JULY 2012



Tuesday 31 July 2012

Choc was at Worcester this evening and this is how he fared:

Suburban Bay (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Beginnersí Chase (9 ran).

Donít Look Bach (B Barr/Choc) was a non-runner in the Selling Hurdle

Andhaar (Richard Phillips/Choc) finished 3rd and Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).Aidan gets on so well with the horse and they were only just collared by Ogee close home; Andhaar running on to clinch his place at the line too.


No racing down south tomorrow, just Perth subject to a precautionary inspection.


Iíve booked a dayís holiday tomorrow so that I can buy my Aintree tickets on their first day of sale.Still mulling over whether to do all three days or just the Friday and Saturday as Iíve done for the past four years.Iíve already booked my Travelodge accommodation for the Friday night ... I prefer Premier Inn but am fed up that all their rooms in the Merseyside vicinity are booked out at the moment only to become available at a later date.I need to make firm plans as soon as possible; I cannot risk having nowhere to stay as it is 200 miles from home.


I shall then spend the remainder of tomorrow watching the Olympics on TV.There must be so many people taking these two weeks as holiday because the roads are almost deserted in my home City throughout the day.I know it is the school holidays, but the rush hour is more like a quiet Sunday morning!

Monday 30 July 2012

Choc was in action this evening and this is how he fared at Uttoxeter:

Kitegen (Robin Dickin/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle Div I (14 ran).

La Belle Doyenne (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Maresí Novicesí Hurdle (7 ran).


Choc will be at Worcester tomorrow evening, where he has 3 riding engagements:

18:20 Suburban Bay (Alan King/Choc) Ė Beginnersí Chase

19:50 Donít Look Bach (B Barr/Choc) Ė Selling Hurdle

20:50 Andhaar (Richard Phillips/Choc) & Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) Ė Handicap Hurdle


Choc has been playing cricket again ... I wonder if it was the Dr Pritchardís charity match which Dave Crosse tweeted about on Saturday.Perhaps Iíll find out when Dave uploads his new blog on the Love The Races website tomorrow.



Another bronze medal today, this time for the Menís Gymnastics Team; a milestone in the recent history of the sport for the GB team.But I couldnít help but feel they were robbed of the silver when the Japanese team won their appeal.Why is our team always plagued by bad luck?

Sunday 29 July 2012

Choc was at Stratford today and this is how he fared:

Cailin Ceol (Liam Corcoran/Choc) finished 11th & Midnight Myth (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 7th in the Novicesí Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Yvonne Evelyn (Alan King/Choc) finished 8th in the Novicesí Handicap Chase (13 ran).

Not surprisingly, Hills Of Aran (Keith Goldsworthy/Choc) was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase, having run on Friday.


I checked the Stratford race-card again yesterday to see if there was any news of Chocís riding engagements and, as Hills Of Aran was already listed as a doubtful runner and his other mounts were very much outsiders, I decided to remain at home today.


However, I have been viewing the Olympics coverage and, in particular, have found the Cycling road races Ďadditiveí to watch!It was a shame that the British men failed in their efforts yesterday ... especially disappointing when I discovered that the winner, Kazakhstanís Vinokurov, is a convicted drugs cheat.But the women rescued the situation today, with Lizzie Armitsteadís brilliant silver medal in their road race.And I recognised their journey from the A3 underpass into Esher, before they took a right turn into the high street and rode past Sandown Park racecourse!


Choc will be back in action yet again tomorrow, at Uttoxeter:

17:50 Kitegen (Robin Dickin/Choc) Ė Handicap Hurdle Div I

18:20 La Belle Doyenne (Alan King/Choc) Ė Maresí Novicesí Hurdle


The weather was foul during the cycling today ... and in Hertfordshire weíve had three thunderstorms so far today.Iím now psyching myself up to purchase my Grand National tickets when they go on sale on Wednesday ... Iíve booked the day off so that I can hang on the phone for a while.I was thinking about going into work for the afternoon, but I might want to remain at home to watch the cycling time trials instead!!!

Friday 27 July 2012

The big (and shock) news today is that both Hereford and Folkestone racecourses are to close ... the latter is reported to be a temporary closure.More


And thereís a Q & A about these closures on the At The Races site too.Click here to read.


Just one runner of interest at Southwell today:

Miss Exhibitionist (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

There are runners of interest at Stratford on Sunday:

15:30 Hills Of Aran (Keith Goldsworthy/Choc) Ė Handicap Chase (although the horse did run at Southwell today).

16:00 Cailin Ceol (Liam Corcoran/Choc) & Midnight Myth (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) Ė Novicesí Handicap Hurdle

17:00 Yvonne Evelyn (Alan King/Choc) Ė Novicesí Handicap Chase

Plans for the weekend?Not sure now ... as this is the first time this summer that Choc has had the pre-requisite number of weekend rides and is near enough for me to take a trip to the racecourse.Also, Stratford is my favourite summer venue too ... I shall mull it over!

Thursday 26 July 2012

Today, there were a couple of runners of interest at Uttoxeter:

Sapphire Moon (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).

Jubilee Night (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) ran out in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).Something must be amiss, as he hung badly right on his debut too.

Just one runner of interest at Southwell tomorrow:

16:50 Miss Exhibitionist (Alan King/Choc) Ė Handicap Hurdle

Infuriatingly, I dozed off to sleep yesterday evening and missed the end of Superstar!So I didnít find out that my favourite, Ben, had won until I logged onto my PC at work this morning.Good choice.

I enjoyed watching Restoration Home last evening.The house featured this week is situated near Dundee and it is an Ďarts and craftí style building which has been lovingly restored by its owners.Itís now a stunning home with beautiful views too.I love to watch Ďhome-relatedí programmes such as Grand Designs, Homes Under the Hammer, Restoration Man and, of course, Escape to the Country.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

There were runners of interest at Worcester this afternoon and this is how they fared:

Sciampin (L Corcoran/Choc) was pulled up in the Novicesí Hurdle (8 ran).

The Foxís Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) who was placed 2nd at Bangor yesterday, today finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle Div I (12 ran).

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle Div II (11 ran).


There was a little bit of drama at Worcester too, when jockey Paul Moloney weighed in one and a half pounds light having won aboard Green To Gold.He kept the race due to extenuating circumstances ... the very hot weather!More


Tomorrow, there are a couple of runners of interest at Uttoxeter:

14:20 Sapphire Moon (Alan King/Choc) Ė Maiden Hurdle

17:40 Jubilee Night (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) Ė Standard Open NH Flat Race

Ben will be competing in the final of Superstar on ITV at 21:00 tonight and Iím rooting for him above Roger and Rory.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Two runners of interest at Bangor On Dee this evening and this is how they fared:

The Foxís Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Conditional Jockeysí Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) carrying top weight finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (7 ran).


There are runners of interest at Worcester tomorrow afternoon:

15:50 Sciampin (L Corcoran/Choc) Ė Novicesí Hurdle

16:50 The Foxís Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) Ė Handicap Hurdle Div I; although he did run today!

17:20 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) Ė Handicap Hurdle Div II


Interesting news that Harry Fry, who has been acting as assistant at Paul Nichollsí satellite yard, will be taking out a training licence.Rock on Ruby, who was prepared at the yard ahead of his Champion Hurdle victory last season, is to be one of his new charges.More


Salut Flo, winner of last seasonís Byrne Group Plate at Cheltenham, is recovering from surgery following a bout of colic and stable-mate Iím So Lucky has been retired.More

Nathan ended up in the bottom two on Jesus Christ Superstar last night and Andrew Lloyd Webber chose to save Roger again (thatís twice now).Itís the semi-final tonight and, hopefully, Ben will survive and go on to win the role in the new touring production.

Monday 23 July 2012

Two runners of interest at Bangor On Dee tomorrow evening:

18:15 The Foxís Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) Ė Conditional Jockeysí Handicap Hurdle

20:15 Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) Ė Handicap Chase


With the start of the school holidays, my walk to work was a pleasure today ... apart from when a stupid woman driver almost ran me over when she did an illegal right turn!It must be the silly (and dangerous) season for drivers, as on my way back from Luton yesterday afternoon the car in front of mine had to swerve to avoid an oncoming vehicle driven by a young lad who was overtaking with insufficient distance available.

Sunday 22 July 2012

One runner of interest at Newton Abbot this afternoon:

Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 11th in the Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).


National Hunt racing scheduled for Cartmel tomorrow, so no riding engagements for Choc.Perhaps heíll have some rides later in the week Ė Bangor On Dee is scheduled for Tuesday evening, Worcester for Wednesday afternoon, Uttoxeter for Thursday afternoon and Southwell for Friday afternoon.Watch this space ...


Iíve completed three scarves so far this weekend ... one in Wendy Rococo, one in Rico Loopy and one in Katia Big Snow!And, yes, Iím now feeling terribly guilty that Iíve not worked on my cross stitch project again this weekend.


It was 23 degrees in Hertfordshire this afternoon and forecast to get hotter during the next few days ... 30 degrees on Wednesday evidently.Mustnít complain about it being too hot though, as itís been a very long wait for summer to arrive.

Saturday 21 July 2012

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

Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) was a non-runner in the Summer Hurdle (Listed Handicap)

Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th & Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Summer Plate (Listed Handicap) (16 ran).

Compton Blue (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Novicesí Hurdle (12 ran).


One runner of interest at Newton Abbot tomorrow:

15:35 Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) Ė Maiden Hurdle


And my verdict on chocolate flavoured Philadelphia ... I like it, although itís a bit strange eating it spread on bread!

Hallelujah ... Jeff was one of two prospective Jesus Christ Superstars voted off the programme yesterday.Both Ben and Nathan are still in the running.

Friday 20 July 2012

I canít believe itís been so quiet on the National Hunt front this week; come to think of it, Choc hasnít had a ride since 01 July. LIn addition to the usual September break (13 September to 22 September inclusive) for National Hunt racing, thereís a 10-day break next month too (06 August to 15 August inclusive); so I expect it will seem very quiet for the next couple of months.


However, Choc has tweeted a number of photographs during the past few days:



William has been riding Lucas Murphyís (son of Timmy) skewbald pony:




Choc has been for a check-up on his right arm, which he broke last December:




And here is a photograph taken many moons ago of Choc with his mates:



There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow, at Market Rasenís biggest summer fixture, including one for Choc:

14:50 Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) - Summer Hurdle (Listed Handicap)

15:25 Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Wayne Hutchinson) & Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) Ė Summer Plate (Listed Handicap)

16:00 Compton Blue (Alan King/Choc) Ė Novicesí Hurdle


And thereís one runner of interest on Sunday too, at Newton Abbot:

15:35 Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) Ė Maiden Hurdle


No plans for the weekend, although my sister-in-law, Anita, will be giving me a haircut on Sunday.Iím looking forward to some nice weather too.And Iím also looking forward to trying out the new Philadelphia chocolate spread on a few slices of tiger bread tomorrow JIím easily pleased!!!

Iíve been following the search for a singer/actor to play Jesus Christ Superstar in Andrew Lloyd Webberís new show production.My favourite is Ben, my second preference being Nathan.But I canít stand Jeff ... he reminds me of a young George Best!

Sunday 15 July 2012

Choc has tweeted more photographs of William:





And this is of young jockey William aboard a pretty bay pony being looked after by his grandparents, Sally and Martin:



And more ... I especially love the first one ... as everyone is having lots of fun:









The bad weather caused the CLA Game Fair at Belvoir Castle to be cancelled.


I expect William, Choc and his parents would have visited the show had it gone ahead.


The weather in Hertfordshire yesterday morning was dire; my drive to the Hobbycraft store in Stevenage was far from a pleasure!My home is built on clay soil and the back lawn is currently squelchy underfoot!Although there is no risk of flooding, the drains donít seem to be coping very well.The gutter outside floods quite quickly during downpours and large vehicles send huge splashes across the pavement; very unpleasant when youíre a pedestrian!

One runner of interest today at Southwell and it was a milestone for both trainer and jockey!

Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).It was the 100th winner under rules for trainer Martin Keighley and Ian Pophamís first ride since breaking his pelvis last September.Congratulations to the team, their 6th winner of the season.†††


No National Hunt racing tomorrow.


Saturday 14 July 2012


Happy Birthday


KP 22 Nov 2010 for blog red.jpg


Many happy returns of the day to my favourite jockey,

who celebrates his 34th birthday today (14th July)


* * * * * * * *

One runner of interest tomorrow, at Southwell:

15:40 Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) Ė Handicap Hurdle; Ian returning to the saddle after his long injury time-out.

Iíve nothing special planned for the weekend; I may do some cross stitching and/or knitting.And I can finally wash my car, as the hosepipe ban has now been lifted in my local area!

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Midnight Myth (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 9th in the Maiden Hurdle (12 ran).


The final race of the day, in which Frizzo was due to run, was boycotted by the connections of eleven of the declared horses ... which meant that the Nigel Twiston-Davies runner, Moulin De La Croix, had a walkover.More I was disappointed as I didnít get to see Choc ride ... I wish it had happened to a different race.When will I get to see Choc next?Itís a desert this summer. LOr perhaps itís a quagmire!

Iím beginning to think that I may be suffering from anxiety; all job related.I feel nauseous when under pressure, Iím having hot flushes (not menopausal related, as Iím over that!), Iíve had dizziness, and I feel tired.For the past few days, walking the mile to work wears me out ... which is odd, as usually I can walk five or six miles with ease.I hope these symptoms disappear soon.And Iím not a hypochondriac.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Just one runner of interest this evening, at Uttoxeter:

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).


Two runners of interest tomorrow evening at Worcester, including one for Choc:

19:40 Midnight Myth (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) Ė Maiden Hurdle

21:10 Frizzo (Alan King/Choc) Ė Novicesí Hurdle


Frankie Dettori carried the Olympic flame at Ascot racecourse today and successfully completed a flying dismount too!More

Monday 09 July 2012


Miinnehoma 94 r for blog.jpg


RIP Miinnehoma


News today that the oldest surviving Grand National winner, Miinnehoma, has passed away aged 29 following a long and happy retirement.More

Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Uttoxeter:

20:15 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) Ė Handicap Hurdle

Sunday 08 July 2012


The Olympic Flame visits St Albans

(Day 51 of its tour)


torch 1 r.jpg


torch 2 r.jpg


12-year-old Hannah Gallaher carries the flame in St Albans



The torch passed through my home City during late afternoon today ... and I found I couldnít relax to watch the Wimbledon Menís Singles Final until after Iíd seen it, because I had to keep an eye on the pavement to ensure there werenít too many spectators crowding around.As it turned out, there was plenty of room and I had to wait for around 30 to 40 minutes to see the flame.This meant I missed the end of the second set/beginning of the third, but then the players went off court whilst the roof was closed and I was able to watch the remainder of the match upon their return.


Federer won the Championship for the seventh time, equalling the record held by Pete Sampras.He also regains the World Number One ranking.I attended Samprasí third Wimbledon title win in 1995, when he beat Boris Becker in the final.And I saw bits and pieces of the 1999 final between Sampras and Agassi when Denise and I breached security to watch through a doorway in the upper gallery ... but thatís another story!That was Samprasí sixth title win.


It was nice to see a different side to Andy Murray today, during his post-match interview.Perhaps everyone, including myself, will be able to warm to him a little more in the future.I think I donít particularly like Federer because he beat Agassi too many times and Iím still bearing a grudge!!!


Not surprisingly, Newton Abbotís Monday fixture has been abandoned.

Saturday 07 July 2012

The funeral of jockey Campbell Gillies took place in Edinburgh yesterday:



Choc was amongst those who travelled to the funeral to pay his last respects; it was estimated that almost 100 jockeys attended.


Choc tweeted a picture of himself and colleagues on a night out in Edinburgh last evening; right to left is his valet Phil Taylor, jockey Gerard Tumelty, Choc and another valet (Iím not sure of his name, but I think he is the guy we chatted to when Lesley and I were waiting to go on our course walk around Cheltenham with Choc in December 2008).



Iíve been suddenly overcome with the urge to do some scarf knitting these past few days ... probably because I discovered and purchased four balls of yarn when I went to Eastbourne a couple of weeks ago ... and have latterly discovered the range of wools manufactured by a Spanish company, Katia.



I canít believe how many exciting and unusual designs have been created by Katia, especially when compared to the very staid old fashioned ideas from our own manufacturers!Mind you, it probably helps that a number of the designs use ruffled scarf yarns to embellish the clothes ... and you know that I just love frills and ruffles!!!


And, yes, I do feel guilty that Iíve put my current cross-stitching project aside for a few days ...


The Olympic torch is due to pass by my home tomorrow afternoon ... two celebrities will be taking part in this leg of the relay but it wonít be announced who until tomorrow morning.


I hope it doesnít interrupt my viewing of the Wimbledon tennis final too much ... as, although I donít particular like Roger Federer (despite him being a brilliant tennis player and a complete gentleman) or Andy Murray (and Iíve never found anyone who likes him), I always like to watch the Menís Final.

An excellent result in the Menís Doubles Championship, with British player Jonathan Marray teaming up with Dane Frederik Nielsen to win the title in five sets.It was the first time a British man had triumphed in the Menís doubles since 1936!

It was a shame that Serena Williams won the Womenís Singles title again; but at least her opponent, Polish player Agnieszka Radwanska, won the second set because it initially appeared very one-sided with the American winning the first set 6-1.

According to the Hit-Air website, there is a slight suggestion that there may be a Pro Bull re-match between the Jockeys and the Event Riders.This is due to event rider Sam Watson having been recruited by the Jockeys team last Sunday to make up numbers and subsequently recording the best time of the whole weekend to give the Jockeys victory on that day.If there is a re-match, I wonder if Choc will take part again.

Thereís National Hunt racing at Market Rasen tomorrow, but no riding engagements for Choc.

Thursday 05 July 2012

After a few very quiet days on Chocís Twitter account, today he has posted a picture of William playing on the slide at the Plough Inn (the first photo being a warning about the speedy slide!):






Iíve carried out a little more research about last Fridayís charity cricket match and have added a section to my Bits Ďní Pieces / News page, with links to photographs:



Wednesday 04 July 2012

Just one runner of interest at Worcester this afternoon:

Jubilee Night (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 3rd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (6 ran).


Thereís no National Hunt racing now until Sunday; the Perth 2-day fixture (today & tomorrow) having been abandoned due to water-logging.Dry winters and wet summers ... weird!


It was nice to see Andre Agassi and his wife Stefanie Graf (since retiring she prefers people not to call her Steffi) at Wimbledon today, rubbing shoulders with Kate and Wills.Andre looked really well.Shame I missed seeing him in person today.


I no longer attend Wimbledon because itís not the same when you donít care who wins; tickets are very expensive; itís rare to be lucky in the ballot, which means you have to queue out overnight, camping, for Centre Court or Number One court tickets ... and Iím a bit too old for that!!!But it was good while it lasted, and Iíve seen Andre play, live, 50 times I think, plus one doubles match at Queens and an exhibition to mark the Ďopeningí of the roof at Wimbledon!Included too, was a trip to the Paris Indoor tournament in 1999, where he played five matches and won the tournament.I wouldnít have missed the experience for the world ...

Tuesday 03 July 2012

A couple of runners of interest at Stratford this evening and this is how they fared:

The Foxís Decree (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6Ĺ furlongs] (12 ran).

Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 3rd in the Standard NH Flat Race (Conditional Jockeysí & Amateur Riders) (13 ran).


Tomorrow, just one runner of interest at Worcester:

15:10 Jubilee Night (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) Ė Standard Open NH Flat Race


Check out the Hit-Air website to watch a video of Saturdayís and Sundayís rodeo rides.Alan Kingís rodeo ride time on Saturday was 19 seconds; Peter Carberry was the third member of the jockeysí team on Sunday.http://www.hitairuk.co.uk/


Iíve completed and uploaded my Barbury Horse Trials/Hit-Air Rodeo Challenge diary.Click here to read.

Monday 02 July 2012

A couple of runners of interest at Stratford tomorrow evening, but none for Choc:

19:40 The Foxís Decree (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) - Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6Ĺ furlongs]

20:40 Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) - Standard NH Flat Race (Conditional Jockeysí & Amateur Riders)


Iíve completed the first draft of my ĎBarburyí diary, so it shouldnít be too long before I upload it.


Evidently Wayne Hutchinson was one of the jockeys who joined Will Kennedy in yesterdayís Hit-Air Challenge; having taken part on Saturday too.I know one jockey was a Ďno-showí; which meant that an Event Rider joined the jockeysí team and they went on to win the Challenge!

Sunday 01 July 2012

Four runners of interest at Uttoxeter today, and this is how they fared:

Midnight Myth (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 6th in the Maiden Hurdle Div I (11 ran).

Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) finished 9th in the Summer Cup Listed Handicap Steeplechase (15 ran).

Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle finished (10 ran).

Titeuf De Tierce (Alan King/Choc) finished 7th in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).


It was good to see 11-year-old Captain Cee Bee win a 2-mile Handicap on the flat at the Curragh today.


No National Hunt racing tomorrow.


Here are links to the photographs I took yesterday at the Barbury International Horse Trials:

Hit-Air Challenge Part 1

Hit-Air Challenge Part 2

Hit-Air Challenge Part 3

Barbury International Three Day Event


And, if youíve not seen enough photographs of the Jockeys vs Eventers hit-air Challenge, here are those taken by the professional photographer:



Iím in this one, on the far right, learning against the rails, wearing a purple jacket:



And my friend Denise and I appear to have been posted on the Hit-Air website by a photo contributor too!!!



The Event Riders won yesterdayís hit-air Challenge ... although it must have been once the Ďwildcardí competitorsí scores had been taken into account too.As, according to my maths, the jockeys were on a total of 181 seconds and the event riders 155 seconds following the completion of their rides!The jockeysí team won today, William Kennedy being one of the team members, not sure (yet) who the other three were!




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