Monday 29 February 2016
There’s just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Leicester:
16:50 Genstone Trail (Alan King/Brendan Powell) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs & 45 yards]
Back to work tomorrow, following a long-weekend and, for me, there are just nine working days to go before the Cheltenham Festival. Travelling exhausts me during the Festival itself, so I mustn’t let my job exhaust me even before my holiday begins ...
Sunday 28 February 2016
RIP Violet Dancer
There was very sad news today; Violet Dancer has been put to sleep having succumbed to colic and other complications following his recent operation to repair a condylar fracture to a hind-leg.
There was further heartbreak for the Gary Moore yard, when they lost Netherby at Southwell today. It was another bad day for fatalities, with Blue Bear dying as a result of a fall at Fontwell Park; he was trained by Diana Grissell.
Here are the results for my runners of interest today:
Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th and Medinas (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 8th in the National Spirit Hurdle (Grade 2) (8 ran).
Dolly Diamond (Graeme McPherson/Archie Bellamy/EPDS Racing) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs & 209 yards] – she’s been undergoing physiotherapy, but isn’t 100% yet.
Elgin (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 5th in the ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).
Lil Rockerfeller, trained by Neil King and ridden by Trevor Whelan, won the National Spirit Hurdle:
Noel Fehily rode his 100th winner of the season, when winning aboard Orbasa at Fontwell Park.
There’s National Hunt racing at Ayr and Plumpton tomorrow, but no runners of interest.
I’ve made progress on the child’s cardigan; I just need to knit a buttonhole border, and sew both borders onto it, plus four buttons.
Saturday 27 February 2016
Here are today’s results for my runners of interest at Kempton Park:
Gibralfaro (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) (7 ran).
Winter Escape (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) won and Oceane (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (5 ran).
Ziga Boy (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 8th in the BetBright Chase (Grade 3 Handicap) (15 ran).
King Kayf (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 5th and McCabe Creek (Alan King/Jamie Insole) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (13 ran).
Roberto Pegasus (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 7th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs & 110 yards] (11 ran).
Criq Rock (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th and Azzerti (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).
Winter Escape winning the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle:
Theatre Guide winning today’s feature race, the BetBright Handicap Chase; a deserving victory for the horse, having run well on a number of occasions without winning, including being runner-up to Smad Place in this season’s Hennessy Gold Cup:
Stable-mate Cue Card was one of the horses given a racecourse gallop ahead of racing at Kempton Park today:
Mon Successeur was lost at Kempton, having broken his shoulder as a result of a heavy fall during the Pendil Novices’ Chase:
Also, 6-year-old Ballyglasheen died at Chepstow:
However Merlin’s Wish is fine, having been brought down at Exeter yesterday:
There were photos of Penzance posted on facebook’s ‘Racehorses, where are they now?’ webpage today. He’s celebrating his 15th birthday and looks in fine fettle.
There are runners of interest tomorrow:
15:20 Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Medinas (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – National Spirit Hurdle (Grade 2)
16:40 Dolly Diamond (Graeme McPherson/Archie Bellamy/EPDS Racing) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs & 209 yards]
17:10 Elgin (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race
I haven’t done a great deal today ... I revamped two necklaces, did quite a lot of internet surfing ... which resulted in me re-stocking my stash of spacer beads and buying a scarf which I’d seen in the summer but thought I’d missed the opportunity to buy! I also sewed in the left sleeve of the child’s cardigan; the sleeves are attached to the body first, and then the side and sleeve seams stitched together. I should have started it earlier, as the daylight had gone by the time I’d finished.
Friday 26 February 2016
Fortunately I logged onto twitter late afternoon, so found a twitter message to inform ATR viewers that Hector ‘Thingamabob’ and Choc would make guest appearances, via the telephone, on their ‘Get In’ programme this evening. Luke Harvey and Jason Weaver spoke to Choc just after 19:20; hopefully I’ve recorded the interview. He also said that he’d be at Cheltenham every day of the Festival. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssssssssss! All I need now is to make it to Cheltenham every day, and to be in the right place at the right time! Fingers crossed. J
When asked if he rides the young horses on the gallops, Choc said that he has been advised not to ride again; but it’s not an issue because he no longer has any desire to do so anyway. I have no desire to ride again either; it gets too risky the older you get; especially if, like me, one has borderline osteoporosis.
There were a number of runners of interest today, and this is how they fared:
Pemba (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th and Flementime (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was a non-runner in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle Qualifier) (6 ran). Pemba faded badly on the run-in to lose both 3rd and 4th places.
Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was brought down at the first in the Devon National Handicap Chase [3 miles 6 furlongs & 153 yards) (12 ran); only 2 finished.
RUK’s Alex Steedman fancied the Martin Keighley runner to do well in the Devon National, as he’s one of the horses that he’s been riding whilst honing his skills ahead of taking part in charity race. It must be so annoying to drive all the way to Exeter, only to be ‘taken out’ by a rival at the first fence.
Having returned to action yesterday following injury, with one ride at Huntingdon, Paul Moloney rode a winner today in the last at Exeter.
Give Him A Glance (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 6th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier) (15 ran).
Forgiving Glance (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) won the Juvenile Hurdle (9 ran); the mare is related to Katchit, she’s currently dark grey, being a 4-year-old – Katchit’s dam was a grey.
Araldur (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs] (6 ran).
Dalton Glance (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) finished 4th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).
Richard Johnson rode a double at Warwick, the first of which marked his maiden double century of winners in a season, when he partnered the Claire Dyson-trained Cheat The Cheater to victory in the Novices’ Handicap Chase. Congratulations to the Champion Elect.
Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/William Carson/part-owned AppleTree Stud) finished 8th in the 1 mile 4 furlong Handicap (9 ran).
There’s National Hunt racing at Chepstow, Newcastle and Kempton Park tomorrow, with a number of runners of interest at the latter - 9 in fact:
14:00 Gibralfaro (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2)
15:05 Winter Escape (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) & Oceane (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
15:35 Ziga Boy (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – BetBright Chase (Grade 3 Handicap)
16:10 King Kayf (Noel Williams/James Banks) & McCabe Creek (Alan King/Jamie Insole) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]
16:45 Roberto Pegasus (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs & 110 yards]
17:20 Criq Rock (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Azzerti (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Standard Open NH Flat Race
I woke up at 04:00 this morning, made a cup of tea, then went back to sleep again, rose at around 07:00, and then went shopping at 09:40. I’ve had my glasses fixed, in Boots, where I also bought a few bits and bobs. I bought a new lotto ticket, and had a number of old tickets checked – I didn’t win anything ... no surprise there then! I also bought two cardigans – one black, one navy – to wear at work during the summer; they cost less than £13 each from BHS – cheap and cheerful. And I also popped into Clinton Cards to make three purchases.
I’ve been watching the racing on RUK this afternoon; and saw Lee Mead on Loose Women at lunch-time too. His new CD arrived via the post today, as expected. But I have made no progress on the baby’s cardigan; I must finish it before Cheltenham begins, otherwise it’s unlikely to be completed before late summer!
Thursday 25 February 2016
Here are the results for today’s runners of interest at Huntingdon:
Board Of Trade (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) won the NH Maiden Hurdle Div I (12 ran).
Clondaw Fonz (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 3rd and Cottersrock (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 2nd in the NH Maiden Hurdle Div II (11 ran).
Another reversal for a Willie Mullins raider, when the Kim Bailey-trained Emily Gray got the better of Gitane Du Berlais in the Mares’ Listed Chase. The winner led from the start, until she was joined two out and headed briefly on the run-in by the Irish runner before bravely fighting back to triumph by a neck. I love it when we beat the Irish raiders! That’s the second time Emily Gray has beaten Gitane Du Berlais; the previous time being at Carlisle in November.
There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow, and Wayne Hutchinson is back in action too:
14:50 Pemba (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Flementime (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier)
15:55 Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Devon National Handicap Chase [3 miles 6 furlongs & 153 yards)
And Warwick, where there are a number of Passing Glance progeny in action:
14:10 Give Him A Glance (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier)
14:40 Forgiving Glance (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Juvenile Hurdle
15:45 Araldur (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs]
15:20 Dalton Glance (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race
16:40 Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/William Carson/part-owned AppleTree Stud) – 1 mile 4 furlong Handicap
Oh dear, Night In Milan lost his life as a result of a fall during yesterday’s Veterans’ Chase at Donny; it has been reported that he appeared to be okay and followed the field, so I don’t know what happened later on to change this outcome. RIP.
Evidently Jilly Cooper has written a new book, which marks the return of Rupert Campbell-Black; it’s called ‘Mount’. I never got around to reading ‘Wicked!’ and failed to finish ‘Jump!’ ... my taste in books has moved on; besides, I had problems remembering who the characters were in her last book, despite the list she provides to jog the memory! I like the books of Dick Francis and Felix Francis, and racing-related biographies.
I note that Cinders And Ashes and Peddlers Cross are due to take part in the ROR Parade at the Aintree Festival.
Lee Mead’s new album ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ is due to arrive tomorrow.
I’m chilling out now, for four days. A couple of people at work have confessed that they are suffering from upper back and shoulder/neck discomfort at the present time ... that’s tension caused by work-related stress – I’m now an expert in the subject, sadly! I was in a meeting all morning and was suffering from a dull ache in my shoulders for the majority of the time; I’d confirm that it disappeared after lunch ... if I’d had time to have a lunch-break that is!
There is something strange going on in my world – I’ve had two baths this week ... I never have a bath, I always have a shower! I even found and used my dolphin bath pillow this evening, which I’ve not used for years! Chill out and relax ...
Wednesday 24 February 2016
Here are the results for my runners of interest today, at Doncaster; Ludlow was abandoned.
The Unit (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 2nd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier) (15 ran).
Ardamir (Alan King/Denis O’Regan/Dunkley & Reilly Partnership) won the Juvenile Hurdle (7 ran); he won by 1½ lengths and 26 lengths. And yes, he’s had a wind op since he last ran.
Theatre Goer (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & 96 yards] (12 ran).
Godsmejudge (David Dennis/Noel Fehily) finished 5th in the Veterans’ Handicap Chase (Qualifier – Leg 2) (10 ran). The race was won by the 2015 Grand National runner-up St Are.
William Hunter (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 7th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I (10 ran).
Midnight Jitterbug (Noel Williams/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II (9 ran).
You can tell that my work has invaded my thoughts during every waking hour in recent weeks ... as I didn’t even think to record the racing from Doncaster today! I rarely worry about recording weekday fixtures – but should have done so today because Ardamir was running. What a numpty!
There are three runners of interest tomorrow, at Huntingdon:
16:30 Board Of Trade (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – NH Maiden Hurdle Div I
17:05 Clondaw Fonz (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & Cottersrock (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – NH Maiden Hurdle Div II
There was news yesterday that Arctic Fire won’t make the line-up of the Champion Hurdle due to chipping a sesamoid bone.
Alan King reports that Winner Massagot doesn’t seem too bad having pulled up lame at Market Rasen on Sunday; the horse is a bit stiff, but the trainer hopes it’s just a muscular problem, although they still have more checks to carry out. Brod Na Heireann is none the worse for the mishap at Ascot, when he slipped up on the bend.
Minella Rocco, who ran well to finish a close second in the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot last Saturday, will be upped in distance to run in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
More baby news ... Golbelini, who used to be trained by Martin Keighley, has given birth to a filly foal by Delegator; the sire stands at Overbury Stud in Gloucestershire.
My Chitty Chitty Bang Bang tickets have finally arrived. I purposefully didn’t choose the centre two seats in the row, because I can’t recall if there is an aisle down the centre of the auditorium, so it’s really weird that one seat states entry via door 1, the other via door 4! There are 28 seats in the row, and our seats are 15 and 16. How strange is that?
I was walking home tonight and one of the lenses fell out of my glasses. Fortunately it wasn’t quite dark and I was walking on the pavement at the time, so I found it easily, but the retaining screw is lost. It doesn’t bear thinking about if it had fallen out whilst I was crossing the busy main road! It has happened on a previous occasion but I was lying in bed watching TV at the time, so I replaced it myself as the tiny screw fell out onto the duvet cover. So that’s a chore for Friday, when I’m on annual leave - a visit to the opticians, along with a little bit of shopping and the purchase of a lotto ticket.
I have two further pairs of long-distance glasses, so I can see until repaired. But I have to say it was really difficult to see with just one lense, due to the glare from the almost incessant traffic as I crossed the road; I had to rely on my variable vision right eye (which varies according to how dry the eye gets), not reliable left eye! And I wouldn’t have been able to drive home if I’d gone to work by car.
Tuesday 23 February 2016
There’s National Hunt racing at Ludlow and Doncaster tomorrow, with runners of interest at the latter:
14:00 The Unit (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier)
14:30 Ardamir (Alan King/Denis O’Regan/Dunkley & Reilly Partnership) – Juvenile Hurdle
15:00 Theatre Goer (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & 96 yards]
15:30 Godsmejudge (David Dennis/Noel Fehily) – Veterans’ Handicap Chase (Qualifier – Leg 2)
16:40 William Hunter (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I
17:10 Midnight Jitterbug (Noel Williams/Ian Popham) – Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II
After a slow start to the series, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed The X-Files last night – “Mulder and Scully meet the Were-Monster.” It made me laugh, and I really need a good laugh at the present time. At one point the Monster decided to quit his job – I feel like that monster at the moment!
It was another long day at the ‘coal front’ – 08:05 to 17:45 without a break. I’m accustomed to working two or three lunch-breaks a week, but there appears to be no respite on the horizon at the moment.
Monday 22 February 2016
There’s National Hunt racing at Taunton and Wetherby tomorrow, but no runners of interest.
Here is another of the AppleTree Stud yearlings, this one by Sea The Stars:
I’ve got a busy weekend leading up to the Cheltenham Festival. On Saturday 12 March I hope to visit Noel Williams’ yard to see Menace again; then, on Sunday, it’s the second day of Oaklands College Lambing Weekend. Evidently the College currently has a problem with waterlogged fields, so there may be no parking facilities available for the lambing weekend visitors. I always walk there anyway, and would do so even if I lived further away.
I’m not sure how I feel about work today ... I arrived at 08:15, and by 13:00 was feeling so wound up that I packed up the photos which adorn my desk (many of Choc) and walked out. I came home, made myself a cup of tea ... and it did the trick too, as my anger had dissipated and I returned to work – crisis over for the moment! Also, looking on the bright side, I had a lunch hour!!! I’ve got so much tension in my shoulders at the present time that it’s giving me ‘clampy head’ and dizzy spells.
Sunday 21 February 2016
There were three runners of interest this afternoon, at Market Rasen, and this is how they fared:
Awesome Rosie (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).
Winner Massagot (Alan King/Noel Fehily) was pulled up, having gone lame behind, early on during the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 148 yards] (7 ran); the Alan King runner was loaded into the horse ambulance to take him for treatment.
The Mumper (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) won the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 34 yards] (5 ran).
This is a video clip of Our Pollyanna’s colt – it doesn’t play on ‘mobile twitter’ but hopefully will point you in the right direction to finding the version which does. I have played it on twitter via my newer laptop – I use my old laptop to type items for my website because I prefer the keyboard, but the software is somewhat antiquated!
And AppleTree Stud’s two yearlings cantering in the field today:
And a photo of one of them:
This is Rayvin Black chilling out in the field this morning, following his victory at Ascot yesterday:
A very muddy Mattie Batchelor winning aboard Bangkok Pete at Ascot yesterday:
Big Chief Benny:
Vyta Du Roc:
The sole National Hunt fixture tomorrow is Carlisle, so no runners of interest.
I walked down to Dunelms this morning, bought a number of items including buttons, then returned home only to discover that I’d been overcharged. I wasn’t about to walk back again, so drove my car ... which kind of negated the reason for walking there in the first place. Typical. I was not amused; I’m stressed at the moment, so my fuse is very short. But I did find out that my car is running very smoothly at present ... but I would hope this to be the case, having spent over £800 to have problems rectified when it was serviced earlier this month!
I’ve been pathetic today, with regards to progress on my knitting project. For me, sewing up knitted items has always been the least enjoyable part of the process. I have joined the shoulder seams and knitted one of the front borders but, as I’m on annual leave next Friday and the following Monday, I’ll have to complete it next weekend instead.
Saturday 20 February 2016
Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:
Big Chief Benny (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished last in the Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran); he wasn’t beaten very far however – ¾’s of a length, 2½ lengths, 4 lengths and a head.
Brod Na Heireann (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) slipped up on the top turn, he was short of room and possibly clipped heels, in the Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) [2 miles 7 furlongs & 118 yards] (14 ran).
Messire Des Obeaux (Alan King/Richard Johnson) finished 3rd in the Juvenile Hurdle (4 ran); a very promising debut for the yard, as he was only 3/4’s of a length and 1½ lengths behind the winner.
Reve De Sivola, ridden by Richard Johnson, won the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle. Sadly the result was marred by the demise of Deputy Dan who collapsed and died after his race: https://mobile.twitter.com/mick573tw/status/701094814524293121/photo/1
And there was a heart-felt posting from his devastated stable lass:
It was another very good Saturday for trainer Kerry Lee – Bishops Road won Haydock’s Grand National Trial and Kylemore Lough the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
The victorious Nicholls team are ready to head home following Silviniaco Conti’s triumph in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase; he wore blinkers today and looked ‘well-fit’ following a breathing operation and successful treatment of his sarcoids:
Gerard Tumelty has come up with the goods ... this is just so cute – it’s Our Pollyanna with her foal:
I think I shall nickname him ‘Baba Fett’, a variation on the Star Wars bounty hunter character Boba Fett, and because his sire is Califet. Research informs me that the stallion stands at the same stud as Kalinisi, sire of Katchit, and Court Cave, sire of Champion Court. The Pirate’s Queen visited Kalinisi to sire her first foal.
There are three runners of interest tomorrow, at Market Rasen:
14:10 Awesome Rosie (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
15:20 Winner Massagot (Alan King/Noel Fehily) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 148 yards]
16:25 The Mumper (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 34 yards]
It’s worth checking out Alan King’s website to view a schooling and work video loaded on 18 February; the link is on the news page.
Wayne Hutchinson is due to be back in action next week.
I overlooked the fact that jockey Tom Scudamore joined the exclusive 1000 career winners club earlier this week. And Andrew Thornton is a step closer having ridden a ‘last gasp’ winner at Wincanton today.
I’m going to miss the deadline with regards to completing the cardigan for Steph’s baby; she goes on maternity leave on Friday. This is the pattern, and I’ve knitted the V-neck version in ‘Pretty Violet’:
I knitted the lower edge frills today, on the back and both fronts. But I still need to sew the cardigan together, and knit both front borders and sew them on too. I will pop down to Dunelms in the morning to look for suitable buttons – I have some in mind which I saw last Sunday. But all is not lost, because the cardigan is for age 2-3 and Steph’s partner also works for the company, so he can take delivery instead!
Friday 19 February 2016
There were two runners of interest at Sandown Park today, and this is how they fared:
Katie Too (Alan King/Richard Johnson) finished 2nd and Mia’s Storm (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) was pulled up in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).
Tomorrow there’s National Hunt racing at Ascot, Haydock Park and Wincanton, with runners of interest at two of these:
13:15 Big Chief Benny (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Novices’ Hurdle
16:10 Brod Na Heireann (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) [2 miles 7 furlongs & 118 yards]
13:30 Messire Des Obeaux (Alan King/Richard Johnson) – Juvenile Hurdle
It wasn’t a good day with regards to racecourse fatalities. Claret Cloak died having suffered a fatal injury when running on the all-weather at Lingfield Park. Jajamcool, trained by Caroline Keeval, lost his life at Sandown Park, and Marden Court, trained by Colin Tizzard, was fatally injured at Fakenham. RIP beautiful horses.
But there is good news regarding a former racehorse, with Sky Calling giving birth to a filly foal last Sunday. The filly is her second foal, and the sire is Norse Dancer, the same sire of Yanworth no less.
I also notice that Ardamir holds entries in two races at Doncaster next Wednesday.
I was seething by the time I left work this evening. I was working through my lunch-break again, and bumped into my ex-department colleague who was manning our switchboard at the time. She told me she loves her new role within our Training Department, there’s so much variety. But, as another of my colleagues always says, “If XXX fell in a dung heap, she’d come up smelling of roses”.
Thursday 18 February 2016
Choc’s been out and about in Dublin, with Hector Ó hEochagáin, in connection with the BetBright Prestbury Cup:
And today, they’ve been in the Cotswolds:
Henceforth the Irish Team Captain will be known as Hector Thingamabob! Although, come to think of it, Choc is Bob – his family call him Bob.
There’s baby news today ... Our Pollyanna has given birth to her first foal, a colt, by Califet; it’s the first foal to be born at the AppleTree Stud. I remember the Dunkley and Reilly Partnership owned the mare, and recently I was wondering what had happened to her; now I know! Evidently they have three further expectant mares – presumably The Pirate Queen is one of them. Perhaps Choc will tweet a photo of Our Pollyanna and her colt soon; his colleague Kirsty tagged him into photos on facebook – which is why I can view them and read the news.
Trainer Sandy Thomson has suffered a bad couple of days – he lost Any Given Moment following a fatal injury on the gallops yesterday. Today 13-year-old Neptune Equester collapsed and died having finished 2nd to Unioniste in the Ivan Straker Memorial Chase at Kelso. RIP
Top Notch returned to form to win Kelso’s Morebattle Hurdle.
There are two runners of interest tomorrow, at Sandown Park:
14:45 Katie Too (Alan King/Richard Johnson) & Mia’s Storm (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
I turned in at 21:00 yesterday, but once again have been awake since 04:00 this morning. That would be a good thing if it was Cheltenham Festival week, but not at the present time! Fortunately, the neck and shoulder discomfort has only been present for short spells today. I began work at 07:45, and left at 18:00; but I did take a 30-minute break at lunch-time as I was feeling addled – during which time I walked to one of the local shops.
My throat doesn’t feel quite right this evening ... so I’ve got out the First Defence spray just in case. Especially as being run-down will make me susceptible to a cold virus.
Wednesday 17 February 2016
There were three runners of interest at Towcester this afternoon and this is how they fared:
William H Bonney (Alan King/Richard Johnson) won the Novices’ Hurdle Div I (7 ran).
Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 4th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).
Laser Light (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) won the Standard Open NH Flat Race (6 ran).
There’s National Hunt racing at Fontwell Park, Kelso and Leicester tomorrow, but no runners of interest.
Choc’s been visiting Dublin today, as part of his role as Team Captain for the Prestbury Cup:
Faugheen will be forced to miss the Champion Hurdle due to a sore suspensory ... but I expect a Willie Mullins runner will still win, unfortunately.
Alan King has been suffering from flu since the weekend ...
He reports that Midnight Prayer is absolutely fine following Sunday’s attritional Veterans’ Chase at Exeter; as a result of his win, the handicapper has put him up 3lbs to 142 – so he should get a run in the Grand National off that mark. Ziga Boy is rated 141 but Alan feels the Aintree feature will probably come a year too soon for his charge – he goes to the BetBright Chase at Kempton later this month. But, with regards to Ned Stark, the Dunkley and Reilly horse has now slipped to 133 having failed to recapture last season’s form, so isn’t currently rated high enough for the Grand National ... Alan thinks he will be put on the ‘transfer’ list shortly. Poor old Ned ...
There’s good news regarding Montbazon – his legs are fine following Saturday’s reappearance outing in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. However, Karezak is out for the remainder of the season with a minor leg problem. Salmanazar has now qualified for the Pertemps Final following his 4th place effort at Exeter and its fingers crossed that he isn’t balloted out.
I’ve had a really long day today ... it began at 04:00 when I woke up in discomfort caused by my neck and shoulder problems. My eyes were severely dry too. It took two hours for the non-stop aching to subside, so I didn’t get any further sleep. I was then fine until around 10:00, after which the dull ache returned and continued until it became back ache during the afternoon. The pain has eased this evening but, no doubt, will return as soon as I become stressed tomorrow. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Tuesday 16 February 2016
Out for the Season
News has come through today that Ar Mad will be out of action for the remainder of the season; he too, has a condylar fracture, like Violet Dancer, but it is a foreleg which is affected in this instance. Again a screw has been inserted in the affected bone but the prognosis is good. So that’s three of his 2-mile stars with season-ending injuries; the other being Traffic Fluide. I think Willie Mullins must have a voodoo doll ... or maybe a voodoo horse!
There are three runners of interest at Towcester tomorrow; the course will be subject to a precautionary inspection tomorrow morning:
13:20 William H Bonney (Alan King/Richard Johnson) – Novices’ Hurdle Div I
15:35 Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle
16:45 Laser Light (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) – Standard Open NH Flat Race
Choc has tweeted a photo of one of AppleTree Stud’s unraced 3-year-olds, Empress Rock, at home:
Having returned to work following a long weekend, I was shocked to discover an unexpected backlog of letters to process before I could begin the new day’s work. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Monday 15 February 2016
I know they say that things come in threes ...
but this is a ridiculous amount of bad luck
for the Gary Moore team ...
Firstly, Gary Moore’s talented 2-mile chaser Traffic Fluide was ruled out for the remainder of the season due to injury.
Then, today, Gary revealed that novice Violet Dancer had sustained a condylar fracture in a hind-leg when winning at Warwick on Saturday. Condylar fractures occur at the lower end of the cannon bone and are quite common in racehorses. Violet Dancer has undergone an operation today, to insert a screw in the damaged bone, but it is expected he will make full recovery enabling him to return to racing in due course.
And, finally, it has been announced that his star novice Ar Mad is now lame following today’s run; he will be assessed tomorrow.
And to think that all three set-backs have come to light during February. Fingers crossed that nothing happens to Sire De Grugy too.
Anyway, here are today’s results for my runners of interest at Plumpton today:
Ar Mad (Gary Moore/Joshua Moore) won the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 164 yards] (3 ran); he did jump out to his right on occasion, but that was in order to adjust his stride to meet the obstacles correctly. Let’s hope he will be okay and the lameness short-lived, as it had been decided following today’s run that he will take his chance at Cheltenham.
Cannon Fodder (Sheena West/Marc Goldstein) finished 3rd and Billy No Name (Colin Tizzard/Paddy Brennan) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 114 yards] (8 ran).
Meanwhile the ex-Alan King-trained Kuda Huraa finished 2nd in a Handicap Hurdle at Catterick today.
Irish-based jockey Danny Mullins, who came to grief during Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle, has fractured a kneecap and will miss the Cheltenham Festival as a result.
You may have spotted that L’Ami Serge wore the wrong number cloth during the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase on Saturday; this resulted in two number 1s and no number 2. Trainer, Nicky Henderson, was fined following this oversight by his representative:
“The Stewards held an enquiry to consider why L’AMI SERGE (IRE) trained by Nicky Henderson, placed second, ran with the wrong number cloth. Having heard evidence from the trainer’s representative they found the trainer in breach of Rule (C)43.3 and fined him £140.”
There are no runners of interest tomorrow. However, the Grand National ‘Weights’ lunch takes place tomorrow – Alan King has three entries – Midnight Prayer, Ned Stark and Ziga Boy. The bottom weights last year were rated 139 evidently. Ziga Boy is rated 141, Ned Stark 137, and Midnight Prayer 139 with yesterday’s run still to be taken into account.
I took a walk to Wilko today and found exactly what I was looking for, as regards replacement picture frames for my embroidery. I obviously hadn’t been to the shop in a long time, as I didn’t realise the retail chain had been rebranded from Wilkinsons to Wilko sometime between 2012 and 2014! I always used to purchase my picture frames from the store, so should have tried the shop first I guess.
I’ve also finished knitting the main sections of the infant’s cardigan ... I now have to sew it together, the worst task, but not before I’ve knitted the front borders and frill along the lower edge.
I’m also well on top of transferring race recordings to DVD, so it’s a pity my working life is not under control at present.
Sunday 14 February 2016
Racing at Exeter went ahead although, in hindsight, this may not have been a sensible move as those which took part have probably compromised their form for the remainder of this season due to the heavy ground. There were a number of non-runners; but others ran because they needed to boost their chances of qualification for Festival events. Also, due to the track conditions, a number of fences and hurdles were omitted; there were even fewer fences later in the afternoon, due to runners trashing obstacles during earlier races!
Anyway, here are the results for my runners of interest:
Salmanazar (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 4th but The Tourard Man (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) was pulled up in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Qualifier [2 miles 7 furlongs & 25 yards] (10 ran – only 5 finished). So that means last year’s third, The Tourard Man, is not qualified for the Festival race – are there any further opportunities?
Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Richard Johnson) won the Veterans’ Handicap Chase (Qualifier – Leg 1) (6 ran) ... but he was the sole finisher! There were 4 non-runners; three pulled-up, which left just Golden Chieftain, Midnight Prayer and Shotavodka to enter the home straight. At this point it appeared that Golden Chieftain had the race at his mercy, only to fall 3 out; then, travelling in third, Shotavodka clambered over the same fence only to unseat his rider. This left Midnight Prayer to come home alone to claim the entire pot of prize money – which was £29,511.
I would imagine Midnight Prayer’s run at Warwick a few weeks ago, when runner-up to Russe Blanc in the Classic Chase, had a bearing on his effort today despite the ground. But, connections are mindful of attaining qualification for this year’s Grand National.
When interviewed at Exeter following a winner, trainer Harry Fry confirmed that Bitofapuzzle will revert to hurdles for the remainder of the season, with the plan of running in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival; she finished 3rd in the race last year.
There are three runners of interest at Plumpton tomorrow:
14:30 Ar Mad (Gary Moore/Joshua Moore) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 164 yards] – connections are trying to establish whether their charge is able to compete left-handed!
15:00 Cannon Fodder (Sheena West/Marc Goldstein) & Billy No Name (Colin Tizzard/Paddy Brennan) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 114 yards]
I had a fruitless trip to my local Dunelm store today; well, almost fruitless – I bought solely a pair of size 3¾ knitting needles. I needed to buy a replacement frame for one of my cross-stitch pictures; in fact I need to buy two, as it’s one of a pair. The original frame got broken at Christmas, which is such a shame as they were an ideal colour to match the blue hues of the sea and river subject matter. There was nothing suitable, in colour or size – 8” x 6”. I also looked in Homebase, but had no luck there either. Nor could I find any picture cord. I looked in Hobbycraft just before the turn of the year, but I think they must have sold most of their stock before Christmas. So I’ll have to walk to Wilkinsons tomorrow, to see if they have any suitable frames instead.
I’ve made further progress on the infant’s cardigan I am knitting; I’ve reached the armhole on the left-front and will hopefully complete this section before I turn in tonight. My goal is to complete the right-front tomorrow, as I’m on annual leave again.
Choc and Jennie have visited a restaurant in Stow-on-the-Wold today, presumably for Valentine’s Day.
Saturday 13 February 2016
The Home Team sees off the Irish raid of Willie Mullins et al ...
apart from Open Eagle’s victory at Warwick!
And Lizzie Kelly does it again!
Firstly here is the round-up for my runners of interest today, at Newbury:
Herewego Herewego (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).
Montbazon (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 10th in the Betfair Hurdle (Grade 3 Handicap) (22 ran).
I think it was an okay run from Montbazon, considering he’s been off the racecourse since competing at Market Rasen on 19 July 2014. It was a standing start today; Denis wanted to take an inside route, but I wonder if he was squeezed out around the top bend, because Montbazon ended up at the back of the field by the time they began their journey down the back straight.
Notably, the race was won by the novice Agrapart, trained by Nick Williams and ridden by his step-daughter Lizzie Kelly; the winning distance 11 lengths.
The runner-up was Starchitect, making his first racecourse appearance since falling at the Aintree Festival. He blundered badly at the last flight today, the point at which he was headed by the winner.
Nigel Twiston-Davies trained the third-placed Flying Angel, and Harry Whittington the fourth Affaire D’Honneur.
The first of the Irish, and there were six of them, was the Noel Meade-trained Waxies Dargle in 5th; he was also the first home of the JP McManus-owned runners. The best of Willie Mullins’ five was Kalkir in 6th place; he trained the McManus-owned favourite, Blazer, who finished 9th. Another finished 16th ... and the other two fell!!!
Houblon Des Obeaux, wearing cheek-pieces once more, was an excellent winner of the Denman Chase; although it was regarded as a sub-standard renewal:
Top Gamble won the Game Spirit Chase by 10 lengths from Dodging Bullets; although the latter was making his seasonal reappearance having been suffering from a splint, and the ground would not have suited the Champion Chaser either. But it was a very good call from the winner’s trainer, Kerry Lee, to enter her charge in the race, knowing it was a small field and that Top Gamble would have his best ever chance of beating the Paul Nicholls runner due to these circumstances:
Meanwhile at Warwick, L’Ami Serge’s Arkle credentials took a battering when Violet Dancer (the winner of last year’s Betfair Hurdle) beat Nicky Henderson’s charge under an enterprising ride from Jamie Moore. Not only that, but L’Ami Serge didn’t jump very well either!
I’d made a note in my notebook that Taquin Du Seuil was due to return to action today but, in the event, I failed to notice his name when checking the online race-cards yesterday. However, he did win the 2 miles 4 furlongs Handicap Chase at Warwick under Leighton Aspell, and he won it well:
Open Eagle won the first race on the card for Willie Mullins, but the two Irish-raiders in the Mares’ Listed Hurdle could only finish 3rd and 4th; the latter also for Mullins. The winner was Flute Bowl, another winner for Gary Moore and son Jamie.
There is due to be National Hunt racing from Exeter tomorrow, but an inspection today was inconclusive so there’s to be another tomorrow morning to see if racing can go ahead. If it does take place, there are 3 runners of interest:
15:10 Salmanazar (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) & The Tourard Man (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Qualifier [2 miles 7 furlongs & 25 yards]
15:40 Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Richard Johnson) – Veterans’ Handicap Chase (Qualifier – Leg 1)
My knitting project is coming along well, as I’ve now finished both sleeves. So I now have just the two front sections to complete; I saved them until last because there are two variations to the pattern – round neck and v-neck – and the back and sleeves are identical regardless of the style. The round neck is easiest, but v-neck more practical as it’s for age 2-3 ... it’s a delayed decision, but I shall knit the latter design.
Friday 12 February 2016
Here are today’s results for my runners of interest at Kempton Park this afternoon:
Label Des Obeaux (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).
Devil To Pay (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) fell at the last in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (11 ran); he would have finished 2nd but for getting in too close to the obstacle and paying the price for the error. He fell two out on his last outing.
Ned Stark (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished a disappointing 5th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles] (10 ran); that’s despite wearing cheek-pieces for the first time.
Thomas Shelby (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 5th and Sir Anthony Browne (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) won the Maiden Open NH Flat Race Div I (15 ran); the winner dashed through to claim the prize when, initially, it looked like he’d have to settle for 4th place!
Too Far Gone (Alan King/William Featherstone) finished 12th and Catena Alta (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 13th and Midnight Merlot (Noel Williams/Ian Popham) finished 8th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race Div II (15 ran).
There were a total of 30 horses taking part in the two divisions of the bumper, with Nicky Henderson training 7 of them! They finished 3rd, 4th, 6th and last in the first division, and 1st, 4th and 6th in the second.
The feature race was won impressively by Josses Hill; although his jumping was a little cautious at first, fully understandable following his horrific fall during the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December, he was very fluent once he’d warmed up.
There were 8 races at Kempton and Nico de Boinville rode the winner of four of them; two for Nicky Henderson, including Josses Hill, and two for Ben Pauling. This photo of Josses Hill was tweeted before he’d won the last race also:
My Tent Or Yours and Hargam had a race-course workout at Kempton; Barry Geraghty aboard My Tent and Sir AP McCoy aboard the grey. They jumped four hurdles too:
There’s racing at Warwick and Newbury tomorrow, with runners of interest at the latter:
13:20 Herewego Herewego (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) – Novices’ Hurdle
15:35 Montbazon (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Betfair Hurdle (Grade 3 Handicap)
The Grade 2 Denman Chase takes place at 14:25 – engaged are Rocky Creek, Splash Of Ginge, Bob Ford, Ballynagour, Houblon Des Obeaux, Midnight Appeal (ex-Alan King, now trained by Sophie Leech) and The Giant Bolster.
The Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase starts at 15:00 – engaged are Dodging Bullets, Top Gamble, Captain Conan and Un Beau Roman; L’Ami Serge is entered, but the first preference is the Kingmaker at Warwick ... where he has just two opponents!
It may become a Willie Mullins home-side bloodbath tomorrow – he has 5 entries in the Betfair Hurdle. And JP McManus owns 5 of the horses entered in same – 1 trained by Noel Meade, 2 by Jonjo O’Neill, 1 by Paul Nicholls, and 1 by Willie Mullins. Barry Geraghty has chosen to ride Blazer trained by the latter, with the rejected Paul Nicholls-trained Modus ridden by Nick Scholfield, not Sam Twiston-Davies. Sam is riding a Mullins runner for the first-time, Buiseness Sivola! Willie also has a runner in the bumper, Bleu Berry.
Mullins also has two runners at Warwick.
I’m not sure whether I enjoyed my day’s leave, as I’ve still got work on my mind. I slept in later than usual, and popped out to the supermarket around 09:15 to buy my lotto ticket. I didn’t come straight home either, but went for a walk instead; I arrived back at 10:35. I’ve been sorting out some bit and bobs; have done a little bit of jewellery making, before starting the first sleeve of Steph’s baby’s cardigan. And I’ve had intermittent spells of yawning, so I must be tired! And, of course, I’ve watched the racing this afternoon, on RUK.
Monday is a day’s holiday too, so I’ll have to try not to think about work ... breathe deeply and relax ...
Thursday 11 February 2016
There were a number of runners of interest today and this is how they fared:
Willoughby Hedge (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) won the Handicap Chase [3 miles 6 furlongs] (11 ran).
Kerrow (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) unseated in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).
Winter Escape (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) won the Novices’ Hurdle Div I (8 ran).
Shadarpour (Alan King/William Featherstone) finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) [3 miles & 96 yards] (19 ran).
Midnight Thomas (Alan King/Killian Moore) finished a distant last in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).
Genstone Trail (Alan King/Brendan Powell) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 189 yards] (9 ran).
My Khaleesi (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) won and Kokomo (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 9th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I (11 ran).
And I overlooked one winner – EPDS Racing’s Celtic Artisan won an apprentice Handicap at Chelmsford! (8 ran).
There’s National Hunt racing at Wetherby and Kempton Park tomorrow, with runners of interest at the latter:
13:35 Label Des Obeaux (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Novices’ Hurdle
14:05 Devil To Pay (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase
15:50 Ned Stark (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]
16:25 Thomas Shelby (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) & Sir Anthony Browne (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race Div I
16:55 Too Far Gone (Alan King/William Featherstone) & Catena Alta (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) & Midnight Merlot (Noel Williams/Ian Popham) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race Div II
The feature race is the Graduation Chase at 15:15; due to take part are Josses Hill, God’s Own, Aso and Kings Lad.
The highly thought of Glingerburn, trained by Nicky Richards, has been put to sleep. RIP.
Having worked almost 10 hours non-stop today, I managed to complete all of my urgent workload by close of play; there is still much to do on the immediate horizon, sadly.
I’m now going to lie down in a darkened room for four days ... but I must remember to buy a lotto ticket tomorrow.
There is an upside to all this however, as I’ve not had time to venture to the City centre shops to spend money since 01 February ... and I’ve lost around 4 or 5 lbs in weight over this period too. But, at the current rate, I’ll soon fade away to nothing!
Wednesday 10 February 2016
One runner of interest today, on the all-weather at Kempton Park:
Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/George Baker/part-owned AppleTree Stud) finished 2nd in the Handicap [1 mile 4 furlongs] (7 ran).
There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:
13:15 Willoughby Hedge (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 6 furlongs]
13:45 Kerrow (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – NH Novices’ Hurdle
14:20 Winter Escape (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) – Novices’ Hurdle Div I
15:30 Shadarpour (Alan King/William Featherstone) – Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) [3 miles & 96 yards]
14:40 Midnight Thomas (Alan King/Killian Moore) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
15:40 Genstone Trail (Alan King/Brendan Powell) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 189 yards]
16:15 My Khaleesi (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) & Kokomo (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I
I often find that my blog flows, logically, when I write it. Kokomo is a city in Indiana; I discovered this only yesterday, when I was researching Niagara Falls on Google Maps having watched Michael Portillo’s Great American Railway Journeys programme earlier in the evening. There’s also a city of the same name in Arkansas and another in Hawaii. It’s also the name of a song recorded by the Beach Boys. My fact of the day is that the Great Lakes in North America contain around a fifth of the world’s fresh water!
And Kokomo, the mare, lives in the box next to Menace!
Wayne Hutchinson continues on the injury sidelines this week; he’s still recovering from bruising and ligament damage as a result of his fall at Doncaster on 29 January.
Also back on the injury list is Wilde Blue Yonder; he was lame after a schooling session last Thursday, but it is a totally different problem to previously. Alan is giving him a quiet few days with the hope of getting him back in the near future.
Alan states that Montbazon is a probable runner in Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle, as they are hoping to also run him at the Cheltenham Festival; Winner Massagot unlikely unless the weather changes.
The Tourard Man will revert to hurdles, with the hope of getting an entry in the Pertemps Final at the Festival.
And Ned Stark will be wearing first-time cheek pieces when he runs at Kempton on Friday; he’s also a Grand National entry ... does that mean Choc might attend the Aintree Festival again this year? His mum and her friends always attend the event ... and I’m sure Jennie would like to go too!
I can’t see any mention of Ardamir in Alan’s Weekender column.
Medinas’ legs are okay following his comeback run at Sandown on Saturday.
Alan recently enjoyed a very good lunch with owner Max McNeill at the French Horn in Sonning; it’s Alan’s favourite restaurant evidently! I’ve never been inside ... but have driven past it many many times over the past few years when visiting my friend Denise in Caversham.
Alan is beginning to get ‘hacked off’ with the weather ... aren’t we all!
Killultagh Vic has been ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival due to injury.
Denman is set to parade at Newbury on Saturday – the Denman Chase features on the card.
Andrew Cooper, Clerk of the Course at Sandown and Epsom, reports that the Amato pub near the latter has closed. He’s wondering what happens now with regard to the name of the Derby winner supposedly being written on the well outside the hostelry by a clairvoyant gypsy ahead of the race.
Another day worked in excess of 9½ hours without a break ... it seems impossible to keep up with the demands upon my time however hard I try, so perhaps I should just give up.
Tuesday 09 February 2016
One runner of interest tomorrow, on the all-weather at Kempton Park:
18:55 Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/George Baker/part-owned AppleTree Stud) – Handicap [1 mile 4 furlongs]
Ludlow’s fixture scheduled for tomorrow has been abandoned, as has Taunton on Thursday.
Snorkels are currently the order of the day at Stratford racecourse:
Here is a photo of Daliance (aka Dali) following yesterday’s victory at Fakenham; his second win in 3 runs.
And again, jumping the last flight:
Daliance has an interesting history. He was bought cheaply at the sales by EPDS Racing due to an existing leg injury, but he has now been rehabilitated both physically and mentally in so much that he appears to be enjoying his racing career once again. He’d become very sour in nature, due to mishandling by previous trainers, but is now far happier in himself; he’s a flat-bred horse with an excellent pedigree and had been purchased for £125,000 as a youngster with aspirations of winning the Derby!
A further visit to Noel’s yard has been arranged for Saturday 12 March, in order for Menace’s syndicate members to see him on the gallops. It is envisaged he will return to action during the latter half of March.
I forgot to mention that Traffic Fluide has suffered a set-back and will be out of action for the remainder of the season. But, by contrast, Champion 2-miler Dodging Bullets is due to return to the racecourse in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on Saturday.
Choc and Jennie went to the cinema in Cheltenham on Sunday evening to see The Revenant. Personally I don’t like Leonardo DiCaprio and I’ve never seen Titanic.
Fortunately I did get some change from £1,000 with regard to my car service – it cost £816. Having prepared myself for the worst, it wasn’t quite as painful to pay this bill as I thought it would be!!! Mind you, I could find many more pleasurable things to spend that kind of money upon.
I worked a mere 9¼ hours today, without a break. My brain is feeling addled this evening, but I have managed to draft the final few paragraphs of my diary from Saturday. I’m now going to bed ... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Monday 08 February 2016
Here are today’s results for my runners of interest:
Bingo D’Olivate (Noel Williams/Leighton Aspell) finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran); noting the jockey change. He made a number of mistakes, but at least he completed this time. J
Daliance (Noel Williams/William Featherstone/EPDS Racing) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 1 yard] (7 ran).
Ascunsion (Rebecca Menzies/Brian Hughes/EPDS Racing) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (7 ran).
There are no runners of interest tomorrow.
There are upcoming entries for both Ned Stark and Ardamir - Ned for a Handicap Chase at Kempton Park on Friday and Ardamir for a Handicap Hurdle at Warwick on Saturday; Noel’s Authorized Too also holds an entry in the latter.
In addition, and I’d already thought this a distinct possibility, Ned has been entered for the BetBright Chase at Kempton Park later this month – Midnight Prayer, Sego Success and Ziga Boy also have entries in this one. Although Midnight Prayer and Sego Succes may go to Haydock Park for the Grand National Trial a week earlier.
I’m on annual leave on Friday but feel that I shouldn’t add to my current stress levels by venturing out to the races on that day - in other words, driving on the M25 on a weekday afternoon (and especially a Friday) and a new diary to write following my excursion. One day I want to venture out to Warwick, but Saturday isn’t that day. However, I’m hopeful that my work-related stress will have improved by the end of the month, so Kempton Park on 27 February would definitely be a possibility.
I’ve worked two extras hours again today, and now have ‘clampy head’ as a result. The hoped-for improvement in workload this week has not materialised.
And, to add insult to injury, I took my Fiesta to be serviced today and received a phone call from the service department relaying bad news regarding a couple of major problems which need to be fixed. From the quotes provided, I have a horrible feeling that I’ll be lucky to get any change out of £1000 when I collect my car tomorrow; no doubt around 99% of that cost will be labour charges, with just a few pence for parts. What an absolute bummer ... that’s all I need.
Sunday 07 February 2016
There are 3 runners of interest tomorrow:
14:20 Bingo D’Olivate (Noel Williams/Tom O’Brien) – NH Novices’ Hurdle
15:20 Daliance (Noel Williams/William Featherstone/EPDS Racing) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 1 yard]
14:30 Ascunsion (Rebecca Menzies/Brian Hughes/EPDS Racing) – Novices’ Handicap Chase
There was a flash-flood at Paul Nicholls’ yard yesterday, with 15 boxes underwater: https://mobile.twitter.com/PFNicholls/status/696104183821373440/photo/1
However, the horses affected were evacuated safely and Paul reported that they were expected to return to their boxes today, as the water has now drained away.
Meanwhile, at Harry Fry’s yard, there’s been a landslide which has wiped out a parking area:
My journey to east Oxfordshire yesterday morning was small-fry (an unintentional pun) by comparison! Puddles, what puddles? My biggest worry, ahead of arriving, was that my car might get stuck in the mud on the grass verge outside the yard; I cheated however, by parking in a passing place but, as it is a very quiet dead-end lane leading to the yard and downs beyond, 90 or so minutes did not matter very much. I also took the precaution of turning around to face downhill, before I parked. Fortunately the yard, where Noel is due to move to soon, appears to have plenty of parking spaces available on site.
Along with visiting Noel’s yard yesterday, I’ve begun knitting the cardigan for Steph’s baby, transferred a number of items from hard disk to DVD, and selected and uploaded the photos I took yesterday too.
Saturday 06 February 2016
Bingo D’Olivate is alive and well ...
and also has a bib to prevent him from chewing things!
He is due to run at Fakenham on Monday
J J J
Sweet mare Chance Taken
is back in work
And Menace is enjoying lighter duties
whilst the ground is too soft
I allowed an extra 15 minutes to reach Blewbury today, but was still nearer last than first to arrive! The wind has been strong all day, but was accompanied by rain this morning latterly, which didn’t make for a pleasant drive. There was no congestion on the M25 or M4, on the outward or return journey, just a lot of spray on the M4 as I headed westwards. But statistics show that motorways are the safest roads to drive upon, so that’s all one has to remember.
We walked up to the gallops to see Theatre Goer, Midnight Jitterbug, Friendly Society and Daliance work ... the only problem was that it was blowing a gale and no-one could hold their camera still enough to take particularly good pictures!
I understand Noel will be signing the lease on his new yard at the end of this month so, presumably, my next visit will entail finding my way to, I believe, Churn Stables on the other side of Blewbury (turn left opposite the garden centre Noel said).
Anyway, here are today’s results for my runners of interest:
Medinas (Alan King/W Featherstone) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) [2 miles 7 furlongs & 98 yards] (9 ran). He was struggling from a long way out, so I wonder if connections will call it a day soon.
Bristol De Mai won the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, beating As De Mee, Tea For Two and Ubak; he’s definitely a live prospect for the Festival’s JLT Novices’ Chase.
Peace And Co flopped again.
Bitofapuzzle (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) was pulled up in the Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (6 ran); the race was won by Blaklion – so that was an across the card feature-race double for Nigel Twiston-Davies, who also trains Bristol De Mai. I think the mare would be better off going for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle again this year.
Meanwhile Jeans Lady ran in the Maiden Stakes at Lingfield Park but finished last of 7, tailed off. She’s such a sweet mare so, personally, I’d retire her to live out her days in tranquillity! She’d make a lovely broodmare or riding horse I’m sure.
This rain is causing havoc – Ffos Las was on, initially, but then called off following further heavy rain and another inspection. Not good when many had already made the long trek to the west Wales track.
There’s National Hunt racing solely at Musselburgh tomorrow, so no runners of interest.
Friday 05 February 2016
EPDS’ Celtic Artisan (aka Dylan) finished 3rd in the 17:45 at Wolverhampton today; 10 ran.
It’s a very quiet day tomorrow ... with just two runners of interest:
15:00 Medinas (Alan King/W Featherstone) – Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) [2 miles 7 furlongs & 98 yards]
The Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, named after those ‘Silly Islands’ roundabouts just down the road from the racecourse, is to be run at 14:25. The entries are As De Mee, Maximiser, Tea For Two, Ubak and Bristol De Mai. Medermit won the race back in 2011.
14:45 Bitofapuzzle (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) – Novices’ Chase (Grade 2); also engaged are Blaklion, Definitly Red, Native River, Run Ructions Run and Kingswell Theatre. Ned Stark won this race last year.
This photo, from Smad Place’s novice season, has been uploaded onto twitter. The photo was taken at Huntingdon and the missing jockey was Choc! Oops!
Veteran Georgian King, now aged 13, has been retired following his disappointing run at Towcester yesterday.
I’m beginning to think it is pointless taking my outstanding annual leave, as I still end of working more hours than I actually take as holiday! As I’ve still got numerous work tasks outstanding, it seems wasteful to be sitting at home doing nothing whilst even more work builds up ... it’s a dilemma.
And, last but not least, many happy returns of the day to my niece Lydia; she’s 23 today.
Thursday 04 February 2016
Here are today’s results for my runners of interest at Towcester:
Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 217 yards] (13 ran); last of the finishers.
Lady Persephone (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) was pulled up in the Mares Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).
Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Tom Humphries) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles & 102 yards] (9 ran); last of the finishers.
Real Gone Kid (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).
Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [1 mile 7 furlongs & 181 yards] (8 ran).
Informationisking (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) won the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).
There’s no surprise that Yanworth now has a sole entry at the Cheltenham Festival – in the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle.
EPDS’ Ami Desbois has been given an entry in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
EPDS’ Celtic Artisan runs in the 17:45 at Wolverhampton tomorrow.
A number of my work colleagues and ex-work colleagues are holding a reunion in April ... that includes Lesley who not only remains a friend but is also an ex-colleague, and also Elaine who now lives near Fort Augustus. Sadly the day, which has already been chosen, is Saturday 09 April, which is Grand National Day. Oh well, I’ll have to forego it on this occasion and hope we can have another get-together in a few years’ time!
I survived another day at work; just. I worked from 08:00 to 17:40 today, no breaks. I even forgot to eat my lunch; my sole sustenance was a packet of Hula Hoops! I’ve a half-day tomorrow and, hopefully, I can then put work out of my thoughts for the weekend.
Wednesday 03 February 2016
There’s National Hunt racing at Wincanton and Towcester tomorrow, with half a dozen runners of interest at the latter:
13:10 Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 217 yards]
13:40 Lady Persephone (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Mares Novices’ Hurdle
14:10 Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Tom Humphries) – Handicap Chase [3 miles & 102 yards]
14:40 Real Gone Kid (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – NH Novices’ Hurdle
15:15 Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [1 mile 7 furlongs & 181 yards]
16:25 Informationisking (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race
Dolly Diamond, who is currently a ‘super-sub’ for EPDS Racing, finished 2nd in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle Qualifier at Ludlow this afternoon (12 ran).
It seems that Leicester and Stratford (my favourite summer course) are set to transfer to RUK!
Yanworth has been enjoying some downtime outside following Saturday’s victory:
There’s news of three planned comebacks involving horses from the Alan King yard. Wilde Blue Yonder holds an entry in Sandown’s Contenders’ Listed Hurdle this Saturday; strangely enough, I looked up his details on Alan’s website last week to see what the current situation was regarding WBY and discovered he was in training, as opposed to being on the injury list. He missed last season due to a leg injury, and his reappearance was further delayed due to a stress fracture earlier this season.
Also due back is Medinas; he holds an entry in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las, which he won in 2013, or a Handicap Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday also. And Alan may run Montbazon in the Betfair Hurdle on Saturday week, because he can’t find a suitable Novices’ Chase for him!
But the Philip Hobbs-trained Captain Chris hasn’t made it back from injury and has been retired:
I worked a mere 9¼ hours non-stop today – that’s no lunch-break, no coffee or tea break, no cigarette break, etc. But at least I had a more restful sleep last night ... but that’s because I’m knackered!
Tuesday 02 February 2016
There’s National Hunt racing at Leicester, Ludlow and Newcastle tomorrow, but no runners of interest.
Choc and Jennie pictured at Cheltenham on Saturday:
This is a another one I’ve found on twitter, also relating to the BetBright Prestbury Cup:
And this is a very old one ... Choc aboard Call Equiname:
Barters Hill, pictured on Sunday, looking well following his run at Doncaster:
I had to relent today, and work extra time in an attempt to catch up with my workload ... I worked for 9½ hours without a break but still don’t feel as though I’m on top of everything yet ! And I didn’t sleep well last night either. I’ve also got what I call ‘clampy head’ this evening; a by-product of the arthritis in my neck.
But I have put my name down to visit the lovely Menace on Saturday J
Monday 01 February 2016
There was just one runner of interest today, at Plumpton:
Cinderfella (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 4th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).
With Lingfield Park abandoned, there’s National Hunt racing solely at Taunton tomorrow but no runners of interest.
Well that was awful day at the office ... I struggled and failed miserably to keep within service level timescales.
Oh well ... if it continues like today, it will end in floods of tears and I’ll have to go hide in the ladies loo! And it won’t be the first time either! They always say that it’s the people at the bottom of the chain who are the most stressed, because they don’t have anyone to delegate to. That is so true. L