Wednesday 31 March 2010
At Hereford, Cracboumwiz won the Novices’ Chase with Christian Williams aboard. However, there were only 3 competitors, and the one most likely to give him a race (Classic Dream) severed a tendon and had to be put down. L
The Racing Forum has a ‘memorial’ thread, where you can find out about the fate of injured horses:
Martin Keighley had a couple of runners at Hereford too, both ridden by Warren Marston:
Mistress To No One finished a distant last of 8 that completed in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).
Brimham Boy finished a distant last of 3 that completed in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (4 ran).
No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow, Wincanton having been abandoned due to water-logging. But Thursday is a schooling day at Alan King’s yard so, presumably, he will be occupied.
Tomorrow evening Choc and Meally have been invited to attend ‘The Jesters’, which is the jockeys’ version of the annual ‘Lesters’ awards. Evidently there will be awards for the Best Looking Jockey in the Weighing Room (I know who would win a ‘Cutest Jockey in the Weighing Room’ award if there was one); Drunken Performance of the Year; and Most Tears in the Weighing Room. They should have a ‘Best Fan Website’ award ... so Choc could win that one!!! (I’m being very modest NOT). The event is held at a pub in Lambourn (possibly The Wheelwright Arms) and, as there is no racing on Good Friday, a good time can be had by all without worrying too much about hangovers ... although there might be some sore heads at the Lambourn Open Day!
Tuesday 30 March 2010
Choc was at Market Rasen this afternoon, and this is how he fared:
Gold Reef was pulled up in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran). Alan’s other runner, Ellen Tilley, completed in 3rd under Wayne Hutchinson.
Raduis Bleu finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (4 ran).
Today’s Newcastle fixture was abandoned due to water-logging; and tomorrow’s meeting at Exeter has also been lost for the same reason.
Choc has no riding engagements tomorrow. However, Alan King runs the ‘infamous’ Cracboumwiz in the Novices’ Chase at Hereford (15:40). Christian Williams takes the ride.
Martin Keighley has a couple of runners at Hereford too, both to be ridden by Warren Marston:
15:10 Mistress To No One – Handicap Hurdle
16:10 Brimham Boy – Novices’ Handicap Chase
Monday 29 March 2010
Choc was at Towcester this afternoon, and this is how he fared:
Mokum was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase.
Little George was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran). Martin Keighley’s Mauricetheathlete finished 6th in this race.
Tomorrow Choc will be at Market Rasen, where he has 2 riding engagements:
14:10 Gold Reef – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Alan King). Alan also runs Ellen Tilley in this race, with Wayne Hutchinson aboard.
15:40 Raduis Bleu – Handicap Chase (Alan King).
This evening, I’m going to write more of my Newbury diary – it currently contains over 3000 words, and I’ve not even started to describe any of the 7 races! And, of course, I still have 3 Cheltenham diaries to complete! My current timetable is to finish and upload my Newbury diary by Thursday evening latest; on Friday I hope to attend the Lambourn Open Day (weather permitting, although it would have to be pretty dire for me to cancel my plans); then Saturday through Monday I hope to complete and upload 2 more Cheltenham diaries. That, of course, still leaves me with one diary outstanding and my trip to Aintree imminent - Friday and Saturday again this year – so I’ll then have 2 additional diaries to write when I return! Busy, busy, busy ... but never a chore!!!
Sunday 28 March 2010
Flaming Charlie was a non-runner at Wincanton today, so Choc had no riding engagements.
Tomorrow Choc will be at Towcester, where he has 2 rides booked:
15:30 Mokum – Handicap Chase (AW Carroll)
16:00 Little George – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King). Martin Keighley runs Mauricetheathlete in this race, ridden by Rhys Flint.
Saturday 27 March 2010
I’ve had a nightmare with my laptop since I logged on this evening ... but the gremlins finally seem to have sorted themselves out – hooray!
As hoped for, I met up with Choc at Newbury to walk the course today ... a mere 1 mile 6 furlongs I believe ... never a chore in such pleasant company! He’s such a well mannered and nice guy and, of course, extremely cute! Choc’s valet, Phil, who accompanied us on the walk, took the photo below ... and it’s my favourite piccie so far.
And Choc showed me a photo of the lip injury he sustained at Newbury back in December ... before it was stitched up ... very gory. The doctors did a very good repair job.
Choc’s favourite horse to ride at the moment is Medermit, and he assures me Katchit is going to be fine.
Not the most successful of workdays for Choc ... as this is how he fared:
Over Sixty unseated Choc at the second last in the EBF Mares’ Novices’ Chase Final. ‘Unseated’ is very harsh, as there was no way Choc could have stayed on board (8 ran). Martin Keighley’s Wychwoods Legend finished 5th.
Asturienne was pulled up before 2 out in the EBF Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle Final (18 ran).
Mam Ratagan was pulled up before 3 out in the Handicap Chase (5 ran).
Easter Meteor finished 3rd in the Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race (11 ran). My friend Lesley put her money on Choc each way in this one ... so made a reasonable profit, as the horse was a 16-1 shot!
Meanwhile at Bangor, Wayne Hutchinson had a more successful day:
Mister Stickler won the NH Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran). This was the 800th career winner for trainer Alan King!
Thetwincamdrift finished last in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).
Wayne rode a double, as he also won the Bumper for trainer Miss C Dyson.
Tomorrow Choc will be at Wincanton, for just one ride:
16:00 Flaming Charlie – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)
Friday 26 March 2010
Today Choc was at Newbury, and this is how he fared:
Grand Award finished 6th in the Maiden Hurdle (9 ran)
Nom De Guerre was a non-runner in the Novices’ Handicap Chase
Sumbulando finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran)
Choc will be at Newbury again tomorrow, where he has 4 riding engagements:
13:45 Over Sixty – EBF Mares’ Novices’ Chase Final (Handicap) (Listed) (Alan King)
14:15 Asturienne – EBF Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle Final (Limited Handicap) (Listed) (Alan King)
15:50 Mam Ratagan – Handicap Chase (Mrs HS Main) ... Choc rode this horse at Worcester the day I won my auction prize!
16:25 Easter Meteor – Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race (Emma Lavelle)
Martin Keighley runs Wychwoods Legend in the Mares’ Novices’ Chase Final at 13:45.
Meanwhile at Bangor, Alan King has a couple of runners, to be ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.
14:40 Mister Stickler – NH Novices’ Hurdle
16:20 Thetwincamdrift – Handicap Hurdle
Alan King’s website has been updated to include his reflections on the Cheltenham Festival. He reports that Katchit was diagnosed with a fractured hind pastern (that’s the bone above the hoof and below the fetlock) having returned lame following the World Hurdle. He’s currently being ‘box rested’, with his leg supported, and will be x-rayed in a couple of weeks’ time. Poor Katchit. L
I’m hoping for an early night tonight, as I need to make an early start tomorrow to collect my friend Lesley from Bedfordshire en route to Newbury races to arrive by gate opening time (11:00) ... as we don’t want to keep Choc waiting!
Thursday 25 March 2010
Chepstow passed an early morning inspection, and this is how Choc fared at the fixture:
Simply Wings finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (7 ran)
Meanwhile at Ludlow, Martin Keighley’s Deep Reflection finished 9th of 13 in the Handicap Hurdle.
Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at the first day of the Newbury fixture:
13:50 Grand Award – Maiden Hurdle (Don Cantillon)
15:30 Nom De Guerre – Novices’ Handicap Chase (Ben De Haan)
17:15 Sumbulando – Handicap Hurdle (Tom George)
I’ve completed and uploaded my diary for Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival:
So that’s one down ... three to go!!!
And, keeping fingers crossed that current arrangements aren’t thwarted by something unforeseen, my friend Lesley and I will be going to Newbury on Saturday to walk the course before racing with the lovely Choc!
Wednesday 24 March 2010
Choc was at Hereford this afternoon, and this is how he fared:
Prince Broc was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran)
Choc took a tumble when No Tears fell during the Novices’ Hurdle. Fortunately both horse and jockey were fine. (6 ran)
Overlaw finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase. However, Martin Keighley’s charge Brimham Boy, won, giving Martin his 24th winner of the season. (8 ran)
Meanwhile at Haydock Park, Starburst Diamond was a non-runner; but High Benefit, with Wayne Hutchinson aboard, won the NH Flat Race.
Heezagrey was a non-runner at Warwick, having bruised a foot.
Tomorrow Choc will be at Chepstow, where he has one ride:
16:35 Simply Wings – Handicap Hurdle (Richard Lee)
(However, there will be a precautionary inspection at 07:00 in the morning, due to further rain being forecast)
Martin Keighley has one runner at Ludlow:
15:00 Deep Reflection – Handicap Hurdle, ridden by Ian Popham
Tuesday 23 March 2010
Choc rode at Kempton Park this afternoon and was successful on his only mount:
Ravethebrave won the Novices’ Hurdle, giving Choc his 61st winner of the season (9 ran). J
Martin Keighley’s Palmers Peak finished 5th of 7 in the Hunters’ Chase.
Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at Hereford:
15:05 Prince Broc – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)
16:15 No Tears – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)
16:50 Overlaw – Handicap Chase (Tom George). Martin Keighley runs Brimham Boy in this race, ridden by Warren Marston.
Meanwhile, at Haydock Park, Alan King runs Starburst Diamond in the 14:10 (Handicap Chase) and High Benefit in the 17:30 (NH Flat Race).
Martin Keighley also has a runner at Warwick – Heezagrey ridden by Aidan Coleman – in the Handicap Chase at 16:05.
Monday 22 March 2010
Choc will be at Kempton Park tomorrow, where he has 1 ride:
15:05 Ravethebrave - Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)
Martin Keighley also has a runner at the fixture, in the Hunters’ Chase:
17:20 Palmers Peak – to be ridden by Cheltenham winning jockey Mr Sam Twiston-Davies
Work on all 4 of my Cheltenham diaries has commenced ... but it’s going to be a long old job to complete them!!!
Knowing that Choc had been interviewed on Racing UK, both on Day 1 and Day 2 of the Festival, I checked my tapes last evening and am pleased to report I’ve recorded him. J
Sunday 21 March 2010
Choc was at Fontwell Park this afternoon, where he had one ride:
Kauto The Roc finished 5th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).
No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow.
Spring officially started yesterday. J My favourite season.
And I’ve added photos to my website for all 4 days of the Cheltenham Festival:
Saturday 20 March 2010
Sorry that I didn’t get around to writing a blog entry yesterday evening, but it was almost 22:00 when I arrived home and I was absolutely drained. The journey home was a bit of a nightmare, it rained all the way ... and I’m beginning to think that my ‘night’ vision, when the conditions are wet, isn’t brilliant. And it doesn’t help when lorries travelling in the opposite direction (mainly on the A40 over the Cotswolds) spray the windscreen so that I’m ‘blinded’ for a second or two.
One thing I have learnt during the past 4 days, is that the roads in Buckinghamshire are in almost a bad a state of repair as those in Hertfordshire (and my county’s roads must be the worst maintained in the whole of England – evidently we have more than twice the National average of HGV traffic flow on our roads).
I watched the Morning Line on Channel 4 this morning, and they said the weather had been nice at Cheltenham this week ... they must have been to a different meeting to the one which I attended! Yesterday’s weather was foul from the second race onwards. And Thursday’s card ended in the rain too. Okay, so it was sunny on Tuesday, but there was a brisk breeze on that day and on Wednesday too.
Sadly it’s not been a good Cheltenham for Choc, with no winners for the second year running. L In fact he only made it into the Winners’ Enclosure on one occasion – with a second place aboard Somersby in the Arkle. LL Last year was better in fact, as he rode a number of placed horses, although he did take a painful fall from Big Zeb in the Champion Chase on that occasion. I think it’s going to be a season he wishes to forget, as everything seems to be conspiring against him, with Alan King’s horses being under the weather for much of the autumn, and the injuries he’s suffered too.
Choc’s fall apart, I think I enjoyed last year’s Festival more. I felt a little lonely this year, as I had no company on any of the days. Hopefully I’ll be able to persuade my friend Lesley to come along next year.
Anyway, the ‘Choc results’ for yesterday were as follows:
Gilded Age finished 6th in the JCB Triumph Hurdle (17 ran). The race was won by Soldatino, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty, with Barizan a very gallant 2nd.
Puyol finished 20th in the County Hurdle (28 ran).
The Betchworth Kid was pulled up in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (19 ran). The horse was reported to have lost both hind shoes, and also sustained a cut.
Tartak finished 5th in the Grand Annual Chase (19 ran).
Martin Keighley’s Love of Tara finished 18th in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, with the Alan King trained runners, Balzaccio and Saticon, finishing 16th and 9th respectively (24 ran).
The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Imperial Commander triumphed in the Gold Cup, with Denman a gallant 2nd. Kauto Star, having blundered early in the race, took a crashing fall at the fourth last fence. Fortunately both horse and jockey were fine and live to fight another day.
Yesterday’s winning jockeys were – Barry Geraghty, Katie Walsh (yes, again), Andrew Lynch, Paddy Brennan x 2, Sam Twiston-Davies, and Johnny Farrelly.
Winning trainers were – Nigel Twiston-Davies x 3, Nicky Henderson, Willie Mullins, P J Gilligan, and Emma Lavelle.
The leading Festival jockey prize was awarded to Ruby Walsh, who rode 3 winners and had better placed horses than the runner up, Barry Geraghty. The leading Festival trainer was Nicky Henderson with 3 winners.
Alan King trained a winner and a second at Fakenham yesterday – Bormo and Penn Da Benn – both ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.
Today, Choc had 3 rides at Uttoxeter (all for Alan King), and this is how he fared:
Peter Grimes was pulled up before 2 out in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).
Junior finished 3rd in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (11 ran).
Raya Star won the Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II, giving Choc his 60th winner of the season (10 ran).
Two of Choc’s intended rides, Prince Broc and Halcon Genelardais were non-runners, the latter having knocked a joint.
Tocatchaprince finished 7th in Div I of the NH Flat Race, ridden by Gerard Tumelty (10 ran).
The Jonjo O’Neill trained, JP McManus owned, AP McCoy ridden Synchronised won the gruelling 4 miles 1½ furlongs Midlands Grand National. Only 3 of the 17 runners completed the course, Ballydub fell, the remaining runners were pulled up.
Meanwhile, Wayne Hutchinson rode at Ffos Las:
Pagano finished 6th of 7 in the Handicap Hurdle
Wind Instrument last of 5 in the Handicap Chase
Lucky Mix 6th of 7 in the Standard Open NH Flat Race
Nicky Henderson has achieved his highest number of winners in a season (116 and counting), when National Trust won at Ffos Las this afternoon. That’s despite earlier being banned from running horses for three months due to the Moonlit Path doping incident. Barry Geraghty rode a treble at Ffos Las this afternoon (2 for Rebecca Curtis and the aforementioned National Trust).
A sad note from yesterday is that mare Fairyland (trained by Nicky Henderson) had to be put down after breaking a leg when falling during the Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle race. Izita Star also lost her life after falling during the County Hurdle, having been attended to for over an hour in the hope of a recovery. Two Irish raiders lost their lives earlier in the week, Casey Jones having been brought down during the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase, and Citizen Vic who took a fatal fall during the RSA Chase. RIP.
Tomorrow Choc will be at Fontwell Park, where he has just one ride:
14:10 Kauto The Roc – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)
I woke before 07:00 this morning but was flagging before midday. I should have stayed in bed. However, I did have a snooze this afternoon (and I can sleep any time anywhere), and am feeling less tired this evening. Time to start my Cheltenham diary drafts then ...
Thursday 18 March 2010
Another long day. I left home at 06:30 this morning, arriving at Cheltenham racecourse at 09:00. However, I was gainfully employed until gate opening time, as I walked down to the town to buy a map of Cheltenham, and also to drop by to say hello to the girls at my employer’s branch in Pittville Street. The queues had cleared by the time I’d walked back to the turnstiles, and I was in time to see Choc return to the Weighing Room following his daily course-walk too! I left the track in good time, just before the ladies’ charity race, and arrived home at 20:20.
It was another cold day – overcast and breezy for the most part, with rain late afternoon and evening.
Still no victories for Choc at this year’s Festival. L Anyway, this is how he fared today:
Trenchant finished 16th in the Pertemps Final. Alan’s other runner, Chamirey, finished 3rd (24 ran). I hope Trenchant was okay as the horse seemed a little ‘distressed’ after the race, Choc having dismounted to lead him back down the course-side track.
Voy Por Ustedes finished 5th in the Ryanair Chase (13 ran). The race was won by the Jonjo O’Neill trained Albertas Run, ridden by AP McCoy, who had needed stitches in a facial injury following a first race fall.
Katchit finished 11th in the World Hurdle (14 ran), and it was reported that the horse was found to be lame after the race. Alan’s other runner, Karabak, finished 4th. The race was won, not unexpectedly, by Big Buck’s.
Tarotino was pulled up in the Byrne Group Plate (24 ran).
Alan King’s runner in the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase, Awesome George, was pulled up.
Today’s winning jockeys were Richard Johnson, Hadden Frost, AP McCoy, Ruby Walsh, Danny Cook, and Mr R O Harding
And the winning trainers – Philip Hobbs, David Pipe x 2, Jonjo O’Neill, Paul Nicholls, and Donald McCain Jnr.
Cheltenham Festival Day 4, and Choc has 4 rides:
13:05 Gilded Age – JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (Alan King)
14:05 Puyol – County Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (Mrs JE Mulhern)
14:40 The Betchworth Kid – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (Alan King)
17:15 Tartak – Grand Annual Chase (Handicap) (Grade 3) (Class 1) (Tom George)
Martin Keighley runs Love of Tara in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at 16:40, ridden by T Molloy. Alan King runs Balzaccio (Charlie Huxley) and Saticon (Gerard Tumelty) in this race.
And I’m looking forward to a lie-in on Saturday ... as all this travelling is very tiring. Never mind, 600 miles down, 200 to go!!!
Wednesday 17 March 2010
Another long day ... I left home at 06:45 this morning, and arrived back at 20:45! It was cold too, so I’m going to wrap up even warmer tomorrow.
Choc drew a blank again today and, unfortunately, none of his mounts were placed. Each day before racing, interviews take place in the Winners’ Enclosure with the day’s ‘leading contenders’ and it was Choc’s turn to be one of the interviewees today, so that was my special treat!
Anyway, this is how Choc fared:
Manyriverstocross finished 7th in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (17 ran). However, he did remarkably well considering Choc was almost unseated when Ruby’s mount, Quel Esprit, fell in front of him at the 2nd flight.
Twist Magic was pulled up in the Queen Mother Champion Chase (9 ran). Choc reported that he was never going today.
The race was won by Irish Challenger Big Zeb who, of course, fell in the race last year when ridden by Choc. Master Minded was a disappointing 4th. Alan King’s runner, Oh Crick, finished in 5th.
Sir Harry Ormesher finished 7th in the Coral Cup (28 ran). Alan King’s other 2 runners Silk Hall and Lake Legend finished 25th and 26th respectively.
Causeway King finished 18th in the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (24 ran).
Drumbaloo finished 23rd in the Champion Bumper (24 ran). Unusually there was an English trained winner of this race – Cue Card trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by Joe Tizzard.
A winner at last year’s Festival, Weapon’s Amnesty won the RSA Chase this year. The fancied Long Run finished 3rd and Punchestowns 5th.
Ruby Walsh became the Festival’s winning-most jockey when recording his 26th victory aboard Sanctuaire in the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle.
In the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup, Martin Keighley’s Any Currency ran well to finish 4th, Alan King’s Pennek finished 11th (18 ran). There were 2 lady riders in the race, Katie Walsh (sister of Ruby) and Nina Carberry and they fought out the finish, with Katie prevailing.
Martin’s other runner of the day, De Forgotten Man, finished 16th in the Champion Bumper.
Today’s winning jockeys were Katie Walsh, Jason Maguire, Davy Russell, Barry Geraghty x 2, Ruby Walsh and Joe Tizzard.
And the winning trainers – Ferdy Murphy, Donald McCain Jnr, C Byrnes, Colm Murphy, Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, and Colin Tizzard
Alan King trained a winner at Huntingdon today – Shilpa winning the Maiden Hurdle race under Gerard Tumelty.
Cheltenham Festival Day 3, and Choc has 4 rides:
14:05 Trenchant – Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Listed) (Class 1) (Alan King). Alan also runs Chamirey, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.
14:40 Voy Por Ustedes – Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (Alan King)
15:20 Katchit – World Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (Alan King). Alan also runs Karabak, ridden by AP McCoy.
16:00 Tarotino – Byrne Group Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) (Class 1) (Alan King)
Alan King also runs Awesome George in the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed) (Class 1) at 13:30, ridden by usual pilot Charlie Huxley.
Tuesday 16 March 2010
It’s been a long day ... I got up at 05:00; left home at 07:00; arrived at Cheltenham at 09:40; exited the car park at 18:05 (as always there were long queues and it took 25 minutes to leave the town behind me) and arrived home at 20:50!
I was hoping it would be a lucky day for Choc, especially as I saw two magpies near the start of my journey this morning ... but unfortunately he’s still waiting for that next elusive Festival winner. But at least he survived a nasty tumble to continue riding throughout the day.
Anyway, this is how Choc fared:
Somersby finished 2nd (beaten ¾ of a length) in the Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase (12 ran). He was running on at the finish and, presumably, will be better over 2½ miles. The race was won by Sizing Europe, Captain Cee Bee could only manage 8th.
Bensalem fell at the notorious 2nd last fence in the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase (24 ran). He was travelling well at the time, so who knows what the outcome would have been had he completed a clear round. Nenuphar Collonges completed in 8th. The winner was Chief Dan George at 33-1!
Medermit finished 7th in the Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (12 ran). Binocular won (under AP McCoy), with Khyber Kim in 2nd and Zaynar 3rd.
Pepite De Soleil completed in 12th in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle (17 ran).
Other stories of the day – Menorah won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson. The Irish hope, Dunguib, could only finish 3rd.
An Enda Bolger horse didn’t win the Cross Country event, but another Irish raider did – A New Story trained by Michael Hourigan. I think it was mentioned that the horse hadn’t won a race for 5 years prior to this victory!
Ruby Walsh won the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle aboard Quevega, giving him 25 Festival winners, which equals the record held by Pat Taaffe (famous for piloting Arkle).
Today’s winning jockeys were Richard Johnson, Andrew Lynch, Paddy Aspell, AP McCoy, AP Heskin, and Ruby Walsh (I’ll update my Cheltenham winners webpage at the end of the week)
And the winning trainers – Philip Hobbs, Henry De Bromhead, James Moffatt, Nicky Henderson, Michael Hourigan, and Willie Mullins.
Cheltenham Festival Day 2, and Choc has 5 rides:
14:05 Manyriverstocross – Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (Alan King)
15:20 Twist Magic – Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (Paul Nicholls). Alan King has a runner in this race too, Oh Crick to be ridden by Wayne Hutchinson
16:00 Sir Harry Ormesher - Coral Cup (Handicap) (Grade 3) (Class 1) (Alan King). Alan also runs Lake Legend to be ridden by Wayne Hutchinson
16:40 Causeway King – Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (Alan King)
17:15 Drumbaloo - Champion Bumper (Grade 1) (Class 1) (Jimmy Lambe)
Both Alan King and Martin Keighley have a runner in the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase) – namely Pennek (Mr Joshua Moore) and Any Currency (Mr Derek O’Connor).
Martin also has a runner in the Champion Bumper – De Forgotten Man ridden by Warren Marston.
Monday 15 March 2010
Choc rode at Taunton today, and this is how he fared:
Perception finished 4th in the Fillies’ Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran)
Topflight Wildbird finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (11 ran)
Saltagioo finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran)
Meanwhile, at Stratford, Wayne Hutchison rode a couple of horses for Alan King:
Sadler’s Star won the Selling Hurdle (11 ran)
Yukon Quest finished 3rd in the Maiden NH Open Flat Race (14 ran)
The Cheltenham Festival starts tomorrow, and Choc has 4 rides on Day 1:
14:05 Somersby – Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (Henrietta Knight)
14:40 Bensalem – William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) (Alan King). Wayne Hutchinson rides Alan’s other runner in this race, Nenuphar Collonges.
15:20 Medermit – Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (Class 1) (Alan King)
16:40 Pepite De Soleil – David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (Class 1) (Paul Nicholls)
I notice the ‘home’ team has 5 entries in tomorrow’s Cross Country event; this includes 3 trained by Philip Hobbs – Monkerhostin, Lacdoudal and Oceanos Des Obeaux. Paul Nicholls runs Cornish Sett, and Bob Buckler runs Double Dizzy. Needless to say, Enda Bolger holds the whip-hand with 4 runners.
The feeling of ‘anticipation’ started today ... yes I know it’s late ... but I’m now beginning to get excited and am looking forward to my second ‘live’ Festival.
That just leaves me to wish Choc all the luck in the world for the coming 4 days and, of course, I also hope he comes back safe and sound after all his rides.
Sunday 14 March 2010
Choc rode at Warwick this afternoon and this is how he fared:
Double Pride finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran)
Ballamusic finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran)
The most encouraging result of the day was Trigger The Light’s 2nd place in the feature Handicap Chase under Christian Williams (9 ran).
Not a good day for Martin Keighley’s runners at Towcester:
Mr Newton fell in the Handicap Chase
Dhu Loch finished a distant 7th of 13 in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
The Fox’s Decree was pulled up in the Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle
Tomorrow Choc will be at Taunton, where he has 3 riding engagements for Alan King:
14:20 Perception – Fillies’ Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle
15:50 Topflight Wildbird – Handicap Chase
17:20 Saltagioo – Handicap Hurdle
Meanwhile, Wayne Hutchison rides 2 horses for Alan King at Stratford:
15:10 Sadler’s Star – Selling Hurdle
17:10 Yukon Quest – Maiden NH Open Flat Race
Both Solwhit and Binocular have been declared to run in the Champion Hurdle, despite recent health scares.
But leading fancy Weird Al has suffered a stress fracture to a leg and won’t be at Cheltenham to compete in the RSA Chase.
I notice that the Racing Post website has been running a poll asking ‘Are televised in-the-saddle interviews a good thing?’ The vote appears to suggest that only around 1 in 4 people think they are! Looks like Choc has been vindicated for his stand against this.
I watched Countryfile and they gave the long range weather forecast for the coming week: Tuesday will be fine, Wednesday might be slightly damp with drizzle, but Thursday and Friday could be heavy rain ... that will be nice! NOT. So I will need to take a big umbrella and perhaps even my red Hunter Wellingtons to Cheltenham later in the week ...
Good news though, I’ve been completed my Sandown Park diary and have uploaded it too.
I’m going to do a bit of ironing now ... as I probably won’t have time tomorrow as I’m working.
Saturday 13 March 2010
It was cold but fine, so I decided to go to Sandown Park. Although the downside is that it puts a bit of pressure on me to get my diary drafted before Cheltenham starts on Tuesday. Yes ... you’ve guessed it ... I’m going to be there every day! It is expensive (I traded in my Premium Bonds to pay for the tickets), and tiring as I will be driving 200 miles each day, but I have to be there. J Besides, surely it must be Choc’s turn to ride another Festival winner, and I wouldn’t want to miss that.
Anyway, this is how Choc fared today:
Stoney’s Treasure finished 5th in the NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final (18 ran). Alan’s other runner, Swansbrook, was last of the finishers in 14th.
Russie with Love finished 11th in the Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race Final (12 ran)
Nikos Extra finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (12 ran). Following a stewards’ enquiry, the first and second in this race were reversed – Soulard being declared the winner. Busy Isit, who won last year’s race under Choc (an incredible victory considering the jumping errors) was the relegated to second place.
Stolen Moments ridden by Wayne Hutchinson was pulled up in the Handicap Chase.
The feature race of the day, The Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle, was won by AP McCoy aboard the JP McManus owned, Philip Hobbs trained Qaspal. Philip also trained the runner-up Oldrik. JP and Philip’s wife, Sarah, stood in the ‘ordinary’ grandstand to view the race, as they were no more than 3 metres from me!
Ruby rode a treble today, and AP a double.
Meanwhile at Chepstow, Christian Williams rode a couple of Alan King’s horses:
Prideus was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (7 ran)
Forzy Origny finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran)
Martin Keighley’s Heezagrey finished 6th of 14 in the Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Chase
Tomorrow, Choc is due to ride at Warwick:
14:30 Double Pride – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)
16:00 Ballamusic – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)
Christian Williams rides Trigger The Light for Alan King in the Handicap Chase at 16:30.
Martin Keighley has 3 runners at Towcester:
14:20 Mr Newton ridden by Jimmy Derham in the Handicap Chase
14:50 Dhu Loch ridden by Warren Marston in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
16:20 The Fox’s Decree ridden by Jimmy Derham in the Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle
I’ve been busy since I arrived home, and have already uploaded a number of photos taken at Sandown today:
Tomorrow, apart from writing my diary, I’ll need to put together my outfits for Cheltenham. Everything has to be close at hand, as I want to leave home at 07:00 each day to drive to the course, as I hate being stuck in traffic jams. It takes ages for the traffic to clear after racing too, so I probably won’t get home until around 21:00 each day.
Friday 12 March 2010
Choc was at Wincanton this afternoon, and this is how he fared:
Call At Midnight finished 6th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran)
Ballamusic was withdrawn from the Handicap Hurdle
Mister Chancer finished 3rd in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (16 ran)
Meanwhile at Sandown Park Alan King had 3 runners:
Kings Troop finished 8th in the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (9 ran)
Rustarix unseated his rider in the Grand Military Gold Cup Chase (Amateurs) (12 ran)
Prince Du Seuil finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran)
Tomorrow Choc will be at Sandown Park, where he has 3 riding engagements:
14:00 Stoney’s Treasure – NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final (Alan King). Alan also runs Swansbrook in this race, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.
15:40 Russie with Love – Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race Final (S Pike)
16:50 Nikos Extra – Handicap Chase (Alan King)
Alan also runs Stolen Moments in the Handicap Chase at 14:30, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.
Meanwhile at Chepstow, Alan King has 2 runners, both to be ridden by Christian Williams:
16:05 Prideus – Handicap Chase
16:40 Forzy Origny- Handicap Hurdle
Martin Keighley has a runner in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase at 17:15 – Heezagrey ridden by Jimmy Derham.
I’m undecided as to whether I’m going to Sandown tomorrow ... I guess it might depend on who takes part in the envisaged money raising event due to take place before racing. It was a Parade Ring Spacehopper race last year, in which Choc took part. Gates don’t open until 12:00 noon, so I’ll tune into Channel 4 Racing at 08:00 to see if they mention this year’s stunt. A little birdie told me that he’s due to school a horse tomorrow morning, and will then have to sweat down to 10 stone 2 lbs for his ride aboard bottom weight Stoney’s Treasure in the first race of the day ... so I guess it might be all business and no pleasure tomorrow!!!
Thursday 11 March 2010
Choc was at Wincanton this afternoon, and this is how he fared:
Blazing Bailey finished 3rd in the Novices’ Chase (5 ran)
Tomorrow Choc returns to Wincanton, where he has 3 riding engagements:
14:00 Call At Midnight – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)
14:35 Ballamusic – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)
17:30 Mister Chancer – Maiden Open NH Flat Race (Alan King)
Meanwhile at Sandown Park it is Grand Military Gold Cup Day, and Alan King has a number of runners in both the amateur and professional races:
14:20 Kings Troop – Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (Miss L Gardner)
15:30 Rustarix – Grand Military Gold Cup Chase (Amateurs) (Mr P Harris)
16:05 Prince Du Seuil – Handicap Hurdle (Wayne Hutchinson)
Poor Sam Thomas suffered an injury following a fall on the Paul Nicholls gallops this morning, and will miss the Festival. Follow this link for more details:
News that Choc won’t be participating in any ‘instant’ TV interviews should he win a race at next week’s Festival. But, as he’s said in the past, it’s the owners who pay the bills and should be the first to speak with their jockey. It’s the rules of etiquette which were drummed into him by David Nicholson at an early age. No doubt Choc will be willing once he’s debriefed the horse’s connections and had time to consider an informed reply.
Wednesday 10 March 2010
Choc was at Fontwell Park this afternoon, and this is how he fared:
Stormhoek finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran)
Like A Hurricane won the Maiden Hurdle, giving Choc his 59th winner of the season (13 ran)
Wayne Hutchinson’s mount in the 15:10 Handicap Chase, Ballingaddy, was pulled up.
Choc will be at Wincanton tomorrow, for just one ride, but it is aboard one of the Alan King stable ‘favourites’:
16:05 Blazing Bailey – Novices’ Chase
Trainer Richard Phillips’ blog (10 March 2010) has a report about the Adlestrop Club’s Cheltenham Festival Preview event which took place on Monday evening. Choc was one of the panellists, and there’s a photo too:
And, if you are wondering about the painted backdrop in the Adlestrop Village Hall, these links should explain all:
Tuesday 09 March 2010
Martin Keighley had a couple of runners at Exeter this afternoon:
Hareem finished 8th of 16 in the Handicap Hurdle.
According to the post-race comments, Pavanne ran on well to finish 3rd in the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle, ridden by Danny Hiskett (13 ran). He was a 25-1 shot.
I’ve just read Martin Keighley’s blog and, disappointingly, his appearance on this coming Sunday’s Countryfile has been ‘pulled’ as one of the producers believes the item will be too horseracing oriented ... why do programme makers seem to think that everything has to be ‘dumbed down’ in order to appeal to audiences?
Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at Fontwell Park:
14:10 Stormhoek – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)
14:40 Like A Hurricane – Maiden Hurdle (Alan King)
Alan also runs Ballingaddy in the 15:10 Handicap Chase, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.
Today Choc schooled the Paul Nicholls trained Twist Magic ahead of their trip to the Cheltenham Festival next week:
News that one of the top Irish hopes, Solwhit, is less than 50-50 to make it to Cheltenham for the Champion Hurdle, as he’s been coughing.
Monday 08 March 2010
Choc was at Stratford this afternoon. Not a good day, as he was unseated by one of his mounts, the horse’s momentum being seriously checked by a jumping error but, unfortunately, Choc’s momentum was not. It looked horrible as he was launched into the air, and somersaulted to a stop.L I hope he is okay.
Choc’s results today were as follows:
Rushwee finished 7th in the Maiden Hurdle Div I (12 ran)
General Ting was non-runner in the Maiden Hurdle Div II
Magnetic Pole unseated Choc at the third fence in the Handicap Chase (12 ran)
Fortunately Choc has no riding engagements tomorrow.
However, Martin Keighley has a couple of runners at Exeter:
15:00 Hareem – Handicap Hurdle, to be ridden by Jimmy Derham
17:00 Pavanne – Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle, to be ridden by Mr Danny Hiskett
Sunday 07 March 2010
No rides for Choc today, but Martin Keighley did have one runner at Huntingdon:
Mistress to No One finishing 4th of 10 in the Handicap Hurdle.
Tomorrow Choc has 3 riding engagements at Stratford Upon Avon (my favourite ‘small’ course):
14:00 Rushwee – Maiden Hurdle Div I (Lucy Wadham)
14:30 General Ting – Maiden Hurdle Div II (Lucy Wadham)
16:50 Magnetic Pole – Handicap Chase (Richard Lee)
Choc must have picked up the rides aboard Lucy Wadham’s horses due to Leighton Aspell being sidelined since a fall at Leicester last week in which he suffered a lacerated kidney. Leighton is expected to be ‘signed-off’ for 3 to 4 weeks.
Conditional jockey, Donal Devereux also faces a spell on the sidelines following yesterday’s fall at Doncaster in which he suffered a smashed cheekbone and jaw.
Looking forward to the Cheltenham Festival, I found this article from the Liverpool Echo:
As usual, Choc is in demand for Festival Preview evenings:
Yesterday evening he was advertised as attending a preview event, along with Carl Llewellyn, at The Shakespeare Inn at Welford Upon Avon, Warwickshire.
Tomorrow night Choc will take up his regular panellist spot at the event organised by the Adlestrop Club at their local Village Hall. Trainer Richard Phillips is based at Adlestrop.
Richard has also recently started writing a blog:
A week tomorrow, Monday 15 March, Choc will be a Festival Preview panellist at The Royal Oak in Prestbury – another regular appearance.
Saturday 06 March 2010
Choc was at Doncaster today, and this is how he fared:
Squadron finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).
Hurricane Milly struggled, finishing a distant 11th in the DBS Spring Bumper Standard Open NH Flat Race.
Management completed in 10th, but Shrewd Investment ran well to finish a close 5th in this race (13 ran). The winner was a 66-1 shot!
Junior won the Beginners’ Chase, giving Choc his 58th winner of the season (5 ran). J
The feature Handicap Chase was won by the Nicky Henderson trained Wogan, from Killyglen. Air Force One unseated early, and Grand National hope Possol jumped poorly and was pulled up before the 12th obstacle.
And this is how Alan King’s horses fared at Newbury:
Bormo finished 2nd in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (7 ran)
Bless The Wings finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (13 ran)
The Paul Nicholls trained Big Fella Thanks (ridden by Barry Geraghty) won the feature Handicap Chase, from stable companion Pasco (ridden by Ruby Walsh). At the moment, it seems that Barry has the edge over Ruby!!!
And Martin Keighley had 1 runner at Kempton Park:
Ross Leader finished 7th in the Handicap Chase (15 ran)
Love of Tara was a non-runner in the Novices’ Hurdle
Tomorrow there are meetings at Huntingdon and Sedgefield, and both meetings hold inspections at 08:00.
However, Choc has no riding engagements!
Evidently, hurdler Binocular will still compete in the Champion Hurdle, following a u-turn, but Sublimity is out following a leg injury. Meanwhile, veteran Monkerhostin, will compete in either the William Hill Trophy or take on the Enda Bolger trained runners in the Cross Country event!
Friday 05 March 2010
Choc was at Doncaster today, and this is how he fared:
Evening Sunset finished 7th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).
Sagalyrique finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (10 ran). Alan King’s other runner, Sovereign King, finished 7th.
Choc will be at Doncaster again tomorrow, where he has 3 riding engagements:
14:20 Squadron – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)
16:00 Hurricane Milly – DBS Spring Bumper Standard Open NH Flat Race (Alan King).
Alan also runs Management (ridden by Gerard Tumelty) and Shrewd Investment (ridden by Charlie Huxley) in this race. Lidar won this race last year.
16:35 Junior – Beginners’ Chase (Alan King)
Meanwhile at Newbury, Alan has 2 runners, to be ridden by Wayne Hutchinson:
16:55 Bormo – Novices’ Handicap Chase
17:30 Bless The Wings – Standard Open NH Flat Race
And Martin Keighley has 2 runners at Kempton Park:
14:15 Love of Tara – Novices’ Hurdle (ridden by Warren Marston)
14:50 Ross Leader – Handicap Chase (ridden by Ian Popham)
There are reports today that the Nicky Henderson trained RSA Chase hope, Punchestowns, has been suffering from intermittent lameness in his near fore.
After 3 Saturdays spent at the races, I’m looking forward to a weekend at home to get some chores done and to relax ... especially with the Cheltenham Festival on the horizon, which commences a week on Tuesday!
Thursday 04 March 2010
Choc rode at Taunton this afternoon, and he appears to have been suffering from ‘thirditis’!
Nulato finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran)
Whistlejacquet finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran)
Tomorrow Choc has 2 riding engagements at ‘Sunny Donny’ (aka Doncaster):
16:20 Evening Sunset – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (M G Quinlan)
16:55 Sagalyrique – Handicap Chase (Alan King). Alan also runs Sovereign King in this race, to be ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.
More Choc related Cheltenham news, this time regarding the Champion Bumper event:
Also news today that the Willie Mullins trained Mikael D'Haguenet won’t be appearing at the Cheltenham Festival, as the horse is stiff and sore following Sunday’s post racing schooling session held at Leopardstown (which was shown on At The Races).
And I spoke with Choc’s valet today, and the wheels are in motion to firm up plans for my second course walk with the lovely Robert ... as I haven’t yet claimed that part of my ‘auction prize’:
Wednesday 03 March 2010
Brrrrrrr ... today has been so chilly compared to the beautiful ‘Spring-like’ conditions of the past two days!
Choc was at Bangor on Dee today, where he had one ride:
Devil To Pay finished 2nd in the Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).
News of Alan King’s other runners:
The JP McManus owned Franchoek was a non-runner, and Way Back When finished 3rd in the Maiden NH Flat Race for Conditional/Amateur Jockeys under Mr Sam Waley-Cohen.
Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at Taunton:
14:50 Nulato – Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)
16:50 Whistlejacquet – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Alan King)
There’s news today that the Paul Nicholls trained Taranis is out of the Gold Cup due to a set-back, and £200,000 purchase Candy Creek, who is trained by Nicky Henderson, has been retired to stud! And yesterday there was news that the mare, Whiteoak, had been retired to stud following a series of niggling injuries.
Tuesday 02 March 2010
Just one ride for Choc at Leicester today ... but he won J.
Blazing Bailey won the Novices’ Chase, giving Choc his 57th winner of the season (4 ran). It’s nice to see the horse enjoying himself again, and doing well.
Martin Keighley’s Brimham Boy finished 2nd of 10 in the Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Tomorrow Choc will be at Bangor on Dee:
15:20 Devil To Pay – Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)
Alan King has a couple of other runners at the track:
14:50 Franchoek – Beginners’ Chase – AP McCoy being his pilot as the horse is owned by JP McManus
17:20 Way Back When – Maiden NH Flat Race Conditional/Amateur Jockeys – Mr Sam Waley-Cohen
News on Alan King’s website today regarding Mille Chief’s defection from this year’s Triumph Hurdle, and outlining possible goals for him later in the season.
And there are a number of ‘Choc’ related Festival items on the At The Races website today too:
Monday 01 March 2010
Choc rode at Hereford this afternoon, and this is how he fared:
Dona finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran)
Romulus D’Artaix finished 3rd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (16 ran)
Alan King ran Awesome George in the Novices’ Chase at 15:30, ridden by regular pilot Charlie Huxley, and he won.
Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at Leicester, where there is a 08:00 inspection.
15:50 Blazing Bailey – Novices’ Chase (Alan King)
Martin Keighley has a runner too:
15:20 Brimham Boy – Novices’ Handicap Chase, ridden by Warren Marston.
There is still no definitive news regarding Mille Chief, this was published yesterday: