Thursday 28 February 2013

Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Newbury and Doncaster:



13:50 Handazan (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:20 Kenai Peninsula (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:30 Patsy Finnegan (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase

16:00 The Mumper (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

17:10 Taffy Dare (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race



15:20 Call Me A Star (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

17:30 Miss Exhibitionist (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle


With a number of defectors this season, Alan King expects to have a maximum of 10 or 11 runners at the Cheltenham Festival; he believes his best chance of victory is held by Godsmejudge who is due to run in the 4-mile Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase on the Wednesday.  More


Choc gets a mention in Brough Scott’s Horse and Hound column this week, where the journalist discusses the merits of long or short leathers.  He writes ‘My fellow columnist Robert Thornton is extremely hard to dislodge, short though he rides ...’


As hoped, I completed my Kempton Park diary late yesterday evening.  Click here to read.


Tomorrow at Newbury looks the better day for Choc but I’m hoping to attend on Saturday for Greatwood Day.  Unfortunately I cannot find anyone to go with me, as my friend Denise has a ‘stinking’ cold (so I won’t be visiting her after racing either) and Lesley has a prior evening engagement.  Norman No Mates, that’s me! 


Mum’s had a cold, but a mild one, and my colleague Sue now has one too and I think hers may be the rather nasty virus which is doing the rounds at the moment.  I really don’t want a cold at this stage, when Cheltenham is less than two weeks away. 


Having completed my Kempton Park diary, tonight I shall concentrate on transferring the action from yesterday’s Bangor fixture onto DVD.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

A number of runners of interest today and this is how they fared:


Bangor On Dee:

Cold Knight (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Beginners’ Chase (9 ran).

Shady Lane (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Volcan Surprise (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (6 ran).

Lotus Pond (Alan King/Choc) finished last in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (9 ran).



Franklino (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).


No runners of specific interest tomorrow.


Following his promising comeback run at Exeter a couple of weeks ago, Bensalem has sustained another injury and will be out of action again for the remainder of the season.  This time it’s a suspensory injury, which is ligament-related.  More  It never rains but it pours for the Alan King yard this season, with so many of their stars on the sidelines.


I’ve nearly finished my Kempton Park diary; I just need to make my final corrections and proof read it before uploading it onto this website.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Two runners of interest today, at Catterick, and this is how they fared:

Pollystone (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) unseated 3 out when leading in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (15 ran).

The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Handicap Chase (5 ran); their 25th winner of the season and the second victory for this consistent horse.  Sadly the second favourite, No Way Hozay, was pulled up having suffered a fatal injury; knowing this, I didn’t watch a recording of the race.


Runners of interest tomorrow at Bangor On Dee and Wincanton:


Bangor On Dee:

14:20 Cold Knight (Alan King/Choc) – Beginners’ Chase

14:50 Shady Lane (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:50 Volcan Surprise (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

17:20 Lotus Pond (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race



14:30 Franklino (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Handicap Hurdle


The penguins won the viewing battle yesterday!  But, despite this, I’m currently on schedule to complete and upload my Kempton Park diary tomorrow.  I hope to finish the typing phase before turning in this evening, which leaves me then to solely proof it.

Monday 25 February 2013

Choc had one riding engagement at Plumpton and this is how he fared:

Reign Silver (L Carter) finished 9th in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).


No rides for Choc tomorrow, but a couple of runners of interest at Catterick:

14:50 Pollystone (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle

16:50 The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase


Choc tweeted at 04.09 this morning to say he’d not slept a wink.  Bless his little cotton socks.  I believe he travelled to Plumpton with Andrew Tinkler and William Kennedy, the latter driving; which was fortunate if he then discovered he was tired today. 


I have the opposite problem as I can sleep anywhere, anytime!  A family trait I share with my late dad, and both my brothers. 


I made an appointment for Friday to have my eyes tested; they’ve not been checked for around three years and I’m definitely having problems viewing closer items these days – so it hinders my beading skills.  And new glasses just might cure the headaches I’ve been having in recent days.  I think my short-sightedness is now being overtaken by the long-sightedness of old age!!!  

The final part of the penguins series tonight; I’ve set it to record on my Sky box, just in case I can’t bear to tear myself away from writing my Kempton diary!

As mentioned earlier this month, Choc will be a panellist at tomorrow evening’s Cheltenham Preview held at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester:


Sunday 24 February 2013

Thank you Kirsten Smith, the two horses taking part in the post-racing gallop have been identified – they are both trained by Ben De Haan – it’s Looks Like Slim (recollected, the horse indeed fits the profile in colour and markings, as Choc won aboard him twice last season) and the grey is Native Gallery.


After race gallop red.jpg


Jockey Maurice Linehan tweeted to say he’s broken two vertebrae and his sternum (chest bone) when Mister Hyde fell at the first in the Racing Plus Chase. Ouch ... a big ouch in fact ... but he is enjoying being looked after by the nurses!  More


And David Bridgwater has reported that Wyck Hill needed 7 stitches and 14 staples in a hind-leg following yesterday’s race and is very sore.  More


As expected, popular grey Nacarat (below, with Dessie’s statue in the background) has been retired following yesterday’s big race.  More


Race 5 a r for blog.jpg


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

Ruby Kew (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Meister Eckhart (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the National Spirit Hurdle (Grade 2) (6 ran). The race was won by Prospect Wells.  More

Farbreaga (Alan King/Jamie Poulton) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle.


A half-brother to Toubab, called Jammy, ran in the bumper at Fontwell.  He is unusually marked, with white splashes on his belly and upper legs in addition to a big white blaze and long stockings!  He’s a very dark bay, which makes it look even more unusual.  The commentators said he’s also related to the white-splashed chestnut Pancake.   


Tomorrow Choc has one riding engagement at Plumpton:

17:10 Reign Silver (L Carter) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race


I’ve been busy since waking up at 06:45 this morning.  Yesterday’s RUK coverage has been transferred to DVD, and I’ve uploaded the photos onto my website.  However, by lunchtime, I’d developed a headache with intermittent nausea so I had a snooze on the sofa this afternoon.  I think it may be tension in my neck and shoulders which is causing the problem and, probably, a result of stooping over this computer for too many extended hours!  And I’m wearing my red woollen hat again, indoors!  But I did feel a little guilty about missing viewing Choc’s second ride at Fontwell, but it has been recorded and I shall watch it later this evening.  


Click here to view photos of races 1 to 3


And photos of races 4 to 7

Saturday 23 February 2013


race 1 midnight sail for blog.jpg


Choc and Midnight Sail return to the Winners’ Enclosure

having won the Handicap Chase



There were runners of interest at Kempton Park and Chepstow today and this is how they fared:


Kempton Park:

Midnight Sail (Alan King/Choc) won the Handicap Chase (8 ran); Choc’s 36th winner of the season.

L’Unique (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) (7 ran).

Fair Trade (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (5 ran).

Hollow Penny (Alan King/Choc) finished 13th in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).

Money For Nothing (Alan King/Choc) finished 9th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).


The Racing Plus Chase was won by Opening Batsman trained by Harry Fry.  More

I expect if my friend Lesley had come along to the races she would have placed a bet on Opening Batsman, as she always looks out for cricket-related horse names in honour of her late son who was a keen cricketer. 


The Pendil Novices’ Chase was won by Grandioso for Paul Nicholls, Ruby Walsh and owner Graham Wylie.



Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Maiden Hurdle (15 ran); well done to Team Keighley, their 24th winner of the season.

Oh Crick (Alan King/Mr Joshua Newman) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (8 ran). The horse wasn’t so easy to identify today, as he wore blinkers disguising his broad white blaze.  But I knew when his race was underway as Alan King watched it on the large screen situated behind the Winners Enclosure at Kempton! 


I stayed behind after racing to watch the promised racecourse gallops of a number of Nicky Henderson Festival-aimed horses.  More  And I got to see Choc after racing too, when Alan King galloped two of his charges – one dark, one grey (see below) - I’m hoping to identify them.


After race gallop red.jpg


And, even better, I undertook a Choc-related errand today for someone who approached me via this website.  So I spoke with Choc following the first race of the day and he proffered his cheek for me to kiss too ... it made my day complete as I usually think it’s me who instigates the kiss, but not on this occasion. J  I then recall walking around with a silly grin on my face for at least half an hour!!!


Choc will be at Fontwell Park tomorrow, where he has three riding engagements:

14:10 Ruby Kew (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:45 Meister Eckhart (Alan King/Choc) – National Spirit Hurdle (Grade 2)

16:50 Farbreaga (Alan King/Jamie Poulton) – Handicap Hurdle


I arrived at the races by gate opening time, but not before having to run a couple of shopping errands.  I’d intended to solely visit the local M & S store to buy two or three triple packs of 40 denier tights – it’s still very much winter out there – as I wanted at least two more pairs of purple ones and my favourite shade comes as part of a set of black, grey and purple. 


However, I logged onto my laptop to print a couple of documents this morning only for an error message to appear stating that there was a problem with one of the ink cartridges in my HP printer.  Damn.  I’d only replaced it a few weeks ago, albeit with a cheaper brand.  Until a year ago I’d always used genuine HP cartridges but it had become so expensive, therefore I’d purchased non-HP ones on the last occasion and they had been absolutely fine.  But my most recent purchase appears to be useless. 


Having scanned through the Argos catalogue, I found an HP twin pack – one black, one colour – reserved it online and decided to collect it first thing, before visiting M & S.  Because I really don’t want to go out shopping tomorrow, it’s far too cold!  I even visited the petrol station on my way home to top up the tank in order to save me from getting out of my nice warm bed early tomorrow morning!!!   


Besides, I begrudge spending time shopping when I can be at home working on my website.  I’ve also ordered two more re-chargeable Lithium batteries for my camera, as I’m wondering if they are beginning to lose their charge more quickly now that I’ve had them a few years.  I currently have three batteries and, today, I was using the final one before the Racing Plus Chase had even begun!  I charge all three before every visit to the races, so it’s not as though they shouldn’t be okay to last me until the end of the day. 

Friday 22 February 2013

Just a couple of results today:


Sandown Park:

Fine Words (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).



Calypso Princess (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 11th in the Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race (17 ran).


Aintree 09 April 2011 d for blog.jpg


RIP Salden Licht


2004 to 12 February 2013


Geoff Lester has updated the news blog on Alan King’s website and I’m very sorry to learn that Salden Licht had to be put down, as the injury he sustained at Kempton in the jumpers’ bumper on 25 January proved too serious.  RIP Salden Licht. L  http://alankingracing.co.uk/news.htm


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


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


Tomorrow may be Nacarat’s final race appearance when he runs in the Racing Plus Chase.  More


Runners of interest at Kempton Park and Chepstow tomorrow:


Kempton Park:

13:30 Midnight Sail (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase

14:05 L’Unique (Alan King/Choc) – Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2)

15:15 Fair Trade (Alan King/Choc) – Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) More

16:25 Hollow Penny (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

17:00 Money For Nothing (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

In addition to these races there’s the Grade 2 Pendil Novices’ Chase and the aforementioned Racing Plus Chase.



13:35 Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Maiden Hurdle

15:20 Oh Crick (Alan King/Mr Joshua Newman) – Handicap Chase


It looks like it’s going to be an excellent day’s racing at Kempton Park ... but very very cold!  My current thought is that I should wear my black faux sheepskin jacket with my heavyweight fleece underneath ... along with as many layers as will fit below them!  I’ll wear my long black handkerchief skirt with woollen tights and leggings underneath.  And either my thinsulate-lined waterproof boots or my black engineer boots.  I’ve four hats in my car – an Australian bush hat, two trilby hats, and a woollen Dappy hat.  My head has felt very cold this week, and it doesn’t help that I had my hair trimmed last Sunday.

I break up for my Cheltenham Festival holiday break two weeks today.  Yippee! 

Thursday 21 February 2013

No results to report today but there is one revision from yesterday ... it became apparent, when I watched the replay of yesterday’s racing from Doncaster, that Choc rode Hot Whiskey and Wayne Hutchinson rode Jetnova in the Handicap Hurdle. 


I thought that perhaps I’d made an error when reading the race-card but no, on the version I’d printed at lunchtime on Tuesday, it was the other way around!  Mind you, riding arrangements hadn’t been confirmed for King Of Dudes and Uriah Heep when I’d initially printed it out.   


Anyway, two runners of interest tomorrow:


Sandown Park:

17:05 Fine Words (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race



17:20 Calypso Princess (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race


I can’t believe how cold it is outside.  I wrapped a scarf around my head on the way home but I was still freezing.  Mind you, I don’t think it helped that I was heading east, directly into the biting wind.  I’m going to be frozen at Kempton Park on Saturday but at least I can wear my thermals and may even have to resort to my knitted Dappy hat too ... poor Choc will be so cold in his silks.  Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrh


*  *  *  *  *  *  *


A new Choc column appeared in this week’s edition of Horse and Hound.  There’s also an article about Kauto Star’s new life as a dressage horse.  I hope to see him at Newbury on 02 March; that’s provided Choc rides at the fixture (although it clashes with Doncaster’s Grimthorpe meeting).


In his column Choc begins by discussing the Grand National, the weights having been announced last week.  He thought the handicapper had given Tidal Bay an outstanding chance in the race, only for the horse to be struck down by leg trouble forcing him to miss the event.  Choc says it shows what a nerve-racking time it is for the trainers and the difficult task they have of getting their charges to peak fitness for a certain race.


He mentions that Willie Mullins has seven entries at this stage, with Prince De Beauchene laid out for the race.  Choc was very impressed by Cappa Bleu, who finished second to Vino Griego at Ascot last Saturday, giving weight to the winner.  Although a fragile horse, he thinks he might do well in the big race.   


With Alan King having no entry in the Grand National this year, Choc is on the lookout for a ride.


Choc mentions that ground conditions are beginning to dry out; but unfortunately this means that the going gets worse before it gets better – it becomes very gluey and holding like at Wincanton last Saturday. 


He says it’s all a matter of a horse’s action as to which type of ground they prefer.  Good-moving horses move straight from the shoulder, flick the grass and like ground with bounce in it.  Whereas round-actioned horses hit the ground quite hard and prefer softer, slower going.


Although it is said that good horses will act on any ground, he doesn’t think any horse likes extremes.  Sprinter Sacre won on heavy going at Cheltenham last month because he’s so much better than any other two-mile chaser rather than for any other reason.


Choc mentions that a lot of Alan King’s horses are flat-bred ones and don’t enjoy deep ground.  And they don’t want to run their young horses on bottomless ground because it would take too much out of them.  However, Alan has plenty of horses ready to go once the ground improves and Choc hopes for a very busy spring and early summer!


He’s particularly looking forward to riding L’Unique and Fair Trade at Kempton on Saturday; the former in the Adonis Hurdle, the latter in the Dovecote Hurdle.  Choc says L’Unique is lovely, although she still has plenty of room for development.  It’s a hot race and they will find out just how good she is. 


With Fair Trade, the ground is key; on good going he’d definitely run well.  But, regardless, he’s got to run in his Cheltenham preparation race.  Choc thinks he might slip under the radar in the Supreme Novices.


He mentions that all his weighing room colleagues were amused by Boss In Boots’ antics at Ascot last Saturday.  Andrew Thornton’s mount led the four runner field until they reached the bend beyond the winning post, at which point the horse spun around and began running in the opposite direction.  None of the other runners wished to be in front and they pulled up to almost a walk.  Andrew didn’t give up and sent his mount in pursuit rather than pulling up and Choc thought for a minute he might catch them (he finished last).  But Choc says it just goes to show how determined Andrew Thornton is.


He says that many people think that they are brothers and they’ve even received each other’s mail; he stresses they are not related. 


Andrew’s experience at Ascot reminded him of his own possibly most embarrassing race-course moment which occurred at the age of 18 when he was far ahead in the amateur rankings and had already ridden Festival winners.  He says he thought he could ‘walk on water’ in those days!   


It also happened at Ascot when he was riding a horse called Chickawicka.  Having cleared the first two flights and travelled around the top bend he headed towards the next hurdle with Sir Peter O’Sullevan’s commentary talking about ‘this crack young amateur and future star of the riding ranks’ only for the horse to slam on the brakes and dump him at the base of the obstacle.


The entire field jumped over him and, as the hurdles contained gorse in those days, he was picking thorns out of his backside for some time.  He said it brought him down to earth!

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Numerous runners of interest today and this is how they fared:



King of Dudes (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd & Uriah Heep (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Juvenile Hurdle (9 ran).

West End Rocker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Veterans’ Handicap Chase (10 ran); the winner was Monkerty Tunkerty with Will Kennedy aboard.

Valdez (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier) (11 ran).

Jetnova (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th & Hot Whiskey (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle (16 ran).

Wilde Blue Yonder (Alan King/Choc) finished a head 2nd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (16 ran).



The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished a head 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

Faultless Feelings (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Maiden Hurdle (9 ran); well done Team Keighley, their 23rd winner of the season.


Cheltenian almost made a winning comeback today at Doncaster; but very bad news for Tom O’Brien who will miss the Cheltenham Festival due to a 10-day suspension.  More


JP McManus has purchased the David Bridgwater trained Wyck Hill, favourite for this Saturday’s Racing Plus Chase.  More


It’s ‘all change’ at Paul Nicholls’ yard since his big stars retired, and with Big Buck’s currently on the sidelines.  More


Ruby Walsh will ride Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle, leaving Daryl Jacob to partner Zarkandar.  More


No Alan King or Martin Keighley runners tomorrow; Choc will be serving a 2-day suspension tomorrow and Friday.  So that’s no hard disk to DVD transfers for the next two days ... but lots of action to check through and record onto DVD from today’s action at Doncaster.


I wore my woollen hat in bed last night ... very glamorous ... but it did the trick and my headache was no more by the early hours of the morning!

I’ve had to give up on Dallas, because I just can’t stay awake at that time of the evening.  As surmised, the viewing figures have dropped dramatically this season, hence the reason Channel 5 moved the programme in their schedules to 23:00 on a Tuesday. 

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Having experienced a colder than expected night, it took a second inspection at noon before the go-ahead was given for racing to take place at Wetherby this afternoon.


Choc had one riding engagement and this is how he fared:

Willpower (Mark Johnston/Choc) finished 2nd in the ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).  Diamond King ran away with the race, but Choc’s mount stayed on to claim 2nd at the line.


The Novices’ Chase made for awful viewing, with just 5 of the 11 runners completing the course.  There were 3 fallers, 2 unseated and one brought down.  Sadly the Philip Hobbs trained Shinrock Hill paid the ultimate price when falling at the second fence.  The worst fall was that of Young Hurricane – it was a miracle he survived. 


Runners of interest at both Doncaster and Ludlow tomorrow:



14:20 King of Dudes (Alan King/Choc) & Uriah Heep (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:50 West End Rocker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Veterans’ Handicap Chase

15:25 Valdez (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier)

15:55 Jetnova (Alan King/Choc) & Hot Whiskey (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

17:05 Wilde Blue Yonder (Alan King/Choc) - Standard Open NH Flat Race


That’s 7 runners for the yard!


Always Waining, Swing Bill, Auroras Encore, Corkage, Dashing George, Monkerty Tunkerty, Marufo, Zitenka and Prophete De Guye are due to join West End Rocker in the Veterans’ Chase.



14:40 The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

17:20 Faultless Feelings (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Maiden Hurdle


Kauto Star is set to make a guest appearance at Newbury on Saturday 02 March, where he will be showing off his new dressage skills.  More


I decided to take a lunchtime walk ... but in hindsight I wished I hadn’t.  I felt drained before I’d gone far and I couldn’t stop yarning, the nerves in my back then began to tingle, followed by a burning sensation.  Having arrived back at work I developed a headache, which I still have as I write this blog entry.  I dislike taking painkillers, because sometimes they make me feel odd ... I’ve used 4head on my forehead and I’m wearing a woollen hat to keep my head warm.  So hopefully it will be gone soon. 

Monday 18 February 2013

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

Brukirk Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/AP McCoy) finished 6th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (8 ran).


Choc has one riding engagement tomorrow, at Wetherby:

17:00 Willpower (Mark Johnston/Choc) – ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race


A number of Alan King runners currently hold entries for Kempton Park on Saturday; Bless The Wings no longer holds an entry in the Racing Plus Chase, but L’Unique and Fair Trade do have entries in the Adonis and Dovecote Hurdles respectively:



I will be watching ‘Penguins’ part 2 of 3 tonight.


The Cheltenham Festival is approaching fast ... it will be the eve of the event just three weeks today!

Sunday 17 February 2013

Choc was at Market Rasen this afternoon and this is how he fared:

Bar De Ligne (Steve Gollings/Choc) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle

Dont Call Me Oscar (Mark Gillard/Choc) finished 10th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).


National Hunt racing returns to Southwell tomorrow for the first time since the winter flooding.  A couple of runners of interest, but none for Choc:

16:30 Brukirk Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

17:00 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/AP McCoy) – Standard Open NH Flat Race


Geoff Lester has updated the blog on Alan King’s website to include an overview of yesterday’s racing ... and, as I suspected yesterday, it is thought by connections that Raya Star got ‘stuck’ in the mud and a line should be drawn through his disappointing run.


Having read a number of entries on the Racing Forum’s Memorials page, I decided to delete the extremely sad Bobbyjack ‘incident’ from my Skybox without viewing it. 


Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards towards next weekend at Kempton Park ... I’m currently thinking L’Unique and Fair Trade for Choc, with Bless The Wings for Wayne Hutchison in the Racing Plus Chase.


However, before that, Choc will be taking an enforced holiday on Thursday and Friday of this week when he serves a two day suspension for overuse of the whip. 


I made another scarf today ... crocheted in fact but very simple.  The yarn was the limited edition SMC Foxy and it took around 30 minutes to crochet and maybe the same again to sew in and secure the ends!  This one was petrol blue in colour and I still have two more to do, in burgundy and grey.

Saturday 16 February 2013


Almost finished r.jpg


Almost finished – my Wendy Frills scarf in garnet shade



A number of runners of interest today and this is how they fared:



Bright Light (Richard Phillips/Choc) finished 7th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).

Balder Succes (Alan King/Noel Fehily) finished 3rd & Raya Star (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Kingwell Hurdle (Grade 2) (6 ran). Hopefully the disappointing showing by the latter was solely due to the gluey ground. 

Light The World (Richard Phillips/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).


There was a nice pre-Kingwell Hurdle interview with Choc, but I think I may have missed the first few seconds of my recording because it takes time for the DVD recorder to start up – note to self: record the entire racing coverage on the hard drive and then transfer relevant items to disk; that way I won’t miss a thing!


Haydock Park:

Trigger The Light (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 9th in the Handicap Chase Grand National Trial (14 ran).

Two Rockers (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won but Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) fell 2 out in the Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran).  It was a tired fall and he didn’t deserve it having jumped far better than on his earlier outing.

Hold On Julio (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th & Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Nick Slatter) finished 6th but Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Handicap Hurdle by 4½ lengths easing down, despite stepping up in class (9 ran). Well done to Team Keighley, their 22nd winner of the season and Seymour Eric’s 4th consecutive win! 


Two Rockers was probably the most impressive winner of the day; once again, a shame Choc missed that one.  Wayne rode a double today, having partnered Cloudy Too to victory in the Novices’ Handicap Chase for trainer Sue Smith.


Deservedly, Cue Card won the Grade 1 Ascot Chase.  Finian’s Rainbow disappointed again, presumably the ground found him out once more.  More


Vino Griego won again, a Listed Handicap at Ascot.  More  A pity Salden Licht has been forced into retirement by injury, having got the better of the horse at Plumpton earlier this season.


This year’s Reynoldstown Chase was won by Rocky Creek.  More  Invictus won the race last year.


Choc will be at Market Rasen tomorrow, where he has two riding engagements:


Market Rasen:

15:30 Bar De Ligne (Steve Gollings/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

17:00 Dont Call Me Oscar (Mark Gillard/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race


Belinda Keighley has tweeted a link to a recording of young Freddie riding out aboard pony Crunchie:



As you can see from the picture above, one of my new scarves is almost finished; I started knitting it around midday, it doesn’t take long!  Typically, though, the yarn doesn’t feel quite as thick as those I made in 2011.  It’s a new shade ... and the quality has slipped. 

Friday 15 February 2013

No surprises when tomorrow’s cards were published online this lunchtime ... Choc goes to Wincanton and Wayne Hutchinson heads for Haydock Park.  Alan King has no runners at Ascot.



13:55 Bright Light (Richard Phillips/Choc) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:35 Balder Succes (Alan King/Noel Fehily) & Raya Star (Alan King/Choc) – Kingwell Hurdle (Grade 2)

16:50 Light The World (Richard Phillips/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle


Haydock Park:

14:55 Trigger The Light (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase Grand National Trial

15:25 Two Rockers (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:40 Hold On Julio (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Nick Slatter) – Handicap Hurdle


The big race at Ascot is the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase – 6 runners – Captain Chris, Cue Card, Finian’s Rainbow, Ghizao, Pigeon Island and Somersby.


Choc will be at Market Rasen on Sunday, more details tomorrow.


Here is a link to this week’s Wayne Hutchinson column on the Sporting Life website.  Click here to read. 


Also a link to Martin Keighley’s latest column in the Gloucestershire press, in which he writes about Champion Court’s and Annacotty’s runs last Friday; his runners at Haydock Park tomorrow (see above); and his hopes for Any Currency in this year’s Grand National.  More


And a link to Geoff Lester’s most recent blog entry on Alan King’s website too.  More


Tidal Bay has been ruled out of this year’s Grand National having sustained a minute stress fracture to the cannon bone of his off-hind.  More


I enjoyed my Seventies nostalgia trip yesterday ... it took me back to my childhood ... okay, okay, I confess, my teenage years!  Boogie Nights  


I saw the Osmonds once during their heyday in the 1970’s, at Earl’s Court; this century I’ve been to the NEC in Birmingham to see Donny perform in concert; the Hammersmith Apollo to see the Osmonds (Wayne, Merrill, Jay and Jimmy – I think Alan made a brief guest appearance too, as he suffers from MS preventing him from touring); Wembley to see all the Osmonds (ie. including Donny and Marie, with Alan making a special appearance too) – I had a migraine the next day caused by being too close to the stage on that occasion; last March to see Merrill, Jay and Jimmy at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall (Wayne had to drop out of the tour having suffered a stroke) and yesterday to see Merrill, Jay and Jimmy again at the Colosseum in Watford in Boogie Nights.  It doesn’t seem possible that Merrill will be 60 on 30 April, Jay turns 58 on 02 March and Jimmy becomes 50 on 16 April!  My memory for trivia is holding up well!!!


I did think about going to see Donny and Marie when they toured the UK last month ... but it was the wrong time of the year to travel any distance (and, as it happened, it coincided with the snowy period) ... and the tickets were very expensive too! 

Another weekend at home but, all being well, I expect to attend Kempton Park races on Saturday week. J  What shall I do this weekend?  I’ve almost finished the disk to DVD transfers.  I have three more scarves to knit ... because I spent £15 of vouchers in John Lewis’ haberdashery department whilst in Watford yesterday afternoon!  And I fancy watching my copy of Phantom of the Opera on DVD, because my work colleagues and I were discussing various West End shows and we think we may take a trip to see it sometime later this year.

Thursday 14 February 2013




Leicester was abandoned having first been struck by snow, followed by rain.  Squelch, squelch.  Kelso was fine and went ahead.


National Hunt racing at Sandown Park and Fakenham tomorrow, but no engagements for Choc.


Plans for my May weekend trip to the New Forest are firming up ... especially as I can cover all bases as far as recording the NH racing coverage is concerned!  I’m looking forward to riding off into the sunset, western style ... although I’ll probably not be able to walk for a few days afterwards!


I’m out this evening, not on a hot Valentine’s date but to see Boogie Nights at the Colosseum in Watford with my friend Lesley.  Besides, Choc is my Valentine ... or at least I would have liked him to be if I were a lot younger. L

Wednesday 13 February 2013

No results to report today ... and no riding engagements for Choc tomorrow.  Leicester goes ahead subject to an 08:00 inspection; Fontwell Park has been abandoned due to water-logging.


Choc went for a run this morning, to loosen up after yesterday’s fall.  He hasn’t watched the replay of the Bobbyjack incident yet and is not sure that he wants to either, having heard from others.  I’ve got the coverage from Lingfield Park on my Sky box, but haven’t viewed it.  I’m not sure whether curiosity will get the better of me or whether I should just delete it. 


Choc’s weekend riding arrangements are still unclear, but he believes that he will probably be at Wincanton. 


There are a number of stories today, relating to the entries for the major races at the Cheltenham Festival:

Gold Cup

Champion Hurdle

Champion Chase

World Hurdle

Ryanair Chase


Having settled down to watch Dallas at 21:00 yesterday evening ... Channel 5 announced that the programme would be broadcast at 23:00.  And, to top that, it will continue to be broadcast at 23:00 each week.  How annoying is that?  Needless to say, I dozed off and missed the last few minutes of this week’s episode.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Choc had one riding engagement at Lingfield Park today, but it ended in heartbreak when Bobbyjack went wrong and fell inside the final furlong with the race at his mercy.  RIP Bobbyjack.  Choc has tweeted to say that he is okay following the incident, having been unseated.


No National Hunt racing ‘down south’ tomorrow ... so no riding engagements for Choc.


Grumeti is out of the Champion Hurdle having pulled muscles in his back, making it impossible for Alan King to fit in another run before the Festival.  His intended pre-Cheltenham run had been in this Saturday’s Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.  More  


My research suggests that Choc will still probably be heading to Wincanton on Saturday, as very able deputy Raya Star now appears to have an entry in the Kingwell Hurdle.  So, with Ascot unlikely to be on my favourite jockey’s agenda, I don’t believe I’ll be going racing on Saturday.  Roll on Kempton Park on the 23rd.  And, with this desert of options, even Sandown Park’s fixture on 09 March is looking attractive, despite it being just three days before the start of the Festival!


Choc got a lift from William Kennedy, accompanied by Dominic Elsworth, to the races today.  He tweeted to complain about the state of Will’s car ... he said it was a skip!  There were a number of suggestions that perhaps they should hire Dave Crosse to clean it; Dave runs a nice sideline in car valeting – he comes highly recommended evidently!


Dallas on Channel 5 at 21:00 tonight ... I’ve remembered!  I should put it on series record on my Sky box I suppose ... but I can’t spare the space!


BBC1’s penguin programme was excellent ... I expect all cuddly penguin toys will be selling out fast!

Monday 11 February 2013

Not surprisingly, Plumpton was abandoned due to water-logging; Catterick was fine. 


After a very damp weekend, it began to snow in Hertfordshire yesterday evening; we’d had, maybe, a couple of inches by this morning, although it was very slushy.  I was glad of my Hunter Wellies on my walk to work, as there were many large puddles due to the early thaw.  And we had a couple of power-cuts in the area around where I work; fortunately we’ve a generator so we were able to continue after the PCs had re-booted!


There’s racing at Lingfield Park tomorrow, subject to a 08:00 inspection:

16:40 Bobbyjack (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race


After yesterday’s disappointing run, Puffin Billy was found to be lame by the Exeter vet and, this morning, pus was discovered in one of his feet.  More


It’s the ‘penguin’ programme this evening ... so I expect I’ll watch that. 

Sunday 10 February 2013

Choc was at Exeter this afternoon and this is how he fared:

Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Choc) finished 9th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (15 ran).

Bensalem (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Graduation Chase (5 ran).  It was a very promising comeback run from the Cheltenham Festival winner. 


Melodic Rendezvous beat Puffin Billy in the Listed Novices’ Hurdle.  More


Choc will be at Plumpton tomorrow, for one ride:

13:50 Shady Lane (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle


I’m fed-up with this damp and depressing weather ... we’ve had drizzle, rain, or sleet all weekend.  Where’s the sunshine? 

Saturday 09 February 2013

There were a number of runners of interest today and it was an excellent afternoon at the races for Choc; the extra driving and the on-course ‘workouts’ certainly paid off. J



Kuda Huraa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Araldur (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (18 ran).

Manyriverstocross (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 10th in the Betfair Hurdle (21 ran).


Araldur, running over a longer trip than usual (3 miles ½ a furlong) stayed on dourly to claim 4th.  Another good run from the giant horse!


Cheltenham Gold Cup hope, Silviniaco Conti, won the Denman Chase. More


After an awful week for JP McManus, Nicky Henderson and AP McCoy, My Tent Or Yours changed their fortune when winning the Betfair Hurdle in style.  More


And the ‘Dr Jekyll’ side of Wishfull Thinking turned up at Newbury today to win the Game Spirit Chase.  More


Earlier in the day, it had been sleeting at Newbury; this later turned to drizzly rain.  Nicky Henderson said they’d had a covering of snow in Lambourn this morning. 



Faultless Feelings (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).

Godsmejudge (Alan King/Choc) won the Novices’ Chase (4 ran); Choc’s 34th winner of the season

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

Rum Expectations (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 7th & Vice Et Vertu (Henry Daly/Choc) won the Standard Open NH Flat Race (8 ran); Choc’s 35th winner of the season. 


Godsmejudge jumped particularly well, his forte, making all to claim victory in heavy ground.  In the one mile 6 furlong bumper, Vice Et Vertu, who ran very green, appeared to have been outpaced when 4 of his rivals stretched clear approaching the final bend.  However, the further he went the better he went and he picked them off one by one to win by 5 lengths!


Warwick, having cancelled an unneeded early inspection, was forced to re-think when snow arrived during the morning.  Fortunately this later turned to rain and, although the ground was heavy, it was an excellent afternoon’s racing ... although probably not very pleasant for the spectators!



14:50 One More Cookie (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (13 ran).


Sir Des Champs beat Flemenstar in Ireland’s Hennessy Gold Cup.  More


Choc will be at Exeter tomorrow, where he has two riding engagements:

14:00 Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:00 Bensalem (Alan King/Choc) – Graduation Chase


I’ve discovered that I’ve recorded Channel 4’s coverage of Kauto Star’s win in the 2011 Betfair Chase ... that’s an item for DVD; also on the same day is coverage from Ascot of Master Minded’s Amlin Chase victory when Medermit finished 3rd and Katchit’s 3rd place in the Coral Hurdle ... these, of course, will also make it to DVD!  And I’ve got Medermit’s 2nd place in the big handicap chase at Cheltenham’s International fixture in December 2011 ... yet another item to be saved. 


I actually spent last Saturday night sleeping on the sofa ... waking every two hours to replace the recorded DVD with a new one!  That was to complete the transfer of Cheltenham 2012 to DVD.  It’s not long to Cheltenham and Aintree 2013 and I need the space on the hard drive.  It would have been so much easier if I’d thought about it last summer, instead of spending time knitting ‘hundreds’ of scarves!!!  Come to think of it, I could have done both at the same time ...

I forgot to add a postscript to the photograph of the very young Katchit which appeared on Twitter at the time of his sad demise early last month.  Someone did confirm that his dam, Miracle, was indeed a grey so, as the sock matches too, I guess it has to be him.  https://mobile.twitter.com/ArmstrongArt/status/289474971447746560/photo/1


Friday 08 February 2013

A number of runners of interest today and this is how they fared:


Kempton Park

Franklino (Alan King/Ian Popham) finished 7th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Uxizandre (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (18 ran).

Urgence D’estruval (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (7 ran).

Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 2nd in the Graduation Chase (3 ran).

Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).


Choc retweeted this photograph taken at Kempton Park today of Urgence D’estruval in full flight:




Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).


AP McCoy will begin his day at Warwick tomorrow before heading to Newbury ... and Choc will be doing the opposite ...



13:15 Kuda Huraa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:50 Araldur (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

15:35 Manyriverstocross (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Betfair Hurdle



15:15 Faultless Feelings (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

15:50 Godsmejudge (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Chase

16:25 Salmanazar (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:55 Rum Expectations (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) & Vice Et Vertu (Henry Daly/Choc) - Standard Open NH Flat Race



14:50 One More Cookie (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase


Choc is due to ride at Exeter on Sunday, where he rides Midnight Prayer and the returning Bensalem (673 days off the track).  I knew I’d seen last Saturday’s Ffos Las winner Ugly Bug somewhere before ... he finished second to Midnight Prayer last December at Hereford’s final fixture.


So my weekend racing plans have been thwarted yet again ... because if I were to go to Newbury I’d want to head home as soon as Choc departs for Warwick!  I do want to visit Warwick racecourse one day ... but I need to mentally prepare myself when making my maiden voyage to an unfamiliar course ...


With Alan King now planning to run Grumeti in the Kingwell Hurdle next weekend, I presume Choc will be at Wincanton rather than Ascot next Saturday.  More  So I’m now keeping my fingers crossed for an appearance at Kempton Park on 23 February ... this season seems to be all about Kempton Park, Kempton Park, Kempton Park and ... Kempton Park, with 4 visits so far and maybe another one or two to come!


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


And a link to Martin Keighley’s Stable Talk too.  More


Will Kennedy and Choc appear to have taken up residence at the recently refurbished The Bell at Stow:



What shall I fill my time with this weekend?  I know, I’ll transfer more race recordings to DVD!!! 

Thursday 07 February 2013

A number of runners of interest today and this is how they fared:



Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Handicap Hurdle (17 ran); Martin’s 21st winner of the season.

Seventh Sign (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Juvenile Hurdle (12 ran).

Bakbenscher (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).



Champagne N Caviar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

Arabian Heights (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 14th in the Novices’ Hurdle (17 ran).


It was a difficult journey to the racecourse for Martin Keighley and his charge, as the horsebox broke down near Shipston on Stour.  Fortunately they were soon rescued by trainer Mary Hambro’s horsebox.  Seymour Eric duly obliged, making it three wins in the row!  Very well done to the team.  It was also third time lucky for a run this week, as Eric had originally set off for the abandoned Sedgefield on Tuesday and held a replacement engagement at Carlisle yesterday but got cast in his box (ie. can’t get up having got wedged against a wall when rolling) and couldn’t run. 


My naughty Munchkin received a two day ban today:


The Stewards held an enquiry into the use of the whip by Robert Thornton, the rider of BAKBENSCHER, placed second, from turning into the home straight. Having heard his evidence and viewed recordings of the race, they found him in breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2 in that he used his whip above the permitted level. The Stewards suspended Thornton for 2 days as follows: Thursday 21 and Friday 22 February 2013.


That’s Ayr / Sedgefield / Huntingdon and Warwick / Sandown Park


It was good to see Tricky Trickster win the Hunters’ Chase at the Cambridgeshire course today.  He’s been off the track since March 2011 (691 days) when he fell during the Midlands Grand National and suffered a serious neck injury.  More   It’s amazing the information I can find when referring back to one of my old blogs!


Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Kempton Park and Bangor-On-Dee:


Kempton Park

13:10 Franklino (Alan King/Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

13:30 Uxizandre (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

14:15 Urgence D’estruval (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase

15:25 Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Graduation Chase More

16:30 Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race



14:35 Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle


Choc has tweeted a photograph of William’s new toy ‘ride-on’ car. 



I don’t enjoy my job ... I don’t get paid for extra hours ... so why do I start early, often working through my lunch-hour and leave late?  I need my head examined ...

Wednesday 06 February 2013

Runners of interest tomorrow, at Huntingdon and Doncaster; there’s also racing at Taunton.



13:35 Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

15:15 Seventh Sign (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle

15:45 Bakbenscher (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle



13:55 Champagne N Caviar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:05 Arabian Heights (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle


Lots of ribbing going on in connection with this photo of William Kennedy and Choc!



I forgot to watch Dallas last night ... I can’t get used to it being shown on a Tuesday.  Damn. 


However, yesterday evening I did complete the transference of the Aintree Festival 2012 recordings onto DVD.  And I filled up the empty space on the final disk with yesterday’s ‘snowy’ Market Rasen race, with Choc riding Patsy Finnegan through the winter wonderland! 


My poor little car has just undergone its 5th service ... and it’s not poor anymore ... but I definitely am!  Ouch.  It cost me three times more than I expected.

Tuesday 05 February 2013

Sedgefield was abandoned today and, with the prevailing cold weather, possible problems may still arise with upcoming fixtures too.  More


Luckily Market Rasen beat the weather, but it was raw cold: 

My Phylli Vera (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).

Volcan Surprise (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Chase (5 ran).

Patsy Finnegan (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (10 ran).


No runners of interest tomorrow.


I found Channel 4’s programme yesterday evening about the discovery of Richard III’s skeleton fascinating.  Science is amazing.  More 


Richard was the last king of the House of York; he was born on 02 October 1452 and was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire on 22 August 1485.  He reigned for just two years and has always received bad press due to his connection to the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower (12-year-old King Edward V and younger brother Richard).  


Two Wars of the Roses battles took place in St Albans, the First in 1455, and the Second in 1461.  The second battle is commemorated in latter day road names near the Bernards Heath area – Battlefield Road, Lancaster Road, York Road and Warwick Road. 


I love to admire the beautiful houses in Battlefield Road when out and about on one of my lunchtime strolls ... but, even if I won the lottery (they are very expensive dwellings), would be worried to buy one just in case they were haunted by soldiers from the battle!

Monday 04 February 2013

Choc was at Doncaster today and this is how he fared:

Call Me A Star (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran); they were beaten by a Henderson/Geraghty runner. 

Custer Of The West (Alan King/Choc) finished 8th in the Maiden Hurdle (21 ran).

Ali Baba (Alan King/Mr Joshua Newman) finished 13th in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ furlong] (18 ran).


But the fixture was overshadowed by the death of Champion Hurdle hope Darlan, who took a fatal fall at the final flight in the Listed Hurdle.  More  The horse has toyed with disaster before but, sadly, today it claimed his life. 


There are five runners of interest tomorrow:


Market Rasen:

13:30 My Phylli Vera (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Maiden Hurdle

14:30 Volcan Surprise (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase

15:30 Patsy Finnegan (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase



13:50 Brukirk Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

14:50 Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) - Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & 3½ furlongs]


Well that didn’t work out did it?  I decided to record the ATR racing coverage from Doncaster onto my Sky hard drive today, just for a change, with the aim of transferring the relevant bits (Choc) onto DVD this evening.  However, upon checking the drive I discovered that the recording had failed ... because the satellite signal had been lost.  The TV, DVD/VCR and Sky box were dusted today and I think one of the cables must have worked loose as, with a bit of ‘wiggling’, the picture was restored! 


But, in light of the news regarding Darlan, perhaps I’m pleased that I don’t have the incident recorded. 


And don’t forget to vote for the 2012 Jump Ride of the Year, the award to be presented at this year’s Lesters.


You can probably guess who I’ve voted for bearing in mind I like to champion the underdog! 

The Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National rides are too obvious ... and I don’t recall DJ Milan ... but I certainly remember Tom Cannon’s circus ride aboard Inthejungle at Plumpton!  Enough said. 

Sunday 03 February 2013

National Hunt racing takes place at Doncaster tomorrow, with Ayr and Southwell having been abandoned.  Choc has two riding engagements:

13:20 Call Me A Star (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. 

The mare will again wear a hood – she’s still excitable, despite now having had much racecourse experience.

13:50 Custer Of The West (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle ... 22 entries!

15:30 Ali Baba (Alan King/Mr Joshua Newman) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ furlong] – 18 entries!


Overturn put up another dazzling display over fences at Musselburgh today.  More


Sizing Europe won today’s Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown.  More


There are four runners in Doncaster’s Listed hurdle tomorrow ... a small but very select field.  More


AP McCoy has revealed that his current goal is to ride at least 4,000 career winners before he even contemplates retirement.  More


Choc tweeted that he was going to play darts yesterday evening ... and someone tweeted back this cartoon of him doing so!  Isn’t it good?


And he also replied to a tweet to say he was feeling very frustrated having chosen Balder Succes over Medinas yesterday.

Alan King’s news page gives an overview of plans following yesterday’s Welsh Champion Hurdle victory: http://alankingracing.co.uk/news.htm

The DVD transfers are progressing well – I’m currently copying the 4th and final day of Cheltenham 2012 to disk; I’ve already completed the other three days.  

Saturday 02 February 2013

Oh well ... Choc chose the wrong horse in today’s Welsh Champion Hurdle; he was given the choice, although both Alan and he agreed that he should be on Balder Succes! 


In a post-race interview, Alan King confirmed that the horse had been re-routed to the Welsh venue in preference to Doncaster on Monday because of the quality of the expected field in the listed hurdle at the Yorkshire course – entries currently include Celestial Halo, Countrywide Flame, Darlan, Grandouet and Rock On Ruby.


Ffos Las

Balder Succes (Alan King/Choc) finished 8th but Medinas (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Welsh Champion Hurdle (Limited Handicap); prize money of £31,280 to the winner. (14 ran)


Sandown Park

Oh Crick (Alan King/Mr Joshua Newman) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles] (9 ran).


It was a disappointing run by Balder Succes; who Choc rode wide throughout the race (Alan thinks the horse may be claustrophobic following poor runs in large fields).  It was his first attempt at 2 miles 4 furlongs too. Here is a link to the race report regarding Medinas’ victory.  More


Carruthers won the West Wales National, following up his victory at the same course over Christmas. More


And the huge Ugly Bug won today’s Maiden Hurdle at Ffos Las under Andrew Thornton; I think the horse might develop quite a following!


Captain Conan just managed to overhaul Third Intention in the final strides of the Grade 1 former Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown Park.  More


Dashing George put behind him a disappointing showing at Leicester earlier this week to claim the Veterans’ Chase.  More


During the wee hours of Friday morning, just before I turned in for the night, I caught sight of an item on RUK in which Sandown’s Clerk of the Course, Andrew Cooper, took the viewer on a tour of the steeplechase track.  I thought that, perhaps, the water-jump was a false one, like that at Huntingdon and Stratford.  But no, the water ditch is filled up on the day of the race; evidently it tends to drain away by itself.  And Mick Fitzgerald also did a similar item on today’s Channel 4 racing coverage – it was definitely a genuine water-jump.  And, to prove a point, Mad Max dropped his hind-legs in the water today and caused a splash; Barry Geraghty pulled him up shortly afterwards. 


I like Sandown Park; my special wish is to one day walk the course with Choc.   


I’m glad I tuned into The Morning Line before I went shopping; otherwise I’d have missed the ‘Confessions’ item which featured Choc today.  It’s already been copied to DVD for posterity!


I decided to record today’s racing coverage on my hard drive ... so I’ve even less space than before!!!  I stayed up until 03:30 this morning to copy items to DVD; I’ve just not deleted anything yet.

With no riding engagements tomorrow, Choc has tweeted that he’s ‘out on the town’ in Cheltenham tonight.  If I was younger I’d go clubbing if I thought I might bump into him ... but, at my age, Saturday night heaven is being tucked up in bed with my hot water-bottle, watching recordings of Choc’s racing exploits and interviews!!! 

Friday 01 February 2013

I knew the fate of tomorrow’s hurdle races at Sandown Park as soon as I awoke this morning ... it was pouring with rain in Hertfordshire and unlikely that Esher had fared any better.  Their initial inspection confirmed the hurdle course was unfit to race on, with a further afternoon inspection bringing the news that the chase course was okay ... so six chases will take place at the fixture tomorrow.  More


And, as at Wincanton yesterday, there’s going to be a Veterans’ Chase too; it’s always nice when all the runners in a race are familiar – Mad Max, Gwanako, Pigeon Island, Tail Of The Bank, Plein Pouvoir, Dashing George and Double Dizzy in this instance.  I think it would be really good to have a race of this nature at the Festival too; I know it’s a popular choice should the Cheltenham fixture be expanded to include more races.   


But with this comes the news that Choc is now going to re-route to Ffos Las ... so I’ll be staying home tomorrow and the opportunity to go to Sandown Park recedes once more.  L


With the re-arranged plans, just three runners of interest:


Ffos Las

14:05 Balder Succes (Alan King/Choc) & Medinas (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Welsh Champion Hurdle (Limited Handicap)


Sandown Park

13:50 Oh Crick (Alan King/Mr Joshua Newman) – Handicap Chase [2 miles]


And that’s it for the day!  Musselburgh is the sole National Hunt fixture on Sunday, so no runners of interest later in the weekend. 


Here is a link to Wayne Hutchinson’s latest column, where he reflects upon last Saturday’s Trials Day and looks forward to his ride aboard Medinas tomorrow.  More


Worth a catch-up with Alan King’s diary too, with news that Grumeti, Iolith, Manyriverstocross and Bensalem had an outing to Kempton Park last Tuesday for a racecourse gallop; with Choc and Wayne giving them a spin around the track. 


Cheltenham racecourse has today sent an email to tell their subscribers that it’s just 6 weeks until Gold Cup Day ...


With this in mind, the Cheltenham Preview evenings will soon be upon us.  Adlestrop-based trainer Richard Phillips met up with a number of jockeys in Stow on 22 January and, as a result, has booked both Choc and Andrew Tinkler for his panel of experts at the event which takes place on Monday 04 March commencing at 19:00 in the local Village Hall.  I’ve been meaning to attend one year but I’ve missed my opportunity yet again, as I forgot to add Richard’s website to my favourites list when my PC was re-set last October so I’ve only just read his blog entry regarding bookings.  He suggested, due to its popularity, that bookings needed to be submitted by 25 January latest!  Missed it, damn.


It has been in the back of my mind in recent days, but my memory was jogged today regarding all previews when Choc re-tweeted a message from his agent, Nick Whittle, to say that he’s also been booked for the Lycetts’ Cheltenham Preview which is due to take place at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester on Tuesday 26 February commencing at 19:00. 



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