Friday 31 January 2014

Here are the results from Kempton Park today:

Kincora Fort (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 9th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race Div 1 at 13:50 (15 ran).

Castle Cheetah (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 8th and Simply A Legend (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th in the Jumpers’ Bumper at 15:30 (11 ran).

Lidar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th in the Jumpers’ Bumper at 16:05 (13 ran).

Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 11th in the Jumpers’ Bumper at 16:40 (14 ran); another good run from Bally Legend, who completed in 2nd.

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Jumpers’ Bumper at 17:10 (13 ran).

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 8th and Pyleigh Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 11th in the Jumpers’ Bumper at 17:40 (16 ran).


Also, Hail Tiberius finished 2nd in a 2-mile Selling Handicap under Graham Lee on the all-weather at Lingfield Park (7 ran).


There is concern regarding tomorrow’s fixtures succumbing to water-logging, with Sandown Park having already switched to an all chase card in an attempt to ‘outfox’ the rain.  More


As it turns out, the only card with runners of interest tomorrow is actually Sandown Park ... where Choc has 4 riding engagements:

13:15 Regal One (David Bridgwater/Choc) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

13:50 Oscar Hill (David Bridgwater/Choc) & Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles, Class 2]

14:25 Manyriverstocross (Alan King/Choc) – Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase [Grade 1]; he’s up against Benvolio and Oscar Whisky in this 3-runner race. More

16:10 Speedy Bruere (David Bridgwater/Choc) – Handicap Chase [2 miles, Class 3]


So, the good news is that Choc will be at Sandown Park subject to the all-clear being given following the planned inspection BUT the bad news is that I’m still full of cold, with my sinuses causing persistent pain when I ventured out in the chill wind to the shops this morning; this being the first winter cold I’ve caught since my sinus operation 21 months ago.  What I need is someone to invent a ‘nose warmer’!  Today has been another 2013 carried-over annual leave day, not a sickie I hasten to add!


Here is an interesting photograph of Sandown Park taken in 1924:



And here is a link to the full version of Geoff Lester’s blog on Alan King’s website.



Hannah Bishop, who is owner Liz Prowting’s Racing Manager, will be riding in a Greatwood charity race at Newbury on 01 March.  Here is an interview with her and another of the competitors, with a link to their respective Just Giving donation sites:



The Chinese Year started today and it’s the Year of the Horse; strangely enough, Choc is indeed a horse!  There being 12 Chinese birth signs, thus the year in which he turns 36 will be his own sign.   


There was sad news regarding two veteran chasers reported via the Racing Forum site Memorials page yesterday.  Poquelin is reported to have died from a heart attack, although not on the track, having recently begun a point-to-point career.  And Woolcombe Folly succumbed to a fatal attack of colic.  RIP both of them. L


I’ve finally upgraded my laptop to Explorer 8 ... hopefully I’ll feel brave enough to attempt an Explorer 9 upgrade soon, which I had on my computer before it was rebuilt in October 2012.  However, I need Service Pack 2 loaded before I can do that.  It has already begun to pay dividends, as I can now view more sites than previously without encountering a fatal error.  But the M&S site still doesn’t permit me to purchase items online ... but maybe that is a good thing after all!!! 


Nor can I upload photos to twitter, via my laptop or my phone, the latter because the application doesn’t run on the memory card, only the internal memory, and the phone I chose has insufficient space thereon; in fact I had to remove the application and now use the very limited facilities of the internet ‘mobile’ version instead.


I’m looking forward to a quiet night, literally, as the ‘clonking’ drain cover in the road outside has finally been fixed; admittedly cars mainly missed the target, but larger vehicles certainly didn’t and it was sometimes almost loud enough to wake the dead!

Thursday 30 January 2014

No racing at Chepstow tomorrow, due to water-logging.  But National Hunt racing goes ahead at Catterick and there’s an all-weather jumpers’ bumpers card at Kempton Park with a number of runners of interest at the latter:

13:50 Kincora Fort (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race Div 1

15:30 Castle Cheetah (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Simply A Legend (Alan King/Choc) – Jumpers’ Bumper

16:05 Lidar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Jumpers’ Bumper

16:40 Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) - Jumpers’ Bumper

17:10 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) - Jumpers’ Bumper

17:40 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) & Pyleigh Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) - Jumpers’ Bumper


Still no sign of my Aintree Festival tickets.  And, if they are working through the alphabet, I will have to wait until near the end.  If I was a guy, I’d think about changing my name to Aaron Aardvark to get my name to the top of the list!!!


Yesterday evening I felt a lot better and was thinking that perhaps my virus wasn’t going to turn into a head cold, although all week I’ve been having difficulty sleeping and resorting to making cups of tea at all hours of the night!  But today my nose has been running and this evening I’m totally bunged up.  This one appears to be a ‘slow burner’, so I’m not expecting to feel better until Sunday if the old adage is correct – three days coming, three days here and three days going.

Just one more day of January to go and it doesn’t seem five minutes since it was New Year’s Day.

Wednesday 29 January 2014

News today that 2013 Grand National winner Auroras Encore has been retired following injury, having returned from running at Doncaster last Saturday with a fractured leg.  More


A total of 115 entries have been received for this year’s event, including Godsmejudge, Walkon and Midnight Appeal.  More  Mind you, my favourite horse, Walkon, still needs to qualify!


People are beginning to tweet that they’ve recently received their tickets so, hopefully, it will be my turn soon, especially as I ordered mine on the first day of sales, 03 June last year!


I gather Choc has taken part in filming at Oaksey House during the past few days, but not sure why ... and he’s been on the treadmill!  


Sandown has put in place a contingency plan for Saturday, just in case their hurdles course is un-raceable on the day.  More  And it has been very wet in the southeast today ... it was raining when I walked to work this morning, raining when I visited Boots for a contact lenses appointment at lunchtime and raining when I walked home too!


Towcester has been abandoned, but racing goes ahead at Wincanton tomorrow subject to a 07:30 inspection but no runners of interest.


My aforementioned optician appointment went well, with no problems to report and no update to my prescription either.  So, for the moment, I’ve topped up my disposable contact lenses with an extra 30 days’ supply ... as I only wear them to go to the races and for other special days out.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Racing got the go ahead at Taunton today, so there’s one result of interest:

Friendly Society (Noel Williams/Tom Garner) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (6 ran).


All of tomorrow’s National Hunt fixtures, at Leicester, Ludlow and Newcastle, have been abandoned due to water-logging. 


But with fixtures being abandoned left, right and centre, Kempton Park has stepped in to put on an all-weather Bumpers’ for Jumpers card this Friday.  More


Saturday’s re-opened Sandown races have thrown up just one additional Alan King horse – Manyriverstocross in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase.  And Willie Mullins has entered unbeaten Un De Sceaux in the Contenders’ Hurdle.  More


And today’s bulletin regarding Letsby Avenue is encouraging. 

I think I may turn in early tonight, as my blocked sinuses and coughing have given me a headache!

Monday 27 January 2014

Choc has retweeted a flyer advertising a charity event he is due to take part in next Saturday, 01 February, at Newbury racecourse.  My ancient browser won’t let me view the page on the website, but my facebook research suggests this has been in the pipeline since last September!




With the rain continuing to fall on a regular basis, all this coming Saturday’s fixtures are on ‘weather watch’.  More


With the two feature races on Sandown’s card, the Scilly Isles’ Novices’ Chase and the Contenders Hurdle having been re-opened due to insufficient entries, it’s difficult to form a firm opinion as to where Choc will be on Saturday because there’s no race-card entries published online for these races at the moment.  However, provisionally, Kumbeshwar and Midnight Appeal are entered at Sandown and these are Wayne’s rides ... meanwhile, Medinas holds an entry in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las, Oh Crick is also listed amongst entries later in the afternoon.  


There’s racing at Taunton tomorrow, subject to the course passing an inspection at 07:00, and one runner of interest:

15:10 Friendly Society (Noel Williams/Tom Garner) – Handicap Chase


I have a horrible feeling ... in my throat in fact (!) ... that I’m just about to succumb to my first cold of the winter.  I’ve been surrounded by colleagues with colds for the past couple of months, so it’s amazing this is the first one which I’ve caught; especially as my fellow team member Sue has had three colds during the past six weeks.  If this particular virus follows the usual course of events when I catch a cold, I will be feeling pretty rough within two or three days, so may not even want to venture out by the weekend. L  I don’t ‘do’ cold remedies, as they make me feel strangely spaced-out!

And, finally, fingers crossed for Letsby Avenue who has been recovering from a tendon injury; he succumbed to colic over the weekend and has been operated upon.  Hannah Bishop, the owner’s racing manager, relayed that there’s a positive report from the vets to say he’s ‘bright and chirpy’ and has grazed on ‘small picks’ of grass.

Sunday 26 January 2014

Tomorrow’s fixture at Plumpton has been abandoned due to water-logging ... no surprise there then!  More  And Ayr is going to inspect in the morning to see if Monday’s racing can go ahead. 


Paul Nicholls reports that Big Buck’s has come out of yesterday’s Cleeve Hurdle well and believes the horse will improve greatly ahead of the Festival.  More


ATR’s Sunday Forum spoke about Valdez’s win and mentioned the lung problems which had been experienced within the Alan King yard during the past couple of months.  They alluded to the fact it was probably related to the hay which the horses had been eating ... I know how they feel, as I prefer to use paper tissues coated with Balsam to prevent dust being breathed in, as untreated tissues give me a tickly throat and make me cough!


Alan King has confirmed that Plan A for Valdez is the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival following yesterday’s victory at Doncaster.  More  


I revamped another necklace today and did some cross-stitching too, although I did suffer intermittent backache caused by leaning over the stand and frame!  That’s happened before, 18 months ago, and I’m not amused. 


The underdog, Stan Wawrinka, won the Men’s Singles title at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal having succumbed to a back problem during the match.  More  I didn’t see the trophy presentation, but I expect Nadal was generous in defeat ... unlike Pete Sampras who would never give any credit to his opponent – he always excused his losses by saying he had played badly on the day and never gave credit to the victor for playing well!  I didn’t like Sampras. 


It was raining mid-morning to mid-afternoon in Hertfordshire and evidently there’s the possibility of a dusting of snow overnight tonight, as the wind will be blowing in from the east.  

Saturday 25 January 2014


Winner, winner chicken dinner!


And here are today’s results:



Jetnova (Alan King/Choc) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs] (12 ran).

Valdez (Alan King/Choc) won the Lightning Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (5 ran); Choc’s 20th winner of the season.  More  There was no Rock On Ruby due to the ground ... but who cares?  You can only beat those who turn up!



Ronaldinho (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Triumph Hurdle Trial (Grade 2 / Juveniles) (6 ran).

Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished a very gallant 2nd in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (11 ran).

Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 9th in the Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (10 ran).

Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Argento Chase (Grade 2) (7 ran).

Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (6 ran).


The upset of the day was the defeat of Big Buck’s in the Cleeve Hurdle, but he ran very well to finish 3rd, less than a length behind the first two, following over a year away due to injury.  The race was won by another veteran, Knockara Beau, his first win in sixteen attempts at the course.  Today he was priced at 66-1 and he beat At Fishers Cross by a short-head, the latter seemingly having overcome his recent jumping-related issues caused by physical problems.  More


Following a very disappointing early season, The Giant Bolster put in an excellent run to win the Argento Chase. More


Wishfull Thinking was on top form today and won the Grade 3 Handicap Chase and, of course, Annacotty put up a very brave front-running effort in the Novices’ Handicap Chase under top weight, only losing out to the Donald McCain runner, Indian Castle. More


Meanwhile, at Doncaster, Irish raider Annie Power galloped away with the Grade 2 Mares’ Hurdle.  More


And The Rainbow Hunter won the feature Sky Bet Chase.  More  RUK’s Oli Bell is one of the horse’s owners!


I was surfing and this horoscope seems about right for me this month ... this particular fuse-box is perfectly capable of losing her cool when the stresses are running so high!



This morning I spent time revamping a couple of necklaces and, of course, I’ve spent the afternoon watching the racing.  Hopefully I’ll return to my cross-stitching project tomorrow, as it may be my last opportunity to work on it before my racing-related excursions commence again!

The weather was pleasant and sunny this morning but, by late afternoon, the strong winds and heavy rain had returned.  Doncaster experienced a heavy shower at around 14:30, and Cheltenham had a thunderstorm prior to the Cleeve Hurdle! 

Friday 24 January 2014

Three results today, the first from Doncaster:

Crescent Beach (Henry Oliver/Choc) finished 6th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (12 ran).


And at Huntingdon:

Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 2 furlongs] (9 ran).

Secret Edge (Alan King/Stephen O’Donovan) ran very well to finish a close 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (7 ran).


Tomorrow there are runners of interest at both Doncaster and Cheltenham and I’m so looking forward to the return of the Alan King horses, as it’s been so quiet these past few weeks:



12:25 Jetnova (Alan King/Choc) - Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs]

12:55 Valdez (Alan King/Choc) - Lightning Novices’ Chase (Grade 2)



12:40 Ronaldinho (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Triumph Hurdle Trial (Grade 2 / Juveniles)

13:15 Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) - Novices’ Handicap Chase

13:50 Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

14:25 Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) - Argento Chase (Grade 2)

15:00 Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) - Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)


Big Buck’s returns to action in the Cleeve Hurdle at 15:35, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies.


There’s no fixture at Uttoxeter, as it has been abandoned.


There’s an overview of Martin Keighley’s Cheltenham runners on the Racecourse’s website. 



And a new entry regarding this weekend’s Alan King runners on his website too.  More


With Choc riding ‘early’ tomorrow, I can watch ATR for the first two races from Doncaster and then switch to Channel 4 and/or RUK for the remainder of the afternoon. 


Fontwell Park’s fixture scheduled for Sunday has also been abandoned, leaving solely Sedgefield with no runners of interest.

I wonder if I will have the opportunity to go racing a week tomorrow, with fixtures scheduled for Sandown Park, Ffos Las and Wetherby?  I love Sandown Park ... although I hate the time it takes to escape after racing!

I’ve spent a restful day at home; this morning I attempted a fourth full security scan on my laptop but, yet again, the system closed itself down before it had completed 50% having got too hot!  I need a new computer but feel I have to save up a little more money, especially as my car tax, service and MOT is due next month.  My purchase deadline is actually October, as that’s when my £150 voucher expires; having received this as a ‘reward’ for 15 years’ service at work.  I complete 17 years’ service next week and I need a bloomin’ medal!!!

Late morning I did some of my current cross stitch project; then I had lunch, including a Magnum ice cream.  That made me feel cold ... as it always does in winter ... so I wrapped myself up on the settee and promptly dropped off to sleep for a couple of hours!  However, I did wake in time to see (and record) Choc’s ride aboard Crescent Beach, after which I turned over to see the remainder of Escape To The Country ... I just love that programme and wish I could afford to do the same.  I then watched the replay from Huntingdon on RUK, followed by dinner and Great Railway Journeys on BBC2, where Michael Portillo began today’s leg of his journey in Cheltenham; I watch the programme whenever I can, not just today because it featured the Gloucestershire town.   

Thursday 23 January 2014

One runner of interest this afternoon, at Warwick:

Point Guard (Don Cantillon/Choc) finished 4th in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).


Subject to an inspection at 07:30, tomorrow Alan King will have his first runner since 01 January:  



15:50 Crescent Beach (Henry Oliver/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Chase



14:55 Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 2 furlongs]

16:00 Secret Edge (Alan King/Stephen O’Donovan) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]


Here is a link to the latest news on Alan King’s website, where it is also mentioned that Secret Edge (lot 163) is due to go to the sales next week.  More  I bought a copy of Weekender today and, in his column, Alan mentions that Jetnova (lot 164) is also heading to the sales ring on Tuesday; I’ve found an online copy of the DBS catalogue and also listed is Lovcen (lot 162).  There is a lovely photo of Valdez accompanying the Weekender column, presumably on the schooling grounds, with Choc aboard included too.

And just in case you’ve missed the reports regarding the The Minack who injured a leg in a first fence fall at Haydock Park on Saturday ... it looked pretty bad for the horse immediately after the incident, as he appeared to canter away from the fence on three legs and later in the race could be seen limping around on four legs, loose on the in-field.  He was taken home to the Paul Nicholls yard and a later x-ray on his off-fore revealed no fractures, so he lives to fit another day.  So that’s good news.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

A couple of runners of interest at Southwell this afternoon and this is how they fared:

Hydrant (RC Guest/Choc) finished 8th in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ a furlong] (7 ran); the race notes mention that she was reluctant to race today ... and I gather there was also a delay during the afternoon due to a non-racing incident. 


One runner of interest tomorrow, at Warwick:

16:20 Point Guard (Don Cantillon/Choc) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race


News on Sprinter Sacre today.  More


And Frankie Dettori returned to action today following his injury break and rode a double at Lingfield Park ... he has now jetted off to Meydan to ride!  More

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Here are today’s results from Leicester:

Fine Moment (Kevin Frost/Choc) finished 3rd in the Mares’ NH Novices Hurdle; Crazy Jane completed in 4th (5 ran).

Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was a non-runner and Epic Storm (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).


A couple of runners of interest at Southwell tomorrow:

13:50 Hydrant (RC Guest/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:55 Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ a furlong]


Choc spent time schooling at Martin Keighley’s this morning; he rode Champion Court and Benbane Head.  Martin reported that RUK’s Nick Luck visited the yard today to interview him regarding Saturday’s Cheltenham runners and we have to keep a look out for the film being broadcast on the racing channel tomorrow and going forward to the weekend. 

My work is back in order, for the moment, and I’ve booked Friday as holiday because I still need to use up 4 days leave before the end of February.  But I’ve no racing plans for Saturday as, although a number of Alan King’s horses will be back in action at the weekend, Choc appears to be engaged to ride at Doncaster.  It’s a shame the racecourse is around 150 miles away. L

Monday 20 January 2014

Two National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, both subject to a precautionary inspection at 08:00, Wetherby and Leicester, with runners of interest at the latter:

14:15 Fine Moment (Kevin Frost/Choc) – Mares’ NH Novices Hurdle ... although perhaps a different ride would have been more appropriate, namely Crazy Jane!

15:55 Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Epic Storm (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Handicap Hurdle


Here is a link showing Big Buck’s preparing for his comeback run, new pilot Sam Twiston-Davies aboard.



Good news, no tears at work today and I was able to take a lunch-break too; hopefully the worst is over for a few days ... famous last words!  Although my heart was pounding when I went to sleep last night, worried what today might bring ...

Saturday 18 January 2014

Taunton passed its early morning inspection and this is how my ‘runners of interest’ fared:

The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th and Kayfleur (Henry Daly/Choc) finished 2nd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Mister Snowball (Chris Down/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ furlong] (9 ran).

Water Wagtail (Emma Lavelle/Choc) finished 2nd and Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was a non- runner in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Itsuptoyou (Arthur Whiting/Choc) finished 5th in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (6 ran).

Whispering Harry (Henry Oliver/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 1 furlong] (16 ran).


At Ascot Sire De Grugy won the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase; his main rival Somersby unseated at the 5th fence.  More


Wychwoods Brook won the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock Park for trainer Evan Williams and jockey Conor Ring.  More  I notice from the results that Ugly Bug ran today, finishing 3rd in the 3-mile Handicap Hurdle ... I’ve not watched any of the action from Haydock Park yet as, of course, I was glued to ATR for the Taunton coverage!


At least two jockeys were clocking up the miles today, with William Kennedy riding in the first at Ascot and the last at Taunton.  Paddy Brennan won for Tom George at Ascot and then flew up to Haydock Park to win again for Tom.  Evan Williams trained 2 winners at Haydock and 3 at Taunton; and Noel Fehily rode a hat-trick at Ascot.  Choc also rode a hat-trick ... but they were 2nds unfortunately. L  In other words, Thornton at Taunton suffers a bout of seconditis!

Friday 17 January 2014

One result today, from Musselburgh:

Dorset Naga (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (11 ran).


A long journey for a disappointing result; Choc and William Kennedy having flown from Bristol to Edinburgh.   But there are a couple of piccies, the first from William Kennedy showing Choc in Costa Coffee:



And the other one showing William, also in Costa Coffee, wearing his infamous green trousers ... well, he is Irish!



Having looked ahead to the weekend a few days ago, my intuition told me that Choc would be at Taunton tomorrow; the fixture being subject to a precautionary inspection at 07:30:

12:30 The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Kayfleur (Henry Daly/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

13:40 Mister Snowball (Chris Down/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ furlong]

14:15 Water Wagtail (Emma Lavelle/Choc) & Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

15:25 Itsuptoyou (Arthur Whiting/Choc) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

16:00 Whispering Harry (Henry Oliver/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 1 furlong]


No runners of interest on Sunday. 


Here is a link to Alan King’s news blog ... next weekend appears to be the earliest that any of his charges will be back in action.  More  But, looking on the bright side, perhaps the horses will be able to extend their season, ground permitting. 


With no fixtures to attend, it also gives me the chance to get much needed shut-eye, with no diaries to write at the moment.  All rest is currently welcome, as I awoke at 05:00 this morning and was in tears again before I went to work.  I hate stress, as it also makes me irritable.

However, I have weaned myself off the ‘stress’ tablets which my doctor prescribed in November, as they made me feel generally tired, gave me headaches, and caused dizziness and my vision to go almost black when I stood up ... it didn’t look good me holding onto office furniture.  I could walk only two thirds of the way to work before feeling exhausted, and I was also worried about feeling unwell when out and about on my own, such as attending the races.  And the tablets, which according to the enclosed leaflet were beta-blockers, resulted in vivid dreams too ... which is of little use if you have no control over what you dream about!  I think it was a case of using a mallet to ‘crack a nut’ as they must have lowered my blood pressure too much.

Thursday 16 January 2014

Levels of stress remain extremely high ... aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhh ... with tears once more. L


Just two runners of interest today and this is how they fared:



Marie Des Anges (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).



Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/JS Knox) finished 8th in the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase (13 ran).


Having seen that Chepstow has been abandoned, I was going to write that there was racing at Musselburgh tomorrow but no runners of interest ... but I’d have been wrong!



15:20 Dorset Naga (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Handicap Chase

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Just two runners of interest tomorrow, one at Wincanton:

13:50 Marie Des Anges (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Handicap Chase; she’s only diddy but hopefully Choc will get on well with her, as he seems to have an affinity with the fairer sex ... mares that is!!!


The other at Ludlow:

14:10 Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/JS Knox) – Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase


Tomorrow will be a busy day on RUK, as Market Rasen also has a fixture scheduled.


Choc rode out for Martin Keighley this morning.


News today that Frankel’s first offspring has been born.  More


I’m stressed ... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  Work-related stress – too much to do and too little time, as usual.  I hate my job. L

Tuesday 14 January 2014

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

Swincombe Stone (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) finished 8th in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).


Racing at Newcastle and Newbury tomorrow, but no ‘runners of interest’.


Sad news that St Nicholas Abbey has lost his battle for life today.  Having survived a fractured pastern, a bout of colic, the breakage of the load bearing pin in his leg, and laminitis, he suffered a second bout of colic which proved inoperable.  More 


There’s news regarding two of Alan King’s new yard inmates, the Henry Ponsonby-owned Tiger Cliff and First Mohican.  More


Today Richard Johnson attained his 100th winner of the season for the 18th consecutive time.  More

Monday 13 January 2014

Both Ffos Las and Lingfield Park have been abandoned tomorrow due to water-logging.


However, there is a ‘new’ fixture scheduled for Exeter with one runner of interest:

12:55 Swincombe Stone (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Handicap Chase


There’s still no sign of Alan King’s horses returning to action, with none listed to run as far ahead as next Saturday.


I had a dentist check-up today, along with hygienist, and I had been worried that I might need something done as there had been some sensitivity somewhere in the upper left quadrant leading up to and over Christmas; however, my dentist couldn’t find anything wrong and the x-rays didn’t show anything either.  My ‘pocket’ is pleased too as, despite this good news, it has already cost £110 in total as my practice is a private one.  I’m fortunate to have very good teeth, but I do suffer from gum disease to a degree which, I gather, is hereditary.  Hence my next hygienist appointment is scheduled for April!

Sunday 12 January 2014

Kelso’s fixture was abandoned today ... very few fixtures are having much luck at present.  There’s due to be racing at Plumpton tomorrow, but no ‘runners of interest’.   


There’s further explanation today from Paul Nicholls regarding the choice of jockey ahead of Big Buck’s’ comeback run.  More


Also hopes that the bad cut sustained by Deputy Dan at Warwick yesterday will not prove to be a setback.  More


I had an inkling that Choc might attend today’s Heythrop point-to-point at Cocklebarrow Farm, hence my mention yesterday ... and he’s tweeted a couple of photos of William:






It’s a shame I’m not quite up to travelling far at this time of the year.  Besides, the new Cocklebarrow course needed to pass an inspection this morning and I wouldn’t have been able to set off from such a distance (around 80 miles) when not 100% sure it’s not going to be cancelled! 


After yesterday’s sunny weather, clear skies caused the worse frost in this area so far this year.  It was only one degree when I went out to fill my petrol tank at 08:00 this morning so was too cold to wash my car, as I’d intended, upon my return.  Not for me personally but for the car, as the brakes can stick when the residue water freezes; and that is despite the fact that I always park the car by putting it in first gear under the carport as opposed to using the handbrake.  It had clouded over by lunchtime, with more rained expected this evening ... just for a change!

Saturday 11 January 2014

Here are today’s results, but rather a disappointing day for my ‘runners of interest’:



Flementime (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Mares’ Hurdle [Listed] (7 ran).

George Nympton (B Barr/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase for Edward Courage Cup (9 ran).

Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Victors Serenade (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) was pulled up and Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Classic Chase (15 ran).  More

Jeans Lady (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 8th in the ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (9 ran).


Kempton Park:

Champion Court (Martin Keighley/AP McCoy) finished 2nd in the Chase [Listed] (6 ran); but he did win the best turned-out prize.  This time he had to play second-fiddle to Captain Chris, but hopefully his luck will change soon.  More


Royal Boy won the re-arranged Tolworth Hurdle.  More  Personally I would have chosen Josses Hill too, as I took particular notice of him when he ran at Newbury recently, a very good looking horse. 


And Paul Nicholls landed the Lanzarote Hurdle with Saphir Du Rheu.  More


Wayne Hutchinson rode a double at Wetherby today.  Yesyoucan for Brian Ellison in a Novices’ Chase and Allied Answer for Steve Gollings in a Handicap Hurdle.  That’s his 36th and 37th winner of the season and he’s now only one short of last season’s total!


Sam Twiston-Davies has been given the ride aboard star long-distance hurdler Big Buck’s ... and I think that is an excellent ‘young blood’ choice.  More

National Hunt racing at solely Kelso tomorrow; but there is point-to-pointing at Cocklebarrow Farm in the Cotswolds!

Fingers crossed that Alan King’s horses will be back in action soon, as I missed having a trip to the races on such a beautiful winter’s day! 

Friday 10 January 2014

Three National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, with runners of interest at Warwick and Kempton Park:



12:10 Flementime (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Mares’ Hurdle [Listed]

13:55 George Nympton (B Barr/Choc) – Handicap Chase for Edward Courage Cup

14:25 Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

15:00 Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:35 Victors Serenade (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) & Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Classic Chase

16:05 Jeans Lady (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race


Kempton Park:

13:35 Creepy (Martin Keighley) – second preference – Tolworth Hurdle [Grade 1 Novices’ Hurdle]

14:10 Champion Court (Martin Keighley/AP McCoy) – Chase [Listed]


There’s an interesting article about Martin Keighley written by Marcus Armytage which can be read in the Telegraph online here.


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


With all the lost fixtures in recent days due to water-logging, an additional meeting has been scheduled for next Tuesday, at Exeter.  More


Cue Card has been given an entry into the Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, but not the Champion Chase regardless of whether Sprinter Sacre runs.

Thursday 09 January 2014


race 6 f.jpg


Mad Moose is banned!



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

Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).

Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the North Yorkshire Grand National Handicap Chase (9 ran).


With Huntingdon lost due to water-logging, the sole National Hunt racing takes place at Sedgefield tomorrow and no runners of interest.


Mad Moose has been banned from racing by the BHA ... I know it has been obvious for a long time that he no longer enjoyed to race and was just too intelligent for his own good, but he did brightened up many a dull day wondering if he would consent to run!  More


Solwhit has been ruled out for the season, making Big Buck’s an even stronger favourite to regain his World Hurdle Title in March.  More


There’s a further update today on the situation at Alan King’s yard via Geoff Lester’s blog ... Trigger The Light didn’t pass muster on the health front so won’t be running at Warwick on Saturday after all.


Wednesday 08 January 2014


Winner winner chicken dinner!!!



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

Donapollo (Ian Williams/Choc) was pulled up in the Maiden Hurdle Div II (11 ran).

Chasse En Mer (Mrs Caroline Bailey/Choc) won the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (6 ran); Choc’s 19th winner of the season.


Also, the Martin Keighley-trained Hail Tiberius ran on the all-weather at Lingfield today, ridden by Graham Lee, finishing 3rd in the Selling Handicap (13 ran).


Jason Maguire rode his 100th winner of the season today.  More


And two runners of interest tomorrow, at Catterick:

13:05 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:35 Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – North Yorkshire Grand National Handicap Chase.  More


Friday’s fixture scheduled for Huntingdon has been abandoned.


As things currently stand, Choc is likely to ride at Warwick on Saturday; Alan King has one horse with an engagement this weekend – Trigger The Light in Warwick’s Classic Chase with Wayne Hutchinson to ride.  But a number of Alan King ‘early entries’ are now beginning to appear:



2013 victor Bobs Worth is amongst 36 entries for this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.  More  I can’t believe that the Cheltenham Festival is only just over two months away now!  The countdown on David Pipe’s website states 61 days and a number of hours ...

TV viewing tonight is Star Gazing Live followed by a new episode of Midsomer Murders on ITV +1!  As that takes me through until 23:00, I’ll transfer today’s Doncaster action to DVD either tomorrow or Friday evening. 

Tuesday 07 January 2014

Two runners of interest at Doncaster tomorrow:

13:10 Donapollo (Ian Williams/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle Div II

15:20 Chasse En Mer (Mrs Caroline Bailey/Choc) - Mares’ Handicap Hurdle


Wayne Hutchinson rode the Nick Williams-trained Hint Of Mint to victory in a Novices’ Hurdle at Leicester today; his 35th winner of the season. 

Monday 06 January 2014

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

Epic Storm (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 5th and Dustland Fairytale (Ian Williams/Choc) finished last in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4½ furlongs] (10 ran); well done to the team, their 15th winner of the season.

Lily Waugh (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) finished 2nd in the Mares’ NH Maiden Hurdle (6 ran).


There’s National Hunt racing from Leicester tomorrow but no specific runners of interest.


However, Ludlow’s fixture scheduled for Wednesday has been abandoned due to ... water-logging!  More

Sunday 05 January 2014

Four runners of interest at Southwell tomorrow; although the fixture is subject to an inspection at 07:00. 

14:30 Epic Storm (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) & Dustland Fairytale (Ian Williams/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:00 Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4½ furlongs]

15:30 Lily Waugh (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Mares’ NH Maiden Hurdle


Plumpton went ahead today and the Sussex National was won by the Gary Moore-trained Reblis.  Also, Venetia Williams trained four of the other winners on the card, all ridden by Aidan Coleman.  More


But Chepstow has been abandoned for Tuesday, and Leicester is subject to an inspection early tomorrow.   Fontwell Park has lost its Thursday fixture and Huntingdon’s Friday meeting is in doubt too.  More 


Sad news today that ex-jockey Terry Biddlecombe has passed away aged 72.  More  Being older than I would ever like to admit, I remember him well from my childhood days of watching racing on TV. 


It has also been announced that Portuguese football star Eusebio, top goalscorer at the 1966 World Cup, has also passed away.  He was 71.


I’m another year older but haven’t done anything to celebrate as such; it’s just not the right time of the year to have a birthday. L

Saturday 04 January 2014

No surprises that Wincanton was abandoned due to water-logging, so no result to report.  Going forward, Taunton’s Monday fixture has also been lost.   


These cancelled fixtures are not such good news for the jockeys, but it does mean that Alan King’s horses aren’t actually missing many engagements because there is little racing anyway! 


Fortunately the St Albans area is not affected by floods, having solely the River Ver flowing at the bottom of a steep hill below the main city area; and its flow has been greatly decreased by water extraction in recent years.  However, I’m sure there will be a few residential roads just a little too close to the banks which may be in danger. 


But it would have been a totally different story if the Thames had retained its original pre-Ice Age route through Hertfordshire!  More  


Friday 03 January 2014

The rain has claimed tomorrow’s fixture at Sandown Park and, not surprisingly, Wincanton will be inspected at 07:00 in the morning.  More   The Surrey racecourse later confirmed that the Tolworth Hurdle is to be transferred to Kempton’s card on Lanzarote Hurdle Day, 11 January.  More


However, if Wincanton goes ahead there will be one runner of interest:

15:50 Jaja De Jau (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle


There’s further news regarding Sprinter Sacre, who went for his first canter today following last Friday’s health scare.  More  There will be a Seven Barrows ‘special’ on tomorrow’s Morning Line.


Sir Des Champs has sustained a tendon injury and is now sidelined for the remainder of the season.  More


No surprise that Bryan Cooper has been appointed to the role of retained jockey for the Gigginstown House Stud, replacing Davy Russell.  More


Choc has tweeted a photograph of William celebrating his birthday with his dad, belatedly yesterday:


Unfortunately my birthday candles will take a lot more puff than this on Sunday!

Thursday 02 January 2014

Huntingdon went ahead, so there is one result today:

Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the Maiden Hurdle (8 ran).


Tomorrow’s fixture at Lingfield was abandoned earlier in the week due to water-logging ... and snorkels will probably be compulsory this weekend with rain forecast tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday in the southeast if not elsewhere too. 


Having rummaged through my small pile of unused tickets last week when looking for the Kempton Park Boxing Day envelope, it became apparent that I’d not received my Grand National fixture tickets yet.  I’ve been waiting until the end of the holiday period to contact the ticket hotline to ask what’s happened to them; and when I called this morning there was a voicemail message telling callers that tickets will be despatched early in the New Year ... so that’s put my mind at rest and they should arrive very soon! 

I’m surprised they haven’t begun the process sooner, as I bought the tickets on 03 June last year, and the emailed confirmation did state a despatch date of September onwards; last year my tickets arrived in early November!  I know this because I still have the postmarked envelope containing the tickets in one of the Really Useful boxes where I stash all my old tickets and programmes, etc. 

Wednesday 01 January 2014


Happy New Year



What a horribly foul day, weather wise; with conditions soft, heavy in places at Cheltenham.   


There were four runners of interest today and this is how they fared:



Flementime (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was a non-runner in the Novices’ Hurdle.

Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd and Pickamus (Henry Daly/Choc) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (7 ran); Double Ross followed up his Cheltenham win last month by claiming this prize, only four horses finished, the other three having been pulled up after floundering in the ground. 

Coyaba (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 8th and Looks Like Power (Mrs DA Hamer/Choc) finished 5th in the ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race [Listed] (10 ran).


Exeter was abandoned, so Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) didn’t get the opportunity to run in the Handicap Chase [3 miles].


I notice that Hot Whiskey, who is still owned by Harry Redknapp, has been transferred to Brendan Powell’s yard.

Here is a link to Geoff Lester’s blog on Alan King’s website, in which the trainer explains his reason for not running any of his charges for the next week or so.  He mentions that Grumeti has been on antibiotics since his disappointing run in the Christmas Hurdle.  http://alankingracing.co.uk/news.htm

In light of the current situation, there’s just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Huntingdon, which is subject to a precautionary inspection at 07:30 in the morning:

14:40 Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Maiden Hurdle


Here’s a link to a video about the Heythrop’s new point-to-point track at Cocklebarrow Farm in Gloucestershire; that’s the farm where their Country Fair, with driven Donkey Derby, is held each June.  



Not being a party animal, I was awake by 08:00 this morning ... although this is late for me!  So I did my washing, took down the Christmas decorations, watched the racing and did some cross stitching too. 

Christmas decorations should be taken down by Twelfth Night which is the evening of 05 January; in medieval times, a day began when darkness fell, hence Twelfth Night being 05 January and Twelfth Day 06 January! 

I finished my Kempton Park Boxing Day diary yesterday evening, and here is a link to it.  Obviously, with the current stable shut-down, I don’t envisage a trip to Sandown Park this Saturday.  



Rounded Rectangle: RETURN TO BLOG INDEX
Rounded Rectangle: RETURN TO HOME PAGE