JUNE 2014



Monday 30 June 2014

Three runners of interest tomorrow, at Stratford:

18:00 In A Heartbeat (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Maiden Hurdle

18:30 Uriah Heep (Alan King/Richard Johnson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles ½ furlong]

19:00 Hayjack (Martin Keighley/AP McCoy) – Handicap Chase

Sunday 29 June 2014

There are a couple of results from Uttoxeter this afternoon:

No Substitute (Alan King/Richard Johnson) won the Maiden Hurdle Div I (8 ran).

Pantxoa (Alan King/Sam Twiston-Davies) was pulled up in the Summer Cup (Listed Handicap Chase) (17 ran).  The race was won by The Romford Pele, trained by Rebecca Curtis and ridden by Paul Carberry; a well worthwhile trip over from Ireland for the jockey.   


There’s now no National Hunt racing until Tuesday. 


Yesterday I spent time revamping old jewellery, which I do every now and then.  Today I went for a walk, my route taking me through the local Agricultural/Further Education College as usual; plenty of sheep, but no alpacas or pigs today.  I also took in a diversion to Dunelm because I wanted some tailors chalk.  I need to re-hem a skirt because it’s not level and has been stuck in the cupboard because of this!  


I’ve also done lots of ironing.  And been with mum to replace flowers on the family grave; we’ve chosen daisies this time because the long-lasting carnations appear to act as a magnet for rabbits or hares! 


Finally, I’ve trimmed off lots of suckers from around the base of the Council-owned lime tree on the verge outside the house.  It had to be done because, as a car driver, it was blocking my view of oncoming traffic along the road. 


The Council no longer keep these enormous trees in check, they really need serious pruning; I did complain a couple of years ago but their verdict having allegedly taken a look at them was that nothing needed to be done.  They’ve been neglecting the verges around the City too; I think the one along my road has only been mown once this year. 

Saturday 28 June 2014

There’s racing at Uttoxeter tomorrow, with two runners of interest:

14:20 No Substitute (Alan King/Richard Johnson) – Maiden Hurdle Div I

15:50 Pantxoa (Alan King/Sam Twiston-Davies) – Summer Cup (Listed Handicap Chase)


The Osmonds, currently touring with Once In A Lifetime, bumped into DJ Tony Prince on Thursday ... that’s a blast from the past! 



Strangely enough, I attended the event held at the LG Arena at the NEC in Birmingham yesterday evening, and here are Jay, Merrill and Jimmy on stage. 


The Osmonds 27 6 2014.jpg


Also taking part in the show were Les Mckeown’s Bay City Rollers,  Showaddywaddy  and David Essex.


We had the choice of going to the O2 Arena in London to see them on Thursday evening or yesterday in Birmingham and chose the latter thinking it would be easier to get to from Hertfordshire/Bedfordshire.  It was a slight error of judgement, taking into account the fact that the concert took place on a Friday evening and, as it turned out, the prevailing weather conditions. 


Lesley picked me up at 16:20, we encountered flash flooding in Harpenden, a long hold up due to road-works on the slip-road leading to Junction 10 of the M1, further heavy rain encountered at intervals including lightning and thunder, and just generally slow moving traffic heading northwards on the motorway.  We arrived at the NEC at 18:45, with 45 minutes to spare, so had to park at the far end of the southern car parks.     


We got back to the car at around 23:00, queued for a long time to get out, and I didn’t arrive home until 01:00.  Fortunately it was a good journey home, with more lorries on the motorways than cars.  And they seemed to be either Royal Mail or Eddie Stobart ones!


But at least I enjoyed the concert!!!


Choc is particularly happy at the moment ... as he’s looking after son William for a whole week! J


World Cup rivalry is alive and well in the Agassi household earlier in the week:



There’s a video on Youtube of today’s Showerking Flying Feathers Shire Horse Charge run at Lingfield Park.  Taking part were jockeys Mark Grant, Dave Crosse, Gerard Tumelty, Tommy Carberry, Colin Bolger, Marc Goldstein, Harry Miller and Jamie Moore.  My favourite is Jack Flash and there’s a very close finish:



Richard Johnson has joined his colleagues, AP McCoy and Sam Twiston-Davies, to take part in the JCB Champions Challenge at the Barbury International Horse Trials against event riders including Zara Phillips on Saturday 05 July.


Bicton Arena in Devon is appealing for jockeys to take part in its Jockeys vs Eventers Showjumping challenge on Saturday 23 August.  I know where Bicton is, as I’ve been on holiday to Exmouth on a number of occasions many moons ago.  


It is confirmed in this week’s Horse and Hound that Daryl Jacob is to be Cue Card’s new jockey. 


They also reported that children’s equestrian author Josephine Pullein-Thompson has passed away aged 90.  Her younger twin sisters Diana and Christine, who also wrote children’s equestrian novels, died in 2005.  I’ve still got my paperback novels by all three authors!

Wednesday 25 June 2014

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

Hollow Penny (Alan King/Richard Johnson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Chase (8 ran).

My Lad Percy (Martin Keighley/Tom O’Brien) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs] (9 ran).

Golbelini (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (11 ran).


No National Hunt racing tomorrow.

Oh dear ... it’s just six months to Christmas. 

Tuesday 24 June 2014

There’s racing at Worcester tomorrow:

14:20 Hollow Penny (Alan King/Richard Johnson) – Novices’ Chase

16:30 My Lad Percy (Martin Keighley/Tom O’Brien) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs]

17:35 Golbelini (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]


There’s news of another jockey-related event; this time the Campbell Gillies Memorial Charity Football match, Southern vs Northern jockeys.  It will be held on the afternoon of Saturday 26 July at the Evesham United Football Club, commencing at 14:00, entry price for adults is £5.00 on the gate.


My favoured hotel has come online with availability for the 2015 Grand National Festival weekend ... so I’ve provisionally booked a room! J


I’m enjoying watching the Wimbledon tennis on TV each evening; I’ve not seen any World Cup football and I don’t intend to either! 

Sunday 22 June 2014

Just one runner of interest this afternoon, at Worcester:

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (12 ran).


There’s no National Hunt racing in the UK tomorrow.


Alan King has paid tribute to Tiger Cliff who died at Royal Ascot yesterday.  More


But there’s far better news of JT McNamara; he has finally returned home, 15 months after his life-changing accident at last year’s Cheltenham Festival.


It’s been rather a boring weekend for me.  Having finished all my diaries, I’ve been sorting through and disposing of any unwanted draft paperwork, I’ve washed my car which was extremely dusty through lack of use, and I went for a walk this morning too.  As always, my route took me through the local College; I saw a number of horses at their equestrian centre, goats and lots of sheep with their now large lambs ... but no alpacas or little piglets ... but I did see an emu or two!!! 

Saturday 21 June 2014

There was a sad postscript to the final race on the Royal Ascot card today, the long-distance Queen Alexandra Stakes, with the Alan King-trained 5-year-old Tiger Cliff collapsing and dying from a suspected heart-attack having finished 4th.  He was transferred to the yard last year with the hope of embarking on a jumping career.


Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Worcester:

14:20 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase


The jockeys scheduled to take part in this year’s Heythrop Country Fair Driven Donkey Derby are Aidan Coleman, Richie McLernon, Tom Bellamy and double reigning champion Denis O’Regan.  The trainers taking part are Ben Pauling, Charlie Longsdon, Olly Stevens and Fergal O’Brien.  The event takes place next Saturday at Cocklebarrow Farm as usual.  

Thursday 19 June 2014

Young Chocolate is back in the gym at Oaksey House, getting fit; hopefully he’ll be back in action very soon.  J



There’s National Hunt racing at Market Rasen tomorrow afternoon, but no runners of interest. 

Wednesday 18 June 2014

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



Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (13 ran).

Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (5 ran).

Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 7th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).



Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 11th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (14 ran); with the sun low in the sky, there were just 4 hurdles to jump during this race!  It looked like he’d be placed turning into the home straight but unfortunately faded badly.  


There’s National Hunt racing at Ffos Las tomorrow evening but no runners of interest.


Having finished my diaries I thought I’d enjoy a nice quiet week ... as if?  I arrived home from work yesterday to discover I’d been issued with a parking ticket by Liverpool City Council for allegedly parking illegally one day last month.  I’ve never been to Liverpool apart from the Aintree Festival, so I’ve had to spend any free time I might have had yesterday evening and today sorting it out. 


I spoke to someone at the Council this morning, he was a very nice chap, and he told me they’ve been experiencing a lot of administration errors recently and, when he looked up the notice number, the photograph of the car stored on their computer system was the wrong make, wrong colour and wrong registration plate!  Why do people no longer take care and fail to double-check everything?  So no-one is any the wiser at the moment. 


So I’ve now spent time writing a letter to the Council, and contacting the Merseyside Police to log my details just in case my number-plate has been cloned.  I also phoned the DVLA early this morning and was instructed to put the details in a letter to them.  So that’s another task I need to complete.


And I’m already feeling shattered; having lost a lot of sleep and had a very busy day at work too.  It hasn’t helped that I’ve also had a headache for most of the day.  I’m not sure whether it’s stress, caffeine deficiency or my stiff neck (cervical spondylosis) ... or maybe all three!

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Today there were two runners of interest, at Stratford:

In A Heartbeat (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 9th in the Mares Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).

Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) blundered badly and unseated at the last when leading in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs]; the horse in second at the time fell too, therefore the winner must count himself as very lucky (7 ran).

A number of runners of interest tomorrow:



15:20 Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

17:10 Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase

17:45 Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Standard Open NH Flat Race



20:40 Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Monday 16 June 2014

One result today, from Newton Abbot:

Prettyasapicture (Alan King/AP McCoy) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).


Tomorrow there are two runners of interest, at Stratford:

14:45 In A Heartbeat (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Mares Novices’ Hurdle

15:55 Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs]

William and Choc went swimming at the weekend:


Sunday 15 June 2014


ready to go.jpg

Racing Sheep r.jpg

Lamb racing – the competitors

are at the starting gate

Over the last, the lambs race to the finish

end of race.jpg

eric canterbaa.jpg

Food bribery has worked wonders!

Eric Cantobaa the lamb


kerry hill sheep.jpg


Kerry Hill sheep, centre – my favourite


Taz the British Toggenburg goat.jpg


Taz, the British Toggenburg goat;

born 05 May 2014

Saddleback piggies r.jpg

Saddleback mum and piggies



I spent a couple of hours at the local College’s Summer Fayre, I would have stayed longer if I had more time to spare today. 


One runner of interest tomorrow, at Newton Abbot:

14:30 Prettyasapicture (Alan King/AP McCoy) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle


Belinda Keighley tweeted a photo of son Harry aboard superstar Crunchie with Sam Twiston-Davies at a local show yesterday:



And I’ve finished my final outstanding diary, so my website is up-to-date for the first time since 10 March!  Yippee!  Click here to read.

Friday 13 June 2014

There were a couple of runners of interest at Aintree this evening:

No Substitute (Alan King/Richard Johnson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran); the horse appeared a little iffy at some of his hurdles and ran rather green.  No wonder he proved an unsafe conveyance during this last outing at Aintree. 

Sapphire Moon (Alan King/Richard Johnson) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).


A very quiet weekend on the National Hunt racing front, with tomorrow’s Hexham meeting being the sole UK fixture.  That being the case, there are no runners of interest.


If everything goes to plan, I’ll complete my final Cheltenham diary tomorrow.  A mid-June completion of backlog is probably the latest it’s ever been but not surprising, as I’ve had 10 diaries to write since 11 March. 


Then, on Sunday, I hope to pop down to the local College for a couple of hours to attend their Summer Fayre; back ache permitting!  My shoulders were numb and achy earlier this week; that pain subsided but then my back has been hurting instead for the past two or three days; it’s probably compensating and very annoying too.

Thursday 12 June 2014

Here are this evening’s results from Uttoxeter:

Gimme Five (Alan King/Paddy Brennan) sporting the McNeill colours won the Juvenile Hurdle (8 ran).

Taffy Dare (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).

As it turned out, the ex-Alan King trained Frizzo was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase at 19:30.


There are a couple of runners of interest at Aintree tomorrow evening; Friday 13th!

20:45 No Substitute (Alan King/Richard Johnson) – Novices’ Hurdle; the horse reverts to the smaller obstacles following last month’s mishap over fences, also at Aintree.

21:15 Sapphire Moon (Alan King/Richard Johnson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Montbazon ran in a flat race over 1 mile, 3 furlongs and 200 yards at Haydock today, finishing 3rd of 8.


The ‘Grand National 39’ were given a caution following today’s hearing.  More


Tomorrow there are a couple of Alan King runners at Uttoxeter:

18:00 Gimme Five (Alan King/Paddy Brennan) – Juvenile Hurdle

20:00 Taffy Dare (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

And Frizzo, recently sold out of the Alan King yard, runs in the Handicap Chase at 19:30.


I have two new ‘musical’ outings planned with my friend Lesley; firstly Annie Get Your Gun in Aylesbury next month starring Jason Donovan and Norman Pace, and a Lee Mead concert in Guildford in August.  I’m also hopeful that we’ll book to see Calamity Jane in Milton Keynes at the end of November starring Jodie Prenger; although we’ll have to go on Tuesday or Wednesday, as later in the week it’s the Hennessy Festival at Newbury!

There are a few jockey-related events in the not too distant future but, so far, Choc hasn’t been mentioned in despatches.  These include the Heythrop Summer Fair on Saturday 28 June (Aidan Coleman and Denis O’Regan); this date coincides with the Campbell Gillies Memorial Ball at Aintree.  The Lingfield Park Shire Horse race also on Saturday 28 June (Dave Crosse, Noel Fehily, Jamie Moore, Mark Grant and 4 unnamed others).  Plus the Champions Challenge (AP McCoy, John Francome and Sam Twiston-Davies) at the Barbury Castle International Horse Trials on Saturday 05 July.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

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


Fontwell Park:

Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs] (8 ran).

McVicar (Alan King/Paddy Brennan) finished 7th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 2 furlongs] (9 ran); the originally booked jockey Aidan Coleman was absent today.



Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished a close 3rd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs] (14 ran); everyone seemed to be raving about AP’s amazing ride in this one (and the 20:35 too), so 3rd must have been a good result!

Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 8th in the Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race (15 ran).

Jeans Lady (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 8th in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (9 ran).

The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs] (10 ran).

There’s definitely a bit of eighthitis going on today!


OMG, at the ripe old age of 40, AP McCoy has just clocked up his fastest ever 50 winners!  So that’s 50 winners since 01 May.   


The 39 jockeys caught up in the Grand National start fiasco will learn tomorrow if they will receive a penalty as a result.  More


There’s no National Hunt racing in the UK tomorrow.


I’ve been back to see my doctor today and, evidently, I have osteoarthritis in my neck also known as cervical spondylosis ... in order words, degeneration due to age.  Also my upper spine is slightly misaligned!  But, fortunately, there are no signs of any osteoporosis-type fractures but I am going to receive an appointment to go for a DEXA scan which will confirm whether my bone density is okay; mum has osteoporosis, so I am classed as being at risk.  


The doctor suggested I should go swimming ... I can’t swim ... so she then suggested I go walking in the swimming pool instead!  And lie down on the floor every now and then; that’s just so long as my work colleagues don’t trip over me. LOL.  I would actually sleep on the floor if it wasn’t for the fact I’m scared that a spider might crawl over me!  Not that a bed is always a deterrent for these creepy-crawlies!  There seem to be lots of spiders venturing indoors at the moment, presumably through open windows.  There were two in the house today; the one in the bath survived but the one on the ceiling in the front room did not and was mangled in the Dyson! 


“If you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive.”


I’m hoping that my neck ache will ease off once I’ve finished slaving over a hot laptop to write my diaries.  Not long now ... everything would be so much easier if I was ten years younger ... no, make that twenty years younger!!!

Monday 09 June 2014

There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:


Fontwell Park:

14:10 Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]

15:40 McVicar (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 2 furlongs]



18:05 Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs]

19:05 Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race; and, yes, she is a full sister to Typhon De Guye

20:05 Jeans Lady (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle

21:05 The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]


Here is a very cute photo of William and Choc having afternoon tea on Sunday:



The prognosis appears to be good for Cirrus Des Aigles who suffered a lameness problem following Saturday’s Coronation Cup.  More


And good news regarding Daryl Jacob too; he’s riding out again, although he doesn’t know quite when he’ll be back on a racecourse.  More

I’ve uploaded two further Cheltenham diaries over the weekend; Day 2 and Day 3 

Saturday 07 June 2014

Four runners of interest at Worcester this afternoon and this is how they fared; Aidan Coleman took a heavy fall with Kauto Relko earlier in the afternoon and had to give up his remaining mounts, Jamie Moore picking up the rides aboard the Alan King runners in his place:

Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 7th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Simply A Legend (Alan King/Jamie Moore) finished 7th and My Lad Percy (Martin Keighley/Tom O’Brien) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs] (13 ran).

Roberto Pegasus (Alan King/Jamie Moore) won the Maiden Hurdle Div I by 13 lengths (10 ran).


The Epsom Derby was won by the favourite Australia.  More


One punter pocketed £440,000 when Australia won, having struck a series of double and treble bets linked to Cheltenham Festival winners Vautour and Faugheen.  More


Popular French racehorse Cirrus Des Aigles is being monitored by vets having finished slightly lame following victory in the Coronation Cup.  More


Having tweeted from Marbella in Malaga Spain earlier in the week, Choc appears to be back in the UK ... and why doesn’t this photo surprise me? https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/475283757436796928/photo/1


The sole UK National Hunt fixture tomorrow is at Perth, so no runners of interest.

I now have lots of proof reading to do tomorrow ... Cheltenham Day 2, Day 3 and Part I of Day 4 too. 

Friday 06 June 2014

It’s been very quiet for the past couple of days but I have received a twitter reply from Choc regarding his recovery.  He confirmed that his injury is coming along fine, although he’s not 100% sure of a return date.  But he did say it won’t be long before he’s back in action J


Four runners of interest tomorrow, at Worcester:

15:00 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

16:35 Simply A Legend (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) & My Lad Percy (Martin Keighley/Tom O’Brien) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]

17:45 Roberto Pegasus (Alan King/Aidan Coleman) – Maiden Hurdle Div I


Taghrooda won today’s Oaks; the first Group One and Classic victory for an offspring of sire Sea The Stars.  More


I’ve no outings planned for this weekend, so that means further opportunity to work on my Cheltenham diaries.  I have actually completed Day 2 apart from the proofing, and I’m very close to completing Day 3 too!  If everything goes to plan, all my outstanding diaries will be completed by the end of next weekend ... if not sooner!

Tuesday 03 June 2014

One runner of interest this evening, at Southwell:

First time blinkered Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase, having made a couple of bad errors (11 ran). 


Martin writes in today’s blog that Scooby will probably be retired if he runs badly today ... so I guess that’s it, and a new career as a riding horse beckons; his trainer says he’s a favourite in the yard and a lovely ride.

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


Monday 02 June 2014

One runner of interest tomorrow, at Southwell:

18:10 Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase




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