Wednesday 30 June 2010
Choc was at Worcester this afternoon, where he had 5 riding engagements:
Rapide Plaisir finished 6th in the Selling Hurdle (12 ran).
Porters War finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).
Hoof It Harry was pulled up before the 11th obstacle in the Handicap Chase Div I (11 ran).
Petroupetrov finished 5th in the Handicap Chase Div II (11 ran).
Grey Gold finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).
With no English or Welsh National Hunt meetings for the next 3 days, Choc won’t have an opportunity to race ride until Market Rasen on Sunday.
Choc was schooling at Martin Keighley’s yard this morning and evidently he had an ‘eventful’ time!
The news from Wimbledon today is that Andy Murray has reached the Men’s Singles semi-final and will now play Spaniard Rafael Nadal for a place in the final. The other semi-final will be contested between Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and Novak Djokovic of Serbia. It was Tomas Berdych who knocked out Wimbledon reigning champion Roger Federer today - Hooray!
Roger Federer has contested the Men’s Singles Final for the past 7 years, winning on 6 occasions, Nadal having taken the title in 2008. Nadal is currently ranked number 1 in the world, and as a result of today’s loss, Roger will drop from 2 to 3 in the rankings; with Djokovic being promoted to number 2. And, as always, I’d like to see a new champion crowned – because it’s nice to see someone achieve their lifetime’s ambition!
Tuesday 29 June 2010
After a brief overnight blip in the weather, and a slightly damp start to the day, it’s turned out very nice again. I never complain about it being too hot, especially after the number of damp and disappointing summers we’ve had in recent years. The sunshine makes one feel so much better, my favourite months of the year are May, June and July, and the only season I dislike is autumn, my least favourite month being November.
Following a couple of quiet days, Choc will be in action at Worcester tomorrow afternoon, where he has 5 riding engagements:
15:40 Rapide Plaisir – Selling Hurdle (Richard Lee). The last time Choc rode this horse, at Ludlow last October, he banged his head when unseated, so hopefully he’ll have better luck tomorrow ...
16:10 Porters War – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)
16:40 Hoof It Harry – Handicap Chase Div I (P Henderson)
17:10 Petroupetrov – Handicap Chase Div II (Richard Phillips)
17:40 Grey Gold - Standard Open NH Flat Race (Richard Lee)
It’s a pity I’m working tomorrow otherwise I’d quite fancy a trip to Worcester.
The good news from Wimbledon today is that Venus Williams has been dumped out of the Women’s Singles event, but the bad news is that Serena Williams has made it through to the semi-finals! Unfortunately Kim Clijsters lost today, so I’m disappointed about that.
This evening I’m going to watch the At The Races coverage from Stratford Upon Avon. Robert Cooper is presenting from the course and I find him quite amusing! And I expect I’ll find time to stitch more of my cross stitch project, which is now well under way.
Monday 28 June 2010
Another scorching day today although unfortunately, apart from my lunch hour, I had to spend the day in the office! But it is air conditioned ...
Yesterday afternoon Choc rode at Uttoxeter, and this is how he fared:
Classic Frontier finished 6th in the English Summer National (18 ran). Martin Keighley’s runner in this race, Victor Daly was pulled up before 4 out, having suddenly got very tired, but the horse is fine. The race was won by ex-Alan King inmate Ouzbeck, who carried 11 stone 6 lbs to victory. The horse has always possessed a tenacious quality, and he held on to win by a head from Brooklyn Brownie. Minella Four Star, who is now trained by David Pipe and who I will always remember as the horse which scarred Choc’s face, completed in 4th place despite an awful blunder early in the race.
The Fox’s Decree was a non-runner in the Maiden Hurdle Div II.
King Ozzy ran promisingly, having jumped well to complete in 9th on his chasing debut in the Handicap Chase (12 ran).
As mentioned in my previous blog, yesterday evening I went to see Lee Mead in concert at the St Albans Arena. My friend Lesley booked front row tickets and, although we were to the side of the stage, we had a good view of proceedings. Lee performed Close Every Door and Any Dream Will Do from the musical Joseph, as well as tracks from his two albums and other songs too, such as Kiss. The originally booked support act was sick so, unusually, the stand-in was a violinist from New Zealand! But she was quite amusing!
There is an excellent Lee Mead based fan website, and one of his fan’s took a number of photos at last night’s concert:
There’s National Hunt racing at Stratford Upon Avon tomorrow evening ... but Choc has no riding engagements L
Saturday 26 June 2010
Choc rode at Market Rasen yesterday afternoon, and this is how he fared:
Run To Space tailed off and was pulled up before 3 out in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).
I watched a recording of this afternoon’s races from Market Rasen and almost all of the events had exciting finishes. It may be just National Hunt ‘summer’ racing, but it has a lot going for it, especially when the weather is so pleasant!
A couple of yesterday’s races were won by lady pilots – Lucy Horner, who has recently returned to action following a non-racing related eye problem, and Alex Smith-Maxwell who held off AP McCoy’s mount to win! Racing UK presenter Lydia Hislop interviewed both ladies following their respective races – Alex was so enthusiastic and showed a real love of her sport and her winning mount!
Tomorrow Choc will be at Uttoxeter, where he has 3 riding engagements:
14:40 Classic Frontier – English Summer National (Charles Byrnes – Ireland) – carrying Choc’s minimum ‘summer weight’ of 10 stone 5 lbs.
Martin Keighley also has a runner in this race – Victor Daly – to be piloted by Jimmy Derham and carrying 10 stone 3 lbs, minus his 5 lbs allowance.
16:20 The Fox’s Decree – Maiden Hurdle Div II (Martin Keighley) – hopefully the horse will get his head in front having run up a sequence of 3 runner-up spots.
16:55 King Ozzy – Handicap Chase (Martin Keighley)
Is it my imagination, but have they re-arranged the races on tomorrow’s Uttoxeter card? I was convinced the Summer National was to be run later in the afternoon ... if so, is it because the England vs. Germany World Cup match kicks off at 15:00 tomorrow? I don’t ‘do’ football and have seen none of the matches.
Not surprisingly John Isner, having played the longest tennis match in history, lost his second round match in straight sets 6-0 6-3 6-2. But, with his profile having skyrocketed, he’s now in great demand to appear on TV talk shows in his native USA.
I shall watch some Wimbledon coverage today, and hopefully will have the opportunity to start my next cross stitch project too. And, of course, tomorrow afternoon I’ll be watching the TV coverage of racing from Uttoxeter. I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to go racing again very soon.
Tomorrow evening my friend Lesley and I will be going to see Lee Mead in concert at my local City Hall. Lee was the winner of BBC One’s Any Dream Will Do to find an actor/singer to perform in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of Joseph in London. As well as currently performing on tour, Lee is appearing in Wicked in the West End. Lee is married to Denise Van Outen, they have a baby daughter Betsy, and he shares his birthday with Choc – 14 July, although my favourite jockey is 3 years older than Lee.
I notice the Osmond brothers (Wayne, Merrill, Jay and Jimmy) are touring, during the next week or so, as part of the Once In A Lifetime tour. David Essex, Leo Sayer and Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers are also appearing as part of the gigs. Unusual that Lesley didn’t spot details of this event ... oh well ... I can’t afford to go to everything!
And, finally, congratulations and very best wishes to Lesley’s daughter, Hollie, who is marrying her fiancé Barry today. They certainly have a lovely day for the wedding.
Thursday 24 June 2010
Choc is scheduled to be at Market Rasen tomorrow afternoon, where he has one riding engagement:
16:25 Run To Space – Handicap Chase (Nicky Richards).
The horse is due to carry a mere 10 stone 5 lbs – which, I believe, is the minimum weight Choc can do during the summer months! So he’d better resist those Peanut M & M’s!
The postscript from Worcester races yesterday is that Princess Anne’s horse First Watch broke a bone behind his off-fore (right) knee, but with rest he is expected to make a full recovery. Full details in Martin Keighley’s blog today:
I didn’t get around to watching the video of yesterday’s races until early this morning, prior to leaving for work! And I’ve still to watch more. I enjoy the days when At The Races is able to bring just one meeting to the screen, when Fitzy (Mick Fitzgerald) or Luke Harvey or Richard Pitman interview the trainers, jockeys or connections.
I postponed my video viewing last evening, as I was watching the Isner vs. Mahut match from Wimbledon. The match was finally decided today, Isner eventually seeing off Mahut 70-68 in the 5th set! The match lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes; with the final set taking 8 hours and 11 minutes to resolve. Isner served 112 aces during the match, Mahut a ‘mere’ 103! I know the players often receive intensive physio following a match but, the question is, will Isner struggle playing his next round opponent? He plays a guy called Thiemo De Bakker of The Netherlands, who I’ve never heard of!
Wednesday 23 June 2010
Choc was at Worcester this afternoon, where he had 3 riding engagements:
First Watch made mistakes at the first 2 obstacles so Choc pulled him up in Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).
Le Brocquy ran well until getting tired, finishing 6th in the 2 mile Handicap Hurdle, but this was his first run back following an injury break (8 ran). Ex-Alan King inmate Sadler’s Star won this race under Denis O’Regan.
Giovanna finished a distant 7th in the 3 mile Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).
I shall watch a recording of the races later this evening and Martin Keighley, in his blog, will expand upon the detail regarding his two runners.
It appears that a number of the ex-Alan King horses have been rejuvenated by a change of stable having been sold ... Sadler’s Star, Black Jacari and, of course, Junior who won at Royal Ascot last week! But I guess it’s similar to starting a new job, when the change of scene rekindles one’s interest.
No National Hunt racing tomorrow, but hopefully Choc will be back in action on Friday at Market Rasen.
And I wonder how long the Isner vs. Mahut tennis match at Wimbledon is going to continue? As I write this blog, the match has been underway for over 8 hours ... and the score in the final set is 49 all! The longest match in Wimbledon history ... they introduced the tie-break system to avoid this sort of problem but, of course, at Wimbledon they have never used a tie-break in the final set! I notice the match umpire is Mohamed Lahyani – who frequently umpired Agassi’s matches and he’d get my vote as being the best umpire on the tour!
Tuesday 22 June 2010
Choc was at Newton Abbot this evening and this is how he fared:
Prince Tom finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle, having blundered at the penultimate flight, although I’m not convinced that he’d have won without an error, although it may have been a close call (10 ran).
Now Listen To Me finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).
Tomorrow afternoon Choc will be at Worcester, where he has 3 riding engagements:
14:20 First Watch – Novices’ Hurdle (Martin Keighley)
15:25 Le Brocquy – 2 mile Handicap Hurdle (Martin Keighley)
16:00 Giovanna – 3 mile Handicap Hurdle (Richard Phillips)
Martin Keighley has 2 runners at the fixture and, as you can see above, Choc is riding them both!
And I finished my Stratford diary late last night:
So now my diaries are up to date! J
However, if my blog updates suddenly stop, it will be because my laptop has given up the ghost! As never does a week seem to go by without some sort of ‘scary’ technical glitch ... as I experienced another one earlier this evening. But, if the worst happens, I will keep a handwritten blog diary and update my site as soon as normal service is resumed! But, as you can imagine, I’m keeping my fingers ... and everything ... crossed!
Monday 21 June 2010
There was no National Hunt racing in the UK today, but Choc was gainfully occupied as he rode out and did some schooling for Martin Keighley this morning! Friend and colleague Andrew Thornton also helped out too.
Tomorrow evening Choc will be at Newton Abbot, where he has two riding engagements, both for Paul Nicholls:
18:30 Prince Tom – Maiden Hurdle
20:40 Now Listen To Me – Handicap Chase
I’m going to watch some of the Wimbledon tennis coverage on TV this evening. It’s extremely expensive to go to Wimbledon these days ... I last attended in 2008, when I received Centre Court Women’s Quarter Finals tickets in the ballot. I far prefer to watch the men play, so it was a bit of a disappointment, as I had to watch both Serena and Venus Williams play opponents on that occasion. However I’d promised my friend Lesley that if, one year, I were to obtain tickets via the ballot we’d go to the Championships, so we went.
At this point I should confess that I used to be one of those ‘crazy’ people who camp out at Wimbledon in the queue overnight in order to purchase the tickets of their choice on the gate. I attended the tournament every year from 1994 to 2003, and again in 2006. Sometimes I attended for just one day, and sometimes for the whole tournament. It solely depended on how far Andre Agassi progressed! I hated camping out, but on the whole it was very good fun and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Good times ...
And now I’m enjoying following Choc’s career ... very good times once more ... J
Sunday 20 June 20010
Choc was at a sunny Hereford this afternoon, and this is how he fared:
Topflight Wildbird ran disappointingly and was pulled up before 2 out in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).
Two Left Boots finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).
Martin Keighley had just one runner at the fixture, as Deep Reflection was a non-runner.
Chocolat ran well for a long way, but faded to finish 6th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (the same race in which Topflight Wildbird ran).
The bad news is that I’ve not started my next counted cross stitch project yet, although I have started to ‘colour in’ the squares on the pattern using felt tip pen. I find this helps to ensure that I don’t miss any of the ‘same-coloured’ stitches when I begin to sew. For the uninitiated, the sewer starts with a blank piece of woven material, often ‘evenweave’ or ‘aida’, which consists of evenly spaced holes (most frequently 14, 16 or 18 to the inch), the design being created by transferring the paper pattern design onto the material using different shaded threads arranged according to the key. Hence the ‘counted’ cross stitching, as you need to count the stitches to ensure each stitch is sewn in the correct place!
Below is an example of the art of cross stitching. The design is called ‘Fire and Ice’ because it’s stitched entirely using shades of red and blue. It’s stitched on black aida fabric, which was a nightmare, so I placed a ‘light-box’ underneath it whilst sewing so that the holes were visible to stitch through! The picture is 14 inches by 20 inches, and took around 6 months of intensive sewing to complete.
However, the good news is that I’ve completed the final draft of my Stratford diary for 13 June and will upload it as soon as I’ve completed the final proof read.
Saturday 19 June 2010
Choc will be in action tomorrow, when he has 2 riding engagements at Worcester:
16:20 Topflight Wildbird – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)
17:20 Two Left Boots – Handicap Hurdle (Tim Vaughan)
Martin Keighley also has a couple of runners at Hereford tomorrow:
15:50 Deep Reflection – Handicap Chase, ridden by Jimmy Derham
16:20 Chocolat – race details as above, ridden by Tom Scudamore
I watched the final day of Royal Ascot on TV this afternoon, and the Hughie Morrison trained mare Cill Rialaig won the 1 mile 4 furlong Duke of Edinburgh Handicap. I thought the horse’s name ‘rang a bell’ ... so I did a little research and, yes, Choc won a bumper aboard her at Exeter in October 2008!
Ryan Moore won the final race of the day at Ascot aboard Bergo, just piping Johnny Murtagh for the Top Rider award. Bergo now runs in the colours of Sam Sangster (son of the late Robert Sangster), having previously been owned by ‘warned off’ punter Harry Finlay.
Today I completed my Grand National 2010 diary:
I’ve been working on my Stratford diary this week too, and have now, more or less, completed the first draft.
I’m at home again tomorrow, so will watch TV coverage of the racing from Hereford and, perhaps, will make a start on my next cross stitch project too.
Wednesday 16 June 2010
Not much to report on the Choc front today, as both his expected rides at Worcester were non-runners! There were a number of non-runners, especially in the later races, so I expect the ground conditions went against them, as it’s been getting progressively warmer and dryer this week.
Martin Keighley’s Time Legend pulled up in the 17:40 (11 ran).
There’s National Hunt racing at Ffos Las tomorrow evening, but Choc has no riding engagements. There are no National Hunt fixtures on Friday or Saturday ... the next being Hexham and Hereford on Sunday.
Having already uploaded my blog yesterday, I decided to surf through the results from Royal Ascot ... and noticed that Junior won the 2½ mile Ascot Stakes - £31,155 to the winner! Junior, who used to be trained by Alan King and has been plying his trade over obstacles for the past few seasons, was purchased at the sales last month by his new owner and is now trained by David Pipe. The ‘Pipe’ stable has won this race on 5 previous occasions, but this is David’s first Royal Ascot winner.
Tuesday 15 June 2010
Choc was at Newton Abbot this evening, where he had 2 riding engagements:
Whenever finished 3rd, by a nose, in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).
Hamalac had a nice introductory run, finishing 8th in the Open NH Flat Race (14 ran).
Tomorrow afternoon Choc will be at Worcester, where he has 2 riding engagements:
17:10 Le Brocquy – Handicap Hurdle Div I (Martin Keighley)
18:15 Festival Dreams – Handicap Hurdle Div II (Miss JS Davis)
Martin Keighley also has a runner in the 17:40 Maiden Hurdle Div II – Time Legend ridden by Gerard Tumelty.
There are more ‘Chocolate titbits’ in Martin’s blog:
I’ve uploaded lots of photos from my trip to Stratford races on Sunday:
I’ve also made a start on my Stratford diary. And I’ve not forgotten that I need to finish my Grand National Day diary – I’ve completed details of the races and just need to finish ‘top and tailing’ it and then will give it a final proof read.
Here’s an example of my initial racing notes from Stratford – this is Race 4 – Aohna’s race:
Led off by O Boy. AR, DD & AO together. NW, Ex & Stumped
OB into straight, AR & AO
AO a bit close to 2nd flight in straight
AR slight mistake at 5th
Close packed into back straight.
AR leads now, AO up on inside.
AR bad mistake & NW
AO between 2 goes on. DD outside.
AO leads but stumbled & Choc around neck.
Allowed Exulto & Dishdasha to go on and win by a head ...
Having learnt shorthand many moons ago, unfortunately I’ve never had much use for it over the years so it’s far too rusty to use. Hence the style of my notes.
I start by setting up the template on my PC, completing details of the races and the placed horses. Then I select a photo, if applicable. If I’m worried about forgetting the pre-race and post-race details, I’ll then type these up by referring to the notes I’ll have made in the notebook which I take to the races – very useful if it’s the Cheltenham Festival and I have 4 diaries to complete following the end of the event. I also find the At The Races race details useful, as these give me an idea of what happened to each horse during each race. The next step is to look at a video recording of the races – making notes, example above. I then expand these notes using long-hand, before I type them up. The next stage is to watch the video again, and correct any errors in the race descriptions. Then I proof read and, sometimes, reword paragraphs, before uploading the diary onto my website. Job done.
Monday 14 June 2010
Choc will be at Newton Abbot tomorrow evening, where he has 2 riding engagements:
19:15 Whenever - Handicap Hurdle (Richard Phillips)
20:45 Hamalac - Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (Martin Keighley!)
Sunday 13 June 2010
There’s very special baby news today ... Meally and Choc are expecting their first child at Christmas. Many congratulations to the happy couple, and no doubt the little ‘munchkin’ will be as cute as its dad!
Choc was at Stratford Upon Avon today, where he had 3 rides:
Hilfiger won the Novices’ Hurdle, giving Choc his 8th winner of the season (10 ran). J
Aohna finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (7 ran). But she was probably a very unlucky loser as, having jumped the last flight 2 lengths ahead of the field, she stumbled and couldn’t recover on the short run-in. L
Smoking finished 11th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (14 ran).
Martin Keighley also had a runner this afternoon - The Fox’s Decree ran well to finish 2 lengths down in 2nd in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).
I overlooked Martin Keighley’s Ikorodu Road which ran at Market Rasen on Friday, and looked likely to complete in 2nd when unseating Jason Maguire at the last!
No National Hunt racing in the south tomorrow, so Choc has no riding engagements.
And ... here is a piccie of Choc aboard Hilfiger passing the winning post at Stratford today, as I decided to forego my haircut and go to the races instead!!! J
Friday 11 June 2010
Choc was at Market Rasen this afternoon, and this is how he fared:
Golden Alchemist finished 6th in the 2 mile 5 furlong Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).
Robello finished 5th in the Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (11 ran).
Martin Keighley had just one runner at Market Rasen, as Deep Reflection was a non-runner:
King Ozzy finished last in the 2 mile 3 furlongs Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 3 furlongs), however it was his first run following a break. Strangely, it was the enigmatic ex-Alan King inmate, Black Jacari, which won the race. It was Black Jacari’s second victory over obstacles, his first for the new owner/stable, having never quite lived up to expectations whilst at Alan King’s.
Alan King had one runner at Aintree this evening:
Topflight Wildbird unseated her rider 3 out in the Conditional Jockeys’ Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).
Tomorrow the sole National Hunt meeting is held at Hexham, so Choc won’t be back in action until Sunday, when he rides at Stratford Upon Avon:
14:10 Hilfiger – Novices’ Hurdle (Ian Williams)
15:50 Aohna – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)
17:30 Smoking – Standard Open NH Flat Race (Alan King)
Martin Keighley also has a runner at Stratford on Sunday:
16:25 The Fox’s Decree – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, to be ridden by Jimmy Derham
I’ve just read Martin’s blog and he reports very bad news regarding his stable jockey Warren Marston: http://www.martinkeighleyracing.com/Martins_blog.php
Best wishes to Warren, and I hope he makes a full recovery.
Many happy returns to my older brother Nick, whose birthday it is tomorrow. And also to Martin Keighley, whose birthday it is too!
And what am I doing this weekend? I don’t know! Should I go racing? I’m not sure. On the plus side, I like Stratford, Choc has 3 riding engagements ... which is a ‘maybe’ meeting ... the weather is forecasted to be 19 degrees with sunny intervals, and I don’t expect to get another opportunity to see Choc for 4 weeks or more! On the minus side, I’ve provisionally arranged for my sister-in-law to cut my hair on Sunday ... and I’ll have to wait another 6 weeks before she’s available again. Having been forced to stop colouring my hair due to an allergy to hair dye, I’m beginning to resemble a skewbald pony ... brown and white ... not a good look!
Thursday 10 June 2010
Choc was at Uttoxeter this evening, and he rode another winner J
Petroupetrov won the Handicap Chase, giving Choc his 7th winner of the season (12 ran).
Amwell Brave finished a distant 10th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).
Mujamead completed in 4th in the Handicap Hurdle, although the partnership did benefit when the horse originally booked for that position unseated its rider at the last! (13 ran)
Tomorrow afternoon Choc will be at Market Rasen, where he has 2 riding engagements:
16:45 Golden Alchemist – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 5 furlongs) (MDI Usher)
17:15 Robello – Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Richard Phillips)
Martin Keighley also has a couple of runners at Market Rasen:
15:35 King Ozzy – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 3 furlongs) – ridden by Gerard Tumelty
16:45 Deep Reflection – details as above – ridden by Jimmy Derham
Alan King has one runner at Aintree tomorrow evening:
18:00 Topflight Wildbird – Conditional Jockeys’ Mares’ Handicap Hurdle – to be ridden by C Timmons
As I woke early this morning, I had time to type up the latest draft of my Grand National Day diary before I left for work. It’s now two months since my trip to Aintree, but my diary is finally shaping up nicely and it shouldn’t be too long before I can upload it.
Wednesday 09 June 2010
Choc will be at Uttoxeter tomorrow evening, where he has 3 riding engagements:
19:40 Petroupetrov – Handicap Chase (Richard Phillips)
20:40 Amwell Brave – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (J R Jenkins)
21:10 Mujamead – Handicap Hurdle (Miss S Wheelwright)
Tuesday 08 June 2010
Choc was at Southwell this evening ... and he rode a winner J
Lady Soughton won the NH Novices’ Hurdle, giving Choc his 6th winner of the season (6 ran).
Railway Diva finished 4th in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).
No National Hunt racing tomorrow, but hopefully Choc will be back in action later in the week.
After three very troublesome weeks, my back has been almost pain free today. I tried out all the spare office chairs at the end of last week and found a more comfortable one, and I’ve been sleeping with a piece of hardboard under my upper back and shoulders area for a few days and this seems to have helped enormously. Obviously I need a new extra hard mattress ... so I’ll add it to my ‘long-term’ shopping list ... after the Aintree 2011 tickets, Cheltenham Festival 2011 tickets, and new supply of disposable contact lenses!
Monday 07 June 2010
Choc was at Newton Abbot this afternoon, where he had one riding engagement:
Anadama finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).
Tomorrow evening Choc will be at Southwell, where he has 2 riding engagements:
19:35 Lady Soughton - NH Novices’ Hurdle (Tim Vaughan)
20:05 Railway Diva – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (Tim Vaughan)
And last but not least, I’d like to wish my friend Denise a Happy Birthday for today.
Sunday 06 June 2010
The day started off with fine weather at Worcester but, with heavy (and at one point thundery) downpours, the going changed and many of the ‘summer jumpers’ seemed to be struggling on the new turf conditions!
Choc had two riding engagements this afternoon, but neither completed the course!
Rapid Return was pulled up with a whole circuit to go in the Handicap Chase Div II (9 ran). According to his blog, Richard Phillips was hoping the blinkers and Choc would be able to galvanise his charge ... but it appears to no avail.
Ellen Tilley was also pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran). Assistant Trainer, Noel Williams, was hoping the ground would help her cause ... but evidently not!
Martin Keighley ran 3 horses at the fixture:
Badly Bruised was pulled up in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle Div I (12 ran), but it was his first outing following injury.
Ponchatrain finished 4th in the Handicap Chase Div I, Gerard Tumelty replacing the injured Warren Marston (10 ran).
Deep Reflection completed in 5th in the Handicap Hurdle, having run well and led for much of the race (11 ran).
In Martin Keighley’s blog he tells us that injured Warren Marston is due to have a precautionary CT scan tomorrow at Cheltenham General Hospital. Choc kindly drove Warren from Worcester Royal Infirmary to their local hospital in Cheltenham for initial x-rays as, despite recommendations from the racecourse medical staff, the Worcester hospital thought he was moving too well to need an x-ray! National Hunt jockeys are tough and don't make unnecessary fuss, so if they arrive at hospital then it's bound to be relatively serious and the hospital should carry out the recommended instructions before discharging the patient.
Tomorrow Choc will be at Newton Abbot, where he has one riding engagement:
14:30 Anadama – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)
I gather Rafael Nadal won his 5th French Open Men’s Singles Title at Roland Garros this afternoon, and regains his world number one ranking. I have seen Nadal play live, at Wimbledon in 2006, when he played Andre Agassi in a third round match. Andre lost, it being his final professional match at Wimbledon, as he retired later that year. During our Wimbledon visit we stayed at a B & B apartment, and our hostess told us that Nadal was renting an apartment in the same building, although we never saw him apart from on court!
Saturday 05 June 2010
Choc returned to action at Worcester this afternoon, where he had one riding engagement:
Witch Of The Wave finished 8th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).
Martin Keighley’s charge, The Fox’s Decree, looked like being the winner of this race but was overtaken on the run-in and had to settle for 2nd. His jockey Warren Marston took a nasty fall in a later race, so I hope he is okay.
The Alan King trained Franchoek finished 2nd in the 17:10 Handicap Chase under AP McCoy. (8 ran).
Irish jockey Davy Russell was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured ankle following a fall at Listowel this afternoon.
6-1 shot Workforce won the Epsom Derby, in a record breaking time. The horse is trained by Michael Stoute and was ridden by Ryan Moore, the jockey having claimed his first British classic success when winning the Oaks aboard Snow Fairy yesterday.
The less fancied Francesca Schiavone won the Women’s French Open Singles title at Roland Garros in Paris this afternoon.
Tomorrow Choc has 2 riding engagements on Day 2 of the Worcester meeting:
16:40 Rapid Return – Handicap Chase Div II (Richard Phillips)
17:10 Ellen Tilley – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)
Martin Keighley has 3 scheduled runners at the fixture:
14:10 Badly Bruised – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle Div I, to be ridden by Gerard Tumelty
16:10 Ponchatrain – Handicap Chase Div I, to be ridden by Warren Marston (presuming he’s okay following today’s fall)
17:10 Deep Reflection – Handicap Hurdle, to be ridden by Jimmy Derham.
The weather has already changed for the worse in Hertfordshire ... the threatening looking storm clouds having rolled in during the early afternoon. We’ve had a few spots of rain, but no thunder and lightening ... as yet!
Friday 04 June 2010
There’s been no National Hunt racing in the UK today ... but there is one result from yesterday to report:
Martin Keighley’s First Watch finished 6th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race at Wetherby yesterday evening (10 ran).
9-1 shot Snow Fairy won the 2010 Oaks at Epsom today, trained by Ed Dunlop and ridden by Ryan Moore.
Tomorrow Choc will be at Worcester for one riding engagement:
13:55 Witch Of The Wave – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Miss JS Davis)
Martin Keighley also has a runner in this race – Fox’s Decree, to be ridden by Warren Marston.
Fortunately AP McCoy is available tomorrow to ride the Alan King trained, JP McManus owned, Franchoek in the 17:10 Handicap Chase at Worcester! Presumably he’s not one of Choc’s favourite horses at the moment, following his painful mishap last Sunday.
I’ve no special plans for this weekend ... just a spell of cross stitching and maybe some additional work on my Grand National Day diary. I’ll tune in to watch Choc at Worcester on TV on both Saturday and Sunday, and maybe the Epsom Derby too, and possibly watch some of the Women’s and Men’s French Open Tennis finals as well.
Both the women competing in Paris will be taking part in their first grand slam final – Stosur of Australia (seeded 7) vs. Schiavone of Italy (seeded 17). It’s nice to see unexpected players doing well – it becomes boring when the same people win time after time, especially if it’s the Williams sisters!
The men’s final on Sunday will be between Rafael Nadal of Spain (seeded 2) and Robin Soderling of Sweden (seeded 5). Nadal has won the event on 4 previous occasions (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), and Soderling was runner-up to Federer last year. I dislike Roger Federer ... because he’s won far too many tournaments! For the same reason, I used to dislike Pete Sampras and, besides, he beat Agassi far too often! And I was never a fan of Tim Henman either.
Wednesday 02 June 2010
Alan King had a runner in the Novices’ Hurdle at Fontwell this afternoon, Like A Hurricane finished 2nd under Charlie Huxley (7 ran).
Martin Keighley also had a runner at Fontwell today:
Junior Jack finished 3rd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (14 ran).
Martin has a runner at Wetherby tomorrow:
21:15 First Watch – Standard Open NH Flat Race, to be ridden by Jason Maguire
Although presumably fit again, Choc has no riding engagements tomorrow ... L
Tuesday 01 June 2010
According to Geoff Lester’s blog on the Alan King website, Choc expects to be back in action at Newton Abbot on Thursday following his painful fall at Uttoxeter on Sunday:
Tomorrow Alan King has a runner in the 14:30 Novices’ Hurdle at Fontwell, Like A Hurricane, which will be piloted by Charlie Huxley.
Alan’s horses are running well on the flat at the moment – he trained two winners yesterday, Seventh Cavalry at Goodwood and Dolcetto at Chepstow.
Martin Keighley also has a runner at Fontwell tomorrow:
17:45 Junior Jack – Standard Open NH Flat Race