FEBRUARY 2014

 

 

Friday 28 February 2014

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

 

Newbury:

Fine Words (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th and Ziga Boy (Alan King/Jack Doyle) finished 2nd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

 

Doncaster:

Bull and Bush (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran); Wayne’s 44th winner of the season. 

 

Tomorrow, runners of interest at Doncaster and Newbury:

 

Doncaster:

14:55 Lidar (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) & Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase

15:30 Godsmejudge (Alan King/Choc) – Grimthorpe Chase (Handicap)

16:40 Monksgold (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

Newbury:

13:30 Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]

14:05 Frizzo (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles and half a furlong].

15:15 Kuda Huraa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles and half a furlong]

17:00 L’Amiral David (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) & McCabe Creek (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Good luck to the amateur riders taking part in the Greatwood Charity race at Newbury tomorrow, especially Liz Prowting’s Racing Manager Hannah Bishop who will be riding 11-year-old Prince Du Seuil in the race; the horse has come out of retirement in order to run in this one race. 

 

I far prefer RUK’s racing coverage, as it is much easier to judge the recordings to perfection because ATR’s advert breaks get in the way ... but I do pay over £20 a month for the privilege!  I gather ATR is a component of one of the Sky packages – so there is a small fee for that too; Doncaster is broadcast on ATR.

 

Today’s RUK coverage was entertaining, with that well-known comedic duo Stewart Machin and Jonathan Neesom presenting the show from Newbury!  They are always good value for money and were in fits of giggles again today.

 

Then, on Sunday, Choc has a couple of riding engagements at Huntingdon:

16:30 Pirates Cay (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle

17:00 Ordo Ab Chao (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Yeeehaaa ... I’m unsure whether Choc attended a Cheltenham preview last evening at the Carpenters Arms in Lower Boddington, Northants, hosted by ATR’s Matt Chapman, as mention of his name in dispatches seemed to disappear from very recent tweets regarding the event; William Kennedy, Charlie Poste and Andrew Tinkler were there.  Perhaps, being a Thursday night, he was looking after William instead.

 

So with Choc heading north this weekend, I’ll be confined to home and my next outing to the races will probably be the Cheltenham Festival.  Sandown Park’s meeting next Saturday is just a little too close time-wise for me to complete a diary before I head off to Gloucestershire ... but we shall see, as I have attended that fixture on a couple of occasions before.

 

I’m currently suffering from heartburn related to my acid reflux problems, which is proving to be very annoying indeed.  It comes on every afternoon and continues to worsen into the evening.  It is a common problem associated with acid reflux but, prior to my having flu, I never suffered from this particular symptom.  Currently I’m spooning down Gaviscon in an attempt to keep it in check, although it brings only short relief ... and doing this is beginning to put me off aniseed flavoured food for life, and even liquorice which I love. 

 

I’ve been on leave today, and yesterday, and fortunately the rain left off for long enough for me to undertake a walk this morning to the bank and onwards to the local Dunelm store and Homebase; a 3.9 miles walk according to Google!  I love walking and see absolutely no need to get the car out for such a short journey!!!  Besides, I need to regain my fitness following my recent bout of flu; initially there was a slight discomfort in my chest with my breathing but this wore off as my journey progressed.  And I got to see the alpacas at the local Agricultural/Further Education College – a white one and a chocolate brown one.   

 

And I saw Lee Mead appear as a guest on BBC’s Breakfast Show this morning – he makes his debut as a regular character in Casualty tomorrow evening; he has appeared as one of the patients on a previous occasion.  I don’t watch programmes of this nature but, on this occasion, I might just make an exception! 

Thursday 27 February 2014

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

Simply A Legend (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran); Wayne’s 43rd winner of the season.

 

One of my non-Alan King favourites, Forgotten Gold, finished 2nd in a Handicap Chase at Ludlow today; and light chestnut Pure Science, with his unusual near-hind spotted leg warmer marking, won the last.  Sadly Cootehill passed away having suffered a heart attack when pulled up during the aforementioned chase. RIP

 

There are three runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Newbury:

14:20 Fine Words (Alan King/Choc) & Ziga Boy (Alan King/Jack Doyle) – NH Novices’ Hurdle.

 

Doncaster:

14:40 Bull and Bush (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

 

Although nowhere near retirement age, Ruby Walsh envisages that he might consider taking up a training career when he hangs up his boots, and he would train horses for the flat not jumps. More

And, as for my Kempton Park diary, it’s nearly there ... I hope to finish the complete draft before I turn in tonight and then proof read and upload it at some point tomorrow!

Wednesday 26 February 2014

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

 

Lingfield Park (All weather Bumpers for Jumpers card):

Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Jumpers’ Bumper NH Flat Race (6 ran).

Inner Driver (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).

Minx Of The Lamp (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 3rd and Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Mares’ Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (9 ran).

 

Bangor On Dee:

Taffy Dare (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Mares NH Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

 

Tomorrow there’s National Hunt racing at Taunton and Ludlow, with runners of interest at the latter:

14:00 Simply A Legend (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:00 Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

 

A number of horses have been taken out of the Grand National at the latest forfeit stage, including Midnight Appeal who, admittedly, didn’t appear to like to fences when tried over them at the end of last year.  I believe that the Scottish Grand National may now be his target.  More

Tuesday 25 February 2014

In fact there were two runners of interest today, at Catterick:

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Miss CV Hart) finished 2nd in the Lady Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

Divine Intavention (Martin Keighley/Mr M Wall) won the Handicap Chase (7 ran); Martin’s 18th winner of the season.  Well done to the team.

 

A number of runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Lingfield Park (All weather Bumpers for Jumpers card):

15:10 Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Choc) – Jumpers’ Bumper NH Flat Race

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

17:10 Minx Of The Lamp (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) & Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

 

Bangor On Dee:

14:30 Taffy Dare (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares NH Novices’ Hurdle

 

There are no runners of interest at Wincanton.

 

News today that another star name has fallen by the wayside on the run up to the Cheltenham Festival; this time it is Cue Card who has suffered a setback and won’t recover in time.  More

 

Jockey Johnny Murtagh has decided to hang up his boots to concentrate on his training career.  More

 

Today I discovered that Andre Agassi will be taking part in the upcoming World Tennis Day and will be playing a match against his arch rival Pete Sampras at Earls Court in West London next Monday evening, 03 March.  Also, Pat Cash will take part in a match with Ivan Lendl.  Although there are tickets still available, it’s a little late in the day to make arrangements to go, although I do feel guilty about not attending.  However, the action is due to be shown on Eurosport commencing at 19:30 on Monday evening, so I’ll record that in order to make a DVD for me and another for my friend Denise as she no longer has access to satellite TV.  Here is a link to the See Tickets website.  More

 

My Kempton Park diary is progressing well and I’ve almost completed the main body of text, with solely the race comments to write.  From experience, this will take approximately 5¼ hours as there were 7 races on Saturday; 45 minutes is required per race.   

 

I will be taking time out to watch the Sewingbee on BBC2 this evening, and I also still need to transfer Sunday’s ‘Choc action’ to DVD.

Monday 24 February 2014

Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Catterick:

15:50 Divine Intavention (Martin Keighley/Mr M Wall) – Handicap Chase

 

Here is an extended report regarding Sprinter Sacre.  More  And an article about the new favourite for the Champion Chase, Sire De Grugy.  More  And with the absence of the Nicky Henderson superstar, Sizing Europe will attempt to regain his Champion Chase title.  More

 

And Meister Eckhart may well make a second appearance in the Coral Cup, hoping to go one better than last year when he missed out to his diminutive stable-mate Medinas.  More

 

Sad news reported on David Pipe’s website today that 2012 Cheltenham Festival Byrne Plate winner Salut Flo has passed away after succumbing to colic.  Unfortunately nothing could be done for him on this occasion as he’d already been operated upon for the same problem previously; I presume there’s only so much length of intestine that can be removed before an operation of this nature is no longer viable.

Sunday 23 February 2014

Here are today’s results from Fontwell Park:

Double Chocolate (JGM O’Shea/Choc) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (6 ran).

Meister Eckhart (Alan King/Choc) finished a neck 2nd in the National Spirit Hurdle (6 ran).

Hot Whiskey N Ice (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran); Wayne’s 42nd winner of the season.

 

Following yesterday’s victory in the Pendil Novices’ Chase, Balder Succes’ stable lad Steve Ayres has tweeted a photo of his charge enjoying a well-deserved reward of carrots and Polos; Steve’s young daughter is a big fan of the horse too!

https://twitter.com/orse_racing_lad/status/437533687132209152/photo/1

Balder Succes looked an absolute picture in the Parade Ring yesterday, and I’ve finally been converted into a big fan of this beautiful horse.  It’s great to see the affection that Steve holds for this equine hero.

 

Following yesterday’s disappointing run by First Mohican at Kempton Park, plans to run the horse in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle have been put on hold.  More

 

And news has just arrived to confirm that Sprinter Sacre will not be lining up to defend his Champion Chase title at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.  More

 

I’ve been out for most of today, visiting my younger brother and family in Silsoe for lunch and dropping in to see my other sister-in-law on my way home in order to have a haircut.  But, the good news is that I’ve already uploaded the photos which I took at Kempton Park yesterday, and transferred the race recordings to DVD ... although I didn’t get to bed until 02:00 this morning as a result!  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 

 

Photos – Races 1 and 2

Photos – Races 3 and 4

Photos – Race 5

Photos – Races 6 and 7

There’s National Hunt racing at Musselburgh and Plumpton tomorrow but no runners of interest ... so, as there are no races to transfer to DVD tomorrow, I’ll postpone today’s transfers until tomorrow evening instead.  Tonight I need to make up for the lack of sleep I experienced last night!

Saturday 22 February 2014

 

Team Balder - Pendil Novices Chase for blog.jpg

 

Balder Succes wins the Grade 2 Pendil Novices’ Chase,

ridden by Wayne Hutchison

 

 

I made it to Kempton Park and, even though Choc was suffering from fourthitis today, I did enjoy my day out very much.  It was great to go racing again after a two month break and to see Choc as always, and the weather was nice too ... for February, and especially when compared to the horrendous conditions experienced so far this year!

 

And this is how my runners of interest fared at Kempton Park today:

Pearls Legend (JL Spearing/Choc) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles] (10 ran).

Duroble Man (Alan King/Choc) finished last in the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle [Grade 2] (8 ran); the race was won by Activial. More

Balder Succes (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Pendil Novices’ Chase [Grade 2] (6 ran); Wayne’s 41st winner of the season.  More

First Mohican (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran); no surprise that the race was won by Irving. More

Bless The Wings (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up and Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Betbright Chase [Grade 3 Handicap] (13 ran); the race was won by 28-1 shot Bally Legend ridden by Ian Popham ... and I believe I have mentioned the horse in earlier ‘despatches’, having caught my eye due to the gameness he’s shown at Kempton before!  More

Valid Reason (Dean Ivory/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

Hurricane Vic (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).

 

Choc & Midnight Appeal for blog.jpg

 

Choc and Midnight Appeal finish a close 4th in the Betbright Chase

 

And a reminder of tomorrow’s runners of interest:

 

Fontwell Park:

14:40 Double Chocolate (JGM O’Shea/Choc) – Handicap Chase

15:10 Meister Eckhart (Alan King/Choc) – National Spirit Hurdle

15:45 Hot Whiskey N Ice (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

I now have much to keep me busy over the next few days – transfer today’s races to DVD, select and upload photos, and write my diary ... and tomorrow is already pretty much booked up with other obligations!  However, fortunately, I have two days’ leave booked for Thursday and Friday next week although, again, Thursday is already taken up with other commitments.

Friday 21 February 2014

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

 

Warwick:

Super Lunar (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (qualifier) (7 ran).

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Mr HRL Cornock) finished 4th in the ‘Hands and Heels’ Handicap Hurdle (Conditionals/Amateurs) (13 ran).

Water Wagtail (Emma Lavelle/Choc) finished 6th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (10 ran).

Uxizandre (Alan King/AP McCoy) finished 5th in the Chase (Handicap) [2 miles 4½ furlongs] (6 ran).

Trigger The Light (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 5 furlongs] (9 ran).

 

Exeter:

Flementime (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (7 ran); she was very game but unfortunately couldn’t quite hold on to win.

Pyleigh Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

 

National Hunt racing at Newcastle, Chepstow and Kempton Park tomorrow, with runners of interest at the latter:

13:30 Pearls Legend (JL Spearing/Choc) – Handicap Chase [2 miles]

14:05 Duroble Man (Alan King/Choc) – Adonis Juvenile Hurdle [Grade 2]

14:40 Balder Succes (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Pendil Novices’ Chase [Grade 2]

15:15 First Mohican (Alan King/Choc) – Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle

15:50 Bless The Wings (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Choc) – Betbright Chase [Grade 3 Handicap]

16:25 Valid Reason (Dean Ivory/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

16:55 Hurricane Vic (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Having partnered Smad Place to success at Newbury a couple of weeks ago, whilst Wayne Hutchinson rode Balder Succes to an excellent victory at Warwick on the same day, the latter has retained the ride.  But, as Balder Succes is an unlikely Cheltenham Festival runner, Choc won’t be losing out until, presumably, Aintree and/or Punchestown.  Poor old Balder has an unenviable record at Cheltenham, having fallen twice and unseated once on his three visits to the course. 

 

With six rides tomorrow, Choc has a busy day at the Sunbury-on-Thames course and, all being well, I hope to attend the fixture.  Gates open at 11:30 and admission on the day is £16.  A bargain!!!  And it would have been just £12 if I’d purchased a ticket in advance.  So far, I have a record of 5 out of 5 attendances on this particular raceday at Kempton Park, so fingers crossed I make it tomorrow. 

 

Then on Sunday:

 

Fontwell Park:

14:40 Double Chocolate (JGM O’Shea/Choc) – Handicap Chase

15:10 Meister Eckhart (Alan King/Choc) – National Spirit Hurdle

15:45 Hot Whiskey N Ice (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

Thursday 20 February 2014

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

Epic Storm (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 6th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

Carraig Mor (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle [Listed] (5 ran).

Hail Tiberius (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (6 ran); Hail Tiberius also finished 2nd of 7 on the all-weather at Southwell on Tuesday.

 

I overlooked a runner on Southwell’s Jumpers’ Bumpers card on Monday:

Jeans Lady (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 8th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest, as follows:

 

Warwick:

14:10 Super Lunar (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (qualifier)

14:40 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Mr HRL Cornock) – ‘Hands and Heels’ Handicap Hurdle (Conditionals/Amateurs)

15:10 Water Wagtail (Emma Lavelle/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

15:40 Uxizandre (Alan King/AP McCoy) – Chase (Handicap) [2 miles 4½ furlongs]

16:40 Trigger The Light (Alan King/Choc) Handicap Chase [3 miles 5 furlongs]; the horse is now 13 years old but his trainer says he’s been in good form at home. 

 

Exeter:

14:50 Flementime (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

15:20 Pyleigh Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Balder Succes’ lad Steve Ayres sent out a tweet yesterday to say that Seventh Sign’s 22-1 win at Doncaster also came as a surprise to everyone in the yard!

 

There’s plenty of news in Geoff Lester’s blog on Alan King’s website, including confirmation that Midnight Prayer may be aimed at the Scottish Grand National ... I did wonder if that might be his target following an impressive win at Warwick earlier this month!  http://alankingracing.co.uk/news.htm

Wednesday 19 February 2014

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

Ronaldinho (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Juvenile Hurdle (8 ran).

Seventh Sign (Alan King/Noel Fehily) won and Dundee (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

Smart Motive (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (10 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Huntingdon, with Choc back in action too:

14:10 Epic Storm (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

15:40 Carraig Mor (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle [Listed] – the horse does not hold entries at Cheltenham as his trainer believes he is not mentally ready for the challenge

17:10 Hail Tiberius (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Handicap Hurdle

 

As I needed to pop into my local supermarket on the way to work this morning in order to buy my ‘winning’ Lotto ticket (I wish), I also purchased a copy of this week’s Weekender with a view to reading Alan King’s column.  They published a photograph of Choc coming to grief aboard Wilde Blue Yonder ... so here is a link to the relevant photos on the Racing Post website – they used the one where Choc’s arms are around the horse’s neck. 

http://www.racingpost.com/horses/jockey_home.sd?jockey_id=14002#topJockTabs=photo_tab_content&bottomJockTabs=jockey_form

I’m so pleased Wilde Blue Yonder is okay – he’s got a cute ‘face’ ... just like my favourite jockey!  Alan said the horse was on a good, long stride approaching the last but he just changed his mind and ended up not doing anything.  They will continue to school the horse and the plan is to let him take his chance in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. 

 

Two Rockers is also fine following his mishap; Alan said the runners were travelling quickly and he failed to get his landing gear out in time.  They intend to run him again as soon as they can.  

 

It’s good to see that Letsby Avenue is continuing to recover well following his colic surgery, and the stem cell treatment on his leg too:

https://twitter.com/HannahBishop79/status/435829001060622336/photo/1

 

Charlie Longsdon reports there’s good news regarding chaser Ely Brown who struck into himself during a race at Ascot on Saturday.  A scan carried out by Lambourn vets shows no structural or tendon damage and he is expected to make a full recovery in due course.

 

My chest has been irritating me this evening, since breathing in cold air on my walk home from work.  I don’t know whether it’s the aftermath of the flu or if my acid reflux has been aggrevated by the virus.  I had a problem back in May following a cold, when I had to crank up my medication for a week in order to settle it down again.  The acid reflux is a by-product of the hiatus hernia which has developed, so coughing causes all sorts of problems. 

 

I’m also hoping to be able to sleep better tonight.  I turned off the light at 23:30 last evening but woke again before 02:30 ... and then I couldn’t get back to sleep until gone 04:30.  My brain was definitely in top gear, with work constantly on my mind and keeping me awake.  I hadn’t slept particularly well the night before either.  

Tuesday 18 February 2014

One runner of interest at Taunton today and this is how he fared:

Wooly Bully (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).

 

Four runners of interest at Doncaster tomorrow:

14:50 Ronaldinho (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

15:55 Seventh Sign (Alan King/Noel Fehily) & Dundee (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

16:55 Smart Motive (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

With Wayne Hutchinson being Wooly Bully’s regular jockey, there was no surprise that he rode the horse today; however, riding duties fall to Wayne and Noel Fehily tomorrow ... so I’m wondering if Choc is taking just a few days off to recover from the kicking he will have received at Ascot on Saturday.  Ouch!

 

News of a Cheltenham Preview evening being held at The Carpenters Arms in Lower Boddington, Daventry, Northants, NN11 6YB.  ATR’s Matt Chapman will be the host and the panel will include Choc, Will Kennedy and Charlie Poste.  The date for the diary is Thursday 27 February and you can just turn up evidently!

https://www.facebook.com/TheCarpentersArmsatBoddington

 

Bad news for Timmy Murphy; he will miss the Cheltenham Festival because he requires surgery to correct his dislocated shoulder.  More

Monday 17 February 2014

One runner of interest this afternoon, on the Southwell ‘Bumpers for Jumpers’ card:

Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Nick Slatter) finished 5th in the Bumper for Jumpers [2 miles 2 furlongs] (9 ran).

 

There’s National Hunt racing at Wetherby and Taunton tomorrow, with one runner of interest at the latter (subject to a 07:30 inspection):

15:10 Wooly Bully (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

 

The weekend is looking promising for Kempton Park, with a number of Alan King entries scheduled to run at the Sunbury-On-Thames track, and none entered at soggy old Chepstow!

I finally returned to work today; the workload outstanding wasn’t quite as bad as I’d expected, although there is a one week backlog of requests for Marketing material which I’ve begun to plough through today.  I did a couple of hours’ unpaid overtime, and now feel that I’m more or less under control again!

Sunday 16 February 2014

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

 

Market Rasen:

Our Pollyanna (Alan King/Choc) was a non-runner in the Novices’ Hurdle (2 miles 5 furlongs) having run at Ascot yesterday.

Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Choc) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 3 furlongs).

Lord Of Scotland (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (2 miles 1 furlong) (9 ran).

Genstone Trail (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (3 miles) (6 ran).

 

Kempton Park:

Sea Tiger (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 11th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (16 ran).

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Jumpers’ Bumper (2 miles 2 furlongs) (11 ran).

Castle Cheetah (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished last in the Jumpers’ Bumper (2 miles 2 furlongs) (15 ran).

Divine Intavention (Martin Keighley/Mr M Wall) finished 4th in the Jumpers’ Bumper (2 miles) (13 ran).

 

Champion Hurdle hope My Tent Or Yours recorded the ‘Bumper for Jumpers’ victory of the day.  More

 

One runner of interest tomorrow, on the Southwell ‘Bumpers for Jumpers’ card:

15:00 Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Nick Slatter) – Bumper for Jumpers [2 miles 2 furlongs]

 

Having enjoyed last Wednesday’s 100th episode of Midsomer Murders more than most in recent times, I’ve decided to update my DVD library with the missing episodes from series 14 and 15.  The current series is 16, which consists of 5 episodes, but I will wait until the price comes down to purchase that particular box set! 

 

There is also an excellent Midsomer Murders website run by a lady named Joan Street.

http://midsomermurders.org/midsomer.htm

Saturday 15 February 2014

 

Choc has a bad day at Ascot ...

but at least he and the horses survive to fight another day

 

 

The day started off with a lovely interview with Choc on ATR ... but then went downhill, fast ... culminating in his second fall of the day when set to claim his 23rd winner of the season aboard Wilde Blue Yonder. 

 

For some reason, the horse seems to experience indecision regarding when to take-off to clear the last flight; he’s made an error at the final obstacle in each of his three runs over hurdles, he got away with it the first time, but has fallen the last twice, having sprawled on landing as a result of a poor jump.  I wonder if it is anything to do with the noise of the crowds as they approach the grandstand?  Perhaps try a hood to see if it makes a difference? 

 

So, instead of that all important 23rd winner, it was his 9th and 10th mishaps of the season. L L

 

And I suppose I have to confess that I actually walked out of the room before Choc reached the final flight because I couldn’t bear to watch the TV coverage in case something went wrong ... oh poo it did ... but, looking on the bright side, both he and his mounts walked away from the falls. 

 

Amazingly, all the race fixtures got the go-ahead today and here are those all important results:

 

Ascot:

Our Pollyanna (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (4 ran).

Two Rockers (Alan King/Choc) fell at the first flight and Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).

Medermit (Alan King/Choc) ran on to claim 4th in the Ascot Chase [Grade 1] (8 ran). The race was won by Captain Chris. More

Wilde Blue Yonder (Alan King/Choc) fell at the last with victory within grasp in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran).

The Wexfordian (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (9 ran).

 

Wincanton:

The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle [Listed] (7 ran).

Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Kingwell Hurdle [Grade 2] (6 ran). The race was won by Melodic Rendezvous. More

 

Haydock Park:

Sego Success (Alan King/AP McCoy) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle [Grade 2] (9 ran).

 

And a recap of tomorrow’s runners too:

 

Market Rasen:

13:50 Our Pollyanna (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle (2 miles 5 furlongs) - also holds an entry at Ascot on Saturday

14:50 Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 3 furlongs)

15:20 Lord Of Scotland (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle (2 miles 1 furlong)

15:55 Genstone Trail (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Handicap Hurdle (3 miles) – carries just 10-3 hence Choc not riding!

 

Kempton Park:

13:30 Sea Tiger (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

15:00 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Jumpers’ Bumper (2 miles 2 furlongs)

15:35 Castle Cheetah (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Jumpers’ Bumper (2 miles 2 furlongs)

17:10 Divine Intavention (Martin Keighley/Mr M Wall) – Jumpers’ Bumper (2 miles)

 

There’s news too that Oh Crick has been retired following his run in the Handicap Chase at Doncaster on 06 February 2014.  Alan King admitted that the horse holds a special place in the yard’s heart and will have a good home for the remainder of his days.  More

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my regular Lotto numbers DON’T come up this evening, as I’ve not felt well enough to venture out to buy a ticket.  Obviously, I should do Lotto online to avoid this problem in future. 

Although I have been eating, I can’t say that I’m enjoying my food again; I shall just have bread and raspberry jam for tea this evening. 

Friday 14 February 2014

A number of runners of interest tomorrow, as follows:

 

Ascot:

13:30 Our Pollyanna (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:15 Two Rockers (Alan King/Choc) & Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

15:50 Medermit (Alan King/Choc) – Ascot Chase [Grade 1]

16:20 Wilde Blue Yonder (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:50 The Wexfordian (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Wincanton: (subject to a 07:30 inspection)

13:55 The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle [Listed]

15:35 Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Kingwell Hurdle [Grade 2]

 

Haydock Park:

14:20 Two Rockers (Alan King/TBA) – Rendlesham Hurdle [Grade 2] – Second preference engagement

16:05 Sego Success (Alan King/AP McCoy) – Novices’ Hurdle [Grade 2]

 

Here is a link to an article where Alan King discusses Medermit’s planned return tomorrow. More  And I guess the horse will have turned almost as grey as I am during his absence!

 

There was one runner of interest today – the Martin Keighley-trained Hail Tiberius finished 4th on the all-weather at Lingfield Park (7 ran).

 

I’ve been feeling ‘wiped out’ today and spent most of the time in bed; I didn’t even wake up until 08:55 this morning, which is not like me at all, even when ill.  I’ve slept a lot during the day too.  

 

And, just in case I don’t get around to updating my blog after racing tomorrow, as happened last weekend due to succumbing to this horrid flu bug, here are the runners of interest on Sunday:

 

Market Rasen:

13:50 Our Pollyanna (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle (2 miles 5 furlongs) - also holds an entry at Ascot on Saturday

14:50 Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 3 furlongs)

15:20 Lord Of Scotland (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle (2 miles 1 furlong)

15:55 Genstone Trail (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Handicap Hurdle (3 miles) – carries just 10-3 hence Choc not riding!

 

Kempton Park:

13:30 Sea Tiger (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

15:00 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Jumpers’ Bumper (2 miles 2 furlongs)

15:35 Castle Cheetah (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Jumpers’ Bumper (2 miles 2 furlongs)

17:10 Divine Intavention (Martin Keighley/Mr M Wall) – Jumpers’ Bumper (2 miles)

Thursday 13 February 2014

Well, what an awful few days.  Not only have I been struggling to conquer flu since last Saturday, but since Monday I’ve also heard news of three deaths in the family; my aunt by marriage, my cousin Anne’s husband and my cousin Diane.  All three as a result of cancer.  At least the former two had a ‘good innings’ as they say, both being in their 80’s; but Diane’s passing is especially sad, as she was expecting her first grandchild in June and was so hoping to live long enough to see the baby.  I really liked Diane.

 

With no paracetamol-related drugs to rely on, this flu bug has been taking its time to clear my system.  I was hoping to return to work today but, having got ready and begun my walk to work, I turned back halfway through because I became wheezy and my legs were feeling wobbly too.  So it’s back to the drawing board once more ... with a Monday return now planned.

 

As I’m still off work due to flu-related breathing issues, a line has been drawn through a visit to Ascot on Saturday.  I need to concentrate on getting 100% fit in time for the Cheltenham Festival which starts in less than four weeks, and any fixture visits between now and then must be treated as a bonus.

 

Obviously there are no results to report, with Plumpton abandoned on Monday.  Further abandonments have occurred since then, and there have been no runners of interest at the fixtures which have taken place.  Not surprisingly, Sandown’s fixture tomorrow has been abandoned due to water-logging.  Looking forward, there is a ‘Bumpers for Jumpers’ card being held at Kempton Park on Sunday. 

 

I’m fed up with not having an appetite too ... because, even though my temperature has now returned to normal, my current sense of taste is awful, almost non-existent in fact.  There must be something wrong with me, as I still have 6 Flake bars to eat and I don’t fancy them whatsoever! 

Sunday 09 February 2014

 

A Saturday treble for the Alan King team

 

Newbury:

Walkon (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Denman Chase [Grade 2] (5 ran); having done so, he is now qualified to run in the Grand National.

Raya Star (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Game Spirit Chase [Grade 2] (4 ran).

Montbazon (Alan King/Choc) finished 16th and Vendor (Alan King/Jack Doyle) finished 8th in the Betfair Hurdle [Grade 3 Handicap] (20 ran).  And it was a relief to see Far West walk away from what looked like a neck-breaking fall at the last flight.

Smad Place (Alan King/Choc) won the Novices’ Chase (4 ran); Choc’s 22nd winner of the season.  I gather Smad Place is now favourite for Cheltenham’s RSA Chase; it was a very good run today. 

 

Warwick:

Tickity Bleue (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle (2 miles).

L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Hurdle [Listed] (4 ran).

Balder Succes (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase [Grade 2] (5 ran); Wayne 39th winner of the season.  There were many spectacular leaps from the winner. 

Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (3 miles 1 furlong) (12 ran).

Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Chase (4 ran); Wayne’s 40th winner of the season.  Wayne mount’s barely needed to raise a gallop to win, passing the winning post 53 lengths ahead of his nearest rival!

 

Alan King is mulling over his options for yesterday’s winners, Balder Succes and Smad Place, with the former possibly bypassing Cheltenham to concentrate on Aintree and Punchestown.  More

 

And Nigel Twiston-Davies has a number of options for yesterday’s Betfair Hurdle winner, Splash Of Ginge.  More  And to think that Sam Twiston-Davies decided to go to Warwick because he thought his rides there had far more chance of victory ... he must be kicking himself!  And with Splash of Ginge’s victory, it just goes to demonstrate that you cannot give away ground when running in those kind of conditions, with the winner in the first two all of the way!

 

I think many people stayed away from Newbury yesterday, due to the prevailing weather conditions, because the crowd looked particularly sparse for the second most important day in the course’s National Hunt calendar. 

 

Worcester racecourse isn’t looking too healthy at present ... no change there then!

https://twitter.com/amajox/status/432492897028427776/photo/1

 

Darren Bird comes up trumps with an Olympic-themed cartoon ... good old Moosie:

https://twitter.com/DarrenBirdie/status/432485617105371136/photo/1

 

And Module looks happy chilling out following yesterday’s victory in the Game Spirit chase:

https://twitter.com/AlexHardy2804/status/432477179201720320/photo/1

 

Exeter concentrated on an all hurdles card today, and there was one runner of interest:

Chocala (Alan King/Choc) finished last in the Novices’ Hurdle [Listed] (5 ran).

 

Well, even if the weather hadn’t got the better of me prior to my decision not to go to Newbury yesterday, I wouldn’t have been able to go ... because I awoke with a temperature yesterday, recording over 102 at one point during the day!  Officially, the symptoms of seasonal flu include fever, cough, headache, aching muscles and tiredness.

So, as the answer to all of these symptoms is yes, yes, yes, yes and yes, I guess it must be flu.  I couldn’t stop coughing on Friday evening and have a ‘graveyard’ cough at the moment.  Looking back, I wondered why I felt unusually tired on Friday.  I would also have an ongoing headache but it is being masked by ibuprofen!   I can take ibuprofen but not paracetamol, because the latter makes me feel ‘odd’! 

 

I don’t usually worry about the risks of getting flu, as I’ve had it just twice before but, next autumn, I’ll definitely get a flu jab as I don’t want this to happen again because, the older you get, the more it takes out of you. 

Almost forgot, one runner of interest at Plumpton tomorrow, subject to the course passing an inspection:

13:35 Taffy Dare (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

Friday 07 February 2014

There was action at Kempton Park this afternoon with four runners of interest:

Hot Whiskey N Ice (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd and No Substitute (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

Batonnier (Alan King/Choc) finished last in the Graduation Chase having blundered badly and sprawled on landing 3 out (4 ran); it is also reported that he was dismounted after the finish, so presumably pulled up sore.

Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).

 

Uttoxeter has already been abandoned, and Warwick looks in severe danger, with Newbury appearing to be the most likely to go ahead tomorrow.  More

 

Newbury:

14:25 Walkon (Alan King/Choc) - Denman Chase [Grade 2]

15:00 Raya Star (Alan King/Choc) – Game Spirit Chase [Grade 2] ... or at least that’s what I’m going to call it as I remember Game Spirit well!

15:35 Montbazon (Alan King/Choc) & Vendor (Alan King/Jack Doyle) – Betfair Hurdle [Grade 3 Handicap]

16:10 Smad Place (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Chase

 

Warwick:

15:35 Tickity Bleue (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles)

14:05 L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Hurdle [Listed]

14:40 Balder Succes (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Kingmaker Novices’ Chase [Grade 2]

15:50 Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle (3 miles 1 furlong)

16:25 Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase

 

I’ve decided that, regardless of the outcome of this coming night’s storms, I won’t be venturing out to Newbury tomorrow.  It just isn’t worth taking any risks in case I encounter any flooding or felled trees.  I’m going to behave like a true Capricorn and let my head rule my heart on this occasion.  Not even Choc and my favourite horse, Walkon, can persuade me to make the journey.

 

My mind was made up earlier today following last night’s heavy rain, which resulted in a number of flooded roads in Hertfordshire.  Colleagues experienced problems getting to work this morning, with one of the Directors’ PA’s Claire taking around two hours to travel from Bushey to St Albans!  Evidently the area around Bushey Arches was flooded because the River Colne has burst its banks ... so that’s one of Hobbycraft’s branches done for! L  

 

The car park at Radlett railway station has flooded, for the first time in 25 years, and this evening there are still problems on the M25 between the M40 and M4 junctions due to flooding, with slip-roads closed too.  And there is severe flooding and road closures in the Kings Langley, Watford and Rickmansworth areas. 

 

Choc’s mate Ollie McPhail, who was at Kempton Park this afternoon in his role as Education Officer for BHEST, reported via twitter that he had to travel home via the M3, Bracknell, M4 and A34 because of the M25/M40 closures!  And I presume Choc would have had to do much the same.  

 

Sad news today that 1000 guineas hope Chriselliam has been put to sleep having failed to recover from a foot infection.  More

 

And here is a link to this week’s Martin Keighley Stable Talk column in the Gloucestershire Echo.  More

Thursday 06 February 2014

Racing took place at Doncaster and Huntingdon today and there are two winners to report, one for Choc and one for Wayne:

 

Doncaster:

Gone Too Far (Alan King/AP McCoy) finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier) (10 ran).

First Mohican (Alan King/Choc) won the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran); Choc’s 21st winner of the season. 

Oh Crick (Alan King/Choc) finished last in the Handicap Chase (7 ran).

 

Strangely, Choc’s last three winners have all been at Doncaster ... maybe something to do with the ground being better than elsewhere in this sodden country of ours!

 

And I gather there’s also an interview to look out for when I transfer my chosen races to DVD!

 

Huntingdon:

Genstone Trail (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).

Memberof (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished last in the Juvenile Hurdle (8 ran). 

Avispa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race (6 ran); that’s Wayne’s 38th winner of the season and equals last season’s total. 

 

Tomorrow, both Newcastle and Bangor have been abandoned, but there is action at Kempton Park with four runners of interest:

14:00 Hot Whiskey N Ice (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) & No Substitute (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:35 Batonnier (Alan King/Choc) – Graduation Chase

16:10 Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Handicap Chase

 

Evidently Newbury is currently holding up well to the continuing onslaught by the rain.  I’m still in two minds as to whether to make the trip ... what I do know is that I won’t be popping in to see Den on my way home as, not only has she got a cold, but the Sonning Thames river crossing remains impassable.  She informs me that the bridge has been closed on all but one day since Christmas!  That would leave me with a journey from the M4 Reading West junction into the town and over the Caversham bridge or via M4 Reading East and then backtracking myself to cross the river via the Reading bridge ... all to be driven in the dark without satnav.  Daylight fine ... but not after dark thank you!          

 

I’m working tomorrow, and it will be a very busy period as our Team Manager is on holiday until Monday week.  There’s no rest for the wicked.

Wednesday 05 February 2014

Runners of interest at both Doncaster and Huntingdon tomorrow, the latter is subject to an inspection at 07:00.

 

Doncaster:

13:50 Gone Too Far (Alan King/AP McCoy) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier)

14:25 First Mohican (Alan King/Choc) - Novices’ Hurdle

16:10 Oh Crick (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase

 

Huntingdon:

13:10 Genstone Trail (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

14:50 Memberof (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

16:30 Avispa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race

 

With my search continuing, I’ve found a link to photographs taken on Saturday night at Bucking Fun, including a few of Choc aboard the bronco and in the background of other shots. 

https://www.facebook.com/events/635726423126194/#!/media/set/?set=a.800155790000859.1073741868.216643515018759&type=3&uploaded=67

 

At present, Newbury is optimistic that their Saturday fixture will be able to go ahead.  More  If my racing plans go ahead I will be ‘Norman No Mates’ again, as Lesley is heading off to Butlins at Minehead for one of their music- themed weekends.  I did tell her to take her flippers and snorkel just in case!  And I might just need them myself too!!!

 

And Nicky Henderson has asked if he can parade Sprinter Sacre around the Paddock ahead of racing.  Denman is also due to be at Newbury on Saturday.  More

 

I nearly suffered a nasty accident whilst walking home this evening ... two halfwits on bikes came tearing around a blind corner and almost knocked me over.  Why don’t some people seem to possess the ability to anticipate the consequences of their actions?   

 

And last but definitely not least, many happy returns of the day to my niece Lydia who is 21 today!

Tuesday 04 February 2014

One runner of interest at Market Rasen today:

Divine Intavention (Martin Keighley/Mr M Wall) won the Handicap Chase (6 ran); Martin’s 17th winner of the season.  The stable was first to point out that the win was a fortunate one, with leader Taffy Thomas unseating two out and subsequent leader Lukey Luke suffering a fatal injury (broken fetlock) before the last.  RIP Lukey Luke.

 

There’s National Hunt racing at Ludlow tomorrow, subject to an 08:00 inspection, but no runners of interest.

 

Right, I’ve found this report about Saturday’s Bucking Fun, complete with videos of the event riders and AP ... and with Choc in the background (left) in dark blue and yellow silks.  In fact Laura Collett stays aboard for so long that Choc appears to have time to go for a fag break and buy a drink during the period she’s riding the horse!

http://www.eventingstig.co.uk/1/post/2014/02/laura-collett-dominates-at-bucking-fun.html

 

Here is a photograph of Letsby Avenue, in his stable yesterday, sporting a post surgery pressure band:

https://twitter.com/HannahBishop79/status/430453679427448832/photo/1

 

I’ve been checking Choc’s and Wayne’s provisional riding engagements for the weekend and ... Choc appears to be heading to Newbury and Wayne to Warwick!  So it looks like a visit to the races might be on the cards for Saturday!  The weather forecast for Newbury for Saturday, at present, is sunshine and heavy showers.

Monday 03 February 2014

One result today, from Southwell, and it was a winner:

Flementime (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran); Martin Keighley’s 16th winner of the season.  Congratulations to the team.

 

One runner of interest at Market Rasen tomorrow:

15:50 Divine Intavention (Martin Keighley/Mr M Wall) – Handicap Chase

 

According to Alan King’s website, plans are currently in the melting pot as regards runners later this week, as more heavy rain is expected.   

 

But there is news regarding one of his recruits from the flat, First Mohican, whose intended first outing over hurdles is planned for Doncaster on Thursday.  More

 

Today we have a twitter link to a picture of Auroras Encore who has returned home to recuperate.

https://twitter.com/ryan2903/status/430072933571395584/photo/1

 

And, Letsby Avenue is home to recover too, following his colic operation.

https://twitter.com/HannahBishop79/status/429967994497015808/photo/1

 

Also, Sam Thomas has been ‘reunited’ with Denman.

https://twitter.com/S4MMY1984/status/429970206996566016/photo/1

 

And there’s even a photo of Andre Agassi during a tour on the opening day of the Doral Academy, one of the chartered schools he’s funded in Nevada!

https://twitter.com/patranya/status/430407823139155968/photo/1

 

I’ve not discovered any photographs or a youtube video of Choc at Saturday’s Bucking Fun, of others yes, but not of Choc ... but I’m still looking!

 

Here is the youtube video of photographer Michael David Rogers (aka MDR Photos) on the rodeo horse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-FVoXw-pGo

 

And eventer Kitty King’s husband Ben riding in his boxer shorts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpClnMRxEL8

I think that’s enough links for one day ... time to sign off now!

Sunday 02 February 2014

Just one runner of interest at Southwell tomorrow:

13:45 Flementime (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

If you’re a big Winnie The Pooh fan, you’ll love this cartoon by Telegraph cartoonist Matt:

https://twitter.com/LawneyHill/status/429896935953424384/photo/1

 

And it’s Groundhog Day in the USA!  Great film too!

 

I forgot to mention that my Aintree Festival tickets arrived by registered post early yesterday morning ... so I’m now all set for this year’s Cheltenham and Grand National Festivals.  All that is needed now is for the weather to improve, although I would like it to remain fairly mild, just a lot less wet!  The weather at Cheltenham was awful last year, freezing cold with snow flurries on the first day and a deluge on the last.  The Friday at Aintree was unpleasant too, as there was a very cold breeze. 

 

I’ve just discovered that I can, after all, upload photographs onto twitter using my laptop now that I’ve upgraded to Explorer 8 ... however, Explorer 9 would be ideal, as that is the version I had before it was re-built in October 2012.  Mainly because it’s still impossible to see stock levels and order online from Marks and Sparks!!! 

 

Now that I’m over the worst of my cold virus, I am wondering when I might get the opportunity to go to the races once more.  Many of Alan King’s horses hold engagements for later this week, but it will have to be a weekend fixture as I can’t get time off until the end of the month (27th and 28th February) due to a colleague’s holiday.  Unbelievably that will be the final two days of my 2013 annual leave, taken just prior to the deadline.  The ideal outing would be to Newbury next Saturday, but there’s always the possibility Choc might go to Warwick for the Kingmaker raceday ... in fact last year it was ‘Choc on Tour’ as he took in an early race at the Berkshire course before heading to Warwickshire for three further rides, two of which were winners!  I shall know a little more in a day or so.

So, with Ascot on 15 February ‘competing’ against both Wincanton’s Kingwell fixture and Haydock Park, I’m wondering if Kempton Park’s Chase Day on 22 February and Newbury’s Greatwood fixture on 01 March may just be the ones to pencil in my racing diary. 

And I have recently realised that Sandown’s fixture on the final day of the season, 26 April, doesn’t actually coincide with the Punchestown Festival this year, as well as being an all-jumps card.  Wicked!

Saturday 01 February 2014

Amazingly, all three National Hunt fixtures went ahead and this is how Choc fared at Sandown Park:

Regal One (David Bridgwater/Choc) was pulled up in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Oscar Hill (David Bridgwater/Choc) finished 6th and Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles, Class 2] (8 ran).

Manyriverstocross (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase [Grade 1] (3 ran). More

Speedy Bruere (David Bridgwater/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles, Class 3] (6 ran).

 

Venetia Williams and Aidan Coleman landed a treble at Sandown Park.  More

 

Saphir Du Rheu won this season’s renewal of the Welsh Champion Hurdle.  More

 

And more success for Venetia Williams in the West of Wales National with Emperor’s Choice; Liam Treadwell aboard.  More

 

Here is a link to Martin Keighley’s latest column in the Gloucestershire Echo.  More

 

Choc is due to take part in ‘Bucking Fun’ at Newbury Racecourse this evening.  He’ll have a much easier journey to the racecourse than, if they keep their engagements, both AP McCoy and Dominic Elsworth who rode at Wetherby today (200 miles) and Andrew Tinkler who was at Ffos Las (150 miles) ... although it’s just a small diversion for AP on his journey home, as he lives in the Lambourn area!  

 

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Be_96srIQAAL527.jpg

There’s National Hunt racing at Musselburgh tomorrow, with both AP and Barry Geraghty in action at the fixture.


 

 

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