Sunday 31 January 2010

No racing results to report today, as Hereford was abandoned, despite fleeces being deployed.  Plumpton used their covers to great effect and the fixture went ahead.  The survivor of the day was definitely Philip Hide, who made a miraculous recovery when his mount, Maximix, blundered at the third fence.  The pair went on to complete the race in 5th place. 


Both of tomorrow’s National Hunt fixtures - Kempton Park and Ludlow - have been lost to the weather.


Choc was photographed walking the course at Cheltenham yesterday:


And there’s more!



Following Choc’s fall, here’s Marcus Armitage’s report from last Wednesday evening:



Press releases suggest that Choc hopes to attend the Oaksey House gym in Lambourn tomorrow to start his exercise programme with an aim to returning to race riding in a few weeks’ time.  I hope his recovery goes well.


Saturday 30 January 2010

I’m glad I woke up early this morning and tuned into The Morning Line on Channel 4 – as the lovely Choc was today’s special guest. J  It was wonderful to see him in such good form.  And, as I’m rather a sad person, I watched the programme again on Channel 4 plus 1 an hour later! 


During the programme, they displayed a Choc profile, listing a number of facts about my favourite jockey, some which I didn’t know ... and evidently he hates carrots!  I have updated my Choc fact file page to reflect these new details:



Unsurprisingly, Choc is a ‘Kauto Star’ man, not a ‘Denman’ man for the Gold Cup this year.


Also, bookmaker Barry Dennis asked if Choc had a brother who works as a stall-handler for Arena Leisure – yes, he does.  Although the team found it amusing to point out how different in stature Richard is compared to his younger brother, and the fact that he is far more follicly- challenged.  So, despite being frightened by horses as a child, Richard works with them too!  The Thornton family is very horse orientated.


With the heavy overnight frost (we also had a dusting of snow in Hertfordshire), initial inspection reports suggested Cheltenham would be abandoned.  So when I arrived back home at 11:00 having popped to the local supermarket, I was very surprised to discover the meeting was on!  However, Doncaster was lost, despite early optimism that the fixture would be okay.  Had Choc been fit, he would have been at Doncaster today, not Cheltenham.  Uttoxeter went ahead too.


It was reported on Racing UK that Choc had been seen at Cheltenham during the afternoon, enjoying a rare day as a spectator.  And it turned out to be a very good day’s racing too:


·         There was a shock in the first race of the day, the Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle, when the Nigel Twiston-Davies 100-1 shot Baccalaureate beat the 8/15 Paul Nicholls runner Pistolet Noir, which ran very ‘green’.

·         The second race, the Novices’ Handicap Chase, was won by the Colin Tizzard trained, Joe Tizzard ridden, Hey Big Spender.  I’d seen this horse win at Newbury on Hennessy Gold Cup Day.  There were lots of casualties during the race – 4 fallers and 1 unseated from the 11 runners.

·         The Sawyer won the 2 mile 5 furlong Handicap Chase, having also won at Ascot last Saturday.

·         The training feat of the day must have been the win of Taranis in the 3 mile 1½ furlong Argento Chase, the Paul Nicholls trained horse having been off the track for 766 days following a tendon injury sustained in the 2007 King George V Chase.  A talented horse, having won the Cheltenham Festival Ryanair Chase back in 2007.  His next target is the Cheltenham Gold Cup.  Taranis beat Carruthers and Joe Lively today, with the other Paul Nicholls runner Inchidaly Rock having departed at the 9th obstacle.

·         The Robin Dickin trained Restless Harry won the Novices’ Hurdle.

·         Wayne Hutchinson, who had originally been booked to ride at Doncaster, returned to take the ride aboard Katchit in the 3 mile Cleeve Hurdle.  The race was won by the enigmatic Tidal Bay, reverting to hurdles today and ridden by Brian Harding deputising for the injured Denis O’Regan.  I’m very pleased to report that Katchit ran extremely well to finish 3rd, and was one of the three horses in with a chance of winning when clearing the last.  Tidal Bay having galloped on to win, Katchit battled to the line against Time for Rupert, losing 2nd by a mere head at the line.  I would imagine both Alan King and Choc were thrilled with Katchit’s run.

·         Arctic Magic under Tom Scudamore won the final race of the day, a 2 mile 1 furlong Handicap Hurdle.


I wish I lived nearer Cheltenham, so that I could make a last minute decision to attend any of their fixtures.  Unfortunately, as I live 100 miles away and it takes 2 hours to travel there, I cannot risk setting off without knowing for definite if racing is going ahead.


Both of tomorrow’s fixtures – Hereford and Plumpton – are subject to 08:00 inspections.  If the former fixture goes ahead, Alan King has a couple of scheduled runners, both to be ridden by Wayne Hutchinson:

14:35 Mr Valentino – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:05 Epidavros – Novices’ Chase


The Kempton and Ludlow fixtures scheduled for Monday are both currently under threat due to the prevailing cold weather.


On the tennis front, Serena Williams won the Australian Open Women’s singles title, beating Justine Henin 6-4 3-6 6-2.


Friday 29 January 2010

There’s more news today regarding Choc’s recuperation, taken from the Racing Post website:



It looks like it’s going to take a little longer than initially expected until he’s back in the saddle again. 

Poor Choc, he must have taken an awful kicking. L


Anyway, back to the racing, and today’s racing results are as follows:


At Newbury:

Wind Instrument was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (12 ran).


At Doncaster:

Prince Broc finished 8th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (20 ran)

Gilded Age finished 4th in the Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (16 ran)

Killobee was a non-runner and Ravethebrave finished 5th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle Qualifier (14 ran).


Meanwhile at Chepstow, Martin Keighley had 2 runners:

Martin Keighley’s Pavanne finished 11th and The Fox’s Decree finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle


Tomorrow, Alan King has 5 runners at Doncaster, and 1 at Cheltenham:

13:10 Sir Harry Ormesher (Charlie Huxley) – Handicap Hurdle

14:20 Nikos Extra (Wayne Hutchinson) – 2 mile 3 furlong Handicap Chase

14:50 The Betchworth Kid (Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:25 Nenuphar Collonges (Wayne Hutchinson) – 3 mile Sky Bet Handicap Chase

16:30 Management (Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Flat Race



15:40 Katchit (Jimmy McCarthy) – Cleeve Hurdle


As Choc is out of action this weekend, I’ll be at home viewing the racing on TV.  Tonight I’m looking forward to watching the 3rd instalment of Pop Star to Opera Star – I missed the first episode but enjoyed last week’s edition.  I think Marcella Detroit from Shakespeare’s Sister is really good.


Tomorrow evening I’ll tune in to Most Haunted Live on Living TV – the new series of programmes is being broadcast live each Saturday between 21:00 and 23:00, rather than each show being edited down to fit a one hour slot to be shown at a later date.


And I guess I might tune into the Australian Open tennis finals this weekend too.  The men’s final is Andy Murray vs. Roger Federer; the women’s is Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin.  Having retired in May 2008, the former world number one, Justine, played her first comeback match at the start of this month and has now reached a grand slam final.  But I can’t say that I like her, her Belgium compatriot Kim Clijsters seems a far nicer person.  Kim won the US Open title last year having come out of retirement too.  Come to think of it, I don’t like to either of the Williams’ sisters ... so perhaps I’ll give the women’s final a miss!


I enjoyed the new episode of Midsomer Murders which was shown last Wednesday night.  I love identifying the locations where the programmes are filmed, as I have visited many of them whilst rambling in the countryside.  I didn’t recognise Polesden Lacey which, of course, is in Surrey, but I did identify Swyncombe Manor House in Oxfordshire despite having walked past it on just one occasion!  It was an extremely hot day and I remember the walk well.  The circular route started out from picturesque Cookley Green, took us down past Swyncombe Manor and church, along part of the Swan’s Way, then across the B480 and down to Pishill (that’s not a mis-type!).  The walk then took my friend Mark and I to Russell’s Water, which was where the ‘pond’ scenes in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang were filmed.  Finally it was down a steep gullied pathway and bridleway back to Cookley Green. 


Thursday 28 January 2010

Whilst Choc is recuperating from his fall, and as outlined yesterday, I’ll be following the progress of both the Alan King and Martin Keighley trained horses:


An update on the Alan King runners at Warwick today:

Riskareas finished a neck 2nd in the Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).

Bakbenscher blundered and unseated Wayne Hutchinson at the 9th obstacle in the Novices’ Chase (6 ran).


Meanwhile at Ffos Las, Alan ran:

Sharajan finished 4th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (12 ran).

In the NH Flat Race Best Bette finished in 6th; Sudden Beat was 3rd; and Tsarinova was 5th (12 ran).


Martin Keighley’s runners fared as follows:

Wychwoods Legend completed in 3rd in the Mares’ Novices’ Chase (7 ran).

Meanwhile, the enigmatic Hareem blundered and unseated his rider at the 2nd flight in the Handicap Hurdle (16 ran).


Tomorrow there are 3 National Hunt meetings scheduled:


At Newbury, Alan King runs:

15:50 Wind Instrument – Handicap Chase (Charlie Huxley)

And at Doncaster he runs:

13:20 Prince Broc – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Gerard Tumelty)

15:05 Gilded Age – Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (Wayne Hutchinson)

16:15 Killobee (Gerard Tumelty) and Ravethebrave (Wayne Hutchinson) in the NH Novices’ Hurdle Qualifier


Meanwhile at Chepstow, Martin Keighley has 2 runners:

13:10 Pavanne (Tom Molloy) and The Fox’s Decree (Jimmy McCarthy) – Novices’ Hurdle


By the way, I forgot to mention that Cracboumwiz was fine too following Tuesday’s fall.  When interviewed at Huntingdon yesterday, Noel Williams (Alan King’s Assistant Trainer) said the horse had been a little stiff the following morning but, apart from that, he was okay.


Wednesday 27 January 2010

The very good news is that Choc has been released from Leicester Royal Infirmary following his overnight stay.  Fortunately the back injury he’s sustained is minor, but it’s reported that he’s very sore having sustained severe bruising.  Choc is hoping to return to action in 7 to 10 days’ time. 


Here’s the link to today’s press report on the Attheraces website:



Another casualty today was Josh Moore, younger brother of Ryan, Jamie and Hayley, who had to be taken to hospital for checks following a fall at Huntingdon.


Alan King had 3 runners at the Huntingdon fixture today, Wayne Hutchinson ably deputising for Choc:

Mille Chief duly hacked up against older horses in Division II of the Novices’ Hurdle and remains the favourite for the Triumph Hurdle (14 ran).

Ballamusic was tailed off and struggling when pulled up before the last in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

Starburst Diamond finished 4th in the Novices’ Chase (5 ran).


I’d booked today as holiday, originally hoping to go to Huntingdon races, but have instead spent the day in bed with an almost migraine-like headache, which didn’t subside until gone lunchtime.  I shouldn’t complain though, as it’s ‘small fry’ compared to Choc’s problems.


Whilst Choc is sidelined, I’ll keep up-to-date with the progress of both the Alan King and Martin Keighley trained runners, starting with Warwick and Ffos Las tomorrow:


At Warwick, Alan King has 2 runners:

13:15 Riskareas – Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (Wayne Hutchinson)

14:55 Bakbenscher – Novices’ Chase (Wayne Hutchinson)


Whilst at Ffos Las, Alan runs:

16:10 Sharajan – Novices’ Handicap Chase (Jimmy McCarthy)

16:45 Best Bette (Jimmy McCarthy), Sudden Beat (Charlie Huxley), Tsarinova (Gerard Tumelty) – NH Flat Race


Martin Keighley also has a couple of runners at the Welsh course:

15:05 Wychwoods Legend – Mares’ Novices’ Chase (Warren Marston)

15:40 Hareem – Handicap Hurdle (Jimmy Derham)


Tuesday 26 January 2010






Poor Choc took a horrible tumble when Cracboumwiz fell at the third last in the Novices’ Chase at Leicester today. 


I didn’t find out that he’d taken a tumble until just before I left work, when I checked the racing results on the Attheraces site and it stated that Cracboumwiz had taken a very heavy fall.  At that stage I didn’t think to read the news section, so had no idea that Choc had been taken to hospital with a suspected back injury.  However, my first task when I reached home was to watch the video, when of course I saw the medics attending to Choc and discovered the very bad news that he needed to be taken to hospital to check his injuries.


Reports about the accident are best summarised by the press reports, so here are a number of links relating to Choc’s accident:








And I hope Geoff Lester will post an update about Choc’s condition on Alan King’s website sooner rather than later:



And here’s a later update from the Racing Post:



And the day had started very promisingly, with Choc recording his 50th winner of the season aboard Little George in the Novices’ Hurdle, only for him to then be brought down to earth in the worst possible way.L


And Martin Keighley’s Ponchatrain won the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase too. Martin’s 22nd winner of the current campaign.


My very best wishes go to Choc for a full and speedy recovery. 


Monday 25 January 2010

Choc rode at Fontwell Park this afternoon ... and recorded two more successes!  J J

Chamirey won the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran), giving Choc his 48th winner of the season.

Pouvoir finished 4th in the Beginners’ Chase (5 ran).

Head to Kerry finished 9th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Over Sixty won the Novices’ Chase, giving Choc his 49th winner of the season.  Alan King also ran Penn Da Benn in this race, ridden by Jack Doyle, and they finished 2nd!  (5 ran)


Meanwhile at Lingfield Park:

The Alan King-trained Stolen Moments was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (10 ran).


Tomorrow Choc will be at Leicester, where he has 2 rides scheduled:

13:40 Little George – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King).

15:10 Cracboumwiz – Novices’ Chase (Alan King).  This horse is owned by John Hales, whose company manufactured the Teletubbies toys. Cracboumwiz sounds like the noise a toy might make. John also owned the famous steeplechaser, the grey One Man.


Martin Keighley also has a runner at Leicester:

14:10 Ponchatrain – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase, to be ridden by Gerard Tumelty


I’m looking forward to viewing the video of today’s races this evening.


Sunday 24 January 2010

Choc wasn’t in action today, as Kassuta was withdrawn at Market Rasen.


Martin Keighley’s horses ran at Towcester and this is how they fared:

Badly Bruised was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

Heezagrey ran well for a long way and finished 7th in the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).


Tomorrow Choc is scheduled to ride at Fontwell Park:

13:05 Chamirey – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

13:35 Pouvoir – Beginners’ Chase (Alan King)

14:10 Head to Kerry – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Dominic Ffrench Davis)

14:45 Over Sixty – Novices’ Chase (Alan King)


Meanwhile at Lingfield Park tomorrow:

The Alan King-trained Stolen Moments runs in the 15:45 Handicap Chase, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.


After Medermit’s good win at Haydock yesterday, a number of his possible rivals for the Champion Hurdle have been running in the Irish equivalent at Leopardstown this afternoon.   The race was won by Solwit, Sublimity was 3rd and Celestial Halo finished a disappointing 4th.


Also following on from yesterday, Bensalem has been confirmed as fine following his fall; and Oh Crick’s next target is the Flying Scotsman Handicap Chase at Doncaster on Saturday 06 February.


Anyway, check out all the current news on Alan King’s website:



Saturday 23 January 2010

Choc rode at Haydock Park this afternoon, and this is how he fared:

Bensalem took off too early and fell at the third last (open-ditch) in the Novices’ Chase (4 ran).  It looked a very nasty fall, but fortunately Choc was fine and it was reported that he jogged back to the weighing room.  Bensalem was okay too, apart from a small swelling on his off-fore knee – but Alan King said the vets thought this was just superficial. Having lost what appeared to have been his main rival, Diamond Harry won the race very easily.

Medermit beat the reigning Champion Hurdler Punjabi to win the Champion Hurdle Trial, giving Choc his 47th winner of the season (4 ran). J

The David Pipe trained Our Vic won the Peter Marsh Chase under Danny Cook.


A couple of Alan’s runners, Bormo at Ascot and Itea Du Fau at Wincanton, were withdrawn as their blood analysis tests were unsatisfactory.  When interviewed by Lydia Hislop for Racing UK, Alan King said that having got over the ‘enzyme’ problem a number of his horses are now suffering from snotty noses and coughs. 


Anyway, at Ascot:

As Bormo didn’t run, Wayne Hutchinson switched to Call Me A Legend in the Novices’ Handicap Chase and duly won!  (7 ran)

Ebiayn finished 7th in the Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Oh Crick finished 3rd in the Grade 1 Victor Chandler Chase, 13 lengths behind winner Twist Magic, but only 1 length behind runner-up Petit Robin (7 ran).

Swansbrook won the final race of the day, the NH Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).


And at Wincanton:

The Hairy Lemon finished as runner-up in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Trigger The Light was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (15 ran but only 5 finished).

Forzy Origny finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle (16 ran).


All in all, it was a good day for the Alan King yard, with 3 winners and a 3rd place in the Victor Chandler Chase amongst the notables!


Tomorrow Choc is due to be at Market Rasen, where he has one ride:

16:15 Kassuta – Handicap Hurdle (RMH Cowell)


Meanwhile at Towcester, Martin Keighley is due to run 2 horses:

13:50 Badly Bruised ridden by Warren Marston – Novices’ Hurdle

16:25 Heezagrey ridden by Danny Hiskett - Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle


Friday 22 January 2010

Alan King has runners at all 3 of tomorrow’s fixtures, so Choc is going to Haydock Park:

14:20 Bensalem – Novices’ Chase

14:55 Medermit – Champion Hurdle Trial


Meanwhile at Ascot:

12:55 Bormo (Wayne Hutchinson) and Call Me A Legend (Charlie Huxley) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

13:30 Ebiayn (Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle

14:40 Oh Crick (Wayne Hutchinson) – Victor Chandler Chase (Grade 1)

16:20 Swansbrook (Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle


And at Wincanton:

13:20 Itea Du Fau (Gerard Tumelty) and The Hairy Lemon (Mr DT Stratton) – Handicap Hurdle

13:55 Trigger The Light (Christian Williams) – Handicap Chase

14:30 Forzy Origny (Christian Williams) – Handicap Hurdle


No excursions to the races for me, so another quiet weekend.


Thursday 21 January 2010

Ludlow was abandoned today due to snow, and tomorrow’s meeting at Chepstow has been called off because the course is frozen due to snow.  So Choc will have another day off from race riding - in his Horse and Hound column this week Choc mentions the boredom and money issues involved when the jockeys can’t ride. 


At Taunton this afternoon, Choc finished 6th aboard Stormhoek in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

The Alan King trained Way Back When finished 3rd of 14 under Sam Waley-Cohen in the Mares’ NH Flat Race.  Sam’s mount beat a Neil Mulholland trained horse named Big Knickers and another called Hot Tottie ... I wonder if the jockeys pull each other’s leg about the names of their mounts!


After much speculation regarding numbers, Timmy Murphy officially rode his 1,000th British National Hunt winner aboard Wizard of Edge at Taunton this afternoon. Congratulations to Timmy on this career milestone.


Unfortunately, as winners have been slightly hard to come by in recent months, Choc won’t reach his 1,000th career winner for a while yet – I think he’s currently on 922 (and apologies to Choc if I’ve got that wrong!). 


Wednesday 20 January 2010

Well, it snowed in Berkshire and Newbury was abandoned!  There’s no sign of any snow in St Albans, but it has been very dull and overcast today, and is considerably colder this evening. 


Choc is scheduled for one ride at Taunton tomorrow:

14:30 Stormhoek – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

Mr Sam Waley-Cohen (claiming 5lbs) is booked to ride the Alan King trained Way Back When in the Mares’ NH Flat Race at 16:00.


If Ludlow gets the go-ahead tomorrow (an inspection is due to be carried out at 07:30), Martin Keighley has two scheduled runners:

Heezagrey in the Novices’ Handicap Chase at 15:10 – Wayne Hutchinson taking the ride, as the horse is due to carry the minimum weight of 10 stone.

Danny Hiskett is due to ride Wychwoods Kaddy in the ‘Hands and Heels’ NH Flat Race for Amateur/Conditional jockeys at 16:10.


Barry Geraghty has been booked to ride Diamond Harry on his chasing debut at Haydock Park on Saturday, as both his regular pilot Timmy Murphy and stable jockey Daryl Jacob are due to ride at Ascot.  This booking suggests that Nicky Henderson’s Punchestowns will be a non-runner in the race.


Tuesday 19 January 2010

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

Rustarix finished 6th in the Handicap Chase (13 ran).

Mister Stickler finished 7th in the Novices’ Hurdle Div I (14 ran).

Sitwell completed in 13th position in the Novices’ Hurdle Div II.  Alan King’s other runner, Kauto The Roc, finished 4th (14 ran).

Long Hop was pulled up in the 3-mile Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Mount Helicon finished 7th in the 2½-mile Handicap Hurdle.  Alan’s other runner, Parlesotho, completed in 10th place (14 ran).


Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at Newbury:

13:00 Devil to Pay – Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

14:05 Little George – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

15:50 Over Sixty – Mares’ Novices’ Chase (Alan King).  Wayne Hutchinson rides Alan’s other runner, Call Me A Legend.


Will there be snow showers tomorrow?  Evidently these are most likely in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire!


Riding plans for next Saturday have become clearer - Wayne Hutchinson has been booked to ride the Alan King trained Oh Crick in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot, with Choc booked to ride Bensalem in the Novices’ Chase at Haydock Park.


Monday 18 January 2010

One ride at Plumpton today, and a win!

Salden Licht won the Novices’ Hurdle, giving Choc his 46th winner of the season (13 ran). J


Tomorrow Choc will be at Southwell, where he has 5 rides scheduled, all for Alan King:

13:00 Rustarix – Handicap Chase

14:00 Mister Stickler – Novices’ Hurdle Div I

14:30 Sitwell – Novices’ Hurdle Div II.  Wayne Hutchinson rides Alan’s other runner Kauto The Roc.

15:00 Long Hop – Handicap Hurdle (extended 3 miles)

15:30 Mount Helicon – Handicap Hurdle (extended 2½ miles).  Gerard Tumelty rides Alan’s other runner Parlesotho.


As Bensalem has entries for Saturday at Haydock Park, and Alan King mentioned on ATR that Medermit might run in the Champion Hurdle trial at the course too, my current feeling is that Choc will be riding at the Merseyside track on Saturday ... so no Ascot trip for me L


The Lester nominees were announced today:


Choc has been nominated for the Jump Jockey of the Year award alongside AP McCoy, Noel Fehily and Paddy Brennan. 


I expect AP will win the Jump Ride of the Year for his ride aboard Wichita Lineman at last season’s Cheltenham Festival.  However, I think Choc should at least have received a nomination in this category for his winning ride aboard Busy Isit in a Handicap Chase at Sandown Park on 06 March last year.  Amazingly the horse failed to decant Choc upon the turf despite a number of bad jumping errors!


Sunday 17 January 2010

Choc rode at Ffos Las this afternoon, and this is how he fared:

Blazing Bailey seemed to enjoy his first public outing over the larger obstacles, jumping well, and finishing a neck 2nd in the Beginners’ Chase (6 ran).  Alan King was interviewed by Matt Chapman of ATR during the morning slot and suggested Blazing Bailey would be retired if he showed a lack of form today – presumably his retirement has now been postponed following his good showing.   Pennek finished 5th in this race.

Ellen Tilley, returning from injury, finished 7th in the 2½ mile Handicap Hurdle (14 ran)

Silver Spinner, under Mr J Banks, ran well to finish 3rd in the 3 mile Handicap Hurdle (15 ran)


Tomorrow, just one ride for Choc at Plumpton:

13:40 Salden Licht – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)


The long range weather forecast is for further snow on Wednesday ... the novelty has worn off and it’s getting boring ...


Saturday 16 January 2010

Huntingdon passed two inspections this morning, the latter because of fears that the local brook might overflow to flood the course.   Racing having got the go ahead, this is how Choc fared:

Prince Buster pulled hard and finished 5th in the ‘NH’ Novices’ Hurdle (15 ran)

Kassuta was a non-runner in the Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

Mister Chancer finished 2nd in the NH Flat Race (7 ran)


Tomorrow Choc will be riding at Ffos Las:

14:10 Blazing Bailey – Beginners’ Chase (Alan King). 

Wayne Hutchinson rides Alan’s other runner in this race, Pennek.

14:50 Ellen Tilley – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

Alan King runs Silver Spinner in the 15:55 Handicap Hurdle – ridden by Mr J Banks claiming 7lbs off the top weight.


Friday 15 January 2010

There has been a mega-thaw over the past couple of days and, hopefully, there will be some National Hunt racing tomorrow. 


The ‘major’ meeting is the Kempton Park fixture, with AP, Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh all in action.  Tomorrow’s fixtures at Wetherby and Warwick have been lost, but Huntingdon which was abandoned today, has now been held over until tomorrow (subject to an 08:00 inspection):


Choc is scheduled to ride at Huntingdon:

13:55 Prince Buster – ‘NH’ Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

15:35 Kassuta – Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (RMH Cowell)

16:05 Mister Chancer – Standard Open NH Flat Race (Alan King)

Mister Chancer showed talent when staying on to finish 5th at Ascot on his first appearance in a bumper, so hopefully will give a good account of himself tomorrow too.


I’m not venturing out to the races this weekend but, hopefully, will get the opportunity to go to Ascot a week tomorrow.  And, whilst I’m in the Berkshire area, I must drop in to see my friend Denise, as I still have her Christmas presents to deliver!


Wednesday 13 January 2010

Choc made it to Southwell today:

Woolfall Hawk finished 11th in the Junior Standard NH Flat Race (12 ran).


Unfortunately Martin Keighley’s horses had to be withdrawn, due to heavy snowfalls in the Cotswolds area causing travel difficulties. 


Nicky Henderson and stable jockey Barry Geraghty had a successful day, with three winners.


No National Hunt racing tomorrow, as the big freeze continues.


Evidently Kempton Park will hold an all-weather NH flat race card on Saturday, if the scheduled jumps card is lost to the weather.  A number of high profile horses have been given provisional entries to the events.


As expected, it did snow in Hertfordshire starting in the early hours of this morning and continuing into the rush hour, causing probably the worst road conditions experienced during the freeze so far, and with many train and bus services being cancelled too.


Tuesday 12 January 2010

To help combat the lack of National Hunt racing, Southwell in holding a 7-race bumper card tomorrow and Choc is scheduled for one ride:

13:30 Woolfall Hawk – Junior Standard NH Flat Race (GG Margarson)


Martin Keighley also runs De Forgotten Man in the 12:30 Maiden Open event; and Wychwoods Kaddy in the 13:30. 


I’m seriously missing writing my blog and I miss watching Choc on TV too. 


A slight thaw has commenced in my local area, but the forecast for tomorrow seems to suggest we might get more snow in the early hours of the morning as the weather front travels up from the west country ... oh no, not more snow. 


My Wellington boots, purchased in September 2008, have been so useful during the snowy conditions last winter and this.  And useful for walking the course at Cheltenham with Choc in December 2008 too!   On Saturday morning I decided to take a shopping trip to Next, M & S and Sainburys – at London Colney – and I walked there and back ... a round trip of 6 miles ... but I enjoyed every minute of my snowy walk!  


Tuesday 05 January 2010

It is 19:45 and we’ve received our first dusting of snow, with lots more forecast for overnight!  Evidently there could be up to 12 inches of snow falling in parts of Buckinghamshire (my neighbouring county to the west).  But, regardless, I know who will make it into work tomorrow ... me!!!  That’s the trouble with living just a 20 minute walk away.


Obviously there’s no hope on the horizon for any National Hunt racing to go ahead if the current freeze continues ... so my blog is going to be very quiet (non-existent) for the next few days!


And, finally, I’m going to wish myself a Happy Birthday for today.


Sunday 03 January 2010

Amazingly, Plumpton was on today, course covers having saved the day!


Choc was thus rewarded with a winner on his only ride of the day, aboard Stoney’s Treasure, in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran), giving Choc his 45th winner of the season.  And I was rewarded with a lovely post-race interview with Choc, by Luke Harvey on Attheraces. J


Franchoek, ridden by AP McCoy, finished 4th of 5 in the Novices’ Chase; Grand National winning jockey, Liam Treadwell (who celebrated his 24th birthday today) won this race, having survived a bad slithering stumble two out, and passing the post with a foot out of the stirrup too!


The Sussex National was won by Master Overseer, trained by David Pipe and ridden by Johnny Farrelly.


No National Hunt racing tomorrow, with both Lingfield Park and Wetherby having been lost to the frost.  Tuesday’s meeting at Taunton has already been abandoned, and I wouldn’t imagine Leicester has much hope of surviving either, if the present weather forecast is anything to go by.


My local 5-day weather forecast, for Hertfordshire, is minus 5 and fog tonight; sunny but zero tomorrow; light snow and 1 degree on Tuesday (my birthday); sunny and zero on Wednesday; and light snow showers and zero on Thursday!  Lovely ...


Saturday 02 January 2010

It was déjà vu at Sandown Park today – exactly the same thing happened last year, when the fixture was abandoned mid-morning after there seemed a possibility that racing would be on.  The position of the grandstand is often a big problem at Sandown, as it casts a giant shadow over the home straight at this time of the year.


There is a meeting scheduled for Plumpton in East Sussex tomorrow and, if it goes ahead, Choc has just one riding engagement:

13:50 Stoney’s Treasure – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

Alan King is also due to run Franchoek, ridden by AP McCoy, in the Novices’ Chase at 13:20.


Friday 01 January 2010



After a number of course inspections, including one after the first race (where Choc was part of the inspection team), the Cheltenham fixture went ahead and the card was completed.  However, due to a number of withdrawals, the expected Choccie Fest  became 4 rides, and this is how he fared:

Paddy Live was pulled up in the ‘NH’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

Nenuphar Collonges was withdrawn from the Handicap Chase.

Bensalem was withdrawn from the Novices’ Chase.  Punchestowns and Knockara Beau were also withdrawn; leaving a 2 runner race in which Seven Is My Number beat Pigeon Island.

Hold Em was brought down four fences out in the Handicap Chase (12 ran).  There was a sad postscript to this race, as Hold Em had to be put down having suffered a broken knee (or fetlock) during the incident.

Trenchant was also withdrawn from the Handicap Hurdle.

Katchit ran with enthusiasm in the Freedom Hurdle to finish runner-up to Sentry Duty (3 ran).

Romulus D’Artaix finished 2nd in the Junior NH Flat Race (15 ran).  Alan King’s other runner, The Laodicean, finished 8th in this race.


Choc was wearing a mask whilst racing today, presumably as protection against the kick-back – just like some jockeys wear when racing on the all-weather.


And this is how Martin Keighley’s runners fared at Cheltenham today:

King Ozzy finished 6th in the ‘NH’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

Any Currency was withdrawn from the Handicap Chase due to concerns about the ground.

However, 7 runners took part in the 14:45, and Wolf Moon was victorious!  Martin’s 21st winner of the season, and his 3rd success at Cheltenham this season too!  Congratulations to Martin and his team.


Despite withdrawing Punchestowns from the Novices’ Chase, Nicky Henderson and his jockey Barry Geraghty had a treble today.


Exeter and Fakenham were lost to the weather today, and Folkestone has been lost for tomorrow.  However, if Sandown passes its morning inspection, Choc has 4 riding engagements:

13:00 Easter Legend – Mares’ Hurdle (Emma Lavelle)

13:30 Riskareas – Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

14:35 Oh Crick – Handicap Chase – 2 miles (Alan King)

15:10 Salden Licht – Tolworth Hurdle (Alan King)


Martin Keighley’s Any Currency holds an entry in the 14:05, the 3 miles ½ a furlong Handicap Chase.


I think it’s going to be very risky attempting to go to Sandown Park tomorrow – even though I’d love to – especially as the weather forecast promises heavy overnight frost. L




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