MARCH 2011

 

 

Thursday 31 March 2011

No riding engagements for Choc today; however, Martin Keighley had one runner at Ludlow:

Havingotascoobydo (Warren Marston) won the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran); congratulations to Martin and his team, their 19th winner of the season.

 

Tomorrow, Choc will be at Stratford, where he has 2 riding engagements:

16:40 Rustarix (Alan King) – Handicap Chase

17:10 Cold Knight (Alan King) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

I’ll be working on my diaries again tonight, my current plan being to complete that for ‘1000 Day’ at Towcester first.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Today Choc had 3 riding engagements at Hereford, and this is how he fared:

Raya Star (Alan King) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

Suburban Bay (Alan King) finished 5th in the Maiden Hurdle (10 ran).

Franklin Roosevelt (Warren Greatrex) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).

 

No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow; however, Martin Keighley has one runner at Ludlow:

15:35 Havingotascoobydo (Warren Marston) – Handicap Hurdle

 

I’ve not had time to add to any of my racing diaries this evening; however I have uploaded the photographs I took at Towcester on Monday.

 

Gallery 1

 

Gallery 2

 

Interview with ATR’s Matt Chapman

 

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Firstly, I found these lovely photographs (for sale ... although very expensive) on the Racing Post website, taken by Edward Whitaker at Towcester yesterday.  Isn’t Choc beautiful?  But I’m going to miss that hair!

 

http://photos.racingpost.com/aetopia/WebObjects/RPShop.woa/wa/p?p=biBkDmEvNPIaIHOwnfkVsi5j0OXG47Y0Jwo4d08uz0c.a

 

http://photos.racingpost.com/aetopia/WebObjects/RPShop.woa/wa/p?p=jOkCeeEWwL4OJ8BoyRptU29omPKjqLDPzZyCalBS9Vs.a

 

http://photos.racingpost.com/aetopia/WebObjects/RPShop.woa/wa/p?p=ooqc-6-ByVAebAixw3fdTHQE54h3hXqIKQ0XGrnYlHE.a

 

http://photos.racingpost.com/aetopia/WebObjects/RPShop.woa/wa/p?p=ydJC_hBudtwQG-ESR5rA4vdv2gVHyxgkEtNva9gQ-ZY.a

 

http://photos.racingpost.com/aetopia/WebObjects/RPShop.woa/wa/p?p=_QUAtan1bpbF6rXxaaOC3SrC2thMecSGoSSVKlE_YkI.a

 

http://photos.racingpost.com/aetopia/WebObjects/RPShop.woa/wa/p?p=7QKBhMsKVgdm-YOWKrHqYKf9hAAcFPfNfUycZs59t74.a

 

http://photos.racingpost.com/aetopia/WebObjects/RPShop.woa/wa/p?p=HO2RAy7yi2b1yC8EwI3trz1pB8yjWpHAcK6r6upWd2M.a

 

 

Anyway, back to today’s racing:

 

Alan King had a couple of runners at Taunton today:

Quetzal (Charlie Huxley) slipped up on the bend in the Handicap Chase (4 ran).

Calcot Rose (Gerard Tumelty) finished 10th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).

 

Tomorrow Choc will be at Hereford, where he has 3 riding engagements:

14:10 Raya Star (Alan King) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:40 Suburban Bay (Alan King) – Maiden Hurdle

17:10 Franklin Roosevelt (Warren Greatrex) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

I have completed my overview of Choc’s most recent Racing Post column.

 

But I think I’m going to keep everyone in suspense as regards photos taken at Towcester yesterday; there are lots to sift through to make my selection but, as I’ve got so much going on at work, I’m afraid I might forget the ‘thread’ of my diary if I don’t put pen to paper this evening (or should that be fingers to keyboard?).  On this occasion, and due to the very last minute nature of my trip to the races yesterday, I have barely any notes to refer to – so it’s all held in my very crowded brain.

 

Monday 28 March 2011

 

Many Congratulations to Choc

upon riding his 1000th Career Winner

 

Choc Meally William 28 Mar 2011 r.jpg

 

Meally, William and Choc

celebrate 1000 Career Winners

 

 

As it was a Monday, my first port of call on my way to work was to the local supermarket to purchase a copy of today’s Racing Post.  I quickly glanced inside to find out what Choc’s column topics were today ... one being 999 winners and counting.  And I knew he had three rides at Towcester, including the talented Araldur; so today could easily be the day when he reached this very important milestone. 

 

Despite knowing that Choc had ridden 6 winners on the flat (a fact already recorded on my career winners totals page) I hadn’t included them in my calculations, hence I thought he was 7 away, not 1.  Whoops.  So there I was, with a full day’s work ahead of me and the possibility that I’d miss seeing the celebrations if today was going to be his special day.

 

I just had to ask my immediate Manager if I could take the afternoon off ... she wasn’t sure, as one member of my team was already on holiday.  So the decision was in the balance; and I was becoming tearful (they weren’t crocodile tears I hasten to add).  She relented; I could leave at 12:30.  Although I had to walk home (very quickly) to change and collect my car, before setting off at 13:15 for Towcester, which is around 50 miles from my home.  I chose to travel up the M1, and I didn’t realise the current contra-flow system and 50 mph speed limit was in operation from south of Luton until Milton Keynes. 

 

As I pulled into the car park at Towcester, the horses taking part in the first event, at 14:30, were just galloping up the final straight to the winning post, and included a couple of loose horses.  However, I knew that Choc’s first ride of the day aboard Araldur was at 15:30, so I was in time for my main event!   

 

So the very good news is that Choc accomplished his target ... and in the years to come I’ll be able to say I was there!

 

J J J J J J J J J J J J

 

Here is the official news bulletin from the Racing Post website.  And here is the At The Races article.

 

A round-up of today’s results:

 

Towcester

Araldur (Choc) won the Novices’ Hurdle; giving Choc his 50th winner of the season and, of course, his 1000th career success too. (8 ran)

Lidar (Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

No Substitute (Choc) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).

 

Plumpton

Shrewd Investment (Charlie Huxley) finished 2nd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (5 ran).

Astralogical (Gerard Tumelty) finished last in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (8 ran).

 

As you may or may not recall, Choc is serving a one day suspension tomorrow.  However, and as confirmed by the man himself, he’s having his promised haircut tomorrow! 

 

Alan King does have a couple of runners at Taunton tomorrow:

16:50 Quetzal (Charlie Huxley) – Handicap Chase

17:20 Calcot Rose (Gerard Tumelty) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

It is reported that Voy Por Ustedes will attempt to win Aintree’s Melling Chase for the third time.

 

It is now late evening and I’ve not written my overview of Choc’s Racing Post column yet, so I’ll omit the link today.

 

And ... I now have another set of photos to upload and a total of 6 racing diaries to complete!

Sunday 27 March 2011

No riding engagements for Choc today; but Martin Keighley had one runner at Wincanton:

Saffron Lord (Tom Siddall) was withdrawn from the Novices’ Hurdle

The Fox’s Decree (Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).

 

Alan King has runners at Towcester and Plumpton tomorrow:

 

Towcester

15:30 Araldur (Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:30 Lidar (Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

17:30 No Substitute (Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Plumpton

16:10 Shrewd Investment (Charlie Huxley) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

17:10 Astralogical (Gerard Tumelty) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race

 

Being a little the worse for wear following yesterday’s fall at Newbury, Barry Geraghty is going to take the next week off; he has no fears of missing the Aintree Festival, although he hasn’t yet got a ride in the big race.  More

 

I’ve been feeling absolutely drained today but, despite this, I’ve uploaded yesterday’s photographs and I’ve ‘topped’ and ‘tailed’ my Newbury diary too.  As Newbury has currently taken my attention, I’ve not had time to work on my Cheltenham diaries this weekend, but I do have a number of pages of detailed hand-written notes to type up for the latter, so I’m reasonably pleased with my overall progress!     

Saturday 26 March 2011

 

Newbury 26 03 2011 r for blog r.jpg

 

 

As hoped, I went to Newbury today.  It was their last National Hunt fixture until the autumn and, having reached the final race of the day, I was beginning to think that I’d have to wait until next season to see Choc ride a winner whilst I was in attendance at the course.  But, as you can see above, he finally did it! 

 

I also took part in the Behind the Scenes tour, which Newbury has been running throughout this season.  The tour was led by Colin Brown, ex-jockey and well-known for piloting Desert Orchid; those in attendance visited the Weighing Room, where the procedures were explained to us; then the Judge’s Box at the top of the grandstand, where judge Guy Lewis explained his role.  Our group also went to see a horse being saddled in one of the boxes.

 

Ex-jockey Graham Thorner, who won the 1972 Grand National aboard Well To Do, was nearby and spoke briefly with us.  I’d forgotten that he was part-owner of the ill-fated Marching Song who had been electrocuted in the Parade Ring incident last month; but he did refer to it briefly and a number of people said how sorry they were that his horse had died.  He also mentioned that he will be taking part in a Charity Race on Grand National Day.  More

 

Here is a round-up of today’s results:

 

Newbury

Balerina (Alan King) was a non-runner; so Choc transferred to Franklino (Alan King) and finished 2nd in the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).  Definitely the horse’s best run to date, as he’s been very disappointing.

Asturienne (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the EBF Mares’ Novices’ Chase Finale (Listed Handicap) (9 ran).

Way Back When (Alan King/Choc) finished 11th in the EBF Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle Finale (Limited Handicap) (Listed) (18 ran).

Norman The Great (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (6 ran).

Turbo Du Ranch (Warren Greatrex/Choc) won the ‘Junior’ Bumper (Standard Open NH Flat Race); Choc’s 49th winner of the season (15 ran).

 

Bangor On Dee

Pouvoir (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Chase (7 ran).

Wolf Moon (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished 10th; Kauto The Roc (Alan King/Mr R Jarrett) finished 12th in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

 

No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow; but Martin Keighley has a couple of runners at Wincanton:

15:55 Saffron Lord (Tom Siddall) – Novices’ Hurdle

17:20 The Fox’s Decree (Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

 

As I now have 5 diaries to write and a set of photographs to upload, I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow.  And, of course, I’ll lose one hour’s sleep tonight as the clocks go forward to British Summer Time.

Friday 25 March 2011

Today Choc was at Newbury, where he had 4 riding engagements:

Bardolf (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th; Bless The Wings (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle (10 ran).

Ravethebrave (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Hong Kong Harry (Alan King/Choc) pulled up near the end of the race having gone lame in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Patsy Finnegan (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Raduis Bleu (Alan King/Ciaran McKee) finished 5th in the ‘Hands and Heels’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Conditionals/Amateurs). (14 ran)

 

Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Newbury and Bangor On Dee:

 

Newbury

13:45 Balerina (Alan King/Choc); Franklino (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

14:15 Asturienne (Alan King/Choc) – EBF Mares’ Novices’ Chase Finale (Listed Handicap)

14:50 Way Back When (Alan King/Choc) – EBF Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle Finale (Limited Handicap) (Listed)

16:30 Norman The Great (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase

17:05 Turbo Du Ranch (Warren Greatrex/Choc) – ‘Junior’ Bumper (Standard Open NH Flat Race)

 

Bangor On Dee

15:50 Pouvoir (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Handicap Chase

16:20 Wolf Moon (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston); Kauto The Roc (Alan King/Mr R Jarrett) – Handicap Hurdle

 

I’ve had a rotten week at work ... most days have begun with a headache, and I’ve been in tears three times; but, looking on the bright side (if that’s possible), a good cry is supposed to be good for relieving stress!  And I’ve had plenty of that this week. L

 

So to cheer me up, and with Choc having 5 riding engagements at Newbury tomorrow, I’m hoping for a day out at the races to see my favourite guy.  Unfortunately the nice weather of the past few days is supposed to have disappeared by tomorrow, so I’ll need to wrap up warm.  It’s certainly too soon to dispense with my thermal vests!

 

Thursday 24 March 2011

Today there were 3 runners of interest at Chepstow, and a touch of seconditis:

Americam Ladie (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).

Won More Night (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (5 ran).

Gospel Preacher (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).

 

And one at Southwell:

Pretty Penny (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished 10th in the NH Maiden Hurdle (13 ran).

 

Tomorrow, Choc is at Newbury, where he has 4 riding engagements:

14:10 Bardolf (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson); Bless The Wings (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle

14:40 Ravethebrave (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase

15:15 Hong Kong Harry (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

15:50 Patsy Finnegan (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

16:25 Raduis Bleu (Alan King/Ciaran McKee) – ‘Hands and Heels’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Conditionals/Amateurs).

 

Another evening of diary writing ahead ... I’m currently concentrating on ‘topping’ and ‘tailing’ my Cheltenham diaries, not on the races themselves.  Once this task has been completed, I’ll watch the race recordings and, hopefully, will be able to upload one or two before I set off for Aintree in a couple of weeks’ time!

 

There was a familiar face in Midsomer Murders last night – Sykes the dog – who previously starred in the TV advert  Every Home Needs a Harvey’.  More  

 

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Three National Hunt meetings today, at Warwick, Haydock Park and Hereford.  Alan King trained 4 winners across all three cards, and Choc rode a treble!  (Two for Alan and one for Richard Lee.)

 

Warwick

Mickytaker (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 7th; Sweet Irony (Alan King/Choc) won the Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).

Highway Code (Richard Lee/Choc) won the Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).

Pantxoa (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (3 ran).

Tsarinova (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Valdez (Alan King/Choc) won the Standard Open NH Flat Race (6 ran).

 

Having ridden a treble, that’s Choc’s 46th, 47th and 48th winner of the season. JJJ

 

Haydock Park

Nikos Extra (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Chase (7 ran).

Aldiva (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (10 ran).

 

Hereford

Mister Chancer (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) won; Persian Forest (Charlie Huxley) was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are 3 runners of interest at Chepstow:

14:10 Americam Ladie (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

14:40 Won More Night (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

17:30 Gospel Preacher (Alan King/Choc) - Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

 

And one at Southwell:

15:35 Pretty Penny (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – NH Maiden Hurdle

 

I believe Choc will shortly become a member of the exclusive 1,000 career winners club as, by my calculations, he is a mere 8 successes away!   I imagine the ‘official’ countdown will soon begin, as I expect a presentation to be made to mark this very special milestone.

 

I see My Way De Solzen led all the way to win the Hunter Chase at Hereford today.  More

 

And Halcon Genelardais has been officially retired.  More

 

Also a further bulletin regarding jockey Rodi Greene.

 

A brand new episode of Midsomer Murders tonight; the first outing for the new leading actor, Neil Dudgeon, who takes over from John Nettles who played Tom Barnaby.  Neil plays the character of John Barnaby, who is Tom Barnaby’s cousin.  

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Today there were runners of interest at both Kempton Park and Exeter:

 

Kempton Park

Raya Star (Alan King/Choc) had his second mishap in 3 runs, falling at the 4th flight in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).  Fortunately both horse and jockey were fine.

Romulus D’Artaix (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Maucaillou was a non-runner (Martin Keighley) in the Handicap Hurdle

 

Exeter

Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Mr N Slatter) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are meetings at Warwick, Haydock Park and Hereford, and there are runners of interest at all three:

 

Warwick

14:20 Mickytaker (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) & Sweet Irony (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle

14:55 Highway Code (Richard Lee/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:05 Pantxoa (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

16:40 Tsarinova (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

17:40 Valdez (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Haydock Park

16:25 Nikos Extra (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

17:30 Aldiva (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Hereford

15:05 Mister Chancer (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) & Persian Forest (Charlie Huxley) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

There’s a further bulletin regarding poor Rodi Greene, who was injured when being unseated at Lingfield Park yesterday.  More

 

Another busy evening, as I’m currently working on my Cheltenham diaries ... and will probably be doing so for days and weeks to come! 

 

Monday 21 March 2011

Martin Keighley had three runners at Lingfield Park today, and this is how they fared:

Jacko’s Boy finished 6th in the Maiden Hurdle (20 ran).

Junior Jack finished 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Won More Night finished 9th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

 

Evidently it was an incident packed day at Lingfield.  More

 

Further news regarding Tricky Trickster, who took an awful tumble at Uttoxeter on Saturday.  More

 

Tomorrow, there are runners of interest at both Kempton Park and Exeter:

 

Kempton Park

14:10 Raya Star (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:15 Romulus D’Artaix (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:50 Maucaillou (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Exeter

17:20 Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Mr N Slatter) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

 

13 Dec 08.jpg

22 Nov 2010.jpg

17 Oct 2010.jpg

December 2008

November 2010

October 2010

 

Having seen himself on TV, being interviewed following his win aboard Bensalem, Choc has decided that his long hair has to go ... his reason being that he’s no longer a young lad in his twenties!   I love his hair, but I confess that I prefer it mid-length rather than long.  Strangely, the longer his hair, the more it ages him.     

 

Please click here to read my overview of Choc’s Racing Post column this week. 

 

Sunday 20 March 2011

Choc had 2 riding engagements at Newton Abbot, both for Alan King:

Midnight Appeal won the Handicap Chase (7 ran); Choc’s 45th winner of the season. J

Yvonne Evelyn pulled hard in the initial stages of the race and finished 5th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Tomorrow, two runners of interest at Lingfield Park, both trained by Martin Keighley and to be ridden by Warren Marston:

14:30 Jacko’s Boy – Maiden Hurdle

15:00 Junior Jack – Novices’ Hurdle

 

Choc has no riding engagements tomorrow.

I’ve been looking at the Stewards’ Enquiries relating to the Cheltenham Festival and found this one for Choc:

The Stewards called before them Robert Thornton, the rider of MEDERMIT (FR), placed fourth, and enquired into his use of the whip from the top of the hill. Having heard his evidence and viewed the video recording of the race, the Stewards found the rider in breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2, in that he had used his whip with excessive frequency. They suspended Thornton for 1 day as follows: Tuesday 29 March 2011. (Note from Jane – he misses a Taunton fixture)

And this one relates to the finish of the Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase:

The Stewards held an enquiry into possible interference after the last fence. They found that CAROLE’S LEGACY, placed second, ridden by Barry Geraghty, had interfered with the winner, BENSALEM (IRE), ridden by Robert Thornton. They found Geraghty in breach of Rule (B)54.1 and guilty of careless riding in that he allowed his horse to drift right handed. They suspended Geraghty for 1 day as follows: Tuesday 29 March 2011.

I’m back to work tomorrow L and have no weekday racing plans until the second day of the Aintree Festival; it’s difficult to take additional days off at the moment, as I’ve had 6 days’ compassionate leave and 5 days’ holiday during the past five weeks.  But I am hopeful that I may go racing to Newbury next Saturday; especially as, after 4 consecutive ‘Choc-filled’ days, I’m feeling a little melancholy now! 

 

I’ve had a busy day, I washed my filthy car, I finished uploading my Cheltenham photos, and have set up the templates for my four Cheltenham diaries.  My diaries usually take four or five days each to complete, but that’s when I stay up until around midnight, having worked at my day job from 09:00 to 17:30.  I’m not sure if I’m going to do that on this occasion, as I’ve had bags under my eyes since Thursday!

 

Saturday 19 March 2011

Today there were a number of runners of interest; at Uttoxeter and Ffos Las.  This is how they fared:

 

Uttoxeter

Halcon Genelardais (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up with a circuit to go in the Midlands Grand National (17 ran).  Richard Pitman, reporting for At The Races at Uttoxeter, said the horse is now expected to be retired.  The race was won by the ex-Alan King trained Minella Four Star, for trainer David Pipe and jockey Conor O’Farrell.  I thought Tricky Trickster was a goner having taken a heavy fall at the second.  He lay on the ground for ages, the green screens were erected and the runners by-passed the fence on both of the following circuits.  However, eventually he did get up and was led away to the stables. His jockey, Ruby Walsh, was okay too. More

Stoney’s Treasure (Alan King/Choc) put up an excellent display of jumping to win the Novices’ Handicap Chase easily (10 ran).  Choc’s 43rd winner of the season. J

Sedano (Alan King/Choc) finished 9th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I (12 ran).

Denali Highway (Alan King/Choc) won the Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II; Choc’s 44th winner of the season (11 ran). J

 

Ffos Las

Trade On (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the NH Maiden Hurdle (10 ran)

Total Submission (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

Lake Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase (11 ran).

Hard To Swallow (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) won the Standard Open NH Flat Race; congratulations to Martin and his team, their 18th winner of the season.

 

Having had a busy week, I’ve not had time to put in links to interesting news stories. 

So here are a couple of updates from Alan King’s website.  Bensalem and other news (interesting to read in hindsight).  It’s sad to read that Whistlejacquet has died following a bout of colic.

 

And here is the Racing Post’s report on Bensalem’s victory on Tuesday.  More

 

Here’s the link to the Gloucestershire Press report on the race.

 

The Paul Nicholls’ Gold Cup quartet are reported to be fine following yesterday’s race.  More

 

Tomorrow Choc has 2 riding engagements at Newton Abbot, both for Alan King:

14:45 Midnight Appeal – Handicap Chase

15:15 Yvonne Evelyn – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

I’ve begun to upload the photographs taken during the Cheltenham Festival; so here is the link to the photo gallery index.

Friday 18 March 2011

Race 1: 13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4 year olds) – 2 miles and 1 furlong

Smad Place (Alan King/Choc) finished 10th (23 ran).  The race was won by the Paul Nicholls trained Zarkandar, ridden by Daryl Jacob.

 

Race 2: 14:05 - Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) – 2 miles 1 furlong

Salden Licht (Alan King/Choc), who carried top weight, finished 5th (26 ran).  The race was won by Final Approach, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh.   It was Ruby’s 5th winner this Festival.  

 

Race 3: 14:40 - Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 3 miles

Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished a very creditable 4th. 

Jetnova (Alan King/Choc) fell 2 out.  (18 ran)

The race was won by Bobs Worth, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty; their first win of this year’s Festival.

 

I think Jetnova will have more bruises than Choc ... the horse got to its feet after the fall and cantered away but, having cornered wide, he then bumped into the stand-side plastic rails before he headed up the home straight.  People further up the course then waved their arms as he approached, hoping to deter him from continuing up the course, but he spooked and slipped over on the plastic pontoons (used the protect the turf from pedestrian footfall).  He then panicked, taking several attempts to regain his feet, before cantering back down the course, where he was caught by the jockey aboard one of the pulled up horses.  Alan King came out onto the course to check the horse over; as did the vet.  He was fine and was led back up the course to the stables. 

 

Race 4: 15:20 - totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 3 miles 2 furlongs 110 yards

Neptune Collonges (Paul Nicholls/Choc) finished 8th (13 ran).  The race was won by Long Run.  The very brave Denman, who won in 2008, was runner-up for the third year running.  Evidently the Gold Cup was won in the fastest time in the race’s history.

 

Race 5: 16:00 – Christie’s Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup (Class 2)

The race was won by Zemsky, trained in Northern Ireland by Ian Ferguson, and ridden by Mr Derek O’Connor; the jockey also having won the 4-mile Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase on Wednesday aboard Chicago Grey.

Having led from the off, Baby Run unseated Willie Twiston-Davies two out, having put in an extra stride; Willie was distraught. (24 ran)

 

Race 6: 16:40 - Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) – 2 miles 4 furlongs 110 yards

Between the last two flights, and still in contention, Shalone (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) clipped the heels of another runner and took a very nasty looking fall.  But I’m very pleased to report that the horse was fine, and I watched as he was led back up the course to the stables. 

Prince Du Seuil (Alan King/Peter Hatton) finished 13th.

The race was won by Sir Des Champs ridden by Emmet Mullins and trained by Willie Mullins (23 ran).

 

Race 7: 17:15 - Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3 Handicap) (Class 1) – 2 miles 110 yards

Oh Crick (Alan King/Choc) finished 13th.

Mister Stickler (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 11th.

The race was won by Oiseau De Nuit, trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by Steven Clements claiming 7lbs.  It was Steven’s first ride at Cheltenham. (23 ran) 

 

The Thomas Pink Leading Jockey award went to Ruby Walsh (5 winners); Leading Trainer was Willie Mullins (4 winners).

 

As I’m not as tired as expected, I’ll give an overview of yesterday’s races:

 

Race 1: 13:30 – Jewson Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (Class 1) – 2 miles 4 furlongs

The race was won by Irish raider Noble Prince, ridden by AP McCoy and trained by Paul Nolan. AP’s 200th winner of the season.

 

Race 2: 14:05 – Pertemps Final (Listed Handicap Hurdle) (Class 1) – 3 miles

The race was won by the brave front running Buena Vista, who had won this race last year too.  Sadly, Lush Life had to be put down having suffered an injury to his hind leg.  He was the sole fatality during the Festival.

 

Race 3: 14:40 – Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 2 miles 5 furlongs

The race was won by Albertas Run, who won the race last year; this was the horse’s third Festival victory.

 

Race 4: 15:20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 3 miles

The race was won by Big Buck’s for the third consecutive year.  Grands Crus finished 2nd, 1¾ behind the winner.  Inglis Drever won the race 3 times, but not in consecutive years, the sequence having been broken by My Way De Solzen. 

 

Race 5: 16:00 – Byrne Group Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) – 2 miles 5 furlongs

Call Me A Legend (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th (20 ran).

The race was won by Holmwood Legend, trained by Pat Rodford and ridden by Kieran Burke. 

Pat trains the talented mare, Sparky May, who ran so creditably to finish 2nd to Quevega on Tuesday.  He’s due to retire in a couple of months, handing over the reins to Kieran.  Holmwood Legend was only his third Festival runner.

 

Race 6:  16:40 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateur Riders) (Class 2)

The race was won by the David Pipe trained Junior.  I wonder if Alan King rues the day when Junior was sold out of his yard; Junior won a race at Royal Ascot last June for his new stable, was runner-up at Goodwood, and has now won this Festival event too!

 

Race 7:  17:15 St Patrick’s Day Derby (Charity Race) (Class 2) – 1 mile 5 furlongs

Devil To Pay (Alan King/Alice Plunkett) finished 4th; Kings Troop (Alan King/Liz Ampairee) finished 8th (12 ran).

The race was won by Plato, ridden by Lorna Fowler (nee Bradburne) and trained by Henry Cecil, who was Cheltenham’s special guest on Thursday.

 

Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest; at Uttoxeter and Ffos Las:

 

Uttoxeter

15:00 Halcon Genelardais (Alan King/Choc) – Midlands Grand National

15:35 Stoney’s Treasure (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

16:45 Sedano (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I

17:50 Denali Highway (Alan King/Choc) -  Standard Open NH Flat Race Div II

 

Ffos Las

14:35 Trade On (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Maiden Hurdle

15:10 Total Submission (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:55 Lake Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

18:00 Hard To Swallow (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Having cleaned the worst of the dust off my car during the hours of darkness early on Thursday morning, it was just my luck to be directed to park immediately next to the dusty entrance track today ... so my car is disgustingly filthy again! 

Thursday 17 March 2011

I had a nightmare journey home this evening.  I knew I’d left Cheltenham earlier than on Tuesday, although later than yesterday, so envisaged my ETA to be 20:40.  However, disaster must have struck for someone, as the traffic came to a complete standstill on the stretch of the A40 between the roundabout on the Stow to Cirencester Road and Burford.  After waiting in line for around 10 minutes and there being no traffic coming from the direction of Burford either, I turned around and headed back towards Cheltenham. 

 

As I know my way home from Stow on the Wold, having reached the Cirencester to Stow road, I headed north towards the latter.  I then took the road towards Chipping Norton, which runs past Adlestrop where Richard Phillips trains.  Having reached the A44, I then went ‘across country’ to Bicester and then along the A41 to Aylesbury; where I suffered a further delay, this time due to the fact that the road was being re-surfaced.  Having topped up my car’s petrol tank, I finally arrived home at 21:30!

 

I had planned to write about the stories associated with each of today’s races ... but I’ll have to leave those until (probably) Saturday, as I’m very tired this evening and have another long day ahead of me tomorrow. 

 

It was a very quiet day for Choc today, with just one riding engagement:

Race 5: 16:00 – Byrne Group Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) – 2 miles 5 furlongs

Call Me A Legend (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th (20 ran).

 

In the Charity Race, Devil To Pay finished 4th under Channel 4’s Alice Plunkett; Alan King’s other runner, Kings Troop, finished 8th (12 ran).

 

Tomorrow, Choc has riding engagements in all the races he’s permitted to ride in (5 of 7) ... the remaining two on the card being the Foxhunter Chase for amateur riders, and the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle!

 

Race 1: 13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4 year olds) – 2 miles and 1 furlong

Smad Place (Alan King/Choc)

 

Race 2: 14:05 - Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) – 2 miles 1 furlong

Salden Licht (Alan King/Choc)

 

Race 3: 14:40 - Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 3 miles

Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston)

Jetnova (Alan King/Choc)

 

Race 4: 15:20 - totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 3 miles 2 furlongs 110 yards

Neptune Collonges (Paul Nicholls/Choc)

 

Race 6: 16:40 - Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) – 2 miles 4 furlongs 110 yards

Shalone (Alan King/Charlie Huxley)

Prince Du Seuil (Alan King/Peter Hatton)

 

Race 7: 17:15 - Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3 Handicap) (Class 1) – 2 miles 110 yards

Oh Crick (Alan King/Choc)

Mister Stickler (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson)

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Today there were a number of runners of interest; and Choc had 5 riding engagements:

 

Race 1: 13:30 - 141st Year of the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase) (Class 2) – 4 miles

Double Pride (Alan King/Mr D Murphy) finished 9th; the race was won by the Gordon Elliott trained Chicago Grey (16 ran).

 

Race 2: 14:05 - Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 2 miles 5 furlongs

Habbie Simpson (Alan King/Choc) finished 9th; the race was won by the Mouse Morris trained First Lieutenant (12 ran).

 

Race 3: 14:40 – RSA Chase (Grade 1) ( Class 1) was won by the Jessica Harrington trained Bostons Angel (12 ran).  Time For Rupert ran very disappointingly and finished 5th; I gather he was drug tested and it was noted that he coughed during the procedure, so may well have been under the weather.

 

Race 4: 15:20 - Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 2 miles

Somersby (Henrietta Knight/Choc) finished 5th; the race was won by the Henry De Bromhead trained Sizing Europe (11 ran).  The first four places being filled by Irish raiders; with last year’s winner Big Zeb filling the runner-up spot.  Master Minded completed in 8th, having blundered badly two out.

 

Race 5: 16:00 - Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) – 2 miles 5 furlongs

Walkon (Alan King/Choc) finished 7th.

Trenchant (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 13th.

The race was won by the Gordon Elliott trained Carlito Brigante (22 ran).

 

Race 6: 16:40 - Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) – 2 miles 110 yards

Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) performed with much credit to finish a neck 2nd. 

Jubail (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th.

Dhaafer (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd. 

The race was won by the Arthur Moore trained What A Charm (23 ran).

 

Race 7: 17:15 – Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 2 miles 110 yards

Bygones In Brid (Alan King/Choc) finished 18th; the race was won by the Philip Hobbs trained, Richard Johnson ridden, Cheltenian (24 ran). 

 

As you can see, the home nation took a pasting today – the first six winners all originating from Ireland.  Thank goodness Cheltenian won for the home team!!!

 

A very quiet day for Choc tomorrow, with just one riding engagement; Somersby having run today.

Race 5: 16:00 – Byrne Group Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) – 2 miles 5 furlongs

Call Me A Legend (Alan King/Choc)

 

There’s a Charity Race at 17:15, in which the Alan King trained Devil To Pay is to be ridden by Channel 4’s Alice Plunkett.

 

As predicted, my car is already filthy – not from the journey – but from standing in the car park.  Unfortunately the gravel drive, used by all cars entering and exiting the car park, is very dry and dusty and the wind was blowing in the wrong direction today.  So I arrived back after racing to find it covered in a thick layer of dust.  Damn, I knew it was a waste of time washing the car on Monday.

 

And I’m going to wrap up even warmer tomorrow ... I was absolutely freezing today, despite wearing two thermal vests, a sweater, a cardigan, a fleece, a knee length winter coat, a scarf and a pair of gloves! 

 

My special moment of the day was when I congratulated Choc for his win aboard Bensalem!

Tuesday 15 March 2011

 

2011 Bensalem 16th Festival Winner blog 1.jpg

 

Choc and Bensalem in the Winners’ Enclosure

 

Many congratulations to Choc,

who rode his 16th Cheltenham Festival winner today

... and it’s the first time I’ve seen him ride a Cheltenham Festival winner ‘in the flesh’!

 

And there’s a story associated with the win –

Bensalem, who capsized at the second last in the same race at last year’s Festival,

returns to claim the prize, despite having nearly lost his life last summer following illness;

and, of course, Choc’s recovery from serious injury during that period too.

 

 

Choc actually had 4 rides at Cheltenham today; having taken over a ride in the first race from the injured Dougie Costello.

 

Race 1: 13:30 – Stan James Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1)

Recession Proof (J J Quinn/Choc) – finished 5th (15 ran).  The Paul Nicholls trained, Ruby Walsh ridden, Al Ferof won the race.  Notably, the horse ran in the one and only race at Newbury on 12 February, when his fellow competitors, Marching Song and Fenix Two, were electrocuted in the Parade Ring.  Cue Card finished 4th in today’s race.

 

Race 2: 14:05 – Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) - 2 miles

Medermit (Alan King/Choc) – finished a disappointing 4th (10 ran).  The race was won by the Philip Hobbs trained, Richard Johnson ridden, Captain Chris.

 

Race 3: 14:40 - Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) – 3 miles 110 yards

Blazing Bailey (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 9th.

Bensalem (Alan King/Choc) won; giving Choc his 42nd winner of the season and 16th Cheltenham Festival winner.

Wolf Moon (Martin Keighley/Tom Scudamore) finished 11th.

(19 ran).

 

Race 4: 15:20 – Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 2 miles 110 yards

Mille Chief (Alan King/Choc) finished last (11 ran).  The race was won by the Willie Mullins trained, Ruby Walsh ridden, Hurricane Fly.

 

The Cross Country race was won by the Henry De Bromhead trained, Andrew Lynch ridden, Sizing Australia; The Willie Mullins trained, Ruby Walsh ridden, Quevega won the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle (for the third year running); and Divers won the Novices’ Listed Handicap Chase for trainer Ferdy Murphy and jockey Graham Lee.

 

Tomorrow, there are again a number of runners of interest; with Choc having 5 riding engagements:

 

Race 1: 13:30 - 141st Year of the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase) (Class 2) – 4 miles

Double Pride (Alan King/Mr D Murphy)

 

Race 2: 14:05 - Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 2 miles 5 furlongs

Habbie Simpson (Alan King/Choc)

 

Race 4: 15:20 - Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 2 miles

Somersby (Henrietta Knight/Choc)

 

Race 5: 16:00 - Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) – 2 miles 5 furlongs

Walkon (Alan King/Choc)

Trenchant (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson)

 

Race 6: 16:40 - Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) – 2 miles 110 yards

Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Charlie Huxley)

Jubail (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson)

Dhaafer (Alan King/Choc)

 

Race 7: 17:15 – Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 2 miles 110 yards

Bygones In Brid (Alan King/Choc)

 

I must go to bed now ... it is 23:20 and my alarm will go off at 04:30 in the morning in preparation for another day at the Cheltenham Festival.

Monday 14 March 2011

Today there were a number of runners of interest, at each of the three scheduled fixtures; and mixed fortunes for the Alan King yard:

 

Taunton

Balerina (Alan King/Choc) won the Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle; giving Choc his 41st winner of the season (10 ran).J

Gilded Age (Alan King/Choc) dead-heated for 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).

 

Stratford

Enfant De Lune (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) unseated his jockey in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (6 ran).

Hypnotic Gaze (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 2nd in the Selling Hurdle (8 ran).

 

Plumpton

Ransson (Alan King/Peter Hatton) fell in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Quetzel (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 4th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (5 ran).

 

 

T H E     C H E L T E N H A M     F E S T I V A L

 

Starts Tomorrow ...

 

Good Luck Choc;

I hope you ride your 16th Festival winner this week.

 

MC900334882[1]   MC900334882[1]   MC900334882[1]

 

 

7 races on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival; Choc has rides in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th races:

 

Race 2: 14:05 – Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) - 2 miles

Medermit (Alan King/Choc)

 

Race 3: 14:40 - Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) – 3 miles 110 yards

Blazing Bailey (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson)

Bensalem (Alan King/Choc)

Wolf Moon (Martin Keighley/Tom Scudamore)

 

Race 4: 15:20 – Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (Class 1) – 2 miles 110 yards

Mille Chief (Alan King/Choc)

 

There’s an overview of Alan King’s chances of training a winner on the first day of the Festival.  More

 

Here is the link to my overview of Choc’s Racing Post column this week. 

 

Despite being on holiday today, I woke early and walked down to my local supermarket at 08:00 to buy a copy of the Racing Post.  I then washed my car ... although, by the end of Festival week, it will probably be dirtier than it was before I cleaned it!   I got soaked ... my coat was wringing, my trousers were wringing, and my shoes were squelching; I need a new Hozelock spray gun!  Having dried off, I then took a walk to town; dropping off a number of items belonging to my late father at the Cancer Research UK charity shop.  

 

I popped into M & S; purchasing a few snack ‘goodies’ for the week ahead – including 4 bags of ‘Percy Piglets’ and, of course, a tub of ‘Extremely Chocolatey Mini Milk Chocolate Rounds’! 

 

This afternoon, I watched the racing on TV – Taunton, Stratford and Plumpton all being broadcast on At The Races.  The drying ground resulted in many casualties today – and fatalities too I fear; Two Cloudy broke a hind-leg on the flat at Plumpton; I believe the Sue Nock trained Chocolat may have died when taking a nasty tumble later in the afternoon.  And Monsieur didn’t ‘look’ right when he got up following a fall at Taunton.

 

And probably bad news for a Cheltenham-bound jockey too.  Dougie Costello was stretchered off with an ankle or leg injury following a fall at Stratford; he will be gutted if he misses the Festival – with booked rides to include Wayward Prince in the RSA Chase and Midnight Chase in the Gold Cup – he’s never ridden a winner at the Festival.  More

Sunday 13 March 2011

Today there were a number of runners of interest at Market Rasen and Warwick:

 

Market Rasen

Won More Night (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran); Martin Keighley’s 17th winner of the season.

Dineur (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) pulled up in the Handicap Chase (7 ran).

Batonnier (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).

 

Warwick

The Laodicean (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Trigger The Light (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase (The Crudwell Cup)

 

Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest, at each of the three scheduled fixtures:

 

Taunton

14:20 Balerina (Alan King/Choc) – Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle

15:20 Gilded Age (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Stratford

14:40 Enfant De Lune (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

15:10 Hypnotic Gaze (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Selling Hurdle

 

Plumpton

14:00 Ransson (Alan King/Peter Hatton) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

14:30 Quetzel (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

 

The big story of today is that Binocular is not permitted to run in Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle; the horse was treated for an allergy a couple of weeks ago and, unfortunately, traces of the drug used to treat the horse still remain in his system.  More

Saturday 12 March 2011

It was a very pleasant day, weather wise, in the southeast; but I didn’t change my mind about not going to Sandown Park.  This morning I spent time ‘putting together’ my outfits for each of the 4 days of the Cheltenham Festival, and this afternoon I watched the racing on TV.

 

There were five runners of specific interest today and this is how they fared:

 

Sandown Park

Invictus (Alan King/Choc) finished 10th in the NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final (17 ran).

The Betchworth Kid (Alan King/Choc) finished 11th; Dona (Alan King/Peter Hatton) finished 15th in the Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle (Listed).  Choc’s mount made an error at the third flight and was struggling thereafter.

Tante Sissi (Alan King/Choc) ran well and finished 2nd in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Final (Listed) (20 ran).

 

Chepstow

Ukrainian Star (MartinKeighley/Peter Toole) ran well again, and was just touched off by a neck into 2nd at the line in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (11 ran).

 

The most interesting piece of news today, especially from my point of view, is that Choc has now picked up the ride aboard the Paul Nicholls trained grey, Neptune Collonges, in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.  Although a 25-1 outsider, it’s great news that Choc has a ride in the big race.  More

 

The other main stories today are that Alarazi won the Imperial Cup; Aegean Dawn is now a likely runner in the Coral Cup having impressed again at home; and Ruby Walsh rode his first winner since returning from injury ... although he does look a little worse for wear following his ‘near miss’ fall earlier in the week!  More

 

Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest at Market Rasen and Warwick:

 

Market Rasen

14:20 Won More Night (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

14:50 Dineur (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:20 Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Handicap Chase

16:55 Batonnier (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

 

Warwick

14:05 The Laodicean (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

16:05 Trigger The Light (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase (The Crudwell Cup)

Friday 11 March 2011

A number of results today; from Wincanton, Sandown and Leicester.

 

Wincanton

Chilli Rose (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran); Choc’s cause wasn’t helped by the fact that his mount spent much of the first circuit in front and racing keenly upsides a loose horse. 

 

Sandown Park

Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished a close 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Taoiri (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).

 

I confess I didn’t even notice that there was a meeting at Leicester today; probably because I hurriedly printed out the most ‘obvious’ race-cards whilst at work and it’s rare for there to be 4 National Hunt meetings on a weekday! 

 

However, there were a couple of interesting runners at the fixture too:

Swansbrook (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Beginners’ Chase (3 ran).

Ponchatrain (Martin Keighley/Mr Tom Bellamy) finished 2nd in the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase (8 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Sandown Park and Chepstow:

 

Sandown Park

13:55 Invictus (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final

15:00 The Betchworth Kid (Alan King/Choc); Dona (Alan King/Peter Hatton) – Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle (Listed)

15:35 Tante Sissi (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race Final (Listed)

 

Chepstow

14:35 Ukrainian Star (MartinKeighley/Peter Toole) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase

 

The most important news of the day is that Choc is to be reunited with the Henrietta Knight trained Somersby, who has been confirmed as a runner in next Wednesday’s Champion Chase!  More  And here is the alternative report on the At The Races website.  More

 

Voy Por Ustedes, who is now trained by Nicky Henderson, is a supplementary entry for Thursday’s Ryanair Chase!  More

 

Here is the link to Wayne Hutchinson’s latest column on the Sporting Life website.  More

 

And to Martin Keighley’s column in the Gloucestershire Press.

 

Although I love visiting Sandown Park, I’m actually going to give the fixture a miss tomorrow.  With the spectre of 4 consecutive days at the Cheltenham Festival looming on the very near horizon, which also means driving 200 miles a day, I don’t feel I can cope with a visit to the Esher track too! 

Thursday 10 March 2011

Choc was at Wincanton today, where he had 4 riding engagements, all for Alan King ... and it was a successful day! JJ

Midnight Appeal (who is the younger full-brother of Lake Legend) won the Novices’ Handicap Chase (7 ran); Choc’s 39th winner of the season.

Rivermouth finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).

Management won the Maiden Hurdle Div I (10 ran); Choc’s 40th winner of the season.

Stan’s Cool Cat finished 6th in the Maiden Hurdle Div II (10 ran).

 

Two rides for Choc tomorrow; one in the first race at Wincanton and one in the last race at Sandown Park!

However, the timing should be okay, as it takes just over 2 hours to drive between the two courses.

 

Wincanton

14:00 Chilli Rose (Alan King) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

 

Sandown Park

17:15 Taoiri (Alan King) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

 

And Martin Keighley’s Havingotascoobydo (Warren Marston) is due to run in the 16:05 at Sandown Park.

 

Tomorrow is my last working day before Cheltenham ... Hurray!!!

Wednesday 09 March 2011

Tomorrow, Choc will be at Wincanton, where he has 4 riding engagements, all for Alan King:

15:35 Midnight Appeal – Novices’ Handicap Chase

16:05 Rivermouth – Handicap Hurdle

16:40 Management – Maiden Hurdle Div I

17:10 Stan’s Cool Cat – Maiden Hurdle Div II

 

Ruby Walsh has been in the wars again but, luckily, he’s merely ‘walking wounded’.  More

 

Aegean Dawn is out of Saturday’s Imperial Cup and may miss Cheltenham too.  More

 

Planet of Sound is likely to miss the Cheltenham Gold Cup.  More

 

And yesterday’s £1.4 million ToteJackpot winner has been much in demand today.  More  Had Danny Hiskett won aboard The Fox’s Decree at Exeter yesterday, he would definitely have spoilt the party!

Tuesday 08 March 2011

There are actually 3 horses to report on today, as I ‘missed’ Danny Hiskett’s ride aboard the Martin Keighley trained The Fox’s Decree at Exeter when I checked through the race-cards yesterday.  Whoops!

 

Exeter

Lucky Mix (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd & Pretty Penny (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished 9th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

The Fox’s Decree (Mr Danny Hiskett) finished a very close 3rd in the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

 

There’s National Hunt racing at Catterick and Fontwell Park tomorrow, but Choc has no riding engagements.

 

And check out trainer Richard Phillips’ blog for today, where he’s given a brief overview of last night’s Cheltenham Preview evening, in which Choc took part.  More

Monday 07 March 2011

Just one result today, as Martin Keighley had a runner at Newton Abbot:

Ikorodo Road finished 3rd in the Novices’ Chase (4 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are 2 runners of interest at Exeter, and they run in the same race:

14:30 Lucky Mix (Alan King/Choc) & Pretty Penny (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

 

Confirmation today that jockeys awarded a one day ban can choose the day on which they serve the suspension.  More

 

And, as it is a Monday, Choc’s column appeared in the Racing Post ... which has increased in price by £0.10 from today (Monday to Friday it costs £1.80; Saturday & Sunday £2.00).  Here is a link to my overview of this week’s column. 

Sunday 06 March 2011

Martin Keighley had one runner at Sedgefield today:

Mauricetheathlete, ridden by Jason Maguire, won the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran) ... the brilliant form of the yard continues!  Martin’s 16th winner of the season; and the horse loses his maiden tag.

 

Two National Hunt fixtures tomorrow, Ffos Las and Newton Abbot, but no riding engagements for Choc.  However, I believe he will be taking part in trainer Richard Phillips’ Cheltenham Preview event to be held at the Adlestrop Village Hall tomorrow evening.

 

Martin Keighley has a runner at Newton Abbot:

Ikorodu Road (following yesterday’s mishap at Newbury) is due to run in the Novices’ Chase at 15:40, ridden by Jason Maguire

 

There is an overview of yesterday’s racing at Doncaster on the At The Races website.  More

 

I notice there’s a new feature on the ‘Statistics’ page on the Racing Post’s website; although the search function is obviously for ‘Thornton’ as opposed to ‘Robert Thornton’, as pictures of Andrew also appear under Choc’s name.  The photos include an incredible shot of Choc, hanging on for dear life, when Bakbenscher made an error at the final fence during the Murphy Group Chase on Cheltenham Trials Day 29 January 2011.  The partnership did survive on that occasion and they finished 3rd!  Photos  

 

Riverside Theatre is out of the Cheltenham Festival, having sustained a hairline fracture to his pelvis.  More

 

Jockey Brian Harding will be out of action for a few weeks, having sustained a minor fracture to his arm when his mount fell during the final race at Kelso yesterday.  More

Saturday 05 March 2011

 

Sandown Park 05 Feb 2011 z2r blog.jpg

 

Eric’s Charm returns Winners’ Enclosure

having triumphed at Sandown Park on 05 February 2011

 

 

Today’s racing was marred by the death of the popular veteran, Eric’s Charm, at Newbury; he lost his life having suffered a broken leg during the Veteran’s Handicap Chase.  RIP.  A very sad loss for the Oliver Sherwood yard and connections.  More

 

Not a good day at Newbury, as Karky Shultz also died when taking a heavy fall in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.

 

Alan King and Martin Keighley had a number of runners today, and this is how they fared:

 

Doncaster

Awesome Freddie (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran)

Lidar (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Next Man In (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 15th; Montbazon (Alan King/Choc) won the DBS Spring Sales Bumper (Standard Open), giving Choc his 38th winner of the season (18 ran).

Lake Legend (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Chase (3 ran).  He went off as the 4-11 favourite; however, Choc didn’t seem totally confident when Mick Fitzgerald interviewed him prior to the race.  And Fitzy’s famous last words before the off were that he doesn’t believe in the old adage ‘Back the outsider of 3’ – and, of course, the 16-1 outsider duly won!

Awesome George (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (11 ran).

 

Kempton Park

Araldur (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).  Two winners today for David Sewell, who also owns Montbazon.  Araldur was stepping up in trip and is a giant horse and a ‘galloper’.  Both Wayne and Liam Treadwell, who was aboard the runner-up, lost their whips on the run-in. 

Squadron (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Chase (3 ran); and the outsider of 3 won again!

Way Back When (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

No Tears (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase (12 ran).

Cold Knight (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).

 

Newbury

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished 5th; Credit Crunched (Alan King/Sam Thomas) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

Ikorodo Road (Martin Keighley/Johnny Farrelly) started as favourite but fell at the 1st fence in the Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase (15 ran).  I can’t believe the horse can be so unlucky; but at least he was fine after the mishap.

Ravatree (Alan King/Sam Thomas) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Medinas (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) won the Standard Open NH Flat Race (8 ran).  Medinas is a tiddler but beat his bigger rivals.

 

No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow; although racing will be taking place at Huntingdon.

 

I think I shall watch the premier of the film ‘Taken’, which is being shown on Channel 4 starting at 21:00 tonight; when interviewed by ‘Weekender’, Choc mentioned it as the last good film he’d watched.

 

No sign yet of the spider ... but the Dyson vacuum cleaner is still primed and ready for action! 

Friday 04 March 2011

Today there were a number of runners of interest, and this is how they fared:

 

Doncaster

American Ladie (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 3rd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Hypnotic Gaze (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) won the Claiming Hurdle (7 ran); the yard’s 15th winner of the season.

High Benefit (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th & Persian Forest (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) finished 8th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Balerina (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

Enfant De Lune (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Busby Berkeley (Martin Keighley/Choc) finished 10th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).

 

Newbury

Soir D’Estruval (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) fell at the last; Lariat Sam (Alan King/Sam Thomas) finished 6th; Shrewd Investment (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) unseated two out in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

 

Tomorrow, Alan King and Martin Keighley have a number of runners:

 

Doncaster

14:10 Awesome Freddie (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

15:50 Lidar (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:25 Next Man In (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) & Montbazon (Alan King/Choc) – DBS Spring Sales Bumper (Std Open)

17:00 Lake Legend (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Chase

17:35 Awesome George (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Handicap Chase

 

Kempton Park

14:15 Araldur (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:50 Squadron (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase

15:25 Way Back When (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

16:35 No Tears (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

17:10 Cold Knight (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race

 

Newbury

13:55 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) & Credit Crunched (Alan King/Sam Thomas) – Handicap Hurdle

15:00 Ikorodo Road (Martin Keighley/Johnny Farrelly) – Handicap Chase

16:10 Ravatree (Alan King/Sam Thomas) – Novices’ Hurdle

17:20 Medinas (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Ruby Walsh returned to action at Newbury today, following his recovery from a broken leg.  More

 

News today that Diamond Harry has been withdrawn from the Cheltenham Gold Cup due to lameness.  More

 

With Choc staying ‘up north’ to ride at Doncaster again tomorrow (he’s obviously got his eyes on the £34,585 prize for winning the DBS Spring Sales bumper), I won’t be going racing this weekend after all.  But, looking on the bright side, it will give me the opportunity to ‘re-charge’ my batteries before launching into, possibly, Sandown Park next Saturday and then all four days of the Cheltenham Festival the following week.

 

I’ve completed my Kempton Park diary for last Saturday.  Click here to read.

 

I’ve just had a nasty fright ... something caught my eye ... it was a spider running straight towards me across the carpet!  And I’m sitting on the floor, as my laptop is on the coffee table.  I’ve jumped out of the way ... but now I don’t know where the horrible creature has gone to!  And yes, I did scream!!!  However, I’ve now got the Dyson at the ready, just in case it makes another appearance tonight!

Thursday 03 March 2011

Today, Choc had two riding engagements at Taunton, both for Alan King:

Romulus D’Artaix finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Patsy Finnegan finished 2nd in the Beginners’ Chase (8 ran).

 

Meanwhile, Martin Keighley had one runner at Ludlow, and the yard is certainly back with a bang following its recent period on the ‘easy list’:

Havingotoscoobydo (Warren Marston) won the NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (9 ran); Martin’s 14th winner of the season.

 

Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest, both at Doncaster and Newbury:

 

Doncaster

14:10 American Ladie (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Hurdle

14:45 Hypnotic Gaze (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Claiming Hurdle

15:55 High Benefit (Alan King/Choc) & Persian Forest (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:30 Balerina (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

17:05 Enfant De Lune (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase

17:35 Busby Berkeley (Martin Keighley/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Newbury

14:55 Soir D’Estruval (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Lariat Sam (Alan King/Sam Thomas) & Shrewd Investment (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

 

The ‘infamous’ Hell’s Bay has been ruled out of the Jewson Novices’ Chase (and the remainder of the season), due to a leg injury.  More

 

And Jason Maguire’s suspension has been reduced by one day, enabling him to ride Peddlers Cross in the Champion Hurdle ... More  Personally, I think that the original decision should have stood; not because Jason was awarded too many or too few days suspension, but because the BHA has now set a precedent which gives the impression that any jockey might have their ban reduced, should they appeal, in order to ride in a major race.  Sorry Jason, it’s nothing personal.  

Wednesday 02 March 2011

Alan King had two runners today:

 

Folkestone

Old Benny (Choc) was pulled up in the Kent National (Handicap Chase) (7 ran).

 

Bangor

Kauto The Roc (Ciaran McKee) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).

 

Tomorrow, Choc has two riding engagements at Taunton, both for Alan King:

14:20 Romulus D’Artaix – Novices’ Hurdle

14:50 Patsy Finnegan – Beginners’ Chase

 

Meanwhile, Martin Keighley has one runner at Ludlow:

15:30 Havingotoscoobydo (Warren Marston) – NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Unfortunate news from the Jonjo O’Neill yard; Festival hope, Backspin, has died from a suspected heart attack.

 

And retired racehorse Hurricane Lamp has been put down at the age of 20.

Tuesday 01 March 2011

Alan King has two runners tomorrow:

 

Folkestone

16:10 Old Benny (Choc) – Kent National (Handicap Chase)

 

Bangor

16:20 Kauto The Roc (Ciaran McKee) – Handicap Hurdle

 

I’ve been looking ahead to next weekend ... and I believe there is a very good chance that Choc will be at Kempton Park on Saturday.  Which can only mean one thing - I’ll be undertaking another trip to the races! 

 

 


 

 

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