JULY 2013



Wednesday 31 July 2013

Toronado finally got the upper hand over Dawn Approach in today’s Goodwood’s Sussex Stakes. More


And artist Darren Bird has captured the event to a tee:



AP McCoy was successful in today’s Galway Plate, with JP McManus owning the 1-2-3. More


Freddie and Harry Keighley have been enjoying Pony Club camp at Cheltenham racecourse this week:


Here is Freddie and Thomas ... or is it Ian Popham and Champion Court?



And Harry aboard Crunchie ... or perhaps it’s Ollie Garner and The Fox’s Decree!



Four runners of interest tomorrow, at Stratford:

14:05 Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Div I

16:40 Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Chase

17:45 Fighter Jet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Endear (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Maiden Hurdle

Sunday 28 July 2013

Choc attended a stag do this weekend ... that of his valet Phil Taylor.  Phil tweeted to thank Choc for organising a great weekend ... then hash tagged that he was ‘off to die’!


I took a walk down to M & S this morning, found an identical pair of boots to the ones I’d ordered, tried them on and discovered I need a wider fit in order to wear with thick tights and socks!  So as soon as I collect my order I will return them for a refund.  The other ‘fancied’ style wasn’t as I’d hoped either.  But I did find a pair of wide fit ankle boots, in black leather and suede, so I bought them instead ... and they were less expensive:   


I did like the Damson shade, but as the percentage of suede is greater they would be less practical for a cold and soggy day at the races! 


There’s National Hunt racing at Uttoxeter tomorrow evening but no runners of specific interest.

Friday 26 July 2013

One runner of interest this afternoon at Uttoxeter:

Compton Blue (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).


Poor St Nicholas Abbey has suffered a terrible setback ... he got colic yesterday and had to have an emergency operation.  More  Fingers crossed that he will pull through from both of his operations.   


There’s no National Hunt racing this weekend although, of course, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes will take place at Ascot.  I think Choc may be attending a stag do this weekend.


I may have found a pair of boots to eventually supersede my favourite black engineer ones!  These appear to come in black, brown or wine colours ... I think the latter will go well with black, grey, brown, and navy so I’ve ordered a pair for collection!  


And I like these too:


Thursday 25 July 2013

One runner of interest tomorrow, at Uttoxeter:

17:15 Compton Blue (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle


St Nicholas Abbey is reported to be recuperating well following the surgery to repair his fractured pastern. More

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Two runners of interest at Southwell today and this is how they fared:

Suburban Bay (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (7 ran).

Faultless Feelings (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished last in the Handicap Hurdle (3 ran).


Veteran jockey Jimmy McCarthy rode the winner of Faultless Feelings’ race at Southwell today and promptly retired from race riding. More  I was at Aintree in 2009 when Ogee won the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle.


No specific runners of interest at Worcester tomorrow.


Sadly St Nicholas Abbey suffered a career ending injury on the gallops this morning, a fractured pastern.  Vets are hoping to save the horse for a stud career.  More


After a very long build-up, Kate, William and the young prince left hospital shortly after 19:00 ... so I was finally able to tear myself away from the TV to do the washing up!!! 


St Albans missed most of the heavy rain and thunderstorms – all I heard, and others too, was a downpour at around 04:15 this morning which lasted only 10 minutes and very distance thunder shortly afterwards.  There was a short shower as I walked to work this morning, and a period of heavier rain just before noon.  It remains very hot and sticky, so it would appear that a good night’s sleep is still a long way off!

Monday 22 July 2013

Two runners of interest tomorrow, at Southwell:

14:15 Suburban Bay (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

15:45 Faultless Feelings (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

Sunday 21 July 2013

Two runners of interest at Newton Abbot today and this is how they fared:

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 2½ furlongs] (10 ran).

The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles ½ furlong] (6 ran).


National Hunt racing at Cartmel tomorrow but no runners of specific interest.


It is reported on Alan King’s website that Choc plans to begin riding out again in September. 


Having been hospitalised yesterday, conditional jockey Gary Rutherford faces a long spell on the sidelines. More


I’ve put on even more weight since the hot spell began, so I went for another walk today – slightly further in distance this time, as I returned via the city centre shops.  And I’ve discovered there are three alpacas at the College, not two as thought yesterday – a dark brown one, a white one, and a ‘two-tone’ fawn and white one.  They are just so cute ... although I gather that they do spit if you annoy them, and if they become very annoyed they spit the contents from deep within their guts – very smelly and unpleasant!

Saturday 20 July 2013

Another day of lethargy.  Although mainly cloudy with a fair breeze, the heatwave continues. 


However, I did go for a 4-mile walk this morning, the same route as last Sunday.  I saw sheep and goats today but no horses or sow and piglets.  But I did see two alpacas which certainly made up for it ... I love them!  My hip is aching this evening but, having said that, it’s the reoccurring problem I’ve had since February.      


Market Rasen’s Summer Plate was won by the Dr Richard Newland trained Bobowen.  More  Sad to note the demise of the seemingly jinxed Galaxy Rock during the same race, misfortune having earlier struck at the Cheltenham Festival when falling in the Kim Muir with JT McNamara aboard. 


However there’s better news regarding injured jockey Brian Toomey who is now out of intensive care and eventer Laura Collett who is now home following her spell in hospital.  But get well soon to Gary Rutherford who was injured in a fall at Cartmel this afternoon.  More  And Brendan Powell Junior too, who I understand sustained a broken arm at Worcester on Wednesday.


News that Cheltenham racecourse has gained planning permission for its development project.  More  The 2015 Festival will be an experience, with the building works still underway ... a bit like the 1996 Wimbledon tournament with the new Number One Court and road tunnel still under construction.  Although I missed out on experiencing the building works associated with the construction of the Centre Court roof in 2007.


I haven’t forgotten about my 1999 Wimbledon diary – it’s just that I’ve lost my motivation to slave over a hot laptop during the current heatwave!


With 16 days’ leave still to take this year, I’ve now booked 11 National Hunt-related days’ holiday for the autumn. J


Two runners of interest at Newton Abbot tomorrow:

16:20 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 2½ furlongs]

17:20 The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [2 miles ½ furlong]

Wednesday 17 July 2013

A number of runners of interest today and this is how they fared:



Fighter Jet (Alan King/Killian Moore) finished 7th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Maiden Hurdle (10 ran).

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Henry San (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (6 ran).



Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (7 ran).


No National Hunt racing until Saturday, when it’s Market Rasen’s big race day, including the Summer Plate.


Jockey Dave Crosse has uploaded a new blog on the Love The Races website.  Click here to read.


Choc has been deliberating whether to go swimming to cool off during the current heatwave.  When I was a toddler it wasn’t fashionable to learn to swim, nor did I learn to swim at school, so as an adult I undertook a course to learn ... but failed miserably having managed approximately 6 breast-strokes on just one occasion.  I was so surprised at the time that I’ve never attempted to swim since!!!  So, I’m still a non-swimmer.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

A number of runners of interest tomorrow:



14:20 Fighter Jet (Alan King/Killian Moore) – Conditional Jockeys’ Maiden Hurdle

15:50 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

16:50 Henry San (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase



18:20 Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase


Very talented mare Snow Fairy has been retired following a reoccurrence of injury. More


Aidan Coleman has taken out a flat-race licence and rode a winner at Wolverhampton yesterday.  He also rode at Bath today. 


Today is the first day when the heat has really affected me ... but I’m determined not to moan ... especially as I recall being absolutely frozen on the first day of this year’s Cheltenham Festival, extremely soggy on the last day of the Festival, and very cold on Ladies’ Day at Aintree too!  So it’s great to have some fabulous weather for a change. 

Monday 15 July 2013

There’s promising news regarding injured jockey Brian Toomey. More


And eventer Laura Collett is recovering well from her fall too.  More


No National Hunt racing tomorrow.


I received a tweet today to say that tickets for this season’s Cheltenham fixtures, including the Festival, are now available to purchase ... it just gets earlier and earlier and earlier!  So that’s Aintree tickets being sold two months earlier than previously and Cheltenham tickets possibly 6 weeks earlier than usual.  And, no, I’ve not bought my Cheltenham Festival tickets yet. 

Sunday 14 July 2013


Happy Birthday






Many happy returns of the day to Choc, who is 35 today.  Still very young in general, but it does make him one of the senior guys in the weighing room which he won’t like to be reminded of I’m afraid. 

Choc tweeted this photo of William listening to his favourite music group, Mumford and Sons.  It doesn’t look like they have a new fan!


And this one ...


And Darren Bird has drawn a cartoon for Choc’s birthday too ... excellent, William even has his beloved trucks!


I went for a walk at 09:30 this morning, before it got too hot.  As the walk took around 80 minutes, I estimate the distance as around 4 miles.  Having braved the bridleway through the local Agricultural & Further Education College last Sunday, I decided to take the same route again, this time in the opposite direction.  It was nice to see a number of animals en route; sheep, goats, horses, and a sow with piglets. 

I’m always wary of taking almost deserted byways – but there was a dog walker ahead of me, and I met another walker, a jogger and two cyclists travelling in the opposite direction – so hopefully I won’t encounter any problems in the future.  Although I would never dream of walking down an alley, because you just never know. 

Just one runner of interest this afternoon, at Stratford:

Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (6 ran).


National Hunt racing at Newton Abbot tomorrow but no runners of specific interest.


Jockey Paddy Brennan got married on Friday at Sudeley Castle ... with special guest Nacarat!


Saturday 13 July 2013

Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Stratford:

16:50 Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Chase


It’s a special day tomorrow ... Choc’s birthday!  Hopefully he’ll have a nice day spent with his young son William, who I gather he’s been looking after today too.


Loving the warm weather, although it does make me feel very lethargic.  Hoping to go for a walk tomorrow morning, early so that it’s not too hot.  No doubt my hands will become puffy when I’m exercising – a common occurrence for many I gather.  It only happens to me in warm weather and I never used to notice this happening when I used to go rambling, so perhaps it’s an age thing now too.  

Thursday 11 July 2013

One runner of interest at Worcester yesterday evening and this is how the filly fared:

Fairyinthewind (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (9 ran); Wayne’s 14th winner of the season.

I didn’t log onto my laptop yesterday as the race (and result) was late in the evening and I wanted to spend time sorting out some of my old clothes to donate to charity; items which I no longer like or no longer fit me.  Having packed up two plastic bags full of tops, I now have more cupboard space which, hopefully, I’ll resist filling with more clothes!

There’s news that the Alan King yard will soon have a new inmate, 3-year-old Duroble Man, purchased for 130,000 guineas out of the Roger Varian yard at the Newmarket July Sales.  His new owner is Max McNeill.  

Tuesday 09 July 2013

One runner of interest at Uttoxeter this evening and this is how he fared:

Danehill Dante (Alan King/Killian Moore) finished last in the Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran).


Further bad news from the equestrian world yesterday, with event rider Laura Collett suffering serious injuries due to a fall at Tweseldown.  More


Darren Bird has sent a lovely cartoon to Laura:



Get well soon Laura and, of course, injured jockey Brian Toomey too.


One runner of interest at Worcester tomorrow:

20:40 Fairyinthewind (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]

I’m a happy bunny because I’ve now booked my accommodation for the 2014 Grand National fixture – at my usual Premier Inn location. J  So that’s Aintree sorted ... next stop the Cheltenham Festival 2014! 

Monday 08 July 2013

One runner of interest at Uttoxeter tomorrow:

18:45 Danehill Dante (Alan King/Killian Moore) – Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Hurdle


Further news today regarding injured jockey Brian Toomey. More


I’m now suffering from Wimbledon withdrawal symptoms ... it’s only on for two weeks but I miss the TV coverage when it’s gone! 

Sunday 07 July 2013

Three runners of interest at Market Rasen this afternoon and this is how they fared:

Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Forresters Folly (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle

Compton Blue (Alan King/Killian Moore) won & The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).


Dougie Costello was taken to hospital having punctured a lung as a result of a fall at Market Rasen. More


Timmy Murphy has paid tribute to racehorse owner David Johnson who passed away yesterday. More


National Hunt racing takes place at Newton Abbot tomorrow but no runners of specific interest.


Well that’s it for another Wimbledon ... it’s brilliant that a British player has finally won after all these years. The standard of tennis was incredible, a treat to watch and the right result too. Well done Andy Murray. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/23217393  BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2013?


I haven’t got around to sorting out my 1999 Wimbledon diary yet, but hope to do so in the not too distant future.

Saturday 06 July 2013

Four runners of interest at Market Rasen tomorrow:

15:45 Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase

16:15 Forresters Folly (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

16:45 Compton Blue (Alan King/Killian Moore) & The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle


Al Kazeem won today’s Eclipse at Sandown Park.  More


I was sad to learn that another jockey has been seriously injured, conditional jockey Brian Toomey taking a heavy fall at Perth on Thursday.  More  Fingers crossed that he makes a full recovery.  


More sad news today, well-known racehorse owner David Johnson has passed away following a long battle with cancer.  More


Irish jockey, Danny Mullins, has received a 14-day ban for commandeering an ambulance to drive back to the weighing room at Bellewstown races earlier this week.  More  And here is artist and illustrator Darren Bird’s take on the incident.



Marion Bartoli won today’s Women’s Singles title at Wimbledon; it was such a shame that Sabine Lisicki was overcome by nerves and as a result played far below par.  More


Hopefully tomorrow’s match between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will be hard-fought.  I gather I missed an excellent match between Del Potro and Djokovic yesterday; I didn’t particularly enjoy Murray’s semi-final, mainly because I don’t like to watch matches where the players rely too much on a big serve like his opponent did yesterday, and because the Pole was bad tempered.  It won’t have won the Polish player any friends.     


Due to unforeseen circumstances, the expected late evening and weekend work didn’t materialise so I’m at a loose end now. L  And that’s coming from someone who usually finds a hobby to keep myself occupied.

Wednesday 03 July 2013

Two runners of interest at Worcester today and this is how they fared:

Pollystone (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 11th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).


No runners of specific interest tomorrow; then no National Hunt racing until Sunday at Market Rasen.


I’ve sent my 1999 Wimbledon diary to my home email.  I’ll endeavour to convert it to an internet file at the weekend, work commitments permitting.

Tuesday 02 July 2013

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

Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles ½ furlong] (9 ran).

The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 ½ furlongs] (16 ran).


Two runners of interest at Worcester tomorrow:

16:50 Pollystone (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

17:20 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle


It was back to work today ... and I still forgot to look for electronic copies of my Wimbledon diaries ... as always, too much work going on!

There will be a new Ladies’ Champion at Wimbledon this year, with the only previous winner Petra Kvitova exiting today.  I’m hoping that Serena Williams’ conqueror, Sabine Lisicki, wins. 

However, I won’t be able to watch the Women’s final as I’m working all day Saturday(!), and late on Thursday and Friday evenings too.

Monday 01 July 2013

Two runners of interest at Stratford tomorrow evening:

18:40 Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles ½ furlong]

19:40 The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 ½ furlongs]


I was doing to bit of surfing and found a picture of Choc at Oaksey House running on their anti-gravity treadmill (you’ll need to scroll down the page for this one): http://www.injuredjockeys.co.uk/


Well, that was an experience.  I went to hospital to have a gastroscopy carried out, to check that my problem is definitely acid reflux and that the acid isn’t doing any damage to the tissue in my throat.  I chose not to be sedated for the procedure, choosing instead a numbing throat spray.  It tasted of bananas, sort of!  The photos showed there is nothing to be worried about, from the visual point of view; and I should find out the results of various biopsies soon.  They have, however, discovered that I have a small hiatus hernia.  


To help alleviate the problems, I should avoid tea and coffee because of the caffeine (I drink decaffeinated of the latter anyway with Alpro rather than milk).  I shouldn’t smoke – I never have – or drink alcohol – I very rarely do.  Also spicy foods – not keen on them either.  But I should also avoid eating chocolate L. 


Having arrived home from the hospital at lunchtime, I was able to watch Wimbledon.  I was very pleased that Serena Williams lost, having been beaten by German Sabine Lisicki.  More  


I prefer it when the underdogs triumph because it gets tedious when the ‘same old people’ win the titles.  


Andy Murray won his fourth-round match. But Laura Robson lost today.


My nephew James, having finished his ‘A’ level exams, took a trip with one of his school mates to Wimbledon last Wednesday.  They set off very early, arrived before the queues closed, and purchased ground passes to see the action on the outside courts.  Later in the day they queued for return tickets and were fortunate enough to get ones for Centre Court, where they saw Federer lose to Stakhovsky.  It was a long day, as they didn’t get home until 23:00, but they thoroughly enjoyed it.

And it’s all change for the future layout of the Wimbledon tournament site too:



And to think that I remember watching tennis on the old Number One court in 1994 and 1995!  It’s already changed a lot since I last visited – Court Two is now where Court 13 used to be, and Court Three is located where Court Two was situated. Confusing!



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