Sunday 31 January 2016

There’s just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Plumpton.  The fixture is subject to a precautionary inspection at 07:00.

16:25 Cinderfella (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race


Alan King has confirmed that, all being well, Smad Place will take his chance in the Gold Cup and Yanworth will run in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle. 



Yanworth grins at the camera!



And Annacotty will may run in the Ryanair Chase if the ground is soft, or the 3-mile Handicap Chase if better ground.



Alan feels that Who Dares Wins is still a Triumph Hurdle horse and will benefit from better ground having run too free yesterday.


Yesterday’s runners will now take a break, with their next racecourse appearances being at the Cheltenham Festival.


Wayne Hutchinson’s x-rays revealed no broken bones in his foot and he will attend Oaksey House tomorrow as part of his rehabilitation.  Alan said that he’s not got many runners this week, so Wayne won’t miss out on much and he hopes his stable jockey will be back in action very soon.   


This is cute:



Former Champion Hurdler (2009) Punjabi is due to take part in the ROR Parade on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival ... it would be great if Medermit could be there too. 

Saturday 30 January 2016


Five Winners for trainer Alan King

on a day to remember ...

including 2 x Grade 2 races, 1 x Grade 3 and a Listed race too



It’s been one hell of a good day for trainer Alan King and his team:



Not such a good day for Wayne Hutchinson, whose injured foot was black and blue this morning and so swollen that he couldn’t wear a boot!  As a result he went for an x-ray today, with news awaited.  Richard Johnson substituted aboard Who Dares Wins and Smad Place.


It was a beautifully sunny day at Cheltenham, which followed on from so much heavy overnight rain that the fixture was only 50/50 to go ahead when The Morning Line came on air at 09:00 this morning; the main concern was that today’s racing might seriously affect the ground’s ability to recover in time for the start of the Festival in mid-March.  However, following an inspection before 10:00, it was announced that the course was deemed fit; only the final fence having to be omitted on each circuit of the chase course.


And here are those excellent results for Alan King yard and other members of the GB team!



Who Dares Wins (Alan King/Richard Johnson) finished 4th in the Triumph Hurdle Trial (Juvenile Hurdle) (6 ran).

Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (12 ran).

Smad Place (Alan King/Richard Johnson) won the Trial Chase (Grade 2 – Gold Cup trial), with Many Clouds filling the runner-up position (8 ran).  Djakadam was a faller; both he and Ruby were okay, although the horse did need stitches in a cut to his chest.

Annacotty (Alan King/Ian Popham) won the Handicap Chase (Grade 3) [2 miles 4 furlongs & 166 yards] (9 ran); he won the same race last year.

Yanworth (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) won the Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2 - Neptune trial) (8 ran); the big orange horse was very impressive and I should imagine the Festival’s Neptune Novices’ Hurdle will be just his cup of tea.

Solstice Star (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 179 yards] (9 ran); he was out of the handicap weights today but clearly loves winning, and especially at Cheltenham!  Martin’s 18th winner of the season and Solstice Star’s 5th win of the season too.

Thistlecrack was an impressive winner of the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle, beating 7 rivals.



Mccabe Creek (Alan King/Jamie Insole) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 120 yards] (18 ran).  It was Jamie’s first win under rules; he is Will Kennedy’s nephew.  He also had to overcome a slipping saddle and lost iron!

Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 7th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles & 90 yards] (10 ran).

Minella Charmer (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 5th, Barters Hill (Ben Pauling/David Bass) won and Ami Desbois (Graeme Mcpherson/Ryan Hatch/EPDS Racing) finished 3rd in the Novices Hurdle (Grade 2 – Albert Bartlett trial) (6 ran); EPDS hope their syndicate horse can run at the Festival.

Ziga Boy (Alan King/Brendan Powell) won the Skybet Handicap Chase (Listed) (15 ran).

Cajun Fiddle (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 4th and Must Meet Mrsgrath (Robin Dickin/Chris Ward/EPDS Racing) finished a distant 10th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Div I) (11 ran).

Kir Royal (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 4th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Div II) (11 ran).

Vaniteux won the Grade 2 Lightening Chase.


It was a very good day, as I far prefer the world of National Hunt racing to be dominated by Alan King on a Saturday, as opposed to Willie Mullins #GBforever


However, I was disappointed that I’d decided not to go to Cheltenham today, as Choc was in attendance because he’s been appointed as the GB Team Captain for the BetBright sponsored Prestbury Cup.  That’s the competition between the GB and Ireland to see who can win the most races at the Cheltenham Festival; Rich Ricci is the recently appointed Chairman of this online Irish-based bookmaker.  Ireland’s Team Captain is an Irish TV personality named Hector Ó hEochagáin.   


Anyway, Choc and Hector appeared on The Morning Line, speaking with Tanya Stevenson.  Choc also appeared on the podium when the prizes were presented to Smad Place’s connections following victory in the BetBright Trial Chase.  He was involved in promoting the Prestbury Cup during the morning and there are a number of photographs on twitter accordingly:


















Smad Place is all tacked up and ready for action ahead of his race:



Djakadam ... Ooops:



Smad Place in the Winners’ Enclosure:





Smad Place has inspired many a tweet today ... earlier he was the top trender!








Steve Ayres and Yanworth head to the Parade Ring:















Although his dearly departed Balder Succes can never be replaced, it’s good that Steve is looking after a horse which may turn out to be another star. 







Solstice Star:





Celebrations for Freddie and Harry Keighley too:



EPDS Racing’s Ami Desbois:



Ziga Boy:



Mccabe Creek:






And a number taken by photographer Steven Cargill:


Who Dares Wins in 4th (white and red silks):



Winner of race 2, King’s Odyssey:



Smad Place:












No photos of Solstice Star from Steven sadly ... that’s the trouble with winning the final race of the day!


With Fontwell Park’s fixture abandoned, the sole GB National Hunt fixture tomorrow takes place at Sedgefield; thus no runners of interest.  The meeting scheduled for Lingfield Park on Tuesday has also been lost. 


I seem to have been doing a whole lot of nothing today, apart from watching the racing on TV and surfing the net, especially twitter! 


I didn’t sleep well last night.  I woke before 04:00 knowing there was something worrying me ... then remembered it was my job, from Monday L.  As I was having difficulty in getting back to sleep, I made and drank a cup of tea and finally went back to sleep again, to wake at 07:45.  Then, of course, I was disappointed to have missed an opportunity to see Choc at the races.  Oh well, I’m sure he will be at the Festival in his role as GB Team Captain for the Prestbury Cup; I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed that I’m in the right place at the right time to see him!   


It’s going to be a late night tonight, as I have many recordings to transfer to disk; it has to be done as soon as possible because I’m running out of space on the Sky box.  Besides, it needs to be cleared before Cheltenham arrives.  But, hopefully, that will allow me to get a good night’s sleep once I do eventually turn in!

Friday 29 January 2016

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest ... and it’s taken at least two hours for me to finish this blog entry!



The Mumper (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (16 ran); the infamous Our Phylli Vera finished a distant 11th in this race.

Give Him A Glance (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle (18 ran).

The Tourard Man (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) fell at the 2nd fence in the Novices’ Chase (5 ran).

Big Chief Benny (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) won and Cottersrock (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle (21 ran); so that would have been the forecast for me, the 2-1 favourite together with the 25-1 outsider!!!


Wayne damaged his foot when The Tourard Man fell at the 2nd fence.  It was the first open-ditch and he took off too soon; fellow competitor Saint Roque also blundered badly at the fence and was pulled up.  The fence was trashed, but fortunately The Tourard Man appeared to canter away unscathed, and he didn’t go too far either before pulling himself up.  Denis O’Regan substituted aboard Big Chief Benny and Wayne has to clear himself with the doctor tomorrow, in order to take up his engagements at Cheltenham.



Daliance (Noel Williams/Andrew Thornton/EPDS Racing) finished 5th and Handsome Sam (Alan King/William Featherstone) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 145 yards] (14 ran).

Zipple Back (Alan King/Noel Fehily) finished 3rd and Midnight Jitterbug (Noel Williams/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (13 ran); the distances between the first 7 horses were 2¼ lengths, 2 lengths, 1¾ lengths, ¾ of a length, a short-head and a neck – so good runs from all of these.


Lingfield Park:

Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/Timmy Murphy/part-owned AppleTree Stud) finished 5th in the Handicap [1 mile & 1 yard] (11 ran).


There are ‘shed loads’, or should that be ‘horse-transporter’ loads, of runners of interest again tomorrow:



12:40 Who Dares Wins (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Triumph Hurdle Trial (Juvenile Hurdle)

13:15 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

13:50 Smad Place (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Trial Chase (Grade 2 – Gold Cup trial) – also engaged are Djakadam (that’s Djak-a-dam not Djak-adam), Many Clouds, Sam Winner, O’Faolains Boy, Theatre Guide, Wakanda and The Giant Bolster.

14:25 Annacotty (Alan King/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase (Grade 3) [2 miles 4 furlongs & 166 yards]

15:00 Yanworth (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) – Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2 - Neptune trial); he’s been one of my ATR tracker horses for a while now.

16:10 Solstice Star (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 179 yards]

Camping Ground, Thistlecrack, Guitar Pete, Knockara Beau, Ptit Zig, The Romford Pele and The Young Master are engaged in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle run at 15:35.



12:30 Mccabe Creek (Alan King/Jamie Insole) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 120 yards]

13:30 Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Handicap Chase [2 miles & 90 yards]

14:40 Minella Charmer (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & Barters Hill (Ben Pauling/David Bass) & Ami Desbois (Graeme Mcpherson/Ryan Hatch/EPDS Racing) – Novices Hurdle (Grade 2 – Albert Bartlett trial); I saw Barters Hill win the bumper at Aintree and added him to my ATR tracker in September, before he made his hurdling debut this season.

15:15 Ziga Boy (Alan King/Brendan Powell) – Skybet Handicap Chase (Listed)

15:50 Cajun Fiddle (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & Must Meet Mrsgrath (Robin Dickin/Chris Ward/EPDS Racing) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Div I)

16:25 Kir Royal (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Div II)

Arzal, Fox Norton, Shaneshill, Vaniteux and Bouvreuil are engaged in the Grade 2 Lightening Chase run at 13:00.


I shall be channel hopping tomorrow, Cheltenham is broadcast on RUK, Doncaster on ATR, and Channel 4 will be showing the feature races from both.


This afternoon I was notified of a re-organisation at work, which takes effect from Monday; I’m being moved to a different department, with my colleague moving elsewhere within the organisation.  The problem is that the majority of both our workloads are being transferred with me as the sole person responsible for processing everything for the network for at least the next six weeks.  It does not appear to have been taken into account that I’m on annual leave for 4½ days during February and 6 days during March, also 3 days during April if their promised timescale for reducing the workload overruns; besides it often has to be processed same day!  So I’ve no idea how I’m going to keep on top of it, considering some days I already struggle.  It is definitely time to win the lottery and retire ... how I wish. L    


And I wish I hadn’t spent any money at lunch-time, because I’m now feeling depressed ... and my gloves are lost forever too ... it’s going to be a horrible weekend, full of apprehension.  What a bummer.  L

Thursday 28 January 2016

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

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

Willoughby Hedge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 1 furlong & 100 yards] (10 ran).

Mia’s Storm (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran); from the race comments, it seems she had a lucky escape “tracked leaders, clipped heels, stumbled badly and lost place 8th, rallied and modest 4th approaching 2 out, kept on same pace before 2 out.”


There are ‘shed-loads’ of runners of interest tomorrow, 10 in fact; three of which are listed on my ATR tracker too ... namely Big Chief Benny, Schooboy Error and, of course, The Tourard Man. 



12:50 The Mumper (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

13:25 Give Him A Glance (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:05 The Tourard Man (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase

15:40 Big Chief Benny (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Cottersrock (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Maiden Hurdle



15:50 Daliance (Noel Williams/Andrew Thornton/EPDS Racing) & Handsome Sam (Alan King/William Featherstone) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 145 yards]

16:20 Zipple Back (Alan King/Noel Fehily/owner Jared Sullivan – hence the jockey booking) & Midnight Jitterbug (Noel Williams/Ian Popham/owner Liz Prowting – also hence the jockey booking) – Standard Open NH Flat Race


Lingfield Park:

13:15 Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/Timmy Murphy/part-owned AppleTree Stud) – Handicap [1 mile & 1 yard]


Sir AP McCoy has become the new President of the Injured Jockeys’ Fund; he was a vice-patron but has now switched roles with John Francome.  The latter is standing aside because he feels AP is more in touch with the today’s jockeys. 


I lost my gloves today, so I’m annoyed because I hate losing anything!  I know I had them on when I walked up to the City Centre at lunch-time but, by the time I exited Boots, I couldn’t find them in my coat pockets or in my handbag; although, at the time, I thought that perhaps I’d left them on my desk at work.  But, having later discovered that I hadn’t, I even returned to Boots on my way home this evening, which meant a 45-minute walk home rather than a 20-minute one ... but they had not been handed in, or at least not yet.  The only other shop I visited was WH Smiths, to buy a lotto ticket, so I’ll have to return tomorrow lunch-time and ask if they’ve found them.  They are only woollen gloves, bought from BHS a handful of years ago, but they’ve barely been worn until this month and are quite long, so keep my wrists warm too.  Poodles if they have been permanently lost.

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Bangor-on-Dee’s fixture was abandoned today.


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

13:50 Mystery Code (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:20 Willoughby Hedge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 1 furlong & 100 yards]

15:30 Mia’s Storm (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle


Cheltenham’s Grade 2 Trial Chase, to be run at 13:50 on Saturday, is shaping up nicely – currently declared are Djakadam, Many Clouds, Sam Winner, Irish Cavalier, O’Faolains Boy, Rocky Creek, Smad Place, Theatre Guide, Wakanda, Knock House and The Giant Bolster.


In his column this week, Alan King mentions that Midnight Prayer will be entered in this year’s Grand National; the yard’s sole entry. 


Colin Tizzard is thinking about running Third Intention in the World Hurdle; failing that, he’ll be entered in the Grand National or Topham instead. 


The tiny but very admirable mare Cannon Fodder has received two honourable mentions in this week’s Weekender; including from Simon Holt who writes that her third place behind the two Irish raiders in Saturday’s Grade 2 Mares’ Hurdle at Ascot was his personal highlight, aside from Un De Sceaux’s win in the Ascot House Chase. 


I don’t know what to watch on TV this evening ... Winterwatch or Great Sport Relief Bake Off or ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’ or a new episode of Midsomer Murders.  I hate it when interesting programmes clash or overlap and one cannot get around them all with the +1 channels either.  There’s also a limit on how much one can record to watch later or watch on iPlayer or the like.


It’s bad enough on Sunday evenings when I’ve been watching the first half of Endeavour, before switching over to watch War and Peace, and then back again to watch the final hour of Endeavour on ITV +1.

Tuesday 26 January 2016

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



Briery Queen (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).



Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles & 45 yards] (8 ran); an excellent come-back run having been sidelined following the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, with just one run in the interim.

Weyburn (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).


There are no runners of interest at Bangor-on-Dee or Catterick tomorrow.


The babies cardigan pattern and violet-coloured wool arrived yesterday and the beads ordered on Saturday arrived today, so that’s two more projects for me to complete.  I won’t be going racing this weekend; the following Saturday is a planned visit to see Menace, although there may be a conflict if either of the Dunkley and Reilly horses makes a racecourse appearance near me on that day.  Of course I’d prefer it if plans didn’t clash but there is a saviour in that Menace isn’t in full work at present and Noel has promised that syndicate members can undertake a further visit when he is. 

And I must remember to record ‘This Racing Life’ tomorrow, as it features Jonjo O’Neill and Alan King.

Monday 25 January 2016

There were two runners of interest this afternoon, at Kempton Park, and this is how they fared:

Authorized Too (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle Div II [2 miles] (9 ran).

Midnight Cowboy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (10 ran).


Tomorrow there are three runners of interest:



15:00 Briery Queen (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle



14:20 Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [3 miles & 45 yards]

16:00 Weyburn (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

Sunday 24 January 2016

There are two runners of interest tomorrow, at Kempton Park:

14:10 Authorized Too (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle Div II [2 miles]

15:10 Midnight Cowboy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]


Here is Gibralfaro winning at Ascot yesterday:



Also Johnny Og:



And Richard Johnson’s 3000th jumps winner:



Both Douvan and Faugheen won impressively at Leopardstown this afternoon; the former the Grade 1 Arkle Novice Chase and the latter the Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle.  It doesn’t look as though the home team has much hope in any of the graded races at the Cheltenham Festival.  One stable holding all the aces is not a good thing for national hunt racing in general, and especially when that stable is not even based in the UK. 

Saturday 23 January 2016

Obviously I didn’t check the race-cards thoroughly yesterday ... when I was at work ... because there were, in fact, four runners of interest at Ascot today and this is how they fared:

Gibralfaro (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Juvenile Hurdle (5 ran); Wayne’s 47th winner of the season.

Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Mr Hugo Hunt) won the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase (9 ran); Martin’s 17th winner of the season – well done to the team.  He also won best turned-out.

Simply A Legend (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) [2 miles 3 furlongs & 58 yards] (17 ran).

King Kayf (Noel Williams/James Banks) was pulled up in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier) (10 ran).


Vroum Vroum Mag won the Grade 2 Mares’ Hurdle for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh, with the runner-up also trained in Ireland ... how tedious.  The tiny but very game Cannon Fodder finished best of the home team in 3rd; she’s gaining quite a large fan club too – even my friend Denise, who occasionally watches the racing on Channel 4, mentioned the mare last time we spoke having seen her win at Kempton Park on 27 December! 


There was no surprise that Un De Sceaux won the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase; also very tedious.  Sire De Grugy just held on from stable-mate Traffic Fluide to claim the runner-up spot.


Richard Johnson has now officially ridden 3000 jumps winners with victory aboard Duke Des Champs at Ascot today. 


The New One won the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock.  Although the home team don’t appear to have anything which might even be placed in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.  Damn.


Meanwhile Jeans Lady finished last and L’Amiral David finished 5th in their one mile 4 furlongs Maiden Stakes on the all-weather at Lingfield Park (7 ran).  


Fontwell Park’s fixture scheduled for tomorrow has been abandoned. 


RUK has confirmed that this coming Wednesday’s ‘This Racing Life’ will feature visits to the yards of Jonjo O’Neill and Alan King.


I haven’t got around to doing any knitting today, yet.  I woke early, took time to get back to sleep but then slept in later than expected, typical.  It’s such a nuisance that The Morning Line is broadcast between 09:00 to 10:00, because it means that the day’s chores don’t begin until almost mid-morning, which then leaves little time to complete them before the live racing starts on RUK or ATR.


I’ve actually been messing around with bits and pieces of jewellery this afternoon ... whilst watching the racing of course.  I’ve mended one of Lesley’s necklaces which her grandson broke; I’d already fixed it earlier this year when the original manufacturer’s stringing thread snapped!  I’ve also ordered black glass pearl beads to replace those in a bracelet kit, as Lesley asked for black not grey; it came as a surprise to me that they were light grey when the kit arrived.  I’ve also had a problem with another bracelet, for me; one of the components is missing a hole and I was unable to thread the elastic to complete the original design.  Needless to say I’ve re-designed it.  And, finally, I’ve restrung a pendant with beads of a different colour to those chosen by me when I first purchased it.  Fortunately my bead stash allows me to mix and match whenever I fancy!   

Friday 22 January 2016

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


Market Rasen:

Travertine (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Hindon Road (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs & 89 yards] (9 ran); he was last of those which finished.

Salmanazar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 139 yards] (10 ran); Wayne’s 46th winner of the season.


Chepstow was abandoned due to water-logging.  Personally I’ve enjoyed this week’s cold and frosty weather; I found it depressing to walk to work in the rain this morning, even if it was warmer.


There are three runners of interest at Ascot tomorrow:

12:40 Gibralfaro (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:25 Simply A Legend (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) [2 miles 3 furlongs & 58 yards]; Value At Risk reverts to hurdles in this one too, following very early mishaps in his first two attempts at chasing.

16:10 King Kayf (Noel Williams/James Banks) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier); he’s Krackatoa King’s little brother!


Tomorrow’s feature race at Ascot is the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase, featuring the following 5 runners:


Race 2 d r.jpg

Race 3 f r.jpg

Race 2 i r.jpg

Simply Ned

Sire De Grugy

Traffic Fluide

race 2 h r.jpg

Race 3 a r.jpg

Un De Sceaux

Vibrato Valtat


There’s no surprise that The Morning Line’s guest tomorrow is Ruby Walsh as, of course, he will be riding at Ascot.


Meanwhile on the all-weather at Lingfield Park Jeans Lady, who has moved to trainer John Gallagher, runs in the 15:30 1 mile 4 furlong Maiden Stakes, as does Alan King’s L’Amiral David.  


There’s also National Hunt racing at Haydock Park and Taunton, but no runners of interest.  Although, having said that, The New One runs in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock Park. 


Happy retirement to Monkerty Tunkerty and Across The Bay who were both announced today as having retired from racing.



The dates of the four Hereford fixtures have been announced – Thursday 06 October, Monday 31 October, Wednesday 23 November and Monday 19 December. 



As RUK’s Tom Stanley has tweeted this photo, I presume Alan King’s yard will shortly be featuring on ‘This Racing Life’, their weekly magazine programme:



The giant Krackatoa King returns following his third in yesterday’s Somerset National:



Not sure whether or not this will play ... but it’s a clear round for trainer Ben Pauling at Market Rasen:



Looking ahead to another fun event at the Lambourn Open Day on Good Friday; does Nico think he’s Lawrence of Arabia?



Another one of those cute Friday photos, this time courtesy of the Redwings Horse Sanctuary:



And one from a donkey sanctuary:



The Fugue with her recently arrived filly foal:



Chilling out:



I’m chilling out this weekend ... I’ve no specific plans to do anything apart from knitting; the pattern and wool for a baby cardigan haven’t arrived yet, so I guess it will be a continuation of the sweater I’m already making.  

Thursday 21 January 2016


Race 3 g.jpg


Happy Retirement




Alan King and connections have decided to retire L’Unique, as recent results suggest she’s no longer enjoying her racing.  As a Grade 1 winner over hurdles at the Aintree Festival, a handicap hurdle winner at Sandown Park carrying top weight (I was there), and having been placed in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival too (I was also there), the risks of continuing now outweigh any benefit they might gain by winning a small chase.  Alan says she has a lovely pedigree and her owner Denis Barry now has the task of finding a suitable stallion to sire her first foal.  The trainer is hoping that he will get the opportunity to train her progeny too!  


In his column Alan mentioned that there are rumours about Hereford racecourse opening again ... and today it was announced that it will be brought back into use in October!  He writes that it is a track which he has always loved and it has been missed greatly; Alan has mentioned previously that he enjoys attending the smaller racecourses, rather than the larger ones!


However, it is one of the four racecourses where Choc suffered a bad injury – he broke his upper right arm for the first time in December 2011 when riding at Hereford.  The other three racecourses are Newton Abbot, July 2010, when the ligaments in his right knee were shattered; Southwell in March 2013 when he broke his upper right arm again and, of course, Chepstow in April 2014 when he sustained his career-ending neck injury. L 


Anyway, moving on, here are today’s results for my runners of interest:



Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs & 162 yards] (14 ran); it was the Somerset National.

The horse named Leg Lock Luke (which is Luke Harvey’s nickname) finished 7th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).


Ludlow was abandoned so Bitofapuzzle will have to run another day.



Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/Timmy Murphy/Part-owned by AppleTree Stud) finished 3rd in the Handicap [1 mile & 2 furlongs] (7 ran).


There are five runners of interest tomorrow:



14:10 Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 131 yards]

14:40 Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle


Market Rasen:

13:15 Travertine (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:55 Hindon Road (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs & 89 yards]

15:30 Salmanazar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 139 yards]

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Firstly, Newbury was abandoned due to overnight frost when temperatures dropped to -7 centigrade; it was too cold for the deployed covers to work effectively. 


However, my other two runners did just fine!


Kempton Park (All-weather):

Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Tom Queally) won the Handicap (London Mile Series Qualifier) having made all (10 ran); his price 10-1!



Asuncion (Rebecca Menzies/Brian Hughes/EPDS Racing) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 193 yards] (8 ran); although she’s still a maiden from 21 races!  It was an incident-packed race, with just 4 finishers. 


Oh nooooooooooooooooooooo ... Bingo D’Olivate is recorded on the Racing Forum Memorials page as having also suffered a life-ending injury when he fell independently at the last flight at Huntingdon last Friday; that’s in addition to Tippmanboy’s fatal fall at the same flight. 



Bingo r.jpg


RIP lovely Bingo




There are three runners of interest tomorrow:


Wincanton – the ground is heavy and subject to a precautionary inspection at 08:00:

14:45 Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs & 162 yards]

A horse named Leg Lock Luke, which is trained by Colin Tizzard, runs in the 16:25 NH Novices’ Hurdle!



13:20 Bitofapuzzle (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) – Mares’ Novices’ Chase



17:10 Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/Timmy Murphy/Part-owned by AppleTree Stud) – Handicap [1 mile & 2 furlongs]


Here is a photo of Jazzy, at home, greeting Dinky:



I don’t feel so depressed today ... or at least I didn’t until I read the news about Bingo ...

Tuesday 19 January 2016

There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:


Kempton Park (All-weather):

17:10 Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Tom Queally) – Handicap (London Mile Series Qualifier)



14:35 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

15:10 Willoughby Hedge (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 86 yards]

15:45 Mia’s Storm (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle



15:30 Asuncion (Rebecca Menzies/Brian Hughes/EPDS Racing) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 193 yards]


Meanwhile EPDS’ Money Maid is still with us, and connections are waiting for the swelling to subside further before a clear scan of her pelvis can be taken.  


I understand yesterday was Blue Monday – the most miserable day of the whole year ... I know I’m feeling particularly fed-up this week, especially with work.    


But there is a small beacon on the horizon, namely a stable visit to see Menace on 06 February!  That coincides with racing at Sandown Park, but hopefully there won’t be a need for me to go to that particular fixture instead. 


The Cheltenham Festival begins 8 weeks today ...

Monday 18 January 2016

With no runners of interest today, and Exeter abandoned tomorrow, I wasn’t going to write a blog this evening ... but I appear to have found a number of snippets so I’ve changed my mind! 


Here is a photo of our cute snowboarding ex-jockey:



And also one of Medermit leading a 3-year-old named Empress Rock on the gallops: 



Here is a montage of Ruby’s ‘nearly fall’ yesterday at Leopardstown; I don’t think the fact that he remained aboard was quite so amazing as the fact he also won the race having been overtaken by two rivals after the last fence incident occurred: 


Willie Mullins reported this morning that Killultagh Vic appears to be fine following his near-miss.  


Paul Carberry has suffered a major set-back following the broken leg he sustained at Listowel last September ... he was riding out last Friday when his mount spooked and he fell off and broke the same leg again; this time slightly higher up! 


Brian Toomey, who suffered a life threatening injury at Perth in 2013, will be joining Dr Richard Newland as an Assistant.  Brian will continue to race-ride; he’s had 21 rides since his comeback but no winners.


It is expected that Victoria Pendleton will ride Pacha Du Polder in the Cheltenham Foxhunters’ race.


Following her mishap in Ireland last week, Harry Fry expects to run Bitofapuzzle at Ludlow on Thursday or Haydock Park on Saturday.  She needs jumping experience ahead of the Cheltenham Festival, although Harry has the option of running her in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle again if things don’t work out as hoped.     


For the record, at Wolverhampton, Precision Five finished 4th of 9 and L’Amiral David 5th of 12; a blanket would have covered the 2nd to 5th in the latter’s race!


I find that the back of my hands suddenly become sore, with little specks of blood, when the weather turns cold in October or November.  So it just goes to prove how mild it has been, because today my hands have become sore and itchy for the first time this winter.  I tend to neglect them because I do so many crafts and don’t wish to get a greasy residue on my creations, but sometimes you just have to resort to hand cream.   

Sunday 17 January 2016


Snow 17 Jan 2016.jpg



The band of snow arrived in Hertfordshire late yesterday evening and we awoke to a shallow covering this morning.  There was still snow on the grass at dusk, but it’s melted away from the pavements already. 


There’s a precautionary inspection at Plumpton tomorrow, but no National Hunt runners of interest; there are two Alan King runners, Precision Five and L’Amiral David on the all-weather at Wolverhampton however! 


Alan King’s ‘early closer’ entries for Doncaster’s Sky Bet Chase on 30 January include Midnight Prayer, Annacotty, Sego Success, Ned Stark and Ziga Boy.


Whilst in the Betfair Hurdle, his entries are Montbazon, Winner Massagot and Sceau Royal. 


EPDS Racing’s poor Money Maid has a suspected fractured pelvis; her injury occurred on the gallops yesterday.


There’s another round of EPDS yard visit dates promised soon.


I forgot to mention Flintham’s brave victory in the Pertemps Qualifier at Warwick yesterday; he’s holding up the Plaid Maid family’s honour well!   


Killultagh Vic won the almost aptly named ‘Money Back on Fallers’ bookmaker-sponsored Novice Chase at Leopardstown this afternoon; the equine’s partnership with Ruby Walsh survived but I would imagine the horse will be a bit sore tomorrow!





Choc’s arrived back from his winter skiing and snowboarding holiday in Italy ... in one piece!  Phew!


I’ve now proof-read and uploaded my Boxing Day diary.  I’ve also started knitting the back of a sweater which I began three or four months ago; the v-neck front has already been completed. 

Saturday 16 January 2016

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



Passmore (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) finished 3rd in the Fillies’ Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race (6 ran).



Wishing And Hoping (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) unseated 3 out when in rear during the Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (9 ran).

Sego Success (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) fell at the second fence but Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished an excellent 2nd, 3¾ lengths behind the winner, in the Classic Chase (Grade 3 Handicap) (14 ran).  


When interviewed at Huntingdon yesterday, Alan King said he didn’t know what to expect from his second-string runner, as he’d missed last Saturday’s Welsh Grand National due to coughing, and they’d been unable to carrying out a number of the necessary tests to find out if Midnight Prayer was fully recovered because they ‘couldn’t get near him’!  And he said they couldn’t ‘dope’ him to gain access because it was too near to the date of the race!  Midnight Prayer is obviously old and wise; he’s just turned eleven!!!


It was an incident packed race, with just 5 finishers; there were 4 fallers, 2 unseats and 3 pulled up.  The loose Sego Success caused some grief, having hampered and caused the fall of former winner Rigadin De Beauchene; he, in turn, hampered stable-mate Midnight Prayer, and Foxbridge was also involved in this incident and unseated his jockey. 


Unfortunately Willie Mullins’ Warwick raiding party was as successful as it could have been to Warwick – Thomas Hobson won and Open Eagle finished 2nd in the Grade 2 Novices’ Hurdle, and Black Hercules won the Listed Novices’ Chase, easily.  Mouse Morris’ Dromnea wasn’t quite as successful in the Classic Chase, but the giant equine did finish 3rd to collect prize-money of £6,580.


The Classic Chase was won by the registered as white racehorse Russe Blanc, trained by Kerry Lee; this followed-up her triumph with Mountainous in last Saturday’s Welsh Grand National:





And jockey Charlie Poste won despite his tiny saddle slipping:



Alan King congratulates the winning trainer:





Irish raider Thomas Hobson takes the Grade 2 Novices’ Hurdle:



And Black Hercules, winner of the Listed Novices’ Chase:



And young Jack Lander caught up with Wayne Hutchinson at Warwick too:



Tomorrow’s National Hunt fixture at Kelso has been abandoned.

There’s talk on facebook from my friends this evening that snow is on its way to Hertfordshire ... so we shall see what happens by morning!  I do like snow, but not ice, as I’m getting a little bit concerned that if I fall over I might break something as I get older ...

Friday 15 January 2016

There were a number of runners of interest at Huntingdon this afternoon and this is how they fared:

Daliance (Noel Williams/William Featherstone/EPDS Racing) won and Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) finished 3rd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

The Unit (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd but Bingo D’Olivate (Noel Williams/James Banks) fell at the last flight in the NH Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).  Fortunately Bingo appeared fine following his mishap but not so the horse which would have won the race but for also falling at the last; the Dr Richard Newland-trained Tippmanboy suffered a fatal injury. 

Sceau Royal (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) won the Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle (5 ran).

L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (5 ran); Ubak might have won but for blundering and unseating Josh Moore at the final fence, thus handing the victory to Buckthorn Timothy.


There are a number of runners of interest again tomorrow:



15:50 Passmore (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) – Fillies’ Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race


There’s to be an 08:00 inspection at Warwick, although frost covers have been deployed:

15:00 Wishing And Hoping (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)

15:35 Sego Success (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Classic Chase (Grade 3 Handicap)


Willie Mullins is sending a raiding party to Warwick – Open Eagle and Thomas Hobson are engaged in the Novices’ Hurdle at 15:00; the first prize is £17k plus.  Black Hercules runs in the Listed Novices’ Chase; the first prize is £13k plus.  Meanwhile Mouse Morris runs Dromnea in the Classic Chase.  


Wayne Hutchinson is the guest on tomorrow’s Morning Line. 


Jockey Paul Moloney hopes to return from injury by mid-February.  


Cute photos time ...






I need to proof-read my Boxing Day diary this weekend; I also have a long standing note to find Kauto Star and Balder Succes photos for tribute pages.  


I have plans to knit a cardigan for Steph and her partner Leon’s baby which is due in April.  I ordered a number of knitting patterns just before Christmas but, typically, the one which was put on back-order was the one which I had planned to knit.  I do have a second choice pattern, so perhaps I’ll buy some wool to do that one instead. 


Fortunately baby clothes don’t take long to knit, although I haven’t made any for ages.  The first items were for my late cousin Diane’s son Andrew; he was born in February 1978 ... which makes him slightly older than Choc!!!  Now that makes me feel old!

Thursday 14 January 2016

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



Pemba (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (8 ran); Wayne’s 44th winner of the season.


Wayne also rode his 45th winner of the season, aboard the Donald McCain-trained William Of Orange.



Bitofapuzzle (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) unseated in the Mares’ Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) [2 miles 4 furlongs] (8 ran).

The race comments are “Close up, raced keenly early and disputed before 1st, led after 3rd, not fluent 7th, still going well and over 2 lengths clear before 3 out where blundered and unseated rider”.  I think we can safely say that she would have won with a clear round!


If the cold snap doesn’t get the better of tomorrow’s remaining National Hunt fixture, then there will be a number of runners of interest at Huntingdon:

13:20 Daliance (Noel Williams/William Featherstone/EPDS Racing) & Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

13:50 The Unit (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Bingo D’Olivate (Noel Williams/James Banks) – NH Maiden Hurdle

14:50 Sceau Royal (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) – Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle

15:20 L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase


And here is Daliance:


Wednesday 13 January 2016

There are two runners of interest tomorrow:



12:50 Pemba (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle

She is Alan’s first ever runner at the track!  But, as there are a very limited number of fillies’ juvenile hurdle races, he thinks it’s worth the trip.



14:40 Bitofapuzzle (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) – Mares’ Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) [2 miles 4 furlongs]


I purchased a copy of this week’s RP Weekender, as usual, and there is news in Alan King’s column of future plans for a number of his horses:


Firstly, Ulzana’s Raid is out for the season having suffered a further set-back; Alan plans to run him over fences in 2016-2017.  


Karezak is having a mid-season break and the plan is to go straight to the World Hurdle.  Medinas will also hold an entry in the race; in the meantime Alan hopes to get him ready for Fontwell’s National Spirit Hurdle at the end of February – the prize money has been increased.  Grumeti may also run in the National Spirit, having had a break; following that he may run at Aintree or in a good staying race on the flat.


Annacotty will run at the end of the month; on Cheltenham Trials Day or in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. 


Yanworth will be tried over 2 miles 5 furlongs on Cheltenham Trials Day, but he will hold entries in both the Supreme and the Neptune at the Festival.


Who Dares Wins will also run at Cheltenham on Trials Day; meanwhile, Gibralfaro will go to Ascot on 23 January.  It is intended to run Sceau Royal in Friday’s Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle at Huntingdon, rather than give him an unnecessary break; Kempton’s Adonis Hurdle will be on the agenda after that.


Criq Rock has also had a break and Alan imagines his next run will be in the Cheltenham Festival Bumper.   


Winner Massagot is waiting for better ground and will have an entry in Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle; however, he won’t take part unless the ground does improve, otherwise he thinks it will be a waste of a run.


And, finally, Montbazon is back and schooling over fences with the likelihood of an appearance soon. 


Alan is very pleased with the season so far, having won the Paddy Power and Hennessy Gold Cup and many other races too.  He says he’s still got lots of ammunition in the yard as they’ve not really started on their bumper horses yet. 


He also mentions that his horses are very fresh and well after their short break, which followed their flu jabs, and they had two or three loose horses on Monday morning as a result!

By lunchtime I was convinced it was Tuesday today, which is odd, because I’d usually think its Thursday!

Tuesday 12 January 2016

There were three runners of interest today:



Weyburn (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 5th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Viking Mistress (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 9th in the Maiden Hurdle (13 ran); although she was the last of the finishers.


Wayne Hutchinson rode his 43rd winner of the season aboard Battle Of Shiloh. 


Lingfield Park:

Silca Wings (James Fanshawe/Shane Kelly/AppleTree Stud) finished last in the Maiden Stakes (4 ran).


There’s National Hunt racing at Taunton tomorrow, but no runners of interest.


Phil Taylor has tagged Choc into a facebook video and message saying they had to be escorted off a mountain by police today; a first for all of them he said!  Phil, his wife Amanda, Choc and Jennie flew out on a skiing and snowboarding holiday to Sauze D’Oulx in north-western Italy on Sunday morning.  The resort is described as “a mecca for party mad skiers and boarders”! 


Here is a photograph of yesterday’s Kempton Park winner, Jazzy:



Work is underway to improve the unsaddling enclosure facility at Ascot ... and it has to be ready for use in less than two weeks:



Someone posted a photograph on the ‘Racehorses, where are they now?facebook page of 2005 Triumph Hurdle winner Penzance and 2009 Champion Hurdler Punjabi preparing to take part in a dressage event last weekend.  Both horses look really well and have obviously found very loving and caring homes in retirement. 


I found time to have a lunch-break today ... but it was spent in a dentist’s chair, as I’d booked my quarterly dental hygienist appointment for 14:00. 


Monday 11 January 2016

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


Kempton Park (All-weather):

Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Cathy Gannon) won the Maiden Stakes [1 mile 4 furlongs] (4 ran).


Wolverhampton (All-weather):

Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/Timmy Murphy/part-owned by AppleTree Stud) finished 2nd in the Handicap [1 mile 1 furlong & 103 yards]; he was wearing first-time blinkers today and hung right towards the finish before being headed close home.


There are three runners of interest tomorrow:



13:30 Weyburn (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

14:30 Viking Mistress (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Maiden Hurdle


Lingfield Park:

14:10 Silca Wings (James Fanshawe/Shane Kelly/AppleTree Stud) – Maiden Stakes


Paul Nicholls intends to switch Ptit Zig back to hurdles at the end of the month to run in the Cleeve Hurdle following disappointing exits over the larger obstacles on both of his last runs.    


One of my website readers, Jaci Dale, kindly sent me a number of scanned scrapbook articles dating back to the mid-1990’s when Choc was just a young lad.  I’ve now loaded the .pdf file onto my website and these can be viewed by clicking this link.  Alternatively, there’s a further link within ‘Bits ‘n’ Pieces / News’ on my index page.


I’m chilling again this evening, rather than cracking on with proofing my final diary; besides, I’ve been slaving over a hot PC for most of the day, whilst working nine hours without a break.  That’s no lunch-break, no tea or coffee breaks, and definitely no cigarette breaks as I don’t smoke! 

I once calculated that if you don’t take cigarette breaks, you work at least a week and a half longer every year than those who do!!!  That’s two breaks per day, taking at least 5 minutes each time, probably nearer 10, so we’ll conservatively say 15 minutes a day.  So that’s one hour and 15 minutes each week, working for 47 weeks a year when you exclude holidays.  It equates to 58 hours and 75 minutes which, if your official working hours are 37.5 per week (I wish), is 1.57 weeks each year. 

Sunday 10 January 2016

There’s no National Hunt racing tomorrow, as Ayr has been abandoned. 


However, there are two runners of interest:


Kempton Park (All-weather):

14:30 Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Cathy Gannon) – Maiden Stakes [1 mile 4 furlongs]


Wolverhampton (All-weather):

14:55 Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/Timmy Murphy/part-owned by AppleTree Stud) – Handicap [1 mile 1 furlong & 103 yards]


Despite concerns that Paul Nicholls has not been having as many winners as usual of late, he still leads the current Trainers Championship; it’s based on prize money.  Philip Hobbs is 2nd, followed by Dan Skelton, David Pipe, Colin Tizzard, Nicky Henderson, Alan King, John Ferguson, Evan Williams and Venetia Williams.   


It appears that I share my birthday with trainer David Bridgwater!


I’ve uploaded the remaining Kempton Park photographs and my diary for 27 December too, leaving just 26 December to be proof-read. 


That means it won’t be very long until I can spend time on my crafting hobbies, as they have had to take a back seat since my trips to Newbury in late November.  Or at least until my next visit to the races that is!

Saturday 09 January 2016

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



Forgiving Glance (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 5th in the Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) (8 ran). 


The Grade 1 event was won by Adrien Du Pont, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Nick Scholfield. 


Kempton Park:

Gild Master (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Juvenile Hurdle (5 ran); as expected he pulled very hard during the first half of the race, and he didn’t jump very well either!

Brod Na Heireann (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th and Dun Bay Creek (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).


Mountainous won the Welsh Grand National for the second time, having also triumphed in 2013; on this occasion for trainer Kerry Lee who took over the licence from her father Richard at the beginning of the season.


Only six of the 20 horses completed the race in the very difficult racing conditions. 


Meanwhile at Kempton Park ...


The Lanzarote hurdle was won by Yala Enki for trainer Venetia Williams and jockey Charlie Deutsche.



Triolo D’Alene returned from over a year on the sidelines to win the Listed Chase, beating Wishfull Thinking in a three runner race; Ptit Zig blundered and unseated two out when looking booked for runner-up spot. 

The victory came as a surprise to his trainer Nicky Henderson, who said the horse suffers from ongoing breathing problems and these are usually exacerbated by soft or heavy going; he’s undergone every possible procedure to cure this.  He’s been off the track with this and a knee problem; he has screws in one of his knees.  The plan is to go to the Grand National, all being well, although Nicky said winning a Listed event doesn’t help his cause!



Wayne Hutchinson rode his 42nd winner of the season when triumphing aboard Un Beau Roman in the 2 miles 2 furlong chase for trainer Paul Henderson:



And James Banks, who is Menace’s usual pilot, won the final race of the day at Kempton aboard Mr Fitzroy; his 19th winner of the season evidently.



There’s no National Hunt racing tomorrow as Ffos Las has been abandoned.


I’ve been slaving over a hot laptop today and have uploaded photos taken at Kempton Park on 27 December.

Friday 08 January 2016

There are four runners of interest tomorrow:



14:20 Forgiving Glance (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)


Kempton Park:

12:15 Gild Master (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

13:25 Brod Na Heireann (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Dun Bay Creek (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Novices’ Hurdle


Making his hurdles debut tomorrow, it’s Gild Master’s final chance to shine for the yard.  Owned by the McNeill Family, he is booked to go to the sales having ruined his chances on the flat by pulling too hard.  


Meanwhile tomorrow fixture at Wincanton has been abandoned.


According to my fixtures diary, there was supposed to be racing at Chepstow today and Doncaster tomorrow, so I presume they swapped dates.


Bangor-On-Dee has been a little bit soggy recently:



Harry Skelton appeared to be rather frustrated by Value At Risks’ inability to complete the course at Huntingdon on Wednesday; that’s two out of two failures over the larger obstacles for the horse: 



In contrast, here is Steve Ayres with Kings Bayonet following the horse’s triumph at Huntingdon:



Freddie Keighley went swimming with his school on Wednesday and saw Choc visiting the gym!


Stable stalwarts Kyles Faith and Always Bold have moved to a new home where they will go point-to-pointing. 


It’s been a long week, having worked a number of truncated ones recently due to using up my annual leave.  In fact by the time I’d reached Wednesday, it already felt like a Friday! 

Wednesday 06 January 2016

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

Travertine (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle Div II (14 ran).

The Barbury Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (4 ran).

Fletchers Flyer (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Chase (5 ran); the race was won easily by Drumacoo making his debut for the Ben Pauling yard. 

Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) [1mile 7 furlongs & 171 yards]; Wayne’s 41st winner of the season.  He needs to ride just one more winner to equal last season’s total!


And I missed one ...


Kempton Park (All-weather):

Sam Missile (James Fanshawe/Daniel Muscutt/AppleTree Stud) won the Maiden Stakes [1 mile]; the Stud’s first winner!  He was ‘green’ but, once he’d got the hang of it, he overtook most of the field and galloped away to win by 6 lengths!  


I looked for Sam Missile last month so that I could add him to my ATR tracker but couldn’t find him at that time.  So I now have two horses to add – him and Ar Mad. 


Alan King was at Huntingdon today and Lydia Hislop interviewed him in depth.  He confirmed that Midnight Prayer will be a non-runner in Saturday’s Welsh Grand National as he is coughing. 


There’s racing at Towcester tomorrow, but no runners of interest. 


Snorkels would be the order of the day if racing was ‘in season’ at Worcester and it’s certainly a big handicap if one currently wanted to hold a non-racing event at the racecourse:



I received three late birthday cards today – one from Lesley, one from my brother Nick and sister-in-law Anita, and another from my niece Lydia.  That’s the trouble with having a birthday in early January, there always seems to be a problem with Royal Mail ... or people just forgetting to post a card in time following the Christmas and New Year festivities!  I’m unable to tell when they were posted as there is no franking mark on any of the envelopes, just an indecipherable barcode; I presume first class on Monday.    


I’m still chilling out as regards my website, but will be back in harness by the weekend in order to select and upload my Kempton Park photos and also complete my diaries.

Tuesday 05 January 2016

Choc’s ex-valet Phil Taylor and his wife, along with Choc, visited the Tamworth SnowDome on Sunday.  So I’ve now seen a brief video of Choc snowboarding, which Phil tagged on Facebook.  I hope Choc is careful, as I’d hate for him to injure his already fragile neck. 


Congratulations to Richard Johnson; he rode his 3000th career winner at Ludlow yesterday aboard St Saviour in the Juvenile Maiden Hurdle. 


Balthazar King has jumped a number of small fences today, the first time he has jumped since the injury incurred in last season’s Grand National.  Personally I would have retired him, not brought him back. 


Speaking of retirement, the popular Lie Forrit has been retired today; he’s one of Lydia Hislop’s favourites.


Newbury is offering me a £10 discount if I book my Hennessy Gold Cup ticket before 01 February; I know it’s one of my ‘not to be missed fixtures’ but I do feel it’s a little bit premature to be booking already! 


There are runners of interest tomorrow, at Huntingdon:

13:10 Travertine (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) – Maiden Hurdle Div II

13:40 The Barbury Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

14:10 Fletchers Flyer (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) – Novices’ Chase; he’s one of my ‘other’ horses which I’ve seen and liked!

14:40 Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) [1mile 7 furlongs & 171 yards]


Note to self: I must add Ar Mad to my ATR Tracker too! 


I’ve renewed my TwitteratiMenace’ syndicate membership for a further 12 months; more details should you wish to join too: 



And, finally, happy birthday to yours truly!

Sunday 03 January 2016

There were supposed to be three runners of interest at Plumpton this afternoon but, with monsoon conditions, just one was able to take its chance:

Herewego Herewego (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the Novices’ Hurdle

Minella Charmer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the NH Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran); Wayne’s 40th winner of the season.

Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/James Banks) couldn’t run as the final four races, including the Sussex National [3 miles 4 furlongs & 102 yards], were abandoned.


L’Ami Serge made his debut and duly won the 3-runner Novices’ Chase; the second race of the day.


Here is a photo of the conditions encountered in the final race they were able to run; Minella Charmer is two from the left:



A couple of witty photographs were tweeted following the abandonment:





One person pointed out that there would not be a ticket refund, due to three races having been completed, stating that 29 minutes of the 30-minute late morning inspection was probably spent examining the refund policy!

There’s National Hunt racing at Ludlow and Musselburgh tomorrow but no runners of interest.

I’ve been positively lazy today; I didn’t wake up until my phone alarm sound at 08:00, although I did pack away all of my Christmas decorations before 09:00!  I found time to sew up a pair of purple wrist-warmers I’d knitted goodness knows how long ago but, for the remainder of the day, I’ve just been lounging around and dozing!    

Saturday 02 January 2016

Two runners of interest today, at Sandown Park:

Pearls Legend (John Spearing/Nico de Boinville) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [1 mile 7 furlongs & 119 yards] (9 ran).

Araldur (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th in the Veterans’ Handicap Chase Final (15 ran); he was last of those which completed, the remainder having been pulled up on the heavy ground.


Soll won the Veterans’ race, by a neck from Aachen; but Tom Scudamore has been awarded a 7-day ban (16 to 22 January) and a fine for overuse of the whip upon the winner.  


Yorkhill romped away with the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.


But Polly Peachum narrowly won the Listed Mares’ Hurdle for Nicky Henderson and David Bass; the Irish ‘bombed’ in this one, finishing 4th and 7th!


There are three runners of interest tomorrow, at Plumpton:

12:40 Herewego Herewego (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:40 Minella Charmer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

14:40 Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Sussex National [3 miles 4 furlongs & 102 yards]


With plummeting ratings during their tenure, Channel 4 Racing will bite the dust at the end of this year; ITV has won the rights to show horse-racing from 01 January 2017, with fixtures split between their main channel and ITV4.  Personally I think it’s the presenters who have killed off the popularity of racing on terrestrial TV – they have far too many people that the viewers just don’t like.  But please don’t bring back John McCririck!     


Choc went to see the new Star Wars film yesterday ... but he didn’t like it!  The franchise is older than he is, as I went to see Star Wars at the cinema before he was even born!


Excellent progress has been made on my Kempton Park diaries today ... wicked!  And my neck and shoulders haven’t been complaining about it either!

Friday 01 January 2016



Happy New Year


Just one runner of interest today, at Exeter:

Bingo D’Olivate (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 6th in the Maiden Hurdle (18 ran); so a clear round today and, although he did finish tailed off on the heavy going, Bingo did better than most!  


Meanwhile at Cheltenham; Seeyouatmidnight won the Grade 2 Dipper Novices’ Chase for Scotland, Village Vic won again, bottom weight Singlefarmpayment triumphed in the Handicap Hurdle with veteran Knockara Beau finishing second and, last but not least, Camping Ground won the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle.  The latter will stick to hurdling this season, having tipped up in the Peterborough Chase last time out. 


It was cold at Cheltenham today but it didn’t deter fans, as over 34,000 were reported to have turned up; a record for New Year’s Day!


Two runners of interest tomorrow, at Sandown Park:

13:50 Pearls Legend (John Spearing/Nico de Boinville) – Handicap Chase [1 mile 7 furlongs & 119 yards]

15:00 Araldur (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Veterans’ Handicap Chase Final; there are some great old warriors declared to run, so hopefully they’ll all return home safely. 


There’s a big Irish raiding party heading to the Esher venue tomorrow but, hopefully, some of our own home-grown talent can fight them off!!!


With the Cheltenham Festival moving back a week this year, I was trying to figure out where the extra Saturday would be assigned.  It usually goes Sandown, Kempton, Ascot, Cheltenham, Sandown, Newbury, Ascot, Kempton, Newbury, Sandown, and then the Cheltenham Festival.   I’ve discovered the additional Saturday falls in January, so it’s Sandown tomorrow and Kempton Park (Lanzarote Hurdle Day) on 09 January, with Warwick and Wetherby moving back a week to 16 January, and Ascot taking place on 23 January and Cheltenham’s Trials Day on 30 January.  Sorted!


There was sad news today with the announcement that the joint-owner of Cue Card, Bob Bishop, passed away on Wednesday; he was 83. RIP More


The Morning Line starts at 08:00 again tomorrow, returning to its new time slot of 09:00 next Saturday.  Lizzie Kelly is their guest tomorrow.






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