JUNE 2009



Tuesday 30 June 2009

I spent the evening watching Stratford races on TV.  Richard Pitman interviewed Andrew Thornton, who informed us that the ‘Jockeys Grow Moustaches’ fund raising endeavour is progressing well, and around £4,000 has already been raised.  Evidently Timmy Murphy has gone the extra mile to raise funds and has shaved his head! 


Just in case you missed it, to find out more click here:


Jockeys Grow Moustaches


Cheeky Lad made a lot of the running and ran well to finish 3rd in his event.  However he ploughed through the first open ditch, causing it to be bypassed on the second circuit due to the damage inflicted!


Tomorrow afternoon Choc will be at Worcester:

16:10 Santia – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

16:40 Mandingo Chief – Handicap Chase (Brendan Powell)

17:10 Cloak of Silence – NH Flat Race (Mrs D A Hamer)


And Martin Keighley’s Hareem is due to run in the 14:10 Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.


I hope I have a better night’s sleep tonight ... I woke up at 02:30 this morning with a splitting headache, and feeling nauseous too.  I took some headache tablets and then felt really strange, at which point I thought I was going to have a panic attack too!  I don’t think it helps that I work in an air-conditioned office, because when I get home the house is so hot by comparison.   


Monday 29 June 2009

Firstly the good news is that, having checked the BHA’s Stewards Enquiries entry for yesterday’s Uttoxeter meeting, the interference between Harrys Boy (Choc), Pure Faith and Tiger Line in the NH Flat race was deemed to be accidental, so no-one was held accountable J.


Unfortunately Choc doesn’t have any riding engagements at tomorrow evening’s Stratford fixture L ... but Martin Keighley does have a runner – Cheeky Lad in the 19:45 Handicap Chase.


Hopefully I’ll have news in tomorrow’s blog of Choc’s riding engagements for Wednesday.


Sunday 28 June 2009

I’ve just spent this evening watching the replay of this afternoon’s action from Uttoxeter ... so how did Choc fare?

Bonne Noel’s was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (17 ran).

The King of Angels ran well, but made a number of jumping errors, to finish 2nd in the English Summer National Handicap Chase (17 ran).

Harrys Boy finished 2nd in the NH Flat Race BUT there was some interference caused to Pure Faith as the horses approached the line (11 ran).  I will need to check the BHA’s Stewards Enquiries page, once it has been updated to include today’s fixtures, to see if Choc was censured.  Any ban would prevent him from riding at Stratford (or Southwell) in a couple of weeks’ time ... and I was hoping I might go to Stratford L.


Mick Fitzgerald interviewed Sam Thomas prior to racing, and Sam is growing a goatee as part of the ‘Jockeys Grow Moustaches’ charity fund raising endeavour prior to Choc’s Stag Do.  I gather from the conversation that the Hamburg Stag Do will take place next week, there being no National Hunt racing on Thursday 9th, Friday 10th, and Saturday 11th July! 


No National Hunt racing tomorrow, but there is a meeting at Stratford on Tuesday evening, although Choc has no definite riding engagements as yet.  However, he is double-booked for Worcester/Perth on Wednesday and possibly Perth again on Thursday.


Friday 26 June 2009

So how did Choc fare at Market Rasen this afternoon?

Strikemaster finished 2nd in the Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).  I’ve been reading the post-race comments and wonder if he might have won had he not made a mistake at the last flight. 

Kahrayn was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Black Jacari finished 2nd in the 16:55 Handicap Hurdle – and it sounds like he would probably have finished in third place had it not been for Veiled Applause departing at the penultimate flight (5 ran).

I’ll watch the video tape this evening ... 


No National Hunt racing tomorrow, but Choc is due to be back in action at Uttoxeter on Sunday:

15:50 Bonne Noel’s - Handicap Hurdle (P E Cowley)

16:25 The King of Angels – English Summer National Handicap Chase (Jonjo O’Neill)

17:25 Harrys Boy – NH Flat Race (Mrs D A Hamer)


My only visit to Uttoxeter was to last year’s Summer National fixture.  The afternoon was damp and murky, and we had two torrential downpours too.  Hopefully Choc will have a more successful ride in the big race, having fallen aboard Chambrimal Minster last year.  The horse was retired last month following his third successive victory in the same Cartmel race.


And finally, I’d like to wish Tom O’Brien a speedy recovery following a freak accident in the paddock at Hereford last Sunday, which left him with a broken right leg after he was kicked by a horse. 


Thursday 25 June 2009

Choc has 3 rides scheduled for Market Rasen tomorrow:

14:40 Strikemaster – Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (Brian Ellison)

15:15 Kahrayn – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

16:55 Black Jacari – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)


All the ‘summer’ racecourses are so far away – Newton Abbot, Worcester, Market Rasen, Southwell, Bangor-on-Dee, Uttoxeter, with the nearest being Stratford Upon Avon at  distance of around 90 miles following my preferred route!  Okay ... so I have been to Worcester (once), Market Rasen (twice), Uttoxeter (once), and Stratford (3 times) – but it is an adventure each time, especially if I go alone.


No plans for racing this weekend, as I’m having my hair trimmed on Sunday – my sister-in-law Anita is my hairdresser.  I have been receiving lots of compliments about my hair in recent weeks because I’ve grown it longer for the first time in many years, and I’d forgotten how wavy and curly it can be!  


Wednesday 24 June 2009

The good news is that I’ve received a reply from Ann Saunders MBE of the PJA (Professional Jockeys Association) following my enquiry regarding the jockeys’ charity fundraising endeavour mentioned yesterday, and evidently they will be growing moustaches in preparation for Choc’s Stag Do!  To find out more click here:


Jockeys Grow Moustaches


And now for today’s Choccie racing news:

I’m A Legend finished 8th in the Novices’ Chase, having been badly hampered when Bathwick Breeze fell at the 8th obstacle (13 ran).

Sula’s Legend finished 11th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Almaydan finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Alan King’s Court Ruler, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson, finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle.


No National Hunt racing tomorrow, but hopefully Choc will be back in action at Market Rasen on Friday, and I’ll bring you news of his rides in tomorrow’s blog.


Tuesday 23 June 2009

Sometimes don’t you just wish you could turn back the clock?  I put on the TV ready to settle down to watch this evening’s At The Races coverage from Newton Abbot, then went to get something to eat, only to return and discover that Richard Pitman had been interviewing Andrew Thornton, Timmy Murphy and Choc regarding a recently organised money raising endeavour which I gather relates to Choc's forthcoming marriage and is somehow connected with 'hair'!  But I only caught the tail end of the interview ... why didn’t I press the record button before I left the room?  Damn.  L I shall endeavour to find out more ... and have already emailed the PJA, as I gather they will have further details.


Anyway, here is the Choccie racing result from Newton Abbot:

He finished 2nd aboard Rapide Plaisir in the Selling Hurdle, having been beaten a length by the Andy Haynes runner (16 ran).


Martin Keighley had a couple of runners too:

And, fabulous news, Hareem won the GB vs. Ireland Lady Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle under Hannah Grissell from Kent (12 ran).  Well done to Martin and his team.  The winner was a 9-1 shot.

King Ozzy ran well to finish 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).


The first race at Newton Abbot was full of incident, with 5 horses coming to grief at the first 2 flights – 2 fallers, 2 unseated, 1 brought down.  At one point, 3 of the loose horses were seen heading for the river ... but evidently they all came back okay!  Maderson Blue of ‘blog-writing’ fame ran in this race too, but was pulled up before 2 out.


Tomorrow Choc has 3 rides scheduled for Worcester:

14:55 I’m A Legend – Novices’ Chase (Neil Mulholland)

16:00 Sula’s Legend – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Neil Mulholland)

16:30 Almaydan – Handicap Chase (Richard Lee)

Alan King has a runner in the 15:25 Handicap Hurdle but, as Court Ruler carries a mere 10 stone 3 lbs, Wayne Hutchinson gets the ride.


I was hoping Choc’s fiancée, Meally, would write about the Naunton Fete and Donkey Derby event in her blog ... and she has!  J  And she’s also uploaded a photo of Choc aboard his gallant steed and evidently he finished second, taking home a blue rosette.  (I recall it’s red for first, blue for second, yellow for third and green for fourth ... I took part in a couple of gymkhanas many moons ago ... but never won a prize L). 

Here’s the link, and there’s also a photo of Verity and Timmy Murphy’s week old son, Lucas:



Inky pinky ponky

Daddy had a donkey

Donkey died

Daddy cried

Inky pinky ponky


Monday 22 June 2009

Just one ride for Choc at Newton Abbot tomorrow:

19:00 Rapide Plaisir – Selling Hurdle (Richard Lee)


Martin Keighley has a couple of runners:

20:40 Hareem – GB vs. Ireland Lady Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle

21:10 King Ozzy – Handicap Hurdle


Having bought a printer a week ago, I’ve been printing out the diaries and blogs from my website and it’s amazing how much I’ve written ... having been inspired by the wonderful Choc Thornton! J


More news on the Naunton Fete and Donkey Derby event gleaned from Kim Bailey’s blog:

The competitors in the Jockey Challenge were Timmy Murphy, Jason Maguire, Tom Siddall, Carl Llewellyn, David England, Choc, and Sam Twiston-Davies – with the latter winning the event.  But, evidently, most of the jockeys fell off!  I wish I’d been there – as, although I love to see Choc at the races, it’s nice to see him participating in other events too.


Sunday 21 June 2009

So how did Choc fare at Hereford this afternoon?

Garafena won the Maiden Hurdle, giving Choc his 9th winner of the season (16 ran).  The first of 2 winners at the fixture for trainer Richard Lee.

Unfortunately Choc’s next scheduled ride, Tootsie Too, was withdrawn at the start before the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

Black Mogul ran prominently, until weakening and being pulled up before 2 out in the Selling Hurdle (15 ran).

Georgian King finished 4th in the Beginners’ Chase ... the horse is not the most reliable jumper (making an error at the 2nd obstacle today), so I was very pleased that Choc successfully completed the course! (9 ran)


Martin Keighley’s Sky Calling ran creditably to finish 6th in the 16:00 Handicap Hurdle (17 ran).


I gather that Choc may have taken part in a Jockeys Challenge race at the Donkey Derby event held in Naunton Village in the Cotswolds yesterday ... I wish I’d known about it in advance so that I could have gone to see him, as I need cheering up at the moment L.  I’ve visited Naunton, as I went for a ramble in the Cotswolds a couple of years ago, starting out from Bourton-on-the-Water and taking a route through the Lower and Upper Slaughters and down into Naunton, before returning to base along the Windrush Valley. Naunton is renowned for its historic Cotswold stone dovecote ... and Nigel Twiston Davies’ racing establishment! 


I spent today at home, putting further work into my current cross stitch project ... and it’s coming along very nicely!

And, of course, I watched Choc’s progress at Hereford on At The Races this afternoon too.


No National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, so I’ll probably spend tomorrow evening watching coverage of the first day of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.  But, hopefully, Choc will be back in action on Tuesday evening at Newton Abbot. 


Saturday 20 June 2009

I’ve spent the day working on a cross-stitching project and watching Royal Ascot on TV (the At The Races coverage).


Choc will be riding at Hereford tomorrow afternoon:

14:30 Garafena – Maiden Hurdle (Richard Lee)

15:00 Tootsie Too – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Mike Hammond)

15:30 Black Mogul – Selling Hurdle (Reg Hollinshead)

17:00 Georgian King – Beginners’ Chase (Alan King)

And trainer Martin Keighley has a runner in the 16:00 – Sky Calling.


It’s a pity Hereford is so far away from my home (130 miles), otherwise I would have welcomed a day out at the races, especially as Choc has 4 rides scheduled.  That’s the problem during the summer months; all the National Hunt fixtures are miles away from my Hertfordshire base.  But I suppose I should count my blessings in that Sandown, Kempton and Ascot are within easy travelling distance and I can take advantage of this during the winter months.


Thursday 18 June 2009

This evening I watched the TV coverage of the opening fixture at Ffos Las. 


The first race (NH Novices’ Hurdle) was won by the Evan Williams trained Plunkett, ridden by Donal Fahy (11 ran).  Plunkett is a new acquisition for his yard, having been bought out of Michael Hourigan’s stable.

A Michael Hourigan trained Irish raider, Turf War, won the 2nd event (Novices’ Hurdle) (14 ran).  In this event, Wayne Hutchinson became the first jockey to have a fall at the venue!  Perhaps he won’t wish to be remembered for that ...

The first event over the larger obstacles (a Handicap Chase) was won by the JP McManus owned and Jonjo O’Neill trained Sea Wall, ridden by AP McCoy (16 ran).

Evan Williams trained his 2nd winner of the evening, when Danehill Willy won the 4th event (Novices’ Chase). Another winner for AP (9 ran).

The 5th race (a Handicap Hurdle) was won by Quattrocentro, trained by Peter Bowen and ridden by Tom O’Brien.

Richard Johnson took a crashing fall from Wild Tonto in this one, he limped away, and gave up his remaining ride(s). (15 ran)

The 6th race (a Handicap Chase) was won by Nostringsattached, again owned by JP McManus, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by AP.  A treble for AP on the night (13 ran).

The final race (a Juvenile Maiden Hurdle) was won by Graysland, trained by WGM Turner, ridden by Peter Toole.       AP’s mount was beaten by a mere ½ length in this event (10 ran).

And all the winning jockeys were Irish!


And how did Choc fare:

Porters War was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase (6th race).

Minder just held on for 4th place in the Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (10 ran).

I wonder what Choc’s feedback will be about Ffos Las.


Yesterday, I noticed that Choc isn’t wearing red riding gloves any more ... I miss those, as they matched his little red stockings and boot tops!!!


Yeats won today’s Ascot Gold Cup for the 4th year running. 

Darryll Holland rode a 5-timer at Musselburgh, there were 6 races, but he didn’t ride in the other one!


Sad news in this week’s Horse and Hound – Quizzene, who was sold out of Alan King’s yard last month, had to be put down following a freak accident.  He was being ridden along a track near Lambourn when he was frightened by the noise of over 50 motorcycles driving by and bolted into their path, colliding and breaking a leg.


No blog tomorrow I guess, as there’s no National Hunt racing for a couple of days.


Wednesday 17 June 2009

So how did Choc fare this afternoon at Worcester:

Khumbu finished 2nd, having been beaten by a short-head in the final stride in the Maiden Hurdle Div I (10 ran).

Chinara finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).


And news of Martin Keighley’s Worcester runners:

Le Brocquy finished 4th in the Novices’ Claiming Hurdle

But Mr Newton unseated at the last flight in the 17:10, although beaten at the time.


Choc will be riding at Ffos Las tomorrow evening: 

20:50 Porters War – Handicap Chase (Alan King)

21:20 Minder – Maiden Hurdle (JG Portman)

How exciting, a new National Hunt venue, although they will hold flat race fixtures too.  And, if permission is granted, even mixed fixtures!


And, for those who like a little translation, Ffos Las means Blue Ditch ...


Tuesday 16 June 2009

So how did Choc fare at Newton Abbot this evening:

Choc finished 5th aboard King Ar Aghaidh in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran), although the horse did run well and wasn’t beaten very far by all bar the winner. 


Hareem finished 4th in the Selling Handicap Hurdle.  I gather the winner, Danish Monarch, was purchased by trainer Andy Haynes.


There was carnage in the 2nd race, when 4 horses departed at the first flight – 2 fell, 1 unseated and 1 was brought down.


Tomorrow afternoon Choc will be at Worcester:

13:40 Khumbu – Maiden Hurdle Div I (Richard Phillips)

17:10 Chinara – Handicap Hurdle (Miss J Weston)


Martin Keighley also has 2 runners tomorrow:

14:10 Le Brocquy – Novices’ Claiming Hurdle

17:10 Mr Newton – race as above


With Royal Ascot being broadcast on At The Races, I wonder if Worcester will be shown ‘behind the red button’, which I recall it was last year.


Monday 15 June 2009

Choc will be at Newton Abbot tomorrow evening, for one ride:

20:15 King Ar Aghaidh – Handicap Hurdle (David Arbuthnot)


Martin Keighley’s charge, Hareem, is scheduled to compete in the 18:45 – a Selling Handicap Hurdle


So far this season, Choc has had 77 rides.  The only other jockeys who have ridden in more races are AP, Richard Johnson, Jason Maguire, Tom O’Brien and Jamie Moore.


Sunday 14 June 2009

Choc’s only ride of the day, Dabaratsa, was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

I have to say that Choc is sensible, as he pulls up his mounts as soon as it becomes apparent that they have no chance in a race.  And this prevents unnecessary accidents occurring to him, or the horse, due to tiredness.


Unfortunately Martin Keighley’s Cheeky Lad finished 2nd in the 14:40, having been thwarted by an Irish raider!


Barry Geraghty had a lucky escape at Downpatrick, when a loose horse careered down the course towards him.  Fortunately he was able to take swift evasive action and still won aboard Our Monty.


Choc has no riding engagements tomorrow L, but may be at Newton Abbot on Tuesday, and Ffos Las on Thursday evening ... I’m so looking forward to their opening meeting.


I went out for a drive today, to purchase a printer/scanner/copier to use with my laptop.  The traffic in the area was a nightmare, as I didn’t realise it was the local half-marathon today, with nearly all the parking spaces at the nearby retail park being occupied by competitors’ vehicles.  


It’s back to work tomorrow for me ... although I’m desperately depressed and upset following a recent re-organisation.  I wish there were more job opportunities available at the moment.





Saturday 13 June 2009

Another winner for Choc today, when he rode at Hexham:

Quivvy Bridge won the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, giving Choc his 8th winner of the season (8 ran).

Skylancer finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Lugato finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Swift Poacher finished 9th in the NH Flat Race (12 ran).


Choc was booked to ride these horses as AP McCoy is serving the final day of a 3-day suspension for careless riding which he incurred at Wetherby aboard Hunting Tower on 28 May. 


Talking of suspensions, flat race jockey Darryll Holland rode a 4-timer at Bath having returned from an imposed ‘holiday’.


Tomorrow Choc is scheduled for one ride at Stratford Upon Avon:

16:25 Dabaratsa – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Miss Tor Sturgis).


And Martin Keighley has a runner in the 14:40 - Cheeky Lad.


As mentioned yesterday, I’ll be staying at home tomorrow ... not doing very much really L.


Friday 12 June 2009

So how did Choc get on today?

Calaficial finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle, having started at the odds-on price of 4-9 (7 ran).


Tomorrow Choc will be travelling up to Hexham, where he has 4 rides scheduled, all for Northern Ireland based trainer Jimmy Lambe:

14:25 Quivvy Bridge – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

15:00 Skylancer - Handicap Hurdle

16:10 Lugato – Handicap Hurdle

17:15 Swift Poacher - NH Flat Race

Both Timmy Murphy and Richard Johnson will be riding at the fixture too.


Last month, at the Doncaster sales, Natal was sold out of Paul Nicholls’ stable for £26,000 and joined Jimmy Lambe.


I notice that Barry Geraghty was back in action at Aintree this evening, having recovered from a broken wrist sustained at the Punchestown Festival.


I’ve just read Martin Keighley’s blog and I gather it’s his birthday today.  Coincidently, it’s also my older brother, Nick’s, birthday today too.  So many happy returns of the day to both Martin and Nick.  I have two brothers – Nick and Neil, no sisters – I’m the middle child.


I was kind of hoping to take a trip to Stratford Upon Avon on Sunday, especially as the current weather forecast is for 20 degrees with sunny intervals ... but Choc appears to have just one ride booked, so it looks like I’ll now be spending Sunday at home L.  Although, of course, I may have to take my car for a 30-minute drive, in order to prevent it from having a flat battery again!


Thursday 11 June 2009

So how did Choc fare at Fontwell Park this evening?

I’m A Legend finished 3rd in the Beginners’ Chase (6 ran)

Lilac Wine finished 10th in the Selling Handicap Hurdle (18 ran)

Peacefull Waters was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran)


Tomorrow Choc has just one ride at Market Rasen:

14:00 Calaficial – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King) ... and I hope he successfully completes the course, as Choc took a very nasty tumble from him at the venue back in April. 


Just one week to go before Ffos Las holds its opening meeting, on the evening of 18 June, and I’m really looking forward to watching the event on TV.


I’ve been admiring Choc’s new Eclipse video (as mentioned yesterday) ... and who would have thought that under his body protector he has such nice pecs!  J


Wednesday 10 June 2009

Tomorrow evening Choc will be riding at Fontwell Park:

19:30 I’m A Legend – Beginners’ Chase (Neil Mulholland)

20:00 Lilac Wine – Selling Handicap Hurdle (Dominic Ffrench Davis)

21:00 Peacefull Waters – Novices’ Hurdle (Neil Mulholland)

And hopefully Choc will ride another winner very soon.


And I’ve found a new ‘Choc’ video on the Eclipse website too, check it out:




He’s so cute ...


Tuesday 09 June 2009

So how did Choc fare at Southwell this evening?

Mandingo Chief finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (9 ran). 

Sadler’s Star was a disappointing distant 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran). 

Gaye Starlet was pulled up in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (14 ran). 

Giovanna ran well to finish a close 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).  She was tiny compared to the other runners, but very game.


And Martin Keighley’s Southwell runners:

Palmers Peak finished 3rd behind Marufo and Mandingo Chief.

Miss Carroll was pulled up.

Deep Reflection finished 7th of the 9 finishers in the Handicap Hurdle.


No National Hunt racing tomorrow, but hopefully I’ll have news of rides for Thursday.


I was very pleased to read in last week’s Horse and Hound that the series of horse-themed children’s books by Ruby Ferguson is to be reprinted.  Rosettes for Jill was the first book I ever read, and I loved all nine books about Jill and her ponies - Black Boy and Rapide.   


This sent me off into a nostalgia trip ... there were numerous books by the Pullein-Thompsons – Josephine’s Prince Among Ponies; Diana’s I Wanted A Pony; and Christine’s Phantom Horse series to name but a few.  Joan Dickins’ Jill and Prince the Pony; Judith M Berrisford’s Jackie series; Monica Edwards’ Punchbowl Farm and Romney Marsh stories; and international show-jumper Pat Smythe’s Three Jays books.  


And there was the Crown Pony Library too – Elinore Havers’ Only One Pony; Delphine I Ratcliff’s Clear Round for Katy and The Golden Pony; and Catherine Carey’s Grey Arrow and Show-Jumping Summer.


For a trip down memory lane ...



And I have to confess that I’ve still got all of these books, and many more.  Okay, so they have gone a little discoloured with age (rather like me!) but they are still there, at the back of my bookshelf, behind the Dick Francis and John Francome novels! 


Monday 08 June 2009

So how did Choc get on at Newton Abbot today?

Fourpointone was pulled up before the 2nd last flight in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

Rapide Plaisir finished 2nd in the Selling Hurdle (9 ran).


Unfortunately Mr Newton unseated Warren Marston 3 out in the 17:30.


Choc will be busy at Southwell tomorrow evening:

18:30 Mandingo Chief – Handicap Chase (Brendan Powell). 

19:00 Sadler’s Star – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King). 

19:30 Gaye Starlet – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (Alan King). 

20:00 Giovanna – Handicap Hurdle (Richard Phillips).


And Martin Keighley’s scheduled runners:

18:30 Palmers Peak (as above)

19:30 Miss Carroll (as above)

20:30 Deep Reflection (Handicap Hurdle)


I see AP McCoy is beginning to stretch his lead over Richard Johnson in the PJA Jump Jockeys’ Championship, especially as he rode another 2 winners today.  Choc, as of last night, was 13th on their league table. 


I’ve finished the first draft of my Stratford diary, so it shouldn’t be too long before I upload it.


Sunday 07 June 2009

I awoke to heavy rain and thunder this morning, but it did clear mid-morning and the sky became blue with white fluffy cumulus clouds. 


Luke Harvey was reporting from Worcester, and he went out onto the track during At The Races morning show and demonstrated the water-filled divots by the winning post!  There were 37 non-runners announced even before midday, and a number afterwards too as the going changed to soft/heavy in places.  However, the spectators didn’t have too bad a day, as the sun did make an appearance during the afternoon.


Santia was the short odds-on favourite and runaway winner of the Intermediate Hurdle (9 ran), giving Choc his 7th winner of the season.

I’m A Legend was one of the 10 non-runners in the handicap hurdle, where only 4 ran!


Tomorrow Choc is scheduled to be at Newton Abbot:

16:30 Fourpointone – Handicap Hurdle (Michael Scudamore)

17:00 Rapide Plaisir – Selling Hurdle (Richard Lee)

Martin Keighley’s Mr Newton is due to run in the 17:30.


Carl Llewellyn, who it was announced would shortly be replaced as the salaried trainer at Weathercock House in Lambourn, is to become Nigel Twiston-Davies’ new business partner.


I’m disappointed that Roger Federer finally won the French Open tennis championship.  That makes him only the sixth male player to win all 4 Grand Slam titles, Andre Agassi being the fifth to complete the feat.  However it was nice to see Andre present the trophy to the winner and the runner-up (Robin Soderling) at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris this afternoon.  Federer has also now equalled Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam titles.  I hope Federer doesn’t win Wimbledon, especially with the reigning champion Nadal fighting against injury at the present time.  I hate it when the same people win all the time!  I far prefer the underdog!   


And last but not least a very Happy Birthday to my friend Denise.


Saturday 06 June 2009

The weather was foul at Worcester, so how did Choc fare today?

His only ride, Gold Reef, finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle.  Ex-stablemate Kings Revenge, under Richard Johnson, finished 3rd in the same event.


Martin Keighley’s Hareem was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.


Tomorrow Choc will be riding at the second day of the Worcester fixture:

14:20 Santia – Intermediate Hurdle (Alan King)

15:20 I’m A Legend – Handicap Hurdle (Neil Mulholland)


And, finally, a postscript to Thursday’s Uttoxeter fixture.  I was reading the Racing Forum late yesterday and evidently Choc required medical attention in the Parade Ring having been kicked by his NH flat race mount, Quetzel.  Ouch L. And that was why he was late arriving at the starting gate.


Friday 05 June 2009

Choc is scheduled to be at Worcester tomorrow, where he has one ride:

15:25 Gold Reef – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)


Martin Keighley also has a runner at Worcester:

16:25 Hareem – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle


Sunday at Worcester is Family Day, which I attended last year.  It was a beautifully warm and sunny day, but this year looks like it will be cold and wet.  It’s a shame on both the weather and number of rides front, as I was contemplating paying my second visit to the venue.  Instead I shall save my pennies, and plan to go see Choc another day.


Thursday 04 June 2009

Five rides, but little luck at Uttoxeter:

Emerald Wilderness finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Blazing Desert made good headway at one stage but then faded to finish 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).

Portside didn’t jump particularly fluently and finished 3rd (8 ran).

Iffy was withdrawn at the start of the 20:00.

Quetzal finished 3rd in the NH Flat Race (6 ran). Derek Thompson, who was commentating from the fixture, said that Choc was dumped in the paddock by Quetzel prior to this race. Rhys Flint took a nasty tumble when his mount ran out in the back straight, but he was okay and walked away from the incident.  


Won More Night finished 5th of 12 in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.  Jockey, Tjade Collier had a bad fall at the 3rd flight and the horses were directed to bypass the obstacle on the final circuit. 


No National Hunt racing tomorrow, but hopefully Choc will be back in action on Saturday, at Worcester.


Wednesday 03 June 2009

Choc was successful at Fontwell Park this afternoon:

Lilac Wine was pulled up approaching 2 flights out (13 ran).

However, Black Jacari did put his best hooves forward and won the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran), giving Choc his 6th winner of the season.  And Luke Harvey from At The Races interviewed Choc post-race too.


A busy evening at Uttoxeter tomorrow:

17:50 Emerald Wilderness – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

18:20 Blazing Desert – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)

18:55 Portside – Novices’ Handicap Chase (Alan King)

20:00 Iffy – Selling Hurdle (Andy Haynes).  Iffy was sold out of Richard Lee’s stable recently and has the distinction of being the first horse I saw Choc ride to victory during a visit to a racecourse (at Stratford last June).

21:05 Quetzal – NH Flat Race (Alan King)


Martin Keighley’s Won More Night is scheduled to run in the 20:35 Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.


So I will be looking forward to a Choc-filled evening!


Tuesday 02 June 2009

Choc was out of luck at Sedgefield:

Coronado’s Gold finished 5th in the Selling Hurdle, having blundered at the 3rd last and the last (12 ran).

But the cloud had a silver lining, because Martin Keighley’s Le Brocquy won the race!

Martin’s other runner, Palmers Peak, was pulled up in the Handicap Chase, although he ran very well for most of the race.  His last run had been over a much shorter trip, when he won at Wetherby.


I’m waiting to hear if my fellow Choc fan, Amy, made it to this evening’s fixture.


Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at Fontwell Park:

14:30 Lilac Wine – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Dominic Ffrench Davis)

15:00 Black Jacari – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King) – I wonder if the horse will be a little more willing to put his best hooves forward over hurdles this season!


Monday 01 June 2009

My first blog of the new month. 


No results to report for Choc today as there was no National Hunt racing in the UK.


Tomorrow he will be travelling north to Sedgefield, where he has one ride:

19:05 Coronado’s Gold – Selling Hurdle (Brian Ellison)


Martin Keighley has 2 runners scheduled at the fixture:

Le Brocquy in the 19:05, and Palmers Peak in the Handicap Chase at 20:35.


My friend Amy, who is a Choc fan too, hopes to be at Sedgefield tomorrow evening.  I’ve suggested she asks Choc for his autograph, having told her that he is very approachable, so I hope she gets the opportunity.




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