week (he’s in his final year), went straight on holiday and will be back next weekend in plenty of time for Christmas.  James is fortunate, he’s brainy and he’s also very good at sport.    

Sunday 13 December 2015

Having praised Pearls Legend for his gallant win at Cheltenham yesterday, I’ve now found a picture of the horse which I took on Hennessy Gold Cup Day at Newbury last month:


Race 7 g.jpg


He also got a special mention from Alastair Down on ATR’s Sunday Forum today!


Timmy Murphy has tweeted a photograph of Comply Or Die and Well Chief; the old boys are enjoying their retirement with him.


Poor Sam Twiston-Davies is having a run of bad luck; his mount jinked and unseated him on the run-in at Southwell today when he was a certainty to win.

What made it even more strange was the fact that a very similar incident happened to him when riding Politologue at Cheltenham last Friday; although that was before the final flight so may or may not have had a bearing on the eventual result. 


Sam apologised to punters, but it wasn’t his fault.  Horses can be very unpredictable creatures.  


Meanwhile, at Carlisle, Pineau De Re won the Pertemps Qualifier; it was the first time that a former Aintree Grand National winner had won a subsequent race since the feat had been accomplished by Binderee!  The horse had fallen at the second fence in last weekend’s Becher’s Chase.  Today he was ridden by Richard Johnson, who rode a treble on the card. 


Wayne Hutchinson also rode a winner at Carlisle, aboard Subtle Grey for Donald McCain; Wayne’s 37th winner of the season. 


I’m rubbish; I still haven’t written out my ‘snail-mail’ Christmas cards.  I went to bed late last night; in fact it was actually very early this morning.  But, I have finished the first complete draft of my Hennessy Day diary as a result.  I wrote and uploaded a blog late yesterday too, but was up at 07:30 this morning to make a number of additions which I’d forgotten last night due to the fact I was worn out and my brain was no longer functioning properly!   


There was an article in today’s Racing Post by Lee Mottershead about Alan King.  Here is an excerpt:


“That support from the top also extends to the operation’s jockeys, headed by Hutchinson, who worked as number two to Robert Thornton until the latter’s misfortune with injury, combined with his deputy’s prodigious talent, made a continuation of the status quo impossible.


“Wayne has always been very consistent,” says King.  “Some time ago one or two of the owners started wanting to use him, so in the last year of Choc riding it was quite difficult, but I would rather remember Choc for the glory years we had together.


“Wayne is a good, solid horseman and the Hennessy will have given him huge confidence.  With all jockeys that’s important.  I think you can knock the confidence out of jockeys very quickly.  If you continue to criticise you can easily destroy them.  I’ve always found at a difficult time it’s better to pat someone on the shoulder.” 


I know all about sportsmen’s confidence; Agassi had some dire times when playing.  In 1997 he sunk to the lowly world ranking of 141 before clawing his way back to be No.1 two years later.


Had Choc made it back from injury, I would have been seriously worried for his future as a jockey had too many owners shown a preference for his colleague.  He’s better off out of it. 


There are two runners of interest at Plumpton tomorrow:

12:10 Authorized Too (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:20 Dun Bay Creek (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle    


In Lee Mottershead’s article, Alan states that he most enjoys going to the smaller racetracks, such a Plumpton, and has run a number of very talented horses at the track.  These include Voy Por Ustedes, Bensalem, Uxizandre and Montbazon.  He misses Hereford, and thinks its closure is criminal. 


Saturday 12 December 2015

Here are the results for my runners of interest:



Sceau Royal (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) won the Juvenile Hurdle (5 ran).

Annacotty (Alan King/Ian Popham) finished 6th and Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Brendan Powell) finished 12th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs & 166 yards] (14 ran).

Flementime (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 7th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).


Paul Nicholls finally had a Saturday winner, with Old Guard taking the Grade 2 International Hurdle; he fought off the challenge of the Rich Ricci owned-Sempre Medici and Hargam to prevail by a length.


In contrast, our ‘Only Hope’ (that’s a Star Wars reference) for the Champion Hurdle against the Irish invasion evidently, Peace And Co ran a stinker; he pulled far too hard and was reported to have made a possible ‘noise’ too. But in Star Wars ‘there was another’, namely Princess Leia, so maybe we’ll find something to put it up to the Irish battalions at the Festival.  Fingers crossed.  


Poor Aidan Coleman is going to be sore this morning, having taken a ‘good kicking’ from Leoncavello in the Juvenile Hurdle; although he did ride for the remainder of the day:


And Richard Johnson made the right decision when choosing to ride Village Vic in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup:

Stablemate Champagne West finished 2nd, so a ‘one two’ for the Philip Hobbs yard.  Last month’s Cheltenham hero Annacotty ran okay, staying on through beaten runners towards the end to take 6th. 


More Of That won the Novices’ Chase, although only 3 runners and two finishers:


I’ve looked back through my twitter feed but cannot find a photo of my ‘Star of the Day’ – namely the very admirable Pearls Legend winning the Unicoin Group Handicap Chase.  His trainer, John Spearing, thinks this may be his first Cheltenham winner since Run And Skip in 1991!  Pearls Legend has been a recurring ‘fixture’ during my recent visits to the races, having finished 2nd to Cold March at Ascot on Halloween, and 3rd to Grey Gold at Newbury on Hennessy Day, so today’s victory was very much deserved ... and I shouted him home too! 



Gone Too Far (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 44 yards].

Sego Success (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won and Forgotten Gold (Tom George/Paddy Brennan) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 6 furlongs] (10 ran); Wayne’s 32nd winner of the season.

Who Dares Wins (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Juvenile Hurdle (6 ran); Wayne’s 33rd winner of the season.


Here is Who Dares Wins winning his race:


There was a good result for EPDS Racing too, with Ami Debois finishing 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle:


Wayne actually rode a 4-timer at Doncaster today; the other two being Southfield Royale for Neil Mulholland and Minstrels Gallery for Lucy Wadham; Wayne’s 34th winner and 35th winner of the season.


There are no runners of interest at Southwell or Carlisle tomorrow.  


I’ve never cheated and looked for the Strictly Result Spoiler ... but I did this week and I’m not happy.  My favourite, the lovely Jay, is still in the competition so I’m very happy about that, but I’m so not pleased that the ‘teachers’ pet’, the very irritating and regularly over-marked Georgia is in the final!   She’s on a par with the dreadful Chelsee Healey from a few years ago. 

I very much hope that Jay McGuiness is crowned Strictly Come Dancing Champion in next Saturday’s final.  The choices of previous Champions which have disappointed me were Darren Gough, Chris Hollins, Tom Chambers and Louis ‘it’s not a gymnastics competition’ Smith.

Friday 11 December 2015


Hay Jack.jpg


RIP Hayjack



There was a sad postscript from Cheltenham today, with Martin Keighley losing Hayjack as a result of a fall during the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase.  RIP Hayjack


However here is the other news for my runners of interest; today’s demonstrating the highs and lows of racing:



Roberto Pegasus (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 7th but Hayjack (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) fell in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase and sadly lost his life (11 ran).

Solstice Star (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 179 yards] (14 ran); Martin’s 16th winner of the season. 

Forgotten Gold (Tom George/Paddy Brennan) was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs] – he runs instead at Doncaster tomorrow.

Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) finished 8th in the Cross Country Chase (14 ran); he just wasn’t himself today.



Winter Escape (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Maiden Hurdle Div I (17 ran); Wayne’s 31st winner of the season. 

Desert Joe (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs & 14 yards] (11 ran).


I’ve added Winter Escape to my ATR tracker, because he’s got a nice face, rather than because I’ll be betting on him!  I’ve also added Fletchers Flyer, which finished 3rd behind Blaklion and Onenightinvienna in a Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham today, although he was also beaten by the latter on his chasing debut at Exeter; he’s a nice colour, bay with a white blaze and three white socks, he’s a good jumper and I like his attitude and style of running too.  He’s trained by Harry Fry and owned by Masterson Holdings.  My favourites don’t need to be superstars, just demonstrate a willingness to do their very best.


Today’s question is ... has Graham Cunningham jumped from the sinking ship which is Channel 4 Racing?  He used to work on Racing UK, but I’ve not seen him on the satellite channel since he began appearing on Channel 4 ... until today that is, when he appeared alongside Lydia Hislop.  It’s a shame if he’s back, because I don’t like him.  I also  don’t like Nick Luck, I don’t like Emma Spencer and I don’t like Gina Harding either.  The problem is, if you have a choice of watching RUK/ATR or Channel 4 Racing, you are going to choose the channel which broadcasts all of the races, especially when the majority of presenters on the terrestrial channel aren’t your cup of tea. 


By contrast, the only ones I don’t like on RUK are Dave Nevison and Steve Mellish ... because they are both shifty and never look anyone in the eye!  It goes without saying, but I will anyway, that I cannot stand John McCririck; sadly he still makes appearances on ATR and you often see him at the races too.  And I don’t like RUK’s David Cleary either, because he’s been rude about Menace, based solely on his name!   


My travels around Alan King’s website tell me that Passmore, daughter of Call Me A Legend, is now owned by JP McManus, and that Potensis has an unnamed 3-year-old in training with Alan King too.  The notorious Say When is no longer listed as in training with the yard. 


Having said that the Hennessy Festival will be reduced to two days from next year, I forgot to mention that Newbury will actually be moving the ‘missing’ day to the beginning of the month; it will take place on Thursday 03 November 2016.  I would imagine that the cards will be reorganised, rather than a wholesale movement of the races which normally take place on the first day.


There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:



12:05 Sceau Royal (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) – Juvenile Hurdle

13:50 Annacotty (Alan King/Ian Popham) & Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Brendan Powell) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs & 166 yards]

15:35 Flementime (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle



12:20 Gone Too Far (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 44 yards]

13:30 Sego Success (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Forgotten Gold (Tom George/Paddy Brennan) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 6 furlongs]

14:05 Who Dares Wins (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle


I was up early this morning, despite it being a day’s holiday.  And I’d drafted a description of one of the Hennessy Day races before I took mum to do her weekly food shop at Marks and Sparks.  Normally she’d shop in Sainsburys too, both earlier in the week, but she underwent a minor operation on Monday and isn’t permitted to drive at the moment.  


I was looking rough when I got up this morning, and still have bags under my eyes, having stayed up late in an attempt to view a repeat of Most Haunted as first shown last Sunday evening.  It began at midnight and I failed miserably in my goal.  I saw the first 15 minutes, before dozing off for another 15 minutes; I then awoke for a few minutes more, before losing consciousness again and missing the remainder.  The programme used to be broadcast at 22:00 on a Thursday but, since moving to 22:00 on a Sunday, before being repeated at midnight later in the week, I just cannot stay awake to watch either broadcast.   

Thursday 10 December 2015

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



Theatre Goer (Noel Williams/James Banks) won and Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs & 198 yards] (15 ran).

Elkstone (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 11th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 104 yards] (17 ran).

McCabe Creek (Alan King/Jamie Insole) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 1 yard] (13 ran).



Minella Charmer (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).

Daliance (Noel Williams/Andrew Thornton) finished 4th and Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (13 ran).


Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Cheltenham and Doncaster:



12:35 Roberto Pegasus (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & Hayjack (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase

13:10 Solstice Star (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 179 yards]

13:45 Forgotten Gold (Tom George/Paddy Brennan) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs]

14:20 Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) – Cross Country Chase



12:10 Winter Escape (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle Div I

13:55 Desert Joe (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs & 14 yards]

There are 8 races at Donny tomorrow!


Yesterday, Choc paid a visit to the British Racing School in Newmarket. 


Today is my Friday, as I’m using up another day’s leave tomorrow.  This year it’s also my turn to take holiday between Christmas and the New Year.  And, at present, I’ve still got 4½ days to carry over and use before the end of February!


I don’t think tomorrow, or the entire weekend, is going to be very relaxing.  I’ve got what feels like shed-loads of diary writing and photo uploading to catch up with for my website, with the possibility of a trip to Ascot looming a week Saturday, and a visit to Kempton Park on Boxing Day on the horizon too.  I’m busy tomorrow morning, doing something else, and also early on Saturday morning too.  The trouble is that everything takes so much longer than you thought it would!  

Wednesday 09 December 2015

Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest at Leicester:

Handsome Sam (Alan King/William Featherstone) won the Conditional Jockeys’ Training Series Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran)

Hindon Road (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (11 ran).

Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 6 furlongs & 151 yards] (11 ran).

Salmanazar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 110 yards] (8 ran).


There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:



12:40 Theatre Goer (Noel Williams/James Banks) & Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs & 198 yards]

13:40 Elkstone (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 104 yards]

14:40 McCabe Creek (Alan King/Jamie Insole) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 1 yard!]



14:00 Minella Charmer (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Maiden Hurdle

15:00 Daliance (Noel Williams/Andrew Thornton) & Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]


Manyriverstocross has been retired, as his legs won’t stand up any longer to the rigors of training.  Alan King is seeking a good home for the horse and wishes him well in his new non-racing career, whatever that might be.


Coneygree has recovered well from his recent set-back and connections envisage that he will run in either the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, or the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown two days later.  They state that it will all depend on which Irish contender runs where.


Dave Crosse reports that he is fine following x-rays, having taken a tumble at Leicester today.


I notice that Ned Stark holds an ‘early closer’ entry for a listed Handicap Chase at Ascot on Saturday 19 December.  Winner Massagot holds an entry in The Ladbroke, and Karezak for the Long Walk Hurdle on the same day too.


It’s Donny Osmond’s birthday today; he’s 58 years old. 

Tuesday 08 December 2015

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

Katie Too (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won and The Barbury Queen (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 6th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran); Wayne’s 30th winner of the season.

Ziga Boy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 1 furlong & 106 yards] (7 ran); he was last of the finishers.

Tickity Bleue (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 1 furlongs & 145 yards] (8 ran).                                                             

The Mumper (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) fell heavily 3 out in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (6 ran); I hope he’s okay.


Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest at Leicester:

13:05 Handsome Sam (Alan King/William Featherstone) – Conditional Jockeys’ Training Series Novices’ Hurdle

13:35 Hindon Road (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

14:35 Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 6 furlongs & 151 yards]

15:35 Salmanazar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 110 yards]


The Cheltenham Gold Cup has a new sponsor, Timico Technology Group, the first non-bookmaker to sponsor it since 1980.  Timico’s CEO is Tim Radford, owner of Somersby, Racing Demon and Sgt Reckless amongst others.  Lord Daresbury is the non-executive chairman of the company.


Pat Eddery’s funeral took place in Thame in Oxfordshire today.  I know he used to live near the village of Nether Winchendon, and maybe still did.  The area is familiar from my rambling days.  


I’m ‘stuffed’ this evening; it was my department’s Christmas meal at lunchtime today.  We went to the same pub as last year but, as always, the second consecutive festive visit to any pub or restaurant proves to be a little bit of a disappointment.  So it’s good year, bad year, good year, bad year and onwards infinitum.  The service was awful, with 45 minutes between courses; the sprouts were so hard that it proved almost impossible to stab them with a fork.  Also, one of the desserts was supposed to be served warm but wasn’t; fortunately I ordered a sweet that was.     

Monday 07 December 2015

There were a number of runners of interest at Huntingdon yesterday and this is how they fared:

Jeans Lady (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 145 yards] (9 ran).

Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [1 mile 7 furlongs & 121 yards] (9 ran).

Midnight Cowboy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd and Real Gone Kid (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up two out in the Novices’ Hurdle (15 ran).

Mia’s Storm (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).


Their feature race, the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase, was won by Al Ferof, from Pepite Rose and Wishfull Thinking; Ptit Zig fell at the last when looking beaten in 2nd, and Camping Ground unshipped his pilot in the back straight.  Al Ferof is now trained by Dan Skelton and he mentioned that it’s currently intended that this will be the 10-year-old’s final season before retirement; Dan said the move is not the usual ‘change of scenery’ but has the full support of Paul Nicholls. 


The winner is looking in fine fettle today, following yesterday’s race:


There is a horse-transporter full of runners tomorrow, at Fontwell Park:

12:40 Katie Too (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & The Barbury Queen (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.  The former is The Pirate Queen’s full sister; their sire is King’s Theatre, and their dam Shivermetimber; that makes The Pirate Queen’s name so apt!

14:10 Ziga Boy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 1 furlong & 106 yards]

14:40 Tickity Bleue (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 1 furlongs & 145 yards]; she’s returning from a long absence – her last race was when she dead-heated for first on New Year’s Eve in 2013, with Choc aboard.                                                       

15:10 The Mumper (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase; another returning from an injury absence.


I forgot to mention that Richard Johnson rode his 150th winner of the season on Friday; he also took time out to visit injured Paul Moloney in Hereford Hospital.


Having received a 5-day ban on Saturday for ‘cutting up’ a rival at the elbow when riding Soll in the Becher Chase, Tom Scudamore is planning to lodge an appeal.  As it currently stands, he’s banned from Saturday 19 December to Saturday 26 December (Boxing Day) inclusive.


Oh dear; Ordo Ab Chao has succumbed to pneumonia/pleurisy and is probably out for the season.  Alan King mentioned that the last horse he trained to suffer from this fate was Bensalem; I remember that.  But didn’t he win at the Cheltenham Festival after he recovered from pneumonia?  Choc’s 16th and final Festival winner, in fact.


Menace is back to his old self, and happily cantering away again.  Noel’s current plan is to run him at Taunton on 30 December.


There was no blog yesterday evening because Lesley and I went to London to see Lee Mead in concert at the Garrick Theatre; his show being “Some Enchanted Christmas”.  Appearing as his singing guests were Amanda Henderson, who also stars in Casualty, and Stephen Rahman Hughes who has recently sung for Barack Obama.  Also Tracie Bennett.


It was a little bit scary travelling up to London with the current “not if, but when” threat of terrorist action, but there were armed police on duty on the concourse at St Pancras International, and plain-clothed officers evidently too; this was following a Syrian-related knife attack at Leytonstone tube station on Saturday evening.  It certainly makes you look at people differently, wondering if they might be a terrorist ... and steer clear of anyone carrying a rucksack.  Fortunately we only had to travel four stops on the tube – from Kings Cross to Leicester Square, and back.  I won’t be volunteering to go to London again anytime soon; we booked these tickets back in May and they were my Christmas and birthday present from Lesley. 


Evidently Lee’s going to be performing aboard two Saga holiday cruises next year, one in February and one in July; he did joke yesterday that most of his fans are over 60!  Bless him.  Personally, Lesley and I are going to see him in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang next May ... and neither of us have reached 60 yet!  He’s also appearing in Aladdin at the Birmingham Hippodrome this Christmas.  

Saturday 05 December 2015

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



Mystery Code (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd and Forgiving Glance (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 2nd in the Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (8 ran).


The Listed Chase was won by Don Poli, with Many Clouds running well but finishing as runner-up.


The Becher Chase was won by Highland Lodge, having his first run for Cumbrian-based trainer James Moffatt.


The Venetia Williams-trained Bennys Mist won the shorter in distance Grand Sefton, ridden by Liam Treadwell.


RIP Benefit Cut, who sadly didn’t survive his fall in the Handicap Chase, the second race of the day.



Primo Blue (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished a tailed off 7th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran); the ground was heavy today.


Sandown Park:

Simply A Legend (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) won the Handicap Hurdle Series Qualifier [2 miles 5 furlongs & 110 yards] (10 ran).  Connections missed the race, arriving late due to delays caused by an accident on the A3.


Godsmejudge, now trained by David Dennis, finished 13th in the London National; last of the finishers.


The most heart-warming win of the day was that of Sire De Grugy, ridden by Jamie Moore, in the Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park; it was great to see him win the race for a second time, and it seems that a number of equine stars are sparkling again – Cue Card, Sprinter Sacre, Smad Place and now Sire De Grugy.


It was another benefit day for trainer Gary Moore, with a treble, including both of the Grade 1 races!  The other being the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase won by Ah Mad with younger son Josh Moore aboard; it was Josh’s first Grade 1 victory.  The trainer currently believes the horse has to run right-handed, so no Cheltenham or Aintree Festival for him; he ran at left-handed Plumpton on a previous occasion and jumped severely out to his right.  Josh also rode the winner of the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle for his father.  Gary trained 3 winners at the track yesterday too!  Sandown is their new Plumpton, said Jamie.


Sire De Grugy:


Ah Mad:


The ex-Alan King-trained Vendor was an impressive winner of a Handicap Hurdle at Wetherby today for Sue Smith and jockey Danny Cook. 


No winners for Paul Nicholls again today and just one for Nicky Henderson!  It’s good for racing when the prizes get shared out among many. 


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

12:15 Jeans Lady (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 145 yards]

13:25 Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [1 mile 7 furlongs & 121 yards]

14:35 Midnight Cowboy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Real Gone Kid (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:05 Mia’s Storm (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race


Their feature race is the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase; a disappointing turn out of just 5 runners though – Al Ferof, Ptit Zig, Wishfull Thinking, Camping Ground and Pepite Rose.


Belinda Keighley has tweeted this lovely photo of Champion Court and her younger son Harry:


I’ve been slaving over a hot laptop today, drafting further text for my Newbury diaries.  So much so that it turned itself off when it got too hot late in the evening!

Friday 04 December 2015

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


Sandown Park:

Label Des Obeaux (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran); Wayne’s 29th winner of the season. 


Another ex-Alan King horse, Handazan, ran in the Novices’ Limited Handicap at the track today too; he finished a tailed off 8th of 9 ... the 9th horse having fallen at the first fence.  


Lovcen finished 5th in the 15:10, an Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase.  Tom David fell off on the run-in when leading aboard Silvergrove, having become unbalanced when his saddle tree broke early in the home straight; trainer Ben Pauling subsequently explaining the problem live on RUK.  This race was won by Katie Walsh, who was having her first ride at Sandown Park.


Along with Label Des Obeaux, whose next engagement may be the Challow Hurdle at Newbury just after Christmas, I particularly liked the tenacity of the grey Fingertips which won the Juvenile Hurdle for David Pipe and Daryl Jacob; he sports the Munir/Souede colours, hence the jockey booking.



Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/Lucy Barry) finished 7th in the Median Action Maiden Stakes (Div I) (11 ran).


Meanwhile Tea For Two was an impressive winner of the Novices’ Chase at Exeter, beating Oscar Sunset, Calipto and Golden Doyen in an 8-runner race.


Four National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, with runners of interest at three of them.



12:00 Mystery Code (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Forgiving Glance (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle


The feature race over the park fences is the Listed Chase at 14:15, with Don Poli, Many Clouds, Southfield Theatre and Menorah contesting.  The card also includes the Becher Chase and the Grand Sefton over the National fences.



12:50 Primo Blue (Noel Williams/James Banks) – NH Novices’ Hurdle


Sandown Park:

13:20 Simply A Legend (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle Series Qualifier [2 miles 5 furlongs & 110 yards]


Meanwhile Godsmejudge is due to run in the London National at 15:35; Grandads Horse is also entered for the race and hopefully Charlie Longsdon can find a pair of cheek-pieces for the horse on this occasion!  His charge was withdrawn last weekend from a race at Newbury because there were no cheek-pieces available and he’d been declared to run in them. 


The feature race is the Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase, with Vibrato Valtat, Special Tiara, Sire De Grugy, Somersby, Josses Hill, Mr Mole and Third Intention taking part.  Nina Carberry rides Somersby having been successful for connections aboard Knock House in an Amateur Riders’ Chase at Cheltenham recently.  Simonsig is a late absentee due to lameness; a new injury, not a reoccurrence of an old injury. 


Jamie Osborne’s stable star, Toast Of New York, has been retired to stand at stud in Qatar.


Another surprising fact ... Paul Nicholls didn’t have any winners last Saturday.  It’s definitely a changing of the guard, with many of the recently established trainers having been protégés of both he and Nicky Henderson.  Although long-established, I’m also pleased that the Alan King yard is doing so well; Colin Tizzard also.


Redwings has tweeted another of their cute Friday photos:


One finds out new facts every day.  With the enforced closure of the Forth Road Bridge until at least the New Year due to a structural problem discovered this week, it transpires that there is a replacement road bridge already being constructed, which is due for completion at the end of next year.  More

Progress has been made on my Newbury ‘Friday’ diary; it’s not going to be one of my very detailed efforts, but I’ve written over 3,000 words already. 

Thursday 03 December 2015

Today there were two runners on interest at Leicester:

Devil To Pay (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) fell two out in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (7 ran).

Hurricane Vic (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (10 ran).


A quiet day tomorrow for runners of interest, despite a full racing programme.


Sandown Park:

14:40 Label Des Obeaux (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

Lovcen also runs in the 15:10, an Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase



16:10 Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/Lucy Barry) – Median Action Maiden Stakes (Div I) – Part-owned by AppleTree Stud.


Another point noted from Alan King’s Weekender column is that Smad Place may be entered for the Ryanair Chase, in addition to the Gold Cup, as the owners are keen to keep all options open.  It was a great month.


Racing UK is spoilt for nominations for their November Moment of the Month to be voted for by viewers – they include Annacotty, Cue Card and Smad Place! 


Today is my Friday, as I’ve got to take another day’s leave tomorrow to use up holiday before year’s end.  But, annoyingly, I’ve still got quite a lot of work outstanding at present, so would have actually benefited from a day in the office.  I’m not looking forward to checking my inbox on Monday, because I’ll probably have even more work to process!  


And, finally, I actually won £25 on the Lotto last night ... that’s a turn up for the books, with the winning odds having extended considerably since 10 new numbers were added in early October.  All I need now is to win one of the £10 Amazon gift vouchers in my employer’s annual advent calendar draw.  I wonder if I will be lucky this year ... although I’ve had far more than my fair share of wins on this draw in recent years. 

Wednesday 02 December 2015

Two runners of interest at Ludlow this afternoon and this is how they fared:

Dusky Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).

Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Kevin Dowling) finished 4th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (7 ran); good old Fred, another placed effort!  But the yard does keep the horse especially for their lads to gain racecourse experience. 


Tomorrow there are two runners on interest at Leicester:

12:25 Devil To Pay (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

14:45 Hurricane Vic (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Chase


An amazing statistic, Paul Nicholls trained his first ever winner at Catterick today!


There was another hard to believe statistic at Newbury last week, when Fly Du Charmil became the first winner at the track for his owners The McNeill Family; he won the bumper and is trained by Warren Greatrex.  It is surprising as they have had so many good horses over the years trained by Alan King and others; Max McNeill’s company sponsors races at this, his local track. 


Un De Sceaux is out of the Tingle Creek, because he’s not quite his usual self at the moment; not a problem ... that gives another horse the opportunity to win this Grade 1 race!   


Oh dear, Paul Moloney will be on the sidelines for a while having broken his leg at Ludlow when falling aboard Kudu Country today. There was carnage early in the race, with Paul’s mount departing at the first and hampering joint favourite Jayo Time, who unseated as a result.  Liam Treadwell was unseated at the second, and Tom Scudamore departed when My Brother Sylvest fell at the third.  What a bummer for Paul, with Evan Williams’ horses running well at the moment.  He also rides the odd one or two for Alan King, when there’s a spare ride going.  So wishing him a very speedy recovery.


I wonder how many professional jockey/trainers ride their charges (or should that be chargers!) at the races; Sam Thomas did today in the Mares’ bumper, at Ludlow.     


I’ve already got a copy of this week’s Weekender.  There’s no surprise that Alan King’s highlight of the week was Smad Place winning the Hennessy Gold Cup.  However “the biggest disappointment at Newbury was Ardamir.  He’d been working so well that he probably just hadn’t done enough and he got very tired going to two out.  I’ve not given up on him and I still rate him very highly”. 


Alan was also a little bit disappointed with Ned Stark’s effort in the big race; he thinks that the horse might not be quite good enough for the company he is currently keeping.  They are going to lower his sights a little bit and see if carrying a bigger weight in a lesser race might suit instead. 


Alan reports that Valdez remains on the ‘easy list’.  They had hoped to get him back to action soon, but he’s currently just doing work on the water treadmill and there’s a possibility they will leave his return until next season instead.  Alan is in no rush to get one of his favourites back to the track. 

Tuesday 01 December 2015

I’m doing well with my runners of interest at the moment ...


Just one result today, from Lingfield Park:

Solstice Star (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 110 yards] (5 ran); it was Martin’s 15th winner of the season, and the horse’s 3rd win of the season!  Well done to the team.


Two runners of interest tomorrow, at Ludlow:

13:40 Dusky Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

15:10 Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Kevin Dowling) – Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle ... I presume it will be yet another placed position for this maiden, but you never know!


Following his disappointing run in the Hennessy Gold Cup, Saphir Du Rheu will revert to hurdles once more; his aims being Ascot’s Long Walk Hurdle and the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. 


I have Choc news tonight ...


The Stobart Lesters take place on Tuesday 22 December and Choc has been nominated for the Jump Jockey Special Recognition Award 2015.  He’s not confident though, as Jack Berry MBE, Richard Johnson and AP McCoy are also nominated in this category ... who are they?  More


Choc and his colleagues have been to the Tattersall Mare sale in Newmarket today, and AppleTree Stud has purchased Astonishing, a daughter of Galileo, out of Amazing Krisken, as a broodmare.  She was lot 1983, and bought for 360,000 guineas.


I also have a photograph of Ardamir ... do his facial markings remind you of another horse? 


Ardamir for blog r.jpg

I collected my Aintree Festival tickets from the local postal distribution centre on my way to work this morning.  That’s the good news ... the bad news is that the Grand National is to be run at 17:15 instead of 16:15 this season.  The first race will take place at 13:40, the last race at 18:10; as opposed to 13:30 and 17:40 this year.


That means more time for idiots to become paralytic, and more delays and congestion in the area because fewer people will have time to leave before the final race of the day; usually they begin to drift away from the track after the feature race.  As I don’t stay in the area overnight, I have a three and a half hour journey home, excluding the time it takes to free myself from the car park and escape the traffic jams surrounding the racecourse.


I travel via the M6 and M1 so, if there are any overnight repairs being carried out on the motorways which result in them being closed, usually at 22:00, this could cause a serious problem to my journey.  I have, in the past, been within an hour of a motorway closure in Birmingham.  I have a good sense of direction, but Birmingham is a whole different kettle of fish, especially after dark. 


I experienced a problem last Saturday when travelling back from Caversham late evening.  It transpired that repairs were to be carried out on the M25 between junctions 19 and 21 after 22:00 so, by the time I reached this stretch of the motorway, workmen were already placing cones across the carriageway and signs were funnelling vehicles into the inside lane.  I left at Junction 19 ... but I know my way home from there regardless of the hour.



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