JANUARY 2015

 

 

Saturday 31 January 2015

There were four runners of interest today:

 

Sandown Park:

Pain Au Chocolat (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Juvenile Hurdle (5 ran); Wayne’s 26th winner of the season.  More

Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (5 ran).  It was another Grade 1 winner for Willie Mullins, this time with mare Gitane Du Berlais.  More

 

Ffos Las:

Ziga Boy (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) was pulled up in the West Wales National (10 ran); the ground was so soft that only ONE horse finished with a clear round, Bob Ford.  Gorgehous Lleige initially refused at the last when trailing the winner, but he finally cleared the fence to claim 2nd prize ... although this was controversial (see below).  The Welsh Champion Hurdle was won by Silsol.  More

 

BETWAY WEST WALES NATIONAL (A HANDICAP STEEPLE CHASE) (CLASS 2)
The Stewards held an enquiry to consider why Callum Whillans, the rider of GORGEHOUS LLIEGE (FR), had pulled the gelding up before the last fence when it appeared to be tiring in the Heavy ground, and then walked away from the fence, cantered in and proceeded to jump the last to finish second, beaten 99 plus lengths. They interviewed the rider and the Veterinary Officer, who stated that the gelding had finished tired. Having heard their evidence and viewed recordings of the race the Stewards accepted the rider’s explanation that, noticing there were no other finishers behind him and after giving his horse a breather, he jumped the last fence without difficulty and cantered to the line.

 

Wetherby:

Ned Stark (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) won the Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (7 ran); Ned missed his engagement at Cheltenham last Saturday due to a bruised foot, which was discovered on the morning of the race.  It was Denis O’Regan’s first day back following his recent ban.  More

 

Now that was an interesting interview by RUK’s Stewart Machin with Denis O’Regan following his victory ... when asked about plans for the horse, Denis said he hoped the horse would be aimed for spring festival honours but it’s up to the owners, Alan King and Choc as to where Ned goes next.  No wonder Choc was asking yesterday afternoon, having been ‘offline’ for a few hours, if Wetherby was still on! 

 

There’s just one National Hunt fixture tomorrow, at Musselburgh, which is subject to a 08:00 inspection; thus no runners of interest.

 

I’m slowly working through my diary for last week’s Cheltenham Trials Day but I’ve got plenty of time as I envisage that my next racing trip will be to the first day of the Cheltenham Festival, which is over five weeks away.  And, in addition to my weekday evenings and weekends, I’ve still got four day’s annual leave booked before the end of February which can be utilised too. 

 

I have a stack of non-reusable heating packs which I originally bought to keep my hands warm when at the races, but I’ve never got around to using them.  But I’ve now found an alternative use for them - to help ease the discomfort in my neck and right shoulder; I used one today and it is still roasty toasty after six hours ... and should last for around eight. 

Friday 30 January 2015

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

Chosen Well (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the NH Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran); Wayne’s 25th winner of the season. 

 

Amusingly, Alan’s comments in Weekender regarding Chosen Well were:

“Might start his season in a novice hurdle at Chepstow on Friday.  He was nearly ready to run in the autumn then he threw a splint which held him up for quite some time.  He’s going straight over hurdles as he’s had a few runs in point-to-points, so I think a run in a bumper would be a waste of time.  He’s probably going to need the race but we want to get him started.”

 

There are four runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Sandown Park:

12:40 Pain Au Chocolat (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:25 Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)

 

Ffos Las:

14:40 Ziga Boy (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) - West Wales National

 

Wetherby:

15:20 Ned Stark (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Novices’ Chase (Grade 2)

 

Evidently the Grand National is almost a sell-out, with tickets still available solely for the Tattersalls and the Steeplechase enclosure now. 

 

Martin Keighley reports that both jockey Chris Ward and Monty’s Revenge are fine following yesterday’s mishap at Towcester. 

 

I enjoy watching Michael Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys and, on this week’s programme, he began his journey in Pembroke and ended it in Cambridge.  During the course of his trip he visited Bicester, where they have been building a new station and the line will shortly be connected to the Marylebone to Birmingham route.  By the end of the decade it will be possible to travel from Oxford to Milton Keynes, Bedford, Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich.  As part of the plan the section between Oxford and Bicester will become dual track as opposed to single track as at present.  More  

 

And the really weird thing is that the line passes beneath Oxford’s Wolvercote roundabout ... and I’ve never even noticed, despite it being an integral part of my route between St Albans and Cheltenham, regardless of whether I travel M25/M40 or via Bicester!

Thursday 29 January 2015

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

Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 3rd and Dusky Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (16 ran).

Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Chris Ward) fell in the Handicap Chase [3 miles & ½ a furlong] (11 ran).

Briery Queen (Noel Williams/Leighton Aspell) finished 2nd but The Unit (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (9 ran).

 

One runner of interest tomorrow, at Chepstow:

13:20 Chosen Well (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

 

Having vowed last week not to do another Newbury Fundraising event, Claire Lomas has now booked another date for next year!  I wonder if Choc will be there again?  If so, I will endeavour not to leave my booking until the last minute as I did this year ...  

 

I’m thinking about taking up yoga.  And I have no excuse because there is a class which takes place at the local Community Centre just 100 yards from my route home from work.  And it begins at 18:15, so the time would be suitable to, as I’d be passing by around about that time anyway!  It’s £10 a lesson if you drop by, rather than book for a whole course.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

There are two National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, Wincanton and Towcester, with runners of interest at the latter:

13:50 Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) & Dusky Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle

14:20 Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Chris Ward) – Handicap Chase [3 miles & ½ a furlong]

16:20 Briery Queen (Noel Williams/Leighton Aspell) & The Unit (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

 

In this week’s Weekender, Alan King’s highlight of the week was Ordo Ab Chao winning at Cheltenham.  His low point the retirement of both Walkon and Medermit.  What made him smile?  Having a winner as a breeder when Warriors Tale won at Ayr and he still has the dam at home.  His saddest moment of the week was receiving a phone call to say that Medermit had broken down at Doncaster.  And he’s most looking forward to stepping up a gear with his flat horses for the upcoming season.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

 

Happy Retirement Medermit

 

race 3 a.jpg

 

 

Medermit has been retired; he finished lame at the end of Saturday’s race at Doncaster having sustained a bad suspensory injury.   However, he will return to his owner’s stud and, although it will take time and lots of TLC, he will be fine and hopefully enjoy a long retirement.  He won 8 of his 33 starts and rarely ran a disappointing race.

 

Organiser Claire Lomas has uploaded a video of Saturday night’s Pogo Challenge – Choc is included (the second competitor) and can also be seen in the background having sat at Table 16 at the far end of the pogo ‘course’:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJVAw1dJuuQ&app=desktop

 

The ex-Alan King trained Jetnova won the AGA Novice Riders’ race at Cocklebarrow Point-to-Point on Sunday. 

 

News that Triolo D’Alene is unlikely to run in the Grand National as he is suffering from a knee problem.  More

 

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

Monday 26 January 2015

Here are today’s results from Ludlow:

Bravo Bravo (Martin Keighley/Archie Bellamy) finished 10th and Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Harley Cornock) finished 14th in the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (17 ran).

 

No runners of interest tomorrow; there’s racing at Taunton, and Lingfield has been abandoned.

 

Following his run on Saturday, Smad Place is a definite entry for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.  And Ordo Ab Chao is to be entered for both the Neptune and the Albert Bartlett.  

 

Sire De Grugy took part in his first schooling session since his injury, and trainer Gary Moore was delighted with his charge.  More

 

Saturday’s Pogo Pandemonium raised over £7000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation. 

 

I forgot to mention that Choc is going for the ‘stubbly look’ at the moment!

 

My dental check-up and hygienist appointment cost £90 today.  And I have to return on 09 February to have the filling in one of my upper right molars replaced; it’s an old one – silver not white!

 

Isn’t it typical?  Just when I want to print something, the cartridges run dry.  My printer is temperamental at the best of times; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  I use it in wireless mode and sometimes the signal just doesn’t get through.  And, often, it works better from another room than in the same room!  Crazy.  

I’m procrastinating with regard to my Cheltenham Trials Day diary and photos ... as I have a feeling my next visit to the races will be for Day One of the Cheltenham Festival.  So that gives me 42 days in which to complete the outstanding tasks.  

Sunday 25 January 2015

 

Annacotty for blog 2.jpg

 

Annacotty returns to the

Winners’ Enclosure having won

the Grade 3 Handicap Trophy Chase

 

Ordo Ab Chao for blog 2.jpg

 

Ordo Ab Chao and connections

pose for photos following victory in the

Grade 2 Neptune Investment Management

Novices’ Hurdle

 

 

Sorry there was no blog yesterday ... but I didn’t arrive home until 00:45 this morning and I went straight to bed! 

 

I enjoyed my trip to Cheltenham.  I arrived later than I had planned, although 11:15 was still an hour and twenty-five minutes before the first race!  I set off twice in fact, the first time I couldn’t remember whether I’d taken my acid reflux medication, so drove around the block (and it was a large block!) to return home.  I hadn’t, so at least it wasn’t a wasted return home! 

 

Anyway, here are the results, with a winner for both Alan King and the Keighleys; excellent.

 

Cheltenham:

Karazak (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Triumph Hurdle Trial (6 ran).

Ned Stark (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) was a non-runner in the Novices’ Handicap Chase.

Smad Place (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the BetBright Cup Chase (Group 2) (6 ran).

Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Gavin Sheehan) won and Walkon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Trophy Chase (Grade 3 Handicap) (10 ran); Martin’s 14th winner of the season, well done to the team.

Ordo Ab Chao (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Hurdle (Group 2) (9 ran); Wayne 24th winner of the season.

 

Doncaster:

Dalavar (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs]

Nyanza (Alan King/Richard Johnson) finished 4th in the Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (7 ran).

Medermit (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 6th and Godsmejudge (Alan King/Jamie Moore) was pulled up in the Skybet Chase [Listed] (14 ran).

 

Uttoxeter:

Seymour Star (Martin Keighley/Christopher Ward) finished 8th and The Wexfordian (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) finished 3rd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Maiden Hurdle (10 ran).

Bar A Mine (Alan King/Paul Moloney) fell in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (11 ran).

The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4½ furlongs] (8 ran).

 

Many Clouds triumphed in the Betbright Cup Chase, which was a trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.  More

 

Saphir Du Rheu snatched victory from the ever-game Reve De Sivola in the Cleeve Hurdle.  More

 

And Peace And Co won the Triumph Hurdle trial.   More

 

 

Happy Retirement Walkon

#MyFavourite

 

walkon for blog.jpg

 

It came as no surprise that Walkon has been retired today, having pulled up during his race at Cheltenham yesterday.  I’m pleased that he has reached the end of his career in one piece and will hopefully spend many more years as an ex-racehorse, just chilling out.  He came within an inch of his life following his second Grade One victory which took place at Aintree back in 2009, having struck into himself very badly during the race.  He missed 2010 as a result; disappearing with an extremely moth-eaten tail, only to reappear with a luscious one when returning at Ascot in 2011!   Evidently he had a habit of rubbing his tail against the stable wall when young.

 

Here is a picture of Walkon on the gallops, tweeted by the Racing Post:

https://twitter.com/RacingPost/status/559343631249993728/photo/1

 

It was quite an adventure setting out from Cheltenham to drive to Newbury racecourse ... in the dark ... without satnav too!  It took me 30 minutes to escape from the former – my regular route, which is always traffic free, was choc-a-bloc yesterday.  If everyone has discovered it, then my 2015 Festival escapes will not be fun.  Damn.

 

I decided to drive to the roundabout on the A40, where the Stow-on-the-Wold to Cirencester road crosses before heading southwards to the latter.  Talk about a switch-back road, I should have known better, because the northern section from Stow has exactly the same profile!  After a while I managed to catch up with a bus, so could follow its tail-lights. 

 

Just before Cirencester I joined the A417/A419 dual carriageway and counted down the miles to the M4.  It seemed like I was on the motorway for ages, I forgot it was the second junction I needed.  I left the motorway at Junction 13 and followed the signposts for Thatcham; because I know the route in from that direction.

 

However, my first problem was that the main entrance was closed; I know there are three entrances, but I’ve only ever used two of them.  I drove around the block, again a big block, to try again.  What to do?  I tried the industrial estate route, but that was flooded beneath the railway bridge!  Okay, panic was setting in by now.  I drove back to the main entrance, where someone else had discovered the same problem. 

 

With quick thinking by me, I gave way to allow the driver to pull out in front of me, and I followed him.  There was a left turning further along, which we took, although I did lose him due to the necessity of giving way to oncoming vehicles on the narrow road.  However, I kept a lookout to my left and soon found the racecourse turning, which also serves as an access road to the new racecourse-based housing developments. 

 

I hadn’t actually been in a rush to leave Cheltenham, because I had an hour and fifty minutes to get to Newbury by 19:00.  In the event, due to the problems in Cheltenham and getting lost in Newbury, I didn’t arrive until around 19:20!  The venue was the Hennessy suite on the top floor of the Hampshire Stand, so I took the stairs, along with another couple, to reach it.

 

But I was in plenty of time for the meal and had been seated on table 13; Choc was scheduled to sit at table 16, just a stone’s throw away.  Mick Fitzgerald, Sam Thomas, Jimmy Derham and Dominic Elsworth would join him; Mick arrived first, the others arrived a little later.

 

As the jockeys hadn’t practiced riding a pogo-stick before, they took a number downstairs to the first floor to practice out of sight of their rivals!   

 

Once the meal was finished, the pogo-stick/space-hopper challenge began.  Choc hadn’t noticed me until I brought myself to his attention as he was walking by.  He invited me to give him a kiss on both cheeks this time, not just one as usual.  I noticed this is his standard greeting for female friends.   I asked him how he was, and he’s okay.  Anyway, although still seated, I gave him a little hug around the shoulders at the end, along with a third peck on the cheek, saying that I hoped to see him again soon.

 

It hadn’t crossed my mind that it would be impossible to photograph someone bouncing on a pogo-stick, followed by bouncing on a space-hopper, so my photos are very poor.  Reminds me of a dark and rainy day at the races!  But, anyway here he is, centre frame, at the end of his timed run. 

 

Pogo sticks 24 jan 1.jpg

 

The semi-finals were a little different, with pogo-sticks one way, followed by the competitors using Claire’s wheelchair on the way back. 

 

Here are the official results.  As you can see, Choc finished 11th out of 14; he’s carrying a little bit of overweight having been on the sidelines for so long!

https://twitter.com/claire80lomas/status/559362766339719168/photo/1

 

And here is the video of the final on youtube, the winning finalist being Sam Thomas ... although he did bring down his opponent!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1YGiRtkCn4&feature=youtu.be

 

I’ve had a raging headache for most of today; first thoughts were perhaps dehydration from not having drunk enough yesterday.  But, having taken liquid on board today, I’ve still got it – which suggests my cervical spondylosis is playing me up again – I can hear my neck creaking and grinding every time I move it. 

 

There are two National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, at Plumpton and Ludlow, with runners of interest at the latter:

15:20 Bravo Bravo (Martin Keighley/Archie Bellamy) & Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Harley Cornock) – Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Back to work tomorrow and a dental check-up plus hygienist during my lunch-break too.  Although the most painful part about that will be the bill!  It’s a private dental practice.

Friday 23 January 2015

No result to report today as Huntingdon was lost due to frost; on the other hand Doncaster went ahead. 

 

A temperature of minus 9 was recorded in Upper Lambourn last night ... Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  So the minus 3 recorded in my car at 07:15 this morning was positively balmy in comparison.  I popped out to fill the petrol tank before the petrol station got busy; I’ve decided to go to Cheltenham Trials day tomorrow after all!  Tickets for the main enclosure are £30 on the day and gates open at 10:30. 

 

With this in mind, there are runners of interest at all three National Hunt fixtures tomorrow:

 

Cheltenham:

12:40 Karazak (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Triumph Hurdle Trial

13:15 Ned Stark (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) – Novices’ Handicap Chase; Denis O’Regan, having been engaged to ride the owners’ horses for a period of time would normally have ridden the horse, but he’s still serving the ban awarded earlier this month. 

13:50 Smad Place (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – BetBright Cup Chase (Group 2); he has 5 rivals.  More

14:25 Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Gavin Sheehan) & Walkon Y (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Trophy Chase (Grade 3 Handicap).  More

15:00 Ordo Ab Chao (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle (Group 2)

 

Doncaster:

12:25 Dalavar (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs]

14:05 Nyanza (Alan King/Richard Johnson) – Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 2)

15:05 Medermit (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & Godsmejudge (Alan King/Jamie Moore) – Skybet Chase [Listed].  More

 

Uttoxeter:

13:05 Seymour Star (Martin Keighley/Christopher Ward) & The Wexfordian (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Conditional Jockeys’ Maiden Hurdle

13:40 Bar A Mine (Alan King/Paul Moloney) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

16:00 The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4½ furlongs]

 

There’s to be a precautionary inspection of Uttoxeter at 08:00 tomorrow morning.  More

 

Sunday’s Fontwell Park fixture has already been abandoned due to water-logging.  More

 

I’ve also made last minute arrangements to attend Pogo Pandemonium at Newbury Racecourse tomorrow evening!  Well, it just has to be done, as I’ve not seen Choc since Grand National Day.  And, with a Brightwells bloodstock HIT (Horses in Training) and Point-to-Pointers sale taking place after racing at Cheltenham, he might even be looking at a few horses too!  More

 

It’s now time to go sort out my two outfits for tomorrow ... a multi-layered ensemble for a cold day at Cheltenham and a smart casual outfit for the evening.  And I need to re-check my route from Cheltenham to Newbury too; it takes around 75 minutes and the event begins at 19:00, with pogo stick racing from 20:45. 

So, fingers now firmly crossed, that everything goes to plan tomorrow. 

Thursday 22 January 2015

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

Spanish Arch (Martin Keighley/Tom Bellamy) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs] (8 ran).

The Tourard Man (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 2 furlongs]; Wayne’s 23rd winner of the season.

Chance Taken (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 5th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Bettatogether (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 9th in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (10 ran).

 

National Hunt racing takes place at Ayr, Doncaster and Huntingdon tomorrow, with one runner of interest at the latter:

12:55 Pattara (Noel Williams/Gerard Tumelty) – NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

Both Doncaster and Huntingdon are subject to an 08:00 inspection.

 

Having talked myself out of weekend excursions earlier in the week, I’m now making tentative plans ... watch this space!  Although I will be going it alone ... but I am a grown-up after all ... well most of the time!  I am shy and retiring by nature but sometimes you just have to DO IT!  No regrets ...

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Two results from Catterick today:

Sutton Mac (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (4 ran).

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 1½ furlongs] (8 ran).

 

There’s jumps racing at Fakenham and Warwick tomorrow, again subject to the almost compulsory inspections at this time of the year, with runners of interest at the latter:

14:20 Spanish Arch (Martin Keighley/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs]

14:50 The Tourard Man (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 2 furlongs]

15:20 Chance Taken (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:20 Bettatogether (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race; Alan is hoping the horse behaves himself tomorrow, having lashed out in the Parade Ring and made contact with his jockey that day, Tom Bellamy, on his first appearance.  Evidently the horse was taken to Kempton Park last week to solely walk around the paddock and he behaved himself on that occasion.

 

Tomorrow is my last working day this week, as I’m using up my 2014 annual leave on Friday ... or at least I should say it’s one of my five remaining 2014 days!  It’s crazy really, as my main holiday season runs from October to April; I rarely take any holiday during May to September.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Leicester was lost to the weather, although racing did go ahead at Wetherby.

 

There’s National Hunt racing at Ayr and Catterick tomorrow, again both subject to early morning inspections, with two runners of interest at the latter.

13:00 Sutton Mac (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:35 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 1½ furlongs]

 

Lambs are beginning to arrive at the local Agricultural/Further Education College.  Oaklands will be holding their lambing weekend on 14/15 March this year; the weekend after the Cheltenham Festival, as opposed to last year when it took place the weekend before.  But I will still endeavour to attend ... I love little lambs ... and that’s not with mint sauce I hasten to add!

 

The Cheltenham Festival begins seven weeks today!!!

Monday 19 January 2015

Bangor was abandoned today, but Exeter passed their inspection ... at the third attempt!

Our Phylli Vera (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

 

There’s National Hunt racing at Wetherby and Leicester tomorrow, both subject to an 08:00 inspection.  More

 

If Leicester passes, then there are two runners of interest:

13:15 Seymour Star (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:50 Bravo Bravo (Martin Keighley/Nico de Boinville) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4½ furlongs]

 

Medermit is top-weight for Saturday’s Skybet Chase at Doncaster; Godsmejudge is also still amongst the entries.  More

 

Hennessy winner Many Clouds is due to take part in the BetBright Cup Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday; but Coneygree has suffered a minor setback so won’t make an appearance.  More

 

The snow originally forecast for yesterday afternoon did not materialise, but it was jolly cold last night.  But I was so warm and snug in bed that I didn’t want to get up this morning!  However, the current forecast for St Albans for Wednesday is light snow all day!  So I may yet have to get out my thermal boots; they need an outing. 

As proof of the cold weather, the backs of my hands are feeling itchy this evening.  Always a bad sign; a lot later in the season than usual, but confirming the fact that it’s been so mild up until quite recently.  Where’s my hand cream? 

Sunday 18 January 2015

There are two National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, at Bangor and Exeter.  Both are subject to early morning inspections, as it is forecast to be the coldest night so far of the winter!

 

If racing goes ahead at Exeter, there is one runner of interest:

14:50 Our Phylli Vera (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

 

There was no explanation, as yet, for Carraig Mor’s disappointing effort at Haydock yesterday:

Race 5 - 2:40pm THE 888sport GRADUATION STEEPLE CHASE (CLASS 2)
The Stewards considered the running of CARRAIG MOR (IRE), ridden by Wayne Hutchinson and trained by Alan King, which started favourite and was pulled up. They noted that the trainer’s representative could offer no explanation for the gelding’s performance and that the rider reported the gelding was never travelling. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of CARRAIG MOR (IRE) during routine testing failed to reveal any abnormalities.

Nicky Henderson reports that Sprinter Sacre is fine following yesterday’s race, despite a small trace of blood being found in the horse’s nostrils following the race.  More

But Long Run won’t run this season.  More

The charity fundraising event Pogo Pandemonium is taking place next Saturday evening at Newbury racecourse.  Choc is due to take part as a member of the jockeys’ team, alongside AP McCoy, Andrew Tinkler, Dominic Elsworth, Mick Fitzgerald, Mark Bradburne and Sam Thomas. 

https://www.facebook.com/events/321849657985937/?ref=44&unit_ref=related_events

Seeing Choc on a pogo stick is my kind of thing, come to think of it seeing Choc full stop is my kind of thing; but an evening out with dinner, a live band, etc, is not.  Or at least not unless in the company of any party animal friends I might have been able to find ... 

Saturday 17 January 2015

Here are the results for my two runners of interest at Haydock Park today:

Araldur (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles] (8 ran).

Carraig Mor (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up before the last in the Graduation Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs] (6 ran).  From travelling well prior to the final bend, the horse went out like a light; there must have been something wrong.  That’s the sort of thing that happens when a horse bursts a blood vessel.   

 

Dodging Bullets won the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase, with Sprinter Sacre finishing as runner-up having got tired during the closing stages of the race.  But everyone seems happy.  More

 

I think it will make the Festival’s Champion Chase a far more interesting race, with at least three live contenders in Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy and Dodging Bullets if they all make it to the starting gate. 

 

Bitofapuzzle, who finished a very game runner-up to The Pirate’s Queen at Haydock on her last run, won Ascot’s Grade 2 Mares’ Hurdle event.  I like her, a lot.  More

 

Sadly the veteran King Edmund died as a result of a fall during today’s big handicap chase at Ascot.  RIP old boy.  L

 

The New One struggled to win the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock Park; but he still triumphed despite conditions and the tactics deployed by his rivals.  Isn’t it supposed to be the sign of a good horse that he can win regardless of what goes wrong?  More 

 

There’s no National Hunt racing in the UK tomorrow, Fontwell Park having been abandoned earlier this week.

 

After a bright start to the day in Hertfordshire, the skies clouded over mid-morning and there were a few snow showers.  But nothing settled, as the sun came out again before lunch.  I wonder what tomorrow will bring in the way of snow ...

Friday 16 January 2015

There are three National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, weather permitting – Ascot, Haydock Park and Taunton. 

 

But just two runners of interest, both at Haydock Park, which subject to a precautionary inspection at 08:00:

12:20 Araldur (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]

14:40 Carraig Mor (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Graduation Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs]

 

The main attraction at Haydock Park is The New One, who runs in the Champion Hurdle Trial.  More

 

Meanwhile, Sprinter Sacre is scheduled to run in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot; he has four rivals, Dodging Bullets, Grey Gold, Somersby, and Irish raider Twinlight.  More

 

The frost covers are already being deployed at Cheltenham ahead of next Saturday’s Festival Trials Day.  More

 

Choc has been on a visit to Keeneland in Kentucky; he departed last Saturday but is now home again.  I gather his outward trip was a bit of a nightmare, as he missed his connection at Washington Dulles airport. 

 

There’s excellent news today that my oldest niece, Kim, has accepted a job offer with Unilever as a Biomedical Scientist.  She doesn’t actually commence until September 2016 but, evidently, she feels that the role very much reflects her degree course studies, even more so than her envisaged career in embryology.  In the meantime she has one part-time job and also a voluntary administration role in the maternity unit at Luton and Dunstable Hospital. 

 

Did you know what Unilever is the world’s biggest ice cream manufacturer?  Brands include Wall’s, Magnum, Cornetto and Carte D’Or.  Other brands include Marmite, Persil, Dove, PG Tips, Simple, TRESommé and Radox.

 

I’ve no plans for the weekend.  It’s going to be cold, with maybe some snow in the southeast on Sunday.  I’m not hopeful that the weather will be conducive to walking, if the pavements are icy.  I did actually go for a walk last Sunday morning, around three miles in distance.  I feel so much better for a walk.  And I saw another red kite last Sunday too – it might well have been the same one I saw two or three weeks ago.  

Thursday 15 January 2015

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

Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) finished 9th and McCabe Creek (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

Monksgold (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle (12 ran).

Marley Joe (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) finished 8th in the Intermediate NH Flat Race (Conditional & Amateur Jockeys) (9 ran).

 

Forgotten Gold finished 4th in the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase at Ludlow. 

 

Tomorrow’s fixture at Chepstow has been abandoned due to water-logging, and Sunday’s meeting at Fontwell Park has been lost also because of water-logging.  There is a National Hunt fixture at Musselburgh tomorrow, subject to a precautionary 06:45 inspection.

 

A possible crack at the World Hurdle is on the cards for Saphir Du Rheu following his less than impressive record as a novice over the larger obstacles; in the meantime he’s been entered for the Cleeve Hurdle on Festival Trials Day.  And, of course, he’s owned by Andy Stewart, just like Big Buck’s.  More

I notice Midsomer Murders is back for a new series on Wednesday 28 January. J  And The Musketeers series two continues tomorrow evening ... who cares about the sword fights ... I enjoy it for the eye candy!!!

Wednesday 14 January 2015

There was no snow in Hertfordshire overnight. 

 

But it was a totally different story on Martin Keighley’s gallops this morning:

https://twitter.com/belindakeighley/status/555406924972589057/photo/1

 

Newcastle was abandoned today, but Newbury did go ahead:

Gabriella Rose (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

King Kayf (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 2nd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (6 ran); another second place for Noel, how frustrating. 

 

National Hunt racing at Market Rasen, Wincanton and Ludlow tomorrow, with runners of interest at the latter:

13:20 Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) & McCabe Creek (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:30 Monksgold (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

16:00 Marley Joe (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) – Intermediate NH Flat Race (Conditional & Amateur Jockeys)

 

It transpires that the Mares’ Hurdle is likely to be the target for Annie Power at the Cheltenham Festival.  That’s annoying for everyone who has a good mare, with Quevega winning it for ‘donkey’s years’ ... okay it was 6 years ... and now Annie Power attempting to claim the prize too.  More

 

Charlie Swan has decided to give up training due to financial reasons.  More

I’ve been watching the Horizon programme this week about dieting ... they’ve found three categories of people who overeat – the Emotional Eater, the Constant Craver, and the Feaster.  I’m a ‘Feaster’!  Evidently Feasters produce less of the gut hormone GLP-1 which sends signals to the brain to tell us we are full; as a result we are able to cram in more calories before the brain says enough.  Feasters need to eat food which takes longer to digest – such as chicken, fish, pasta, eggs, nuts and pulses.  And eat fewer sugary foods, potatoes, bread or pastry ... all of which I love!  And everyone needs to slow down the rate at which they eat; as the faster you eat, the less full you will feel.   

I’m not obese but I am overweight.  In 2008 I lost a stone without conscious dieting or taking any extra exercise but put it all back on again in 2011 and 2012 when I had some health issues. 

Tuesday 13 January 2015

It’s been very quiet, with no runners of interest since Saturday.  The weather has got the better of a couple of fixtures too, with yesterday’s Ayr fixture abandoned due to storm damage, and today’s Ffos Las fixture lost due to flooding. 

 

However, if Newbury passes its 08:00 inspection, there are two runners of interest tomorrow:

15:25 Gabriella Rose (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:00 King Kayf (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

I’m not sure if I’m very keen on continuing my early mornings and late evenings at work.  Evidently, one of the guys in the office reckons he’s seen spirits in the building; ghosts not alcohol that is!  Either he’s gifted or crazy, but I’m in no hurry to be the first in or the last out from now on!!!

 

I’m now on standby to see if Hertfordshire gets a little bit of snow overnight.  I’m definitely fed up with the rain; I got soaked walking home from work yesterday, didn’t go out at lunchtime today because of heavy rain with thunder, and it was wet again when I came home this evening.  

Saturday 10 January 2015

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

 

Kempton Park:

Daydreamer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up before two out having tailed off during the Juvenile Hurdle (8 ran).

Balder Succes (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Listed Chase [2 miles 4½ furlongs] (3 ran); proving that his optimum distance is two and a half miles.  Wayne’s 22nd winner of the season.  More

Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) blundered and unseated at the first in the Handicap Chase [3 miles] (9 ran).

First Mohican (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (8 ran).

 

Tea For Two ridden by Lizzie Kelly won the Lanzarote Hurdle.  More

 

And, perhaps, someone should have told Wayne Hutchinson that Midnight Appeal has recently made a habit during his races of making an error at the first fence! 

 

Warwick:

Sego Success (Alan King/Tom Cannon) won the Novices’ Chase (Listed) (7 ran).

Handazan (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) [3 miles 2 furlongs] (11 ran).

West End Rocker (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) was pulled up after the 18th fence and Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) was also pulled up after the same fence in the Classic Chase (Grade 3 Handicap) [3 miles 5 furlongs] (14 ran).

Big Chief Benny (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 2nd and Real Gone Kid (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) finished 3rd in the ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

The Classic Chase was won by the Paul Nicholls-trained, Sam Twiston-Davies ridden, Hawkes Point.  Normally I’d prefer the trainer not to ‘farm’ all the big races but, in this instance, the win was not coming out of turn for the horse, having been narrowly touched off by Mountainous in the 2013 Welsh Grand National.  I understand it was Paul’s only runner of the day; he’s currently on his annual holiday in Barbados.  More

 

Wetherby:

Creepy (Martin Keighley/Jason Maguire) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles] (6 ran); two horses having departed at the last when in with a chance of victory.

Spanish Arch (Martin Keighley/Jason Maguire) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4½ furlongs] (8 ran).

 

I have to say the ‘whistling wind’ on the Wetherby TV coverage was rather grim!  It’s been windy down south but, looking at all the problems the storms have been causing further up the country, we’ve been very lucky.  

 

ATR’s Matt Chapman mentioned Choc in his Sun Favourite’s column today:

 

Jockeys can get forgotten quickly when suspended, but if one is injured for a long time then the situation can get exaggerated.

 

So, I just wanted to remind everyone that one of Britain’s top jumps riders, Robert ‘Choc’ Thornton, is alive and kicking. 

 

Thornton has been absent since the spring, when a fall at Chepstow resulted in him fracturing a vertebra in his back.  That healed, but then another problem was discovered in the jockey’s neck after he had resumed riding out.

 

The time away has allowed Thornton to spend plenty of treasured time with his young son William, but it can only be frustrating for the man who was top jockey at the 2007 Cheltenham Festival.  Thornton tells me loyal owners and the Injured Jockeys’ Fund have been a tremendous support but let’s hope he is back soon.

 

We miss you, Choc!

 

And, no, I don’t make a habit of reading The Sun; Matt tweeted yesterday evening to say he’d mention Choc today ... so I thought I’d better buy a copy! 

As mentioned yesterday, the sole National Hunt fixture tomorrow is at Kelso and that’s subject to an early morning inspection due to the risk of snow.  All-weather racing returns to Chelmsford City (Great Leighs) tomorrow. 

Friday 09 January 2015

Two runners of interest at Huntingdon today and this is how they fared; it wasn’t very pleasant conditions – soft ground and windy too.

Bravo Bravo (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) finished 8th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Presenting Lisa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).

 

There’s National Hunt racing at Kempton Park, Warwick and Wetherby tomorrow, and runners of interest at all three fixtures:

 

Kempton Park:

12:25 Daydreamer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:10 Balder Succes (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Listed Chase [2 miles 4½ furlongs]; two rivals – Fox Appeal & Hunt Ball.  More

15:15 Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]

15:45 First Mohican (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]

 

Warwick:

13:55 Sego Success (Alan King/Tom Cannon) – Novices’ Chase (Listed)

14:25 Handazan (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) [3 miles 2 furlongs]

15:35 West End Rocker (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Classic Chase (Grade 3 Handicap) [3 miles 5 furlongs]

16:05 Big Chief Benny (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & Real Gone Kid (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Wetherby:

14:15 Creepy (Martin Keighley/Jason Maguire) – Handicap Chase [2 miles]

15:25 Spanish Arch (Martin Keighley/Jason Maguire) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4½ furlongs]

 

So that’s all three fixtures on RUK tomorrow. 

 

All-weather racing action returns to Chelmsford City on Sunday; in other words Great Leighs!  The sole National Hunt fixture being Kelso, there are no runners of interest.

I managed to catch-up with my workload today, have a fifteen minute lunch-break and leave on time too.  Wonders will never cease!  Mind you, having said that, I did start work just before 08:00 this morning, so have done 1.75 hours unpaid overtime regardless.  

Thursday 08 January 2015

Just one runner of interest today, at Leicester:

Salmanazar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) skewed awkwardly at the first fence and fell as a result, in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (7 ran); then, when loose, he trashed at least one set of plastic guide rails.  In fact he proved to be quite a menace to the other runners!  But, at least, he appeared to be perfectly fine at the end of his rider-less adventure!

 

There are two National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, at Doncaster and Huntingdon, with two runners of interest at the latter:

12:45 Bravo Bravo (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

14:30 Presenting Lisa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle

 

News today that Simonsig is set to miss the entire 2014/2015 season.  More

 

Mad Moose has been ‘officially’ retired today, following a BHA ruling.  More

 

Trainer David Bridgwater has found himself in trouble, also with the BHA, following the reporting of careless remarks after yesterday’s incident at Ludlow.  More   

I’m looking forward to the weekend ... not because I’m doing anything special ... but because I need a rest following a very hectic first full week of January at work!

Wednesday 07 January 2015

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

 

Ludlow:

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) won the Hands and Heels Handicap Chase (Conditionals/Amateurs) by a short-head ... but that was not the whole story!  (7 ran); Martin’s 13th winner (National Hunt) of the season.

Morning Herald (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) finished 4th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (10 ran).

 

Taunton:

Castle Cheetah (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle (7 ran).

Money For Nothing (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd and Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles & ½ a furlong] (6 ran).

The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & ½ a furlong] (7 ran).

 

There was an unfortunate incident at the end of Ludlow’s Hands and Heels Handicap Chase; but you win some, you lose some and the prize has gone to a deserving home – Always Bold is owned by Belinda Keighley!  More

 

Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Leicester:

13:30 Salmanazar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

 

News that Coneygree is likely to run in the Argento Chase on Cheltenham Trials Day.  More  I am a fan of the horse.

 

Alan King has confirmed in his Weekender column that Medinas has suffered a tendon strain and is out for the remainder of the season. 

 

Godsmejudge is almost ready for his seasonal reappearance, and will run before the end of this month. 

 

Uxizandre is having a break and may go straight to Cheltenham. 

 

L’Unique has returned from her mid-season break and is being aimed at the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival as per last year.  She may or may not have a run before that; if the ground is too heavy between now and March she won’t have a prep run.

 

And Midnight Prayer is going to remain on the easy list for at least a month; after which a decision will be made as to his future.  He was withdrawn on the day of the Welsh National because Alan King wasn’t happy with him; although I don’t think at the time the trainer could put a finger on exactly what was wrong with the horse.  He was just not himself I guess.

Tuesday 06 January 2015

There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Ludlow:

15:30 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) – Hands and Heels Handicap Chase (Conditionals/Amateurs)

16:00 Morning Herald (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Taunton:

13:40 Castle Cheetah (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Maiden Hurdle

14:40 Money For Nothing (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Handicap Chase [2 miles & ½ a furlong]

16:10 The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & ½ a furlong]

 

Denis O’Regan received a 10-day ban when deemed a non-trier at Bangor On Dee today:

The Stewards held an enquiry into the running and riding of DELVIN ROAD (IRE), ridden by Denis O’Regan and trained by A J Martin, which finished fourth beaten approximately 19 lengths having appeared to be tenderly ridden in the last half mile. They interviewed the rider and the trainer's representative. They also received a report from the Veterinary Officer who stated that the gelding was lame at the trot on examination after the race. They also had observations from the Handicapper. The rider stated his instructions were to get DELVIN ROAD (IRE) settled, creep into the race and do his best. He added that the gelding ran freely in the early stages, was left in fourth place at the end of the back straight when the front runners quickened away and had no more to give from that point. The trainer's representative confirmed the instructions and added that DELVIN ROAD (IRE) is a hard ride, tends to run keenly and therefore wears a tongue strap. Having heard their evidence and viewed recordings of the race the Stewards found the rider in breach of Rule (B)59.4 and guilty of failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to obtain the best possible placing. They suspended him for 10 days as follows: Tuesday 20 January to Thursday 29 January 2015.

That rules him out on Cheltenham Trials Day.

Monday 05 January 2015

I wonder how Choc got on today, with his scan ... I did tweet him this morning to wish him luck.  And he tweeted back to thank me.  J

 

There were three runners of interest today at Lingfield Park and this is how they fared:

Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

King Louis (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th and Menace (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 6th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (All-weather) (11 ran).

 

There’s National Hunt racing from Sedgefield and Bangor-On-Dee tomorrow but no runners of interest.  However, the latter card has six races with 61 runners declared; so horse entries are improving for the racecourse after the dire numbers towards the end of last year.

I’ve been overdosing on The Musketeers this weekend so tonight I think I will try Broadchurch Series 2, as I didn’t watch the first series but have heard so much about it. 

Sunday 04 January 2015

It was almost a clean sweep for my runners of interest at Plumpton this afternoon:

Pain Au Chocolat (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran); Wayne’s 20th winner of the season

Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Chase (4 ran); Wayne’s 21st winner of the season.

Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (9 ran).

 

The Sussex National was won by the Linda Jewell-trained Itoldyou.  More

 

There are three runners of interest tomorrow at Lingfield Park:

13:10 Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:40 King Louis (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Menace (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Standard Open NH Flat Race (All-weather)

 

I had one spare hour this morning and had intended to take a short walk.  However having gone around 100 metres and slipped on the pavement twice, I decided that I wasn’t prepared to risk injury so turned around and came home again.  

 

It’s a very important day tomorrow, as Choc undergoes another scan on his injured C7 and T1 vertebrae.  Fingers and everything crossed for him.

Saturday 03 January 2015

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

Springboks (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).

Roberto Pegusus (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

Ronaldinho (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th and Pride In Battle (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs] (9 ran).

 

And here is a recap of tomorrow’s runners of interest at Plumpton:

12:50 Pain Au Chocolat (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:20 Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase

14:20 Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]

 

Noel Fehily’s little boy, born on 30 December, has been named Michael Christopher.

I hate damp, miserable days ... I’ve spent the afternoon watching the racing from Sandown and Wincanton on TV.   If it had been nice weather I’d have gone for a walk this morning, as exercise always makes me feel better.  Instead I’ve been sitting wrapped up under a blanket in an armchair with a hot water bottle to help ease the discomfort of my achy and creaky neck and back. 

Following the racing, I’ve been watching Series One of The Musketeers on DVD and I’ve completed and uploaded my Kempton Park diary too.  Click here to read.

Friday 02 January 2015

There are three National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, at Newcastle, Sandown Park and Wincanton, with runners of interest at the latter:

12:55 Springboks (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:05 Roberto Pegusus (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

14:40 Ronaldinho (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Pride In Battle (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]

 

Balder Succes is likely to step up in distance for his next assignment, namely the Betfair Ascot Chase.  More

 

The field sizes for a number of events at the Cheltenham Festival are to be slightly reduced; prize money increased and some races extended by half a furlong because starting gates were moved at the beginning of the season.  More  

 

Meanwhile, on Sunday, there are 3 runners of interest at Plumpton:

12:50 Pain Au Chocolat (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:20 Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase

14:20 Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]

Thursday 01 January 2015

 

Happy New Year

 

 

Cheltenham:

Ned Stark (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 4th in the Dipper Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (7 ran).

Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) finished 10th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs] (13 ran).

Ulzana’s Raid (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles] (10 ran).

Elkstone (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th and Laughingalltheway (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 13th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (15 ran).

 

Exeter:

Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Tom Bellamy) finished 4th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).

Shadarpour (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) was pulled up and Hindon Road (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs] (18 ran).

Flementime (Martin Keighley/Tom Bellamy) finished 5th in the Beginners’ Chase (7 ran); a hot race where Whisper was the odds-on favourite but he was beaten by the Paul Nicholls-trained Ceasar Milan.

Ballochmyle (Alan King/Jack Doyle) finished 9th in the Maiden Standard Open Flat Race (16 ran).

 

Rock On Ruby won the feature hurdle at Cheltenham, which turned out to be the highlight of today.  More

 

Following today’s victory for Rock On Ruby, Darren Bird has drawn a cartoon depicting the horse and the trainer’s baby daughter Ruby.  Harry Fry, his wife and daughter were all at the races today:

https://twitter.com/DarrenBirdie/status/550694896185929728/photo/1

 

Noel Fehily’s wife gave birth to their second child, a son, on 30 December; so he shares his birthday with William.  Dave Crosse tweeted double congratulations after today’s win, mentioning the baby has been named Ruby Christopher; he is a joker so I’m unsure whether to believe him!  Ruby Walsh is Rupert Walsh ... so I’m not sure about the validity of calling all children Ruby regardless of their sex!  It’s quite a common name now; my cousin’s son Trevor has a young daughter named Ruby. 

 

Choc tweeted a photo of the family having fun at a Pantomine in Birmingham yesterday.  Left to right are girlfriend Jennie, his mum Sally, the lovely Choc, his nephew Connor, and his dad Martin.  William was hiding!

https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/550473656288436224/photo/1

 

There’s bad news today that One In A Milan, who fell in last Saturday’s Welsh Grand National, broke a bone in his knee and won’t race again.  At the present time the Evan Williams stable are endeavouring to save his life; fingers crossed for the horse.  More

 

There’s National Hunt racing at Ayr and Ffos Las tomorrow but no runners of interest.

 

I’d like to say that I’ve had a relaxing day today but my back, shoulders and neck have been playing me up something rotten.  It’s not so much the general discomfort that gets me down, it’s the dull ache which can last for hours; it often makes me feel nauseous too.  I think my New Year’s resolution has to be not to carry any more heavy boxes containing paper whilst at work – I have to do so much printing and carrying of the resultant boxes up and down stairs that it’s just not realistic now that I’ve been diagnosed with borderline osteoporosis in my spine and cervical spondylosis in my neck.  My colleagues will just have to help me out from now on.  My colleague Sue has refused to carry anything heavy ever since she began work in the department over 17 years ago; I shall have to take a leaf out of her book.  

 

However I have managed to finish the final draft of my Kempton Park diary today; I’ll aim to proof-read and upload it at the weekend.  I’m working a full day tomorrow. 


 

 

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