FEBRUARY 2011

 

 

Monday 28 February 2011

Today, Alan King had 2 runners at Plumpton:

Asturienne won the Mares’ Novices’ Chase, giving Choc his 37th winner of the season (5 ran).

Double Pride unseated his rider, Mr R Jarrett, during the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase (7 ran).

 

And Martin Keighley had 2 runners at Catterick; with the stable bouncing back to form following a recent break:

Total Submission (Warren Marston) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (16 ran).

Wolf Moon (Warren Marston) won the Beginners’ Chase (7 ran); the stable’s 13th winner of the season.

 

Choc rode 16 winners during February ... and is sure to be on a ‘count-down’ to a very special milestone.  However, I’m not going to mention that milestone by name, as I know he is superstitious!

 

No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow which, of course, means he can’t pick up a ban which might rule him out of the first day of the Cheltenham Festival!  However, this evening he is a panel member at a Cheltenham Festival preview being held at Oaksey House in Lambourn to raise money for the IJF.

 

News today that Crack Away Jack has been moved to the Paul Nicholls yard.  More

 

Alan King’s website has a round-up of Saturday’s racing.  http://www.alankingracing.co.uk/news/news1.php

 

And, as it is a Monday, Choc’s latest column appeared in the Racing Post.

Sunday 27 February 2011

Choc was at Fontwell Park today, where he had 3 riding engagements for Alan King:

Hong Kong Harry finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Pouvoir finished 3rd in the Novices’ Chase (4 ran).

Trenchant finished 2nd in the National Spirit Hurdle (Grade 2); and Karabak, ridden by AP McCoy finished 4th (5 ran).  The race was won by Celestial Halo; so I guess that pays a compliment to Mille Chief, who beat him at Wincanton last weekend.  More

 

Tomorrow, Alan King has 2 runners at Plumpton:

14:50 Asturienne (Choc) – Mares’ Novices’ Chase

16:50 Double Pride (Mr R Jarrett) – Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase

 

Ollie Magern, who has undergone successful surgery for a leg fracture, may be retired.  More

 

And it is reported that Ruby Walsh may delay his return to race riding until next weekend; because, in doing so, he would avoid any riding bans which would put him out of action during the Cheltenham Festival!  More   No jockey will wish to pick up a suspension this Tuesday through to Friday, as it takes 14 days from infringement to the commencement of the ban. 

 

I’ve uploaded the photos I took at Kempton Park yesterday.  Click Here

 

And my Kempton Park diary for Friday 11 February is also complete.  Click Here

Saturday 26 February 2011

 

Kempton Park 26 Feb 2011 l blog photo r.jpg

 

Choc ahead of his ride

aboard Bakbenscher

in the Racing Post Chase

 

 

Choc was at Kempton Park today, where he had 5 riding engagements, all for Alan King:

Kumbeshwar finished 3rd in the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) (9 ran).

Bakbenscher unseated Choc in the Racing Post Chase (16 ran).

Yorgonnabelucky finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

Causeway King was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Diamond Sweeper finished 5th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (17 ran).

 

The Philip Hobbs trained Quinz won the Racing Post Chase.  More

 

My friend Lesley took me to Kempton Park; it was lovely to have a day out and, of course, to see Choc.  But it was a pity that it wasn’t one of his better days.

 

Chepstow was abandoned.  Companero won Newcastle’s Eider Chase in desperate ground.  More

 

Tomorrow Choc will be at Fontwell Park, where he has 3 riding engagements for Alan King:

14:10 Hong Kong Harry – Novices’ Hurdle

14:40 Pouvoir – Novices’ Chase

15:45 Trenchant – National Spirit Hurdle (Grade 2); Karabak also runs in this race, ridden by his usual pilot AP McCoy.

 

And, finally, congratulations to Lesley’s son, Steve and his partner, whose second child was born last Thursday; they’ve named their son Harrison; a brother for Phoebe.  So Lesley is now a glamorous granny twice over!

Friday 25 February 2011

Today, Choc was at Warwick, where he had 5 riding engagements:

Dhaafar (Alan King) finished a short-head 2nd in the Juvenile Hurdle (7 ran).

Bardolf (Alan King) finished 4th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Incentivise (Richard Lee) finished half a length 2nd in the Handicap Chase (7 ran).

Stoney’s Treasure (Alan King) won the Novices’ Chase; Choc’s 36th winner of the season (5 ran)

Look Who’s Talking (Alan King) finished 9th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race; Alan also ran Night Rose (Charlie Huxley) who finished 5th in this race (14 ran).

 

Meanwhile, at Sandown Park, Alan King had 4 runners; 3 of which were ridden by Wayne Hutchinson:

Top Mark finished last in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).

China Gold finished 2nd and Prince Du Seuil (Peter Hatton) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

Univoque finished 6th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).

 

Tomorrow, Choc will be at Kempton Park, where he has 5 riding engagements, all for Alan King:

13:55 Kumbeshwar – Adonis Juvenile Hurdle

15:00 Bakbenscher – Racing Post Chase

15:35 Yorgonnabelucky – Novices’ Hurdle

16:10 Causeway King – Handicap Hurdle

17:15 Diamond Sweeper – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Alan also has a runner at Chepstow; as does Martin Keighley:

13:50 Lariat Sam (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Maiden Hurdle

16:35 Ikorodu Road (Martin Keighley/Jimmy Derham) – Handicap Chase

 

Thursday 24 February 2011

I’m sorry I’ve not written a blog since the beginning of this week; as my 87-year old father, Peter, passed away on Tuesday following a 4-year battle against Multiple Myeloma (cancer of the plasma blood cells).  The end came a few days after being admitted to hospital in Potters Bar; but we couldn’t have wished for nicer surroundings during his final few days, and the members of staff at the Hospital were very helpful and kind.

 

I have checked back on Choc’s results for the past three days, and they are as follows:

 

Tuesday’s results from Taunton, where Alan King had two runners:

Dineur (Choc) finished 2nd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

Iolith (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).

 

Wednesday’s results from Doncaster, where Choc had 4 riding engagements, all for Alan King:

Raya Star won the NH Novices’ Hurdle, giving Choc his 35th winner of the season (14 ran).

Jubail finished 4th in the Juvenile Hurdle (15 ran).

Il Duce was pulled up in the Veterans’ Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Wild Desert was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).

 

Today’s results from Huntingdon, where Alan King had 4 runners:

Tsarinova (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th and Yvonne Evelyn (Choc) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Mister Stickler (Choc) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Chase (4 ran); with Starluck making a winning debut over fences.

Pride in Battle (Choc) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran).

So Choc had a bad case of thirditis.

 

Tomorrow, Choc will be at Warwick, where he has 5 riding engagements:

14:40 Dhaafar (Alan King) – Juvenile Hurdle

15:15 Bardolf (Alan King) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:50 Incentivise (Richard Lee) – Handicap Chase

16:25 Stoney’s Treasure (Alan King) – Novices’ Chase

16:55 Look Who’s Talking (Alan King) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race; Alan also runs Night Rose (Charlie Huxley) in this race.

 

Meanwhile, at Sandown Park, Alan King has 3 runners to be ridden by Wayne Hutchinson:

14:20 Top Mark – Handicap Chase

16:00 China Gold – Handicap Hurdle

17:05 Univoque – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

The Cheltenham Festival Handicap entries were announced today.  Voy Por Ustedes, now trained by Nicky Henderson, holds entries in the Grand Annual Chase (which is named in honour of the trainer’s father), the Coral Cup and the County Hurdle; an outing over hurdles would be a ‘prep’ ahead of a third tilt at Aintree’s Melling Chase.  More

 

And here is the link to Wayne Hutchinson’s latest Sporting Life column, which appeared earlier in the week.

 

Monday 21 February 2011

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

Swansbrook (Alan King) finished 2nd in the Beginners’ Chase (5 ran).

Simply Wings (Richard Lee) won the Novices’ Hurdle, giving Choc his 34th winner of the season (6 ran).

 

Tomorrow, Alan King has 2 runners at Taunton:

14:30 Dineur (Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:40 Iolith (Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle.  Iolith carries just 10 stone in this event, hence Wayne rides!

 

Alan King has confirmed that Bensalem will revert to the larger obstacles at the Cheltenham Festival; he will contest the same race as last year (renamed the Festival Handicap Chase).  More

 

As it’s a Monday, Choc’s weekly column has appeared in the Racing Post.

Sunday 20 February 2011

Choc had 2 riding engagements at Market Rasen today, both for Alan King:

Mister Chancer finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (15 ran).

Batonnier finished 5th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (16 ran).

 

Choc is scheduled to be at Hereford tomorrow, where he has 2 riding engagements:

14:50 Swansbrook (Alan King) – Beginners’ Chase

15:20 Simply Wings (Richard Lee) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

I notice that Choc is now 15th in this season’s NH Jockeys’ Championship, following yesterday’s treble.  He’s leading the ‘also rans’ as he needs a number of winners to catch the jockey above him on the list (currently Daryl Jacob).  Choc has overtaken Wayne Hutchinson.

 

Monet’s Garden appears to be enjoying himself following his return home.  More

 

Saturday 19 February 2011

Choc had a brilliant day at Wincanton, riding a treble. J J J

 

Wincanton:

Jetnova won the Handicap Hurdle, giving Choc his 31st winner of the season (8 ran).

It was a very close call, but Mille Chief won the Kingwell Hurdle by a nose from Celestial Halo, Choc’s 32nd winner of the current campaign (5 ran).

And, last but not least, Smad Place won the Novices’ Hurdle, Choc’s 33rd winner of the season (15 ran).

 

Haydock Park:

Kumbeshwar (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Juvenile Hurdle (5 ran).

Bensalem (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Hurdle (Grade 2) (6 ran).

West End Rocker (Wayne Hutchinson) ran well for a long way but was eventually pulled up in the Grand National Trial (14 ran); however, only 4 completed the course in the heavy going, and the race was won by Silver By Nature for the second year running.

Halcon Genelardais (Mr R Jarrett) finished 2nd to Baby Run in the Hunters’ Chase (5 ran).

 

Ascot:

Suburban Bay (Jimmy McCarthy) finished 8th (last) in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Shalone (Jimmy McCarthy) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Soleil D’Avril (Charlie Huxley) finished 7th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Ransson (Peter Hatton) finished 6th (last) in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (6 ran).

 

Riverside Theatre won Ascot’s Grade 1 Betfair Chase; but the race was marred by the death of Pride of Dulcote who suffered an injury to his off-hind when unseating his jockey.  More

 

Here is a report about Mille Chief’s victory in the Kingwell Hurdle.  Racing UK’s Lydia Hislop interviewed Choc after the race – it was a lovely interview.

 

Choc has 2 riding engagements at Market Rasen tomorrow, both for Alan King:

14:00 Mister Chancer – Novices’ Hurdle

17:05 Batonnier – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Friday 18 February 2011

Choc was a Newbury for the re-scheduled Totesport Trophy fixture, and this is how Alan King’s horses fared:

Awesome Freddie (Choc) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Salden Licht (Wayne Hutchinson) was brought down at the second last; Walkon (Choc) finished 11th; The Betchworth Kid (Jimmy McCarthy) finished 4th in the Totesport Trophy Handicap Hurdle (15 ran). 

Bless The Wings (Choc) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

Bygones In Brid (Choc) finished 2nd in the Winter Bumper (9 ran).

 

Noland came back to form and won the Aon Chase; as did French Opera who won the Game Spirit Chase

 

Meanwhile at Fakenham:

Calcot Rose (Gerard Tumelty) finished 10th; Tante Sissi (Sam Thomas) won the Mares’ Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).

 

Tomorrow, Alan King has runners at Wincanton, Haydock Park, and Ascot.

 

Wincanton:

14:35 Jetnova (Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

15:45 Mille Chief (Choc) – Kingwell Hurdle; rivals include Overturn and Silviniaco Conti.

17:20 Smad Place (Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

Haydock Park:

13:40 Kumbeshwar (Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:45 Bensalem (Wayne Hutchinson) – Hurdle (Grade 2)

15:20 West End Rocker (Wayne Hutchinson) – Grand National Trial

 

Ascot:

13:20 Suburban Bay (Jimmy McCarthy) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:35 Shalone (Jimmy McCarthy) – Handicap Hurdle

16:05 Soleil D’Avril (Charlie Huxley) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:40 Ransson (Peter Hatton) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Here is the report regarding Walkon’s disappointing run in today’s feature race.  More

 

Alan King is very hopeful of Mille Chief’s chances at Wincanton tomorrow.  More

 

And plans for Bensalem at the Cheltenham are still fluid, despite his hurdles outing tomorrow.  More

 

Here is the link to Martin Keighley’s latest column in the Gloucestershire Press.

 

Due to family commitments, my Kempton Park diary has been temporarily delayed.

Thursday 17 February 2011

Today Choc was at Ffos Las, where he had just one riding engagement:

Invictus (Alan King) finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (qualifier) (14 ran).

 

Tomorrow Choc will be at Newbury for the re-scheduled Totesport Trophy fixture:

12:10 Awesome Freddie (Choc/Alan King) – Handicap Hurdle

13:50 Salden Licht (Wayne Hutchinson/Alan King) & Walkon (Choc/Alan King) & The Betchworth Kid (Jimmy McCarthy/Alan King) – Totesport Trophy Handicap Hurdle.  Alan’s other runner declared last Saturday, Iolith, will now be aimed at a different event.

14:25 Bless The Wings (Choc/Alan King) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:35 Bygones In Brid (Choc/Alan King) – Winter Bumper

 

Meanwhile at Fakenham:

16:50 Calcot Rose (Gerard Tumelty/Alan King) & Tante Sissi (Sam Thomas/Alan King) – Mares’ Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

 

Alan King is more hopeful for Walkon’s chances tomorrow, as he had stated that he thought the race might come too soon for the horse had it been run last Saturday.  More  

 

The inquiry into last Saturday’s horse fatalities at Newbury has confirmed both Fenix Two and Marching Song suffered cardiac arrests, which points to electrocution as being the cause.  More  

 

Richard Johnson is 50-50 to ride at Newbury tomorrow, having suffered a kick at Ffos Las today.  More

 

Peddlers Cross won well at Kelso today.  More

 

And Monet’s Garden has now returned home, having made what appears to be a good recovery from the potentially fatal foot infection.  More

 

And a new edition of Wayne Hutchinson’s regular Sporting Life column has appeared.  More

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at Ffos Las, where he has just one riding engagement:

14:00 Invictus (Alan King) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (qualifier)

 

And, after Choc’s extremely embarrassing exit at Leicester on his last run, let’s hope they make amends tomorrow.

 

I’ve also just noticed that Choc had a third ride at Folkestone yesterday – Giant O Murchu (Lawney Hill) finished 7th in the Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).

 

I have begun to draft my Kempton Park diary (2,700 words so far) but, as I’ve got an extra week in which to complete it, I’m not in the greatest of hurries on this occasion ...

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Today, Choc was at Folkestone, where he had 2 riding engagements for Alan King:

Asturienne won the Beginners’ Chase, giving Choc his 30th winner of the season (4 ran).

Union Island finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

 

There’s National Hunt racing at Musselburgh and Leicester tomorrow, but Choc has no riding engagements.

 

Channel 4 will be providing terrestrial coverage of Friday’s re-scheduled Newbury fixture; but it appears that a number of runners may defect from the races, which have also had their prize money cut.  More

 

In my view, I think the re-arranged races should have been run elsewhere – possibly Ffos Las, as the course appears to be the most similar to Newbury.  But, if it had to be Newbury, it should have been re-arranged for this coming Sunday, not Friday when there’s already a fixture at Sandown Park.

Monday 14 February 2011

Today, Choc had 3 riding engagements at Plumpton, all for Alan King:

Stan’s Cool Cat finished 6th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).

Prince Du Seuil won the Handicap Hurdle, giving Choc his 29th winner of the season (6 ran).

Norman The Great finished 2nd in the Beginners’ Chase (5 ran).

 

Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at Folkestone, with 2 engagements for Alan King:

15:00 Asturienne – Beginners’ Chase

16:00 Union Island – Novices’ Hurdle

 

It has been announced that Newbury are planning to run Saturday’s abandoned races this coming Friday, 18 February.  More  But I don’t believe I will be able to make the re-arranged date due to work commitments; besides, I‘m not sure I’ve quite got the ‘stomach’ for a return trip to Newbury just yet. 

 

Earlier, the entries for Wincanton’s Kingwell Hurdle were announced, and included Walkon and Salden Licht ... but I guess it may be a contingency plan should the re-arranged Newbury fixture go awry.

 

It has been reported that Monet’s Garden is expected to return home this week, as he’s responded well to treatment for a potentially fatal hoof condition.  So it’s nice to have some good horse news for a change.

 

Being a Monday, Choc’s column appeared in the Racing Post and there is only one possible main topic under discussion.  More

Sunday 13 February 2011

Following yesterday’s sad occurrence at Newbury, Choc has ‘tweeted’ today.  http://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton

 

There’s a report on the At The Races website regarding yesterday’s horse fatalities at Newbury.  More

 

And news that a length of cable has been removed from beneath the Parade Ring; the site has now been declared safe.  More  

 

Along with their news report, Sky News has a short film showing the initial reaction of a number of horses, including The Merry Giant which went on to run in the race but was reported afterwards as being ‘traumatised’.

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Newbury-Horse-Deaths-Electrical-Cable-Removed-For-Examination/Article/201102215929636?f=rss

 

TV reports today suggested that, following the completion of the Berkshire stand in 1992,  a ‘spur’ of cable had been in existence running from the new stand to the saddling boxes area, passing under the Parade Ring en route; but, being redundant, it had been made safe and has lain dormant since that time ... until perhaps yesterday? 

 

Notably, Fenix Two and Marching Song wore steel shoes; whilst Kid Cassidy and The Merry Giant were wearing aluminium plates.  However, my research shows that aluminium actually conducts electricity better than steel.  More   So was the problem that the current was discharged more slowly in the horses wearing the steel shoes and thus it caused far more internal damage to the horses?  I’ve asked my brother Neil about this (he has a physics degree), and he concurs.

 

In today’s Racing Post, there is a brief reference to promising juvenile, The Grey Bomber, who was electrocuted on the gallops back in 1983.  This incident also crossed my mind yesterday; I just couldn’t remember the horse’s name until I read the article.

 

Re-scheduling of the Newbury fixture is being discussed; the favourite dates are this Wednesday or next Sunday.  Saturday would be impossible, with 4 meetings already due to happen on that date – Ascot, Haydock, Wincanton and Uttoxeter. 

 

Choc’s weekly column will appear in tomorrow’s Racing Post where, according to today’s newspaper, he will recount the ‘Inside view on how the Newbury drama unfolded’.  On the way to work tomorrow I have to drop off my car for its annual service (and its first MOT), but I will drive down to buy the Racing Post before doing so.  I own my cars from new ... but then keep them until worn out – the previous one, which was nicknamed ‘Dobbin’, lasted me for 18 years!  And I still have his ‘Ford’ badge as a memento!

 

I missed this article from a couple of days ago which gives an update on the unfortunate Phil Kinsella

 

Today Choc was at Exeter, where he had 4 riding engagements for Alan King:

Araldur finished 2nd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle Div I (14 ran); Oh poo; another runner-up spot for Choc.

Bakbenscher won the Graduation Chase; Hallelujah; finally the seconditis has been overcome, giving Choc his 28th winner of the season (6 ran).

Ravastree finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle Div II (14 ran).

Trade On finished 6th in the Intermediate NH Flat Race (14 ran).

 

Tomorrow, Choc has 3 riding engagements at Plumpton, all for Alan King:

14:00 Stan’s Cool Cat – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

15:30 Prince Du Seuil – Handicap Hurdle

16:00 Norman The Great – Beginners’ Chase

 

And, finally, I found this photo of a very cold Choc, walking the course at Cheltenham on Trials Day.

http://gallery.sportinglife.com/Gallery_Detail/0,17732,13262_6708905,00.html

 

Saturday 12 February 2011

A beautiful day ... the prospect of some fantastic racing at Newbury ... but then tragedy struck ...

 

I was Parade Ring side before the first race; and I saw the initial incident when the Nicky Henderson trained Kid Cassidy ‘lost’ his hind legs when being led around the paddock.  It was inexplicable. 

 

I didn’t actually see Fenix Two or Marching Song collapse, as they were hidden from full view by the crowd in the Parade Ring; but the people then withdrew, permitting a full view of the prostrate horses.  Something very untoward must have happened, as their legs were moving involuntarily, in the same manner as they would have been had they broken their necks. 

 

Obviously investigations into the deaths are in progress but, I have to say, electrocution seems a very plausible cause; a horse’s physiology means that they are very susceptible and metal horseshoes would have acted as a conductor.  There’s a rubber walkway around the Parade Ring which would act as an insulator when the horses are walking on it; the horses collapsed when on the grass.  Presumably the human elements in the Parade Ring weren’t affected as they were wearing rubber soled shoes (?).

 

It’s so fortunate that the jockeys weren’t yet aboard.  And, of course, Choc was in the Parade Ring prior to his ride aboard Yorgunnabelucky.

 

And why did they then proceed to run the first race?  I know the ‘survivors’ had been checked by the vets, but can you imagine the outcry had another horse come to grief or a jockey been seriously injured or worse because a horse wasn’t 100%?

 

Kid Cassidy, who was withdrawn, appears to have received a shock but survived, and The Merry Giant was also very unsettled.  

 

For everyone’s Health and Safety, abandonment was the only solution – but it should have happened before any races were run.

 

Here are a number of reports relating to the tragic events:

 

More

 

Speculation

 

Another report

 

And another

 

It was a terrible day for horse fatalities – Kilmurry died at Warwick; and both Money Trix and Glencove Marina died at Leopardstown.

 

Choc rode in the race at Newbury where, in light of the tragic events, the very appropriately named Yorgunnabelucky finished 3rd of the 7 surviving runners.

 

Following the abandonment, I walked back past the Weighing Room and I saw Choc ‘hightail’ it towards the car park, still wearing his breeches and carrying his saddle ... which could only mean a trip up the A34 and M40 to Warwick.  I’m surprised Choc felt like riding elsewhere, as I thought he was a sensitive soul; Barry Geraghty was ‘affected’ by the Parade Ring incident and decided against a trip to Warwickshire.

 

At Warwick, Alan had 4 runners:

Balzaccio (Sam Thomas) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Romulus D’Artaix (Choc) finished a short-head 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (18 ran).

Night Rose (Charlie Huxley) finished 9th and Jojabean (Choc) finished 2nd in the Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (16 ran).

 

So Choc has still got seconditis ...

 

Tomorrow, Choc will be at Exeter, where he has 4 riding engagements for Alan King:

14:10 Araldur – NH Novices’ Hurdle Div 1

15:10 Bakbenscher – Graduation Chase

15:40 Ravastree – NH Novices’ Hurdle Div II

17:10 Trade On - Intermediate NH Flat Race

 

And I must go to bed ... it’s now 00:30 on Sunday as I finish this entry.

 

Friday 11 February 2011

 

Choc Q & A blog r.jpg

 

Yes ... it’s Choc; he’s signing an autograph!

 

 

I have a confession to make ... I decided to go to Kempton Park today, in preference to yesterday’s Huntingdon fixture, as I received a marketing email from the course earlier this week which mentioned that there would be the opportunity to ‘go behind the scenes’, ‘go to the start of a race’, and ‘walk the final furlong’.  The email didn’t mention Choc by name but, as he had mentioned in his Racing Post column that he would continue in his role as ‘The Face of Jump Racing’ whenever his ‘day job’ permitted, I was hopeful! 

 

So I was delighted when, upon arrival, I discovered that Choc was going to do another final furlong walk and, of course, I signed up yet again!  It transpired that it was the quietest interactive activities day so far, as only myself and two others signed up for Choc’s walk; one of those was a young lad who wished to be a jockey when he grew up; and the other had also been on one of Choc’s previous walks.  As it had been raining during the morning, the grass was rather soggy so, in order not to get our feet too wet (although, personally, I was prepared as I was wearing my leather ‘engineer’ boots), it was decided that Choc would do a Question and Answer session instead.  So, on this occasion, I did actually ask a few questions!  And I got to greet him with a kiss on the cheek too J. 

 

I’ve made a few notes so, hopefully, I will be able to recall the questions and answers for my diary which, as I’m off to Newbury tomorrow, will take longer than usual to produce! 

 

Here are the results for the Alan King horses which ran at Kempton Park today:

Kings Troop (Charley Huxley) finished 3rd; but Balerina (Peter Hatton) won the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Patsy Finnegan (Choc) finished 2nd in the Beginners’ Chase (5 ran).

Sweet Irony (Choc) finished 3rd; The Laodicean (Gerard Tumelty) finished 9th (last); and Yukon Quest (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Ravethebrave (Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (6 ran).

Montbazon (Choc) finished 2nd in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (16 ran).  There was a Stewards’ Enquiry after this race, as the winner barged into and severely hampered Choc’s mount over 2 furlongs out, but the places remained unaltered. 

 

As you can see, Choc had a touch of seconditis today; but Daryl Jacob rode a treble.  And Nicky Henderson trained his 2,000th winner when Punchestowns won the Graduation Chase.

 

Tomorrow Choc will be at Newbury, where Alan King has 7 runners:

13:20 Yorgunnabelucky (Choc) - Novices’ Hurdle

13:55 Awesome Freddie (Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

15:35 Salden Licht (Wayne Hutchinson); Walkon (Choc); The Betchworth Kid (Jimmy McCarthy); Iolith (Richard Johnson) – Totesport Trophy Hurdle

16:40 Bygones In Brid (Choc) – Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race

 

Meanwhile at Warwick, Alan has 3 more runners:

14:10 Balzaccio (Sam Thomas) - Handicap Chase

16:20 Romulus D’Artaix (Charlie Huxley) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:55 Night Rose (Charlie Huxley) – Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race

 

Tomorrow will be spent at Newbury; and I’ll be dropping in to see my friend Denise, who lives in Caversham, on my way home. 

 

However, I’ve been busy this evening and have already uploaded today’s galleries:

 

Questions & Answers

 

Race Day Photos

 

Thursday 10 February 2011

Lots of good news today ...

 

Firstly, Walkon has come through his preparations with flying colours and will take his place in the line-up of the Totesport Trophy at Newbury on Saturday AND my favourite jockey has chosen to ride him; Wayne Hutchinson will take the ride aboard Salden Licht.  The stables other runners, Iolith and The Betchworth Kid, will be ridden by Richard Johnson and Jimmy McCarthy respectively.  More  

 

And the same news reported on Alan King’s website:

http://www.alankingracing.co.uk/news/news1.php

 

Choc had a successful day at Huntingdon too: J J

Midnight Appeal won the Handicap Chase (2 miles 4½ furlongs), giving Choc his 26th winner of the season (12 ran).

Squadron won the Handicap Chase (3 miles), Choc’s 27th winner of the current campaign (8 ran).

Pantxoa finished as runner-up in the Juvenile Hurdle (5 ran); they were beaten by impressive winner A Media Luz, who was Nicky Henderson’s 1,999th training career winner.

Chilli Rose finished as runner-up in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Genstone Trail finished 10th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (16 ran).  Stable companion Persian Forest (Gerard Tumelty) finished 14th (16 ran).

 

Meanwhile, at Taunton, Alan King trained another winner:

Management (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).

Lake Legend (Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Chase (6 ran).

Lidar (Wayne Hutchinson) finished runner-up in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

 

Notably, winners Midnight Appeal and Lake Legend are full brothers (Midnight Legend/Lac Marmot), the former being the 6-year-old, the latter the 7-year-old.  And 8-year old My Petra is their full sister.

 

Tomorrow, Choc will be at Kempton Park, where he has 4 rides; and Alan King has a total of 8 runners!

13:30 Kings Troop (Charley Huxley) & Balerina (Peter Hatton) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

14:05 Patsy Finnegan (Choc) – Beginners’ Chase

14:35 Sweet Irony (Choc) & The Laodicean (Gerard Tumelty) & Yukon Quest (Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:20 Ravethebrave (Choc) – Handicap Chase

16:50 Montbazon (Choc) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race

 

Gates open at 11:30 tomorrow ... and I hope to attend!

Wednesday 09 February 2011

Tomorrow Choc is due to ride 5 Alan King trained horses at Huntingdon:

14:10 Midnight Appeal - Handicap Chase (2 miles 4½ furlongs)

14:40 Squadron – Handicap Chase (3 miles)

15:10 Pantxoa – Juvenile Hurdle

15:40 Chilli Rose – Handicap Hurdle

16:40 Genstone Trail – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

Gates open at 11:40.

 

Meanwhile, at Taunton, Alan King has 3 runners, all ridden by Wayne Hutchinson:

14:30 Management  – Maiden Hurdle

15:00 Lake Legend – Novices’ Chase

15:30 Lidar – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

 

I thought I’d take a look at catching a train to Kempton Park on Friday ... the good news is that an off-peak return is a mere £10.50 ... the bad news is that the route given has 4 changes (St Albans - West Hampstead – Richmond – Teddington – Kempton Park) and takes 1 hour and 42 minutes plus a 20 minute walk to my local train station!  Oh well, it looks like an M25 trip may be unavoidable; I don’t mind driving on the motorway, I just dislike being stuck in rush-hour traffic jams!

 

It’s a pity that race meetings don’t start earlier even when the nights draw out; it would be good if, on weekdays, racing could be completed by 16:00 regardless, giving everyone an opportunity to avoid some of the rush-hour traffic.

 

There’s very bad news regarding Phil Kinsella, whose mount was brought down at Market Rasen yesterday.  He’s sustained two skull fractures; it being only 16 days since he’d returned to action following 9 months on the sidelines due to a fractured neck.  More

 

As you will gather from my earlier comment regarding Kempton Park, I’m on leave for the next two days (using up my final 2010 holiday before a 28 February deadline).  I’d love to go to Huntingdon, Kempton Park and Newbury ... but I’d probably collapse under the exhaustion of racing + website diary updates + work; the latter being nightmarishly busy and stressful 90% of the time!  Newbury is a definite for Saturday though, as I have a ticket!

 

Tuesday 08 February 2011

 

Peek A Boo.jpg

 

 

I received a lovely card from Meally Thornton today, to thank me for the cross stitch picture I’d sewn for William (above).  The card has four lovely pictures of baby William (including one with Meally and Choc at Cheltenham Hospital shortly after the birth), and I shall treasure it.  And Meally writes that he is a good little boy too.

 

Alan King had a couple of runners at Market Rasen today, and this is how they fared:

Soir D’estruval (Choc) finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier) (14 ran).

Quetzal (Charley Huxley) finished 5th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

 

There was a nasty incident in the first race; Daryl Jacob was unseated when his mount tried to refuse, bringing down Phil Kinsella’s horse in the process.  Daryl was stood down for the remainder of the day, and Phil taken to Lincoln hospital with facial injuries.    

 

No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow; although there are fixtures at Ludlow and Carlisle.  

 

And I’ve outdone myself ... it’s only Tuesday and I’ve completed my Sandown Park diary, despite it being over 5,700 words long! 

Monday 07 February 2011

No results today, as Choc wasn’t in action. 

 

Tomorrow he has just a single ride at Market Rasen:

14:05 Soir D’estruval (Alan King) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier)

And Charlie Huxley rides the Alan King trained Quetzal in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at 15:05.

 

Confirmation that Alan King may have up to 4 runners competing in next Saturday’s Totesport Trophy at Newbury.  More

 

Newbury will be racing on fresh ground on Saturday. More

 

Bangor On Dee’s fixture scheduled for Friday has been abandoned due to flooding.  In which case I think we can safely say that Choc will be at Kempton Park that day ... otherwise he’ll need a snorkel!

 

Being a Monday, Choc’s latest Racing Post column was published today and, with his change of fortune, he’s much happier than this time last week. Click here for more details.

Sunday 06 February 2011

News today that Medermit will be aimed for the 2 mile Grade 1 Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, having won the Grade 1 race at Sandown Park yesterday.  More  

 

I had it in the back of my mind that Call Me A Legend is accustomed to running over further than 2 miles ... so that explains why she ran disappointingly yesterday.  As I rarely bet, wins over a certain distance aren’t at the top of my brain database!   I’m very pleased that stable stalwart Blazing Bailey won again, and a decent prize too. 

 

Leopardstown, which was abandoned today, has been rescheduled for next Saturday ... and will now clash with Newbury’s Super Saturday card.  So does that affect some jockey bookings?  Pride of Dulcote is expected to be re-routed to Ascot’s fixture on 19 February.

 

Another coincidence today ... this morning I was watching a recording of yesterday’s racing from Wetherby and there was a runner in one of the races called Always Bold; which brought to mind a horse called Extra Bold who I recall Choc won aboard at Exeter ages ago and I was wondering what happened to the horse.  Then, this afternoon, I was watching today’s fixture from Fontwell Park and who should be running in the 16:00 but Extra Bold, having been off the course for 550 days.  That’s spooky! 

 

No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow; allegedly Lingfield’s card is the first ‘boycotted’ fixture as a result of the prize money not reaching the levels required.  More  But surely a boycott gives ‘lesser’ horses the opportunity to win prize money because their more talented rivals haven’t turned up!

 

I’ve selected and uploaded my photos from yesterday’s fixture: Medermit and Other Races

And my diary is coming along extremely well too; I just need to type up the race notes and my initial draft will be complete.

 

It’s going to be a short week for me, as I’m using up my final 2 days of 2010 holiday – so I’m on leave on Thursday and Friday ... and there’s always Huntingdon and/or Kempton Park ... should I have the time and the money available!  And bearing in mind I’ve got a ticket for Newbury on Saturday, so that’s a fixture I will definitely attend. 

Postscript:  I carelessly missed Choc’s 22nd winner of the season, aboard the Richard Lee trained Daring Origyn at Leicester last Wednesday.  Choc has therefore ridden 25 winners this season; I’ve now corrected my earlier blogs to reflect this.

Saturday 05 February 2011

 

Photo for blog 5 feb 2011.jpg

 

Sandown Park

Choc and Medermit win the Grade 1 totepool Challengers Novices’ Chase

(registered as The Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase)

 

 

I had a very enjoyable day at Sandown Park; with Choc riding a double, including winning the Grade 1 Novices’ Chase aboard Medermit. J 

 

Usually I go to the races and nothing out of the ordinary happens ... just the odd incident now and then.  But today there seemed to be incidents associated with almost every race.

 

The first race was delayed when Liam Treadwell was unshipped by the filly Lucky Breeze on the way to the start; she galloped loose around the bottom bend and all the way up the back straight.  She was withdrawn; but her stable lad had a problem catching her.  Choc won this race aboard Kumbeshwar, in the colours of the McNeill family. 

 

Binocular won the Contenders Hurdle, but not impressively; and AP said he wasn’t ‘over the moon’ when asked about the run!  Medermit won the third race; I took a number of lovely photos of Choc but, unfortunately, following the race he was unable to accept his prize personally because he needed to return to the sauna to lose more weight ahead of his ride aboard Like A Hurricane in the fourth race (10 stone 2 pounds to carry).

 

The fourth race was delayed when Lush Life had to be re-plated at the start.  The starter then let the runners go before Lush Life had joined the group and he lost valuable ground; there was a stewards’ inquiry after the race because of this, and it will now be referred to the BHA. 

 

The Venetia Williams trained grey Dansimar broke her off-foreleg having cleared the final flight with one circuit to go and had to be destroyed.   As well as being very sad, it was strange too; as earlier in the afternoon I’d been thinking how fortunate I’ve been not to have seen at close quarters a horse break a leg, considering the number of times I’ve visited the races. 

 

The fifth race of the day was won by the 13-year-old Eric’s Charm, half brother of Monkerhostin.  Trainer Oliver Sherwood said he’d thought about retiring the horse if he won today, and will be speaking to the owners about it.

 

Zacharova refused to start in the Handicap Chase, the sixth race.  Choc’s mount, Call Me A Legend, ran disappointingly.

 

The seventh and final race was also delayed when the horses charged the tape, which caused a couple of the jockeys to fall off!  Choc’s mount, Hong Kong Harry, was very much on his toes (a trait with Sir Harry Lewis sired horses) and, probably as a result, ran disappointingly. 

 

Here is a complete round-up of today’s results with regard to the Alan King runners:

 

Sandown Park:

Kumbeshwar (Choc) won the Juvenile Hurdle, giving Choc his 24th winner of the season (12 ran).

Medermit (Choc) won the Novices’ Chase (formerly The Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase) (Grade 1) (9 ran).  Choc’s 25th winner of the current campaign.  £21,094 to the winner.

Like a Hurricane (Choc) was pulled up before 2 out in the Handicap Hurdle (20 ran).

Call Me A Legend (Choc) finished 9th in the Handicap Chase (13 ran).

Hong Kong Harry (Choc) was pulled up before 2 out in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (17 ran).

 

Ffos Las:

Blazing Bailey (Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Chase (11 ran); with a good prize of £19,011 to the winner ... and he beat the ex-Alan King trained Minella Four Star into 2nd place – the horse which scarred Choc’s lip ...  

Iron Chancellor (Wayne Hutchinson) finished a head 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle (10 ran).

 

Wetherby:

Shrewd Investment (Charlie Huxley) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle, having been badly hampered early in the race (17 ran).

Cool Steel (Charlie Huxley) finished 9th and Medinas (Gerard Tumelty) finished 2nd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (18 ran).

 

I see that Willie Twiston-Davies won the Hunters’ Chase at Wetherby today, aboard the always game Baby Run.

 

And Oscar Whisky won the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las.  More

 

There’s National Hunt racing at Musselburgh and Fontwell Park tomorrow, but Choc has no riding engagements.

 

And, finally, I’d like to wish a Very Happy Birthday to my niece Lydia, who is 18 today.

Friday 04 February 2011

Choc was at Bangor on Dee today, where he had 4 rides:

Backstreet Billy (Richard Lee/Choc) fell at the 5th flight in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Credit Crunched (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd; Lariat Sam (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 7th; Mickytaker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Next Man In (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th in the Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race (12 ran).

Vamizi (Mark Bradstock/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (11 ran).

 

I can’t believe that Choc has ended up on the floor 5 times in the past 11 days.  But, looking on the bright side, he’s been uninjured. J 

 

Alan King has a number of runners tomorrow, at three different fixtures:

 

Sandown Park:

13:25 Kumbeshwar (Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:25 Medermit (Choc) – Novices’ Chase (formerly The Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase) (Grade 1)

15:00 Like a Hurricane (Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

16:05 Call Me A Legend (Choc) – Handicap Chase

16:40 Hong Kong Harry (Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Ffos Las:

15:10 Blazing Bailey (Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

16:15 Iron Chancellor (Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

 

Wetherby:

13:40 Shrewd Investment (Charlie Huxley) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:20 Cool Steel (Charlie Huxley) & Medinas (Gerard Tumelty) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Due to the blustery weather conditions drying out the ground, the going has changed at Sandown Park.

 

Martin Keighley’s latest column appeared in the Gloucestershire Press today.  He reports that some of the horses are a little under the weather at the moment, so I hope they all get better soon.  It transpires that poor Champion Court was in the wars during last Saturday’s race at Cheltenham, which accounts for his disappointing showing; so I hope he recovers from his injuries soon.  More

 

Here is the link to Wayne Hutchinson’s most recent Sporting Life column.

 

And Ruby Walsh is hoping to return to action by the end of this month.  More

 

Another busy racing Saturday for me, with a trip to Sandown Park planned (I like Sandown).  Gates open at 11:30.

Thursday 03 February 2011

Today Choc was riding at Wincanton:

Tsarinova (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th and Way Back When (Alan King/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen) won the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (16 ran).

Mister Stickler (Alan King/Choc) won the Novices’ Handicap Chase; giving Choc his 23rd winner of the season (4 ran). J

Lang Shining (Jamie Osborne/Choc) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Halcon Genelardais (Alan King/Mr R Jarrett) finished 3rd in the Hunters’ Chase (15 ran).

Quix (R H Buckler/Choc) finished 15th (last) in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (17 ran); two horses coming down on the flat around the final bend.

 

Tomorrow, Choc has 4 riding engagements at Bangor on Dee:

13:25 Backstreet Billy (Richard Lee/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:55 Credit Crunched (Alan King/Choc) & Lariat Sam (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) & Mickytaker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:55 Next Man In (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race

16:05 Vamizi (Mark Bradstock/Choc) – Handicap Chase

 

I finished my Cheltenham diary last evening ... well, actually, it was more like midnight.  But that gives me a couple of free evenings before, hopefully, I go racing again on Saturday (Sandown Park). 

Wednesday 02 February 2011

Alan King had two runners at Leicester today, and this is how they fared:

Bless The Wings (Choc) finished 4th and Rivermouth (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 9th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (qualifier) (12 ran).

However, Choc won the Handicap Hurdle aboard the Richard Lee trained Daring Origyn (14 ran); his 22nd winner of the season.

 

Tomorrow, Choc will be riding at Wincanton:

14:20 Tsarinova (Alan King/Choc) & Way Back When (Alan King/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

14:50 Mister Stickler (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

15:20 Lang Shining (Jamie Osborne/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:20 Halcon Genelardais (Alan King/Mr R Jarrett) – Hunters’ Chase

16:50 Quix (R H Buckler/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

There’s news that Peddlers Cross will not run this weekend, due to a ‘coughing’ scare.  More

 

Here is a listing (in alphabetical order) of the current entries for this year’s Grand National, which will take place on Saturday 09 April 2011.  More

 

I’ve purchased a copy of this week’s Racing Post ‘Weekender’ wherein there is an article in which Choc talks to John O’Hara about his career and answers a number of interesting questions.  More

And my Cheltenham diary should be completed and uploaded either late this evening or tomorrow evening.

Tuesday 01 February 2011

Choc rode at Taunton today, where he had 3 riding engagements for Alan King:

Swansbrook finished 5th in the Novices’ Chase (10 ran).

Causeway King finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Who’s Afraid finished 8th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race; Alan King’s other runner in this race, Astralogical, finished 11th (13 ran).

 

Meanwhile at Folkestone, Martin Keighley had 2 runners:

Saffron Lord was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Ukrainian Star finished last in the Handicap Chase (6 ran).

 

Alan King has two runners at Leicester tomorrow, but they run in the same race!

14:00 Bless The Wings (Choc) & Rivermouth (Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (qualifier).

 

Fortunately my Cheltenham diary is coming along nicely; although tomorrow evening I hope to spend time watching the new episode of Midsomer Murders.  It’s the final one starring John Nettles as DCI Tom Barnaby, who will be replaced in the next series by Neil Dudgeon; the latter plays Barnaby’s cousin DCI John Barnaby, with Tom having retired from the force.  More

 

And, finally, Choc is featured in this week’s Racing Post sister newspaper, the Weekender, out tomorrow (Wednesday 02 February).

 


 

 

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