MARCH 2014

 

 

Monday 31 March 2014

 

Poodles, Poodles, Poodles, Poodles ...

 

 

There’s news that Godsmejudge has been scratched from the Grand National at the 5-day stage.  More

 

So that’s Choc’s intended ride out of the big race; with Wayne Hutchinson having been booked to ride my favourite horse, Walkon. 

 

Here is a link to Geoff Lester’s blog on Alan King’s website, explaining that Godsmejudge is not quite ready to make a return to action again, having been ‘out of sorts’ for much of the winter; but they haven’t totally ruled out him being ready for another tilt at the Scottish Grand National instead.  http://alankingracing.co.uk/news.htm  

 

Thus both Choc and I will have to ‘hang on in there’ in the hope that a trip to Aintree next year will bring better luck; perhaps Godsmejudge will be okay to make an appearance in 2015, and maybe Midnight Prayer too.  

 

Choc tweeted another photo yesterday; taken at the Garthorpe point-to-point near Melton Mowbray; Choc and William must have been visiting his parents on Mothers’ Day:

https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/450323187172392960/photo/1

 

The feared cold of last week didn’t materialise after all, I think it must have been ‘extreme acid reflux’!  But I have been suffering from headaches, neck and shoulder pain for the past three days ... I thought that perhaps it was just too much time spent on my laptop and then my PC at work ... until my Manager mentioned that my work colleague, who was off sick today, had been suffering from similar symptoms at the end of last week. 

 

So it’s now fingers crossed that I’ve not picked up some strange virus ahead of my trip to Aintree; and that Choc will be in Liverpool for all three days ... because I just hate it when I’m in Liverpool and Choc is elsewhere!!! 

Sunday 30 March 2014

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

 

Ascot:

Simply A Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Maiden Hurdle (16 ran); Wayne’s 50th winner of the season ... I’m not bitter!!!

Ronaldinho (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished a short-head 3rd in the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Manyriverstocross (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Handicap Chase by a short-head (11 ran); Wayne’s 51st winner of the season.

Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 14th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (17 ran); and Ugly Bug ran in this race and finished 15th

 

Sam Twiston-Davies his 100th winner of the season today, aboard Benefit Cut.

 

No runners of interest at Plumpton tomorrow.

 

I notice that Choc is pencilled in for the ride aboard Medermit in the Grade 1 Betfred Bowl Chase on Thursday and Wilde Blue Yonder in the Grade 2 Top Novices’ Hurdle on Friday at Aintree. 

 

As Choc says, there’s an upside to being suspended; he’s spending additional time with William:

https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/450222118496927744/photo/1

Although his valet Phil Taylor did reply to ask where were their helmets ... he has a point; a very precious little boy and very precious daddy too. 

 

Belinda Keighley re-tweeted this photo of a Mothers’ Day pony and foal:

https://twitter.com/tatts_ireland/status/450174259051393024/photo/1

 

And there’s a photo of Prince Du Seuil enjoying his outing over fences at Uttoxeter yesterday:

https://twitter.com/mjyharris/status/450210855620079618/photo/1

 

I’ve cleaned my car, and my mum’s too ... not my favourite chore, but it is Mother’s Day.  I just hope it doesn’t get too dirty driving up to Aintree this week. 

 

Having chosen the skirts I wish to wear for Aintree, I’m just wondering what the weather is going to be like.  If it was to be warm, then I could wear summer-weight skirts instead.  But, as I don’t appear to have a smart black jacket in my wardrobe, I will have to settle for my cerise BHS jacket regardless; coincidently it actually matches the colours in two of my summer skirts, and will also look okay with the black and white or black and beige colours of the other two options.  In either of these cases, I’m taking three and a spare.  And, as my two favourite cardigans are cerise and black, and I have a black peplum one too, they will also tone well with these; this will negate the necessity for thinner tops. 

 

Now, having looked at the forecast going forward, the outlook for the Liverpool area gives temperatures of 14 degrees highest on Thursday with light rain showers, 15 degrees highest on Friday with heavy rain showers and 13 degrees highest on Saturday with light rain showers.  Disappointing.  Perhaps I should take a raincoat as my ‘other’ coat – my beautiful silver coloured one, with triple frills around the hem – M&S of course!

Saturday 29 March 2014

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

 

Uttoxeter:

Jojabean (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 12th and Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Tom O’Brien) finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles] (13 ran).

Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) was a non-runner and Prince Du Seuil (Richard Phillips/Daniel Hiskett) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs] (7 ran).

Gabriella Rose (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).

 

Stratford:

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs] (7 ran).

A favourite, Forgotten Gold, finished 4th in the Handicap Chase at [2 miles 7 furlongs] (9 ran); there were all sorts of shenanigans on the run-in which resulted in the first two places being reversed:

 

The Stewards held an enquiry under Rule (B)11.6 into possible interference on the run to the line. Having heard their evidence and viewed recordings of the race they found that the winner, DOLATULO (FR), ridden by Gavin Sheehan had interfered with BENSBENS (IRE), placed second, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies and that the interference had improved DOLATULO (FR)’s placing. They placed BENSBENS (IRE) 1st, and DOLATULO (FR), second. The Stewards found Sheehan in breach of Rule (B)54.1 and guilty of careless riding in that he failed to take corrective action. They suspended him for 4 days as follows: Saturday 12, Sunday 13, Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 April 2014.

 

ATR was far too choc-a-bloc with races today – Doncaster, Uttoxeter, Stratford, Meydan and Navan – so as they couldn’t find time to show Un De Sceaux’s race live, I briefly switched over to RUK to watch it.  And he was successful in his bid to win the Prix Hypothese, just holding off the challenge of Gemix’s late surge. More

 

Martin Keighley has tweeted a photo of Any Currency schooling over his Aintree fence; Champion Court accompanying his stable-mate.

https://twitter.com/martinkeighley7/status/449861750104805376/photo/1

 

And young Freddie has decided to get in on the act too, aboard cute little Crunchie!  Next stop, the Shetland Pony Grand National!

https://twitter.com/belindakeighley/status/449878361779998720/photo/1

 

As mentioned yesterday, there are four runners of interest at Ascot tomorrow:

 

Ascot:

14:00 Simply A Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

15:00 Ronaldinho (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

15:35 Manyriverstocross (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

16:45 Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

 

It’s a lovely weekend to go racing; and the crowds were certainly out in force at the racecourses today.  And perhaps it’s for the best that I have no temptation to head to Ascot, with Choc suspended at the moment; I have so much to do ahead of my trip to Aintree. 

 

I was thinking that I’d complete one of my diaries before setting off to Liverpool but, now, perhaps I’ll leave it and coast into next weekend instead.  This afternoon I finished topping and tailing the last of my outstanding diaries, so I’m now in a far better place to leave them and turn my attention to the upcoming Festival.  That includes cleaning my car, ironing my intended outfits, and beginning my packing too.  And it will permit me to get some much needed sleep too!!!   

Friday 28 March 2014

Just one result today:

Frizzo (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 11th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs] (14 ran). 

Wayne’s other intended engagement was a non-runner, so he didn’t claim his 50th winner of the season today.

 

Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest:

 

Uttoxeter:

15:20 Jojabean (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Tom O’Brien) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]

16:30 Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) & Prince Du Seuil (Richard Phillips/Daniel Hiskett) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs]; the latter returning to action under rules after 696 days, and following on from his victory in Newbury’s charity race at the end of February.

17:05 Gabriella Rose (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Stratford:

14:30 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs]

I notice one of my favourite horses, Forgotten Gold, runs in the Handicap Chase at 16:15.

 

And on Sunday:

 

Ascot:

14:00 Simply A Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

15:00 Ronaldinho (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

15:35 Manyriverstocross (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

16:45 Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Barry Geraghty has been booked to ride Un De Sceaux at Auteuil this weekend. More

 

News of entries for the Aintree Festival have begun to trickle through, with possible runners in next Thursday’s Aintree Hurdle amongst those in focus.  More

 

And the Aintree Bowl; runners which may include Medermit.  More

 

However, Sunnyhillboy will not be taking part in the Grand National following a disappointing showing at home this morning.  More

 

Smad Place will not run again this season so won’t be heading to Aintree.  Nor will Valdez; a trip to either Ayr or Fairyhouse is on the cards for him.  But there are others who will make an appearance at the Festival, although I imagine Uxizandre and Balder Succes are unlikely to be ridden by Choc ... but the good news is that both Godsmejudge and Walkon are on course for the Grand National, so the Saturday will be a mixture of excitement and apprehension for me, with my favourite jockey riding in the big race all being well.  http://alankingracing.co.uk/news.htm

 

Choc re-tweeted a photograph which Archie Bellamy had sent to him; taken from this week’s Horse and Hound.  It’s of Choc’s dad, Martin, enjoying a day out with the Belvoir Hunt. 

https://twitter.com/Archiebells13/status/449272619855273984/photo/1

 

It is forecast to be a warm weekend ... although the clocks go forward and we all lose an hour which, having so much to do, I begrudge!

Thursday 27 March 2014

With Choc suspended from tomorrow for four days, in the meantime I’ll keep an eye on the happenings in ‘Wayne’s World’ as he searches for his half-century of winners for the season!  He has two rides at Wetherby tomorrow including one for Alan King:

15:20 Frizzo (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs]  

Wayne’s other engagement was a non-runner.

 

Having sustained a serious leg injury at the Cheltenham Festival, Irish-based Benefficient has been retired.  More

 

Here is a link to a nice picture on the Racing Post photo sales website taken at Newbury last Friday:

http://photos.racingpost.com/media/Alan-King-with-his-jockeys-Wayne-Hutchinson-and-Choc-Thornton-Newbury-21-3-14-Pic-Edward-Whitaker/lfKgi-zzeoRgcOaQ4hYSqQ..a?ts=eakmr1mXX09nkKMwAH15Jw..a

 

There are still cold viruses doing the rounds at work and my colleague Sue has caught yet another cold.  I can’t believe it ... and my throat is now not feeling 100% this evening.  I shall be so angry if I catch a cold so close to my trip to Liverpool, especially as I’ve been struggling to get my acid reflux under control since I had the flu last month, and each time I catch a cold it sets me back again. 

Work on my diaries continues ... my Kempton Park, Newbury and Cheltenham Festival Day 1 diaries are now ready to have the race notes added.  Day 2 and Day 3 just need the ‘tops’ added before I begin the race notes.  And Day 4 needs to be both ‘topped’ and ‘tailed’ and the race notes added ... work begins on that particular diary tonight!

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Today there were three of runners of interest at Exeter and this is how they fared:

Hollow Penny (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs] (19 ran).

McVicar (Alan King/Choc) finished last in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7½ furlongs] (12 ran).

 

I note that Wayne Hutchinson rode his 49th winner of the season at Chepstow yesterday, aboard Pilgreen. 

No runners of interest tomorrow, which means a ‘Choc famine’ for at least five days, his 4-day suspension commencing on Friday. But I’ll endeavour to look on the bright side, as it means I can give my undivided attention to my website for the next few days.

There are a number of interesting entries (including Grumeti and Montbazon) for the Scottish Champion Hurdle run at Ayr on 12 April.  More

Poor Dave Crosse.  Yesterday he rode his first winner for 366 days, having suffered a couple of near thing mishaps during that time (and it almost went awry at the last again yesterday) only to take a fall at Exeter today and reportedly sustain three broken ribs.  More  The ups and downs of jump racing. 

Tuesday 25 March 2014

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

 

Fontwell Park:

Sapphire Moon (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (12 ran).

 

Chepstow:

Our Phylli Vera (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th (last) in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (5 ran).

 

So that’s a touch of fifthitis then!

 

Tomorrow there are three of runners of interest at Exeter:

14:40 Hollow Penny (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs]

15:10 McVicar (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

16:10 Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7½ furlongs]

 

Ian Popham is unable to ride tomorrow, as his 4-day ‘Any Currency’ suspension commences; as does Richard Johnson’s ban for whip abuse aboard winner Balthazar King in the same race.  But that’s not the end of it for Richard, who will be serving an additional 3-day suspension following his ride aboard Fingal Bay.  Choc’s 4-day Montbazon suspension commences on Friday.

 

I’ve just noticed that BBC2 are broadcasting a ‘Lambing Live’ series of 5 programmes; tonight being episode 2 ... I missed episode one on Sunday evening.  So I shall be watching this evening, along with The Great British Sewing Bee at 21:00.  Although technically I shall be multi-tasking, because I also intend to spend time making additions to my Kempton Park diary; having begun writing it at 06:10 this morning prior to setting off for work!

 

I wasn’t pleased during my walk to work today, when a car drove by and splashed water from a large puddle all over the back of my legs.  I knew the puddle was there and I attempted to run along the pavement adjacent to it before any vehicles passed by, but I wasn’t quick enough.  Damn.  It was a horribly cold and damp journey for me after that. 

Monday 24 March 2014

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

 

Taunton:

Roberto Pegasus (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Taradrewe (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ furlong] (12 ran); it must have been a very close finish as the distances listed are a neck, head and ½ a length!

 

Towcester:

Bull And Bush (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won and Pyleigh Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran); Wayne’s 48th winner of the season.

 

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

 

Fontwell Park:

16:20 Sapphire Moon (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle

 

Chepstow:

15:35 Our Phylli Vera (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

Sunday 23 March 2014

Choc was at Wincanton this afternoon and this is how he fared:

Benbecula (Richard Mitchell/Choc) won the Novices’ Hurdle (Div II) (11 ran); Choc’s 31st winner of the season.

In contrast, Shady Lane (Alan King/Choc) fell in the Novices’ Handicap Chase and hampered another which unseated (6 ran).

Gold Ingot (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 2nd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

Despite walking away from his earlier fall, Choc was unable to take the ride aboard Monksgold (Alan King/Jack Doyle), the horse finishing 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

 

There are four runners of interest tomorrow and, if Choc is okay to ride, engagements will be as follows:

 

Taunton:

15:20 Roberto Pegasus (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

17:20 Taradrewe (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ furlong]

 

Towcester:

15:00 Bull And Bush (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Pyleigh Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) - Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Congratulations to new parents Dougie Costello and his wife Aimee; their daughter was born at 00:35 this morning, weighing in at 7lbs 4oz.  She has been named Aoife Margaret.  Dougie had to rush away following the Mares’ NH Novices’ Listed hurdle at Newbury yesterday (which he won) because the baby was on its way!  And, of course, the proud dad has tweeted a photo of the new arrival too:

https://twitter.com/DougieCostello/status/447687374022410241/photo/1

 

Jonjo O’Neill has requested people to send to him photographs of his runners taken at Cheltenham, to enable the creation on facebook of a Cheltenham Festival album.  Here is one of the close finish to the Grade 1 JLT Novices’ Chase – featuring Uxizandre (Choc), Taquin De Seuil (AP McCoy) and Double Ross (Sam Twiston-Davies):

https://twitter.com/MMaura_M/status/447719311809867776/photo/1

 

I forgot to mention sad news from Kempton Park last Saturday – The Cockney Mackem lost his life during the Silver Bowl Handicap Chase when falling.  There seem to be conflicting reasons given for his unfortunate demise – either a back injury or a heart attack according to the entries on the Racing Forum’s Memorials page.  Also, yesterday, Devils Paintbrush died as a result of a penultimate flight fall at Newbury; it appeared to be a broken neck, therefore instantaneous if that is any consolation.

 

There was much general carnage during today’s fixture at Wincanton and sadly Tiqris took a fatal fall at the penultimate flight in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.  Also not going home tonight are Webberys Dream who injured a hind-leg when falling at the last in one of the Handicap chases, and at Market Rasen Midnight Choice was a fatality injured having pulled upon the run-in during a Handicap Hurdle.   

 

Pulled up when injured at Kempton eight days ago, I notice that Lord Of Scotland’s name has disappeared from the Horses In Training list on Alan King’s website, and he hasn’t been transferred to the Resting (Injured) List either (Tickity Bleue and Wooly Bully are recent transfers to the ‘Resting’ page); so does that mean he is no longer with us? 

 

As hoped, I awoke early this morning, 06:00.  Since then I’ve been working on my website, along with carrying out a few chores around the house.  As a result, my photograph uploads are all up-to-date, I’ve completed the transfer of the RUK Cheltenham Festival afternoon racing coverage to DVD, and yesterday’s action from Newbury too.  I just need to check that the disks are okay before deleting from the hard drive.  I tend to leave RUK’s Mark Your Card on the Sky drive, if they contain an interview with Choc!  And I’ve set up a diary template ready for writing my Newbury diary.  I have a goal before the Grand National fixture ... and that is to have completed the ‘top and tail’ of all six outstanding diaries, and anything after that will be a bonus!

Here is a link to my photograph index page.

Saturday 22 March 2014

 

choc for blog.jpg

 

The cutest jockey, with Alan King and Wayne Hutchinson

 

 

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

Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th and Laser Blazer (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Choc) finished a short-head 2nd (damn!) and Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle Finale (Listed Limited Handicap) (13 ran). 

Brave Helios (Johnny Portman/Choc) finished 10th in the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Hurricane Vic (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 3rd; L’Amiral David (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th; Springboks (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 12th in the DBS Spring Sales Bumper (Standard Open NH Flat Race) (18 ran); I’m pleased that Hurricane Vic was the best of the King runners today, as I liked the look of this big baby of a horse when he finished a promising 4th on his debut run at Kempton Park last month.  If only I’d put money on him each way – his price today 25-1!

 

Hurricane Vic for blog.jpg

 

Hurricane Vic

 

 

Choc will be at Wincanton tomorrow:

14:45 Benbecula (Richard Mitchell/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle (Div II)

15:15 Shady Lane (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

16:15 Gold Ingot (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

17:15 Monksgold (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

I’m already feeling shattered as I write this blog entry ... so I’m going to turn in early, with the hope of rising early tomorrow to continue with my ever-growing backlog of website work. 

Friday 21 March 2014

 

Race 3 f r.jpg

 

Happy retirement Joe Tizzard

 

 

News today that jockey Joe Tizzard has decided to call it a day and retire as a jockey, aged 34.  More

 

Jason Maguire has been released from hospital today and will complete his recuperation at home.  More

 

Hannah Bishop has tweeted a photo of her four racing charges, Letsby Avenue, Coyaba, Annacotty and Faultless Feelings; the former is recovering from tendon therapy and a colic operation, the latter from a pedal bone fracture.  Coyaba and Annacotty are home for their holidays.

 

Here are today’s results from Newbury:

Money For Nothing (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th and Our Pollyanna (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).

Ziga Boy (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (10 ran).

Dundee (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ furlong] (17 ran).

Kuda Huraa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished last in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles ½ furlong] (6 ran).

 

Tomorrow there’s National Hunt racing at Bangor, Kelso and Stratford, with runners of interest at Newbury:

13:50 Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Laser Blazer (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:55 The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Choc) & Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle Finale (Listed Limited Handicap)

16:05 Brave Helios (Johnny Portman/Choc) – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

16:40 Hurricane Vic (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) & L’Amiral David (Alan King/Choc) & Springboks (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – DBS Spring Sales Bumper (Standard Open NH Flat Race)

 

The weather isn’t forecast to be great but, nevertheless, I’m heading to Newbury with my friend Lesley tomorrow.  And I’ve already spent around an hour trying on clothes trying to decide what to wear! 

And I can’t believe that, in two weeks’ time, it will be the eve of the 2014 Grand National; time certainly flies. 

I had an early night last night ... and was in bed just before midnight!

And, finally, I’ve now completed uploading all my Cheltenham photographs and here is a link to the photo gallery index

Thursday 20 March 2014

 

Choc rides a double at Chepstow

J J

 

 

I’m not quite sure why today, in particular, I decided to check on Choc’s ‘Current Form’ tab on the ATR website ... perhaps call it intuition ... and I’m so glad I did, because I discovered that he had two riding engagements at Chepstow, not one, and they were both winners.  And it appears he starved/sweated down to 10 stone 4 lbs to do the ‘surprise’ ride in the second race, and rode with a very tiny saddle and minimal clothing too!  He was also interviewed after both races by ATR’s Mick Fitzgerald and, of course, that is now on DVD along with both races. 

 

So here are the results for what has now become my four runners of interest at Chepstow:

Taffy Dare (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Take The Crown (Henry Oliver/Choc) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles ½ furlong] (16 ran); Choc’s 29th winner of the season

Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Nick Slatter) finished last and Solstice Son (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) won the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles] (7 ran); Choc’s 30th winner of the season.

 

Tomorrow Choc will be riding at Newbury:

14:10 Money For Nothing (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Our Pollyanna (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle

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

15:10 Dundee (Alan King/Choc) - Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ furlong]

16:20 Kuda Huraa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles ½ furlong]

 

My friend Lesley has a free afternoon on Saturday so will be accompanying me to Newbury; I’m very much looking forward to that, as it will be great to have company at the races ... and she’s offered to drive too, which will be a relief having driven almost 900 miles last week!

 

AP McCoy believes his best chance of winning another Cheltenham Gold Cup will be aboard World Hurdle victor More Of That.  More

I’m not quite seeing light at the end of the tunnel with regards to website updates; I went to bed at 01:30 again this morning!  I’m one crazy lady!!! 

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Three runners of interest at Warwick today and this is how they fared:

Ulzana’s Raid (Alan King/Choc) won the Maiden Hurdle (17 ran); Choc’s 28th winner of the season.

Lotus Pond (Alan King/Choc) finished 9th in the Novices’ Hurdle (15 ran); the race was won by the Jamie Osborne trained Saint Jerome, who Choc rode to victory at Ludlow in November.  Today he was ridden by Jack Doyle.

Say When (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (8 ran).

 

Having returned to action at Haydock Park today following his Cheltenham Festival exploits which left him battered and bruised, AP McCoy rode his 200th winner of the season.  More

 

And I notice that Wayne Hutchinson rode his 47th winner of the season at Southwell on Monday; Great Value for Graeme Mcpherson in the Handicap Chase.

 

Three runners of interest tomorrow, at Chepstow:

14:00 Taffy Dare (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

15:40 Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Nick Slatter) & Solstice Son (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Wicked ... I’ve just found Choc being interview again by RUK’s Olly Bell on my Sky hard drive, timed at 10:43 on their Mark Your Card Festival programme for Day 3!  (I’ve already found one on Day 1.)  So far I’ve transferred all of RUK’s racing coverage to DVD, apart from Wednesday where I need to ‘remove’ Huntingdon!  I knew he was on there somewhere, as Lydia Hislop mentioned it during Thursday afternoon’s main coverage.  I didn’t actually see him being interviewed as they record it to broadcast with a few minutes delay ... and shortly after 10:30 I would have been in the little girls’ room because, this year, I’ve been absolutely dying for a wee by the time the gates open (it must be my age) and I just can’t bring myself to use a Portaloo!!!  Sorry about that, more information than you needed!   But I did overcome the problem by Friday, as I drank just half a cup of tea before leaving home, rather than a whole one ...

 

Balder Succes’ lad (and Tante Sissi’s lad too) has tweeted a picture of his charges enjoying time out in the field.

https://twitter.com/orse_racing_lad/status/446254149651668993/photo/1

 

At the moment I’m finding it impossible to go to bed until exhausted ... around 00:30 for the past couple of days ... and 01:30 on Sunday night/Monday morning.  And I was up at 06:00 this morning to log onto my laptop for an hour, before getting ready for work, in order to sort out further photographs for this website.  I’m exactly like this at work ... I hate having too much of a backlog. 

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Three runners of interest tomorrow, at Warwick:

14:20 Ulzana’s Raid (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle

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

17:30 Say When (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

I’m currently at sixes and sevens, not knowing where to begin with my website updates.  Do I concentrate on selecting and uploading my photographs or upon writing the ‘tops and tails’ of my diaries ... or a bit of both?

A bit of both actually; remember to keep checking the photo gallery index just in case a new batch of photos has been uploaded onto the website.

Monday 17 March 2014

Two runners of interest today, at Southwell:

Super Lunar (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th in the NH Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).

Belle De Londres (Alan King/Mr Joshua Newman) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (for Conditional Jockeys and Amateurs) (14 ran).

 

No runners of interest tomorrow.

 

I’ve been slaving over a hot computer at work today ... without a break ... and now, having eaten my evening meal, I shall be slaving over a hot laptop in an attempt to make inroads into the backlog of Cheltenham and Kempton Park diaries before I forget everything (although I do have brief notes which I make as I go along).  There are also the Cheltenham photographs to upload and the RUK coverage to transfer onto DVD – I’ve transferred Kempton Park already and hope to finish transferring Cheltenham Day 1 this evening.  There’s no rest for the wicked ... or the righteous either!

Sunday 16 March 2014

One runner of interest today, at Ffos Las:

City Supreme (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are two runners of interest at Southwell:

15:10 Super Lunar (Alan King/Choc) – NH Maiden Hurdle

17:10 Belle De Londres (Alan King/Mr Joshua Newman) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (for Conditional Jockeys and Amateurs)

 

Is it the winner’s enclosure or the winners’ enclosure?  That is the question posed by the Telegraph.  More  As far as I’m concerned, it has always been the winners’ enclosure!

 

I was up at 06:15 this morning, despite being exhausted when I turned in at around midnight yesterday; I must be on Cheltenham Festival time still!  I’ve spent much of the day updating this blog, so that it is in order going forward, and also uploading the photos I took at Kempton Park yesterday:

 

Races 1, 2 & 3

Race 4

Races 5, 6, & 7

I’m trying not to think about the four days of Cheltenham photos I still need to select and upload and the five diaries to be written too ... Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  And there’s a possible trip to Newbury next Saturday also on the horizon, and three days at Aintree in less than 3 weeks’ time. 

 

It’s back to work tomorrow; I think I need another holiday to recover!

Saturday 15 March 2014

 

Miles to Memphis 2.jpg

 

Miles To Memphis wins the bumper

 

 

As you may have gathered, I went to Kempton Park today ... having this morning discovered that Choc was fit to ride following yesterday’s fall from poor Raya Star.  I really didn’t want to leave Cheltenham racecourse without finding out how he was, having seen an ambulance heading out in the direction of the back straight.  Then I noticed his mum Sally heading in my direction whilst I was loitering (as you do) in an area quite close to the Weighing Room.  So I plucked up the courage to ask her how he was and she told me he was currently in the jockeys’ medical centre having ice applied to his knee; she said there were four jockeys all queuing up for treatment ... and that didn’t include Ruby Walsh or Daryl Jacob.

 

Choc wasn’t lame today, but he did avoid putting weight on his right leg when he jumped out of the saddle to dismount.  That’s his bad knee, the one which he needed surgery upon back in 2010 having snapped three of the four ligaments in a racing accident at Newton Abbot.

 

Choc also picked up a spare ride, aboard Bar De Ligne, which Daryl was due to ride today.  AP was absent from Kempton Park due to injury; I had noticed one of the medics attending him when he had a last fence fall from Mr Mole in the Grand Annual. 

 

Runners of interest at Kempton Park this afternoon and this is how they fared:

Tante Sissi (Alan King/Choc) finished last in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (7 ran).

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th and Seventh Sign (Alan King/Stephen O’Donovan) finished 6th in the Silver Plate Handicap Hurdle (20 ran).  Lord Of Scotland (Alan King/Choc) who carries the colours of Simon Munir, as did the ill-fated Raya Star, was pulled up having broken down and he returned in the horse ambulance.

Bar De Ligne (Steve Gollings/Choc) finished 8th in the Silver Bowl Handicap Chase (11 ran).

First Mohican (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th and Hung Parliament (Alan King/Jack Doyle) finished 14th in the Novices’ Hurdle (2 miles) (17 ran).  It was reported that the latter finished distressed.

Ned Stark (Alan King/Choc) was withdrawn from the Novices’ Hurdle before the runners entered the Parade Ring.

Miles To Memphis (Alan King/Choc) won the Maiden Open NH Flat Race; Choc’s 27th winner of the season.

 

And at Uttoxeter:

Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ryan Hatch) finished finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

West End Rocker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Midlands Grand National (16 ran); the race was won by the David Pipe trained Goulanes.  It was the fourth consecutive year that David Pipe had trained the winner of the race.  More

Tiger Feat (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 9th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (10 ran).

 

One runner of interest tomorrow, at Ffos Las:

17:25 City Supreme (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Connections have decided not to lodge an appeal against the stewards’ enquiry verdict following the Cheltenham Gold Cup. More

 

When interviewed today regarding future plans for his Cheltenham runners, Alan King mentioned that the owners were keen to end Smad Place’s season after the Festival; I know he takes time to recover between runs.  Although very disappointed for Choc, Alan was very philosophical about the horse’s defeat – he just met a better horse on the day. 

 

Uxizandre will go to Aintree or Ayr; he won’t be heading to Punchestown for owner JP McManus because he has to race left-handed.  Valdez will also go to either Aintree or Ayr.  Alan was the most pleased with Montbazon’s showing in the County Hurdle, due to the horse’s preparation having been interrupted – he plans to run him in the Scottish Champion Hurdle.  Midnight Prayer will be heading to the Scottish Grand National.

 

There are two more National Hunt fixtures at Kempton Park this season, the second on Early Spring Bank Holiday Monday 05 May ... and that may be of interest to me.

 

This is so cute ... an orphaned foal and its surrogate mother:

https://twitter.com/ms_arsenal/status/444832125112819712/photo/1

 

It’s late Saturday evening as I write this blog and, not surprisingly, I’m now feeling exhausted ... but I did kiss Choc on the cheek having congratulated him upon riding a winner today (he was stubbly) so that makes it all worthwhile. J 

Tuesday 11 March to Friday 14 March 2014

 

 

2014 CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL

 

race 2 f.jpg

 

Smad Place, runner-up in the RSA Chase

 

 

Click here to read my Cheltenham Festival 2014 Blog

 

Monday 10 March 2014

 

1 sleep to go ...

until the Cheltenham Festival begins

 

 

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest and another winner for Choc J, plus two for Wayne:

 

Plumpton:

Our Phylli Vera (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (7 ran); Wayne’s 45th winner of the season.

Solstice Son (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) won the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 1½ furlongs] (5 ran); Choc’s 26th winner of the season.

Jaja De Jau (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (12 ran).

 

Wayne also rode Nozic to victory in the Handicap Chase (5 ran); Wayne’s 46th winner of the season.

 

Stratford:

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (9 ran).

The Wexfordian (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (14 ran).

 

I have to say it is scarier than usual watching the final day’s racing ahead of the Festival, with fingers crossed that Choc survived the day without any mishaps.  The race commentators certainly added to the equation, with the fate of all jockeys being followed closely whilst the relevant races progressed.  And, unfortunately, some injuries would not have been out of place on Casualty.      

 

Jamie Moore and Aidan Coleman were amongst those who came down at Plumpton, but they were okay and rode later in the afternoon.  But there was carnage in one of the Handicap Hurdles at Stratford, with Jason Maguire taken to hospital via air ambulance having received a kick from a horse following behind him when unseated.  Ciaran Mckee’s mount fell at a later flight during the same race when leading and, having brought down Sam Jones’ mount as a result, he was unconscious for a few minutes; Ciaran went to hospital by road ambulance.  Sam Jones appeared to be okay.  More  Dougie Costello was amongst those who suffered a fall at Taunton and was okay too. 

 

Guess what?  The Cheltenham Festival begins tomorrow, and I appear to have runners of interest in every race on the first day!

 

13:30 Wilde Blue Yonder (Alan King/Choc) – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1).

14:05 Valdez (Alan King/Choc) – Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase (Grade 1).

14:40 Cantlow (Paul Webber/Choc) – Handicap Chase (Grade 3); Choc retaining the ride aboard the JP McManus horse following his 2nd place in Cheltenham’s December feature Handicap Chase.

15:20 Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Champion Hurdle (Grade 1).

16:10 L’Unique (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 2).

16:40 Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Mr RP Quinlan) & Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Mr Joshua Newman) – Terry Biddlecombe National Hunt Chase (for Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase).

17:15 Manyriverstocross (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed).

 

There is an overview of Wednesday’s runners in Geoff Lester’s blog on the Alan King website. 

 

Captain Chris has been ruled out of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and for the rest of the season after suffering a suspensory problem.  More

 

And AP McCoy has been booked to ride Triolo D’Alene in Friday’s Gold Cup.

 

Choc retweeted a photograph which was sent to him of Valdez’s little brother ... you can certainly see the likeness and why Valdez has such a broad white face.

https://twitter.com/Redgatebldstk/status/442769724506910720/photo/1

 

And here’s a photograph of Midnight Sail clearing the last on his way to victory at Sandown Park on Saturday.

https://twitter.com/PAImagesBetting/status/443058436079497217/photo/1

 

And it doesn’t do my nerves any good when Aintree tweet to say that their Festival begins in just 23 days’ time!

STOP PRESS: Jason Maguire has been diagnosed with a fractured sternum and lacerated liver and will miss Cheltenham.  No wonder that valet Phil Taylor tweeted to say ‘the curse of Stratford Cheltenham week’.  I recall Dougie Costello sustained an injury on this equivalent day a few years ago and missed the Festival too. 

Sunday 09 March 2014

 

2 sleeps to go ...

until the Cheltenham Festival begins

 

Three runners of interest this afternoon and another winner for Choc J:

 

Market Rasen:

Lily Waugh (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) won the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (5 ran); Choc’s 25th winner of the season.

 

Warwick:

Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

Trigger The Light (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase (10 ran).

 

Five runners of interest tomorrow too:

 

Plumpton:

15:00 Our Phylli Vera (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

16:00 Solstice Son (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 1½ furlongs]

17:00 Jaja De Jau (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]

 

Stratford:

14:40 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

17:10 The Wexfordian (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race

 

More riding engagement news for Cheltenham, Choc is due to ride Raya Star in the final race of the Festival, the Grand Annual. 

 

In order to give myself more ‘sleep time’ during the Festival, tomorrow’s blog is likely to be last until next Saturday.

 

I’ve compromised with my planned Sky drive deletions of 2012 Cheltenham Festival recordings – I’ve kept the Mark Your Card programmes because they contain lovely interviews with Choc, and I’ve deleted three of the four afternoon race programmes (Thursday’s recording with the Ryanair Chase still remains); these have been transferred to DVD anyway.  Thus I should now have plenty of space to record this year’s Festival Mark Your Cards and races. 

 

Having filled up my car’s petrol tank and washed the vehicle too before 09:30 this morning, I had a shower and soon settled down to watch ATR’s Sunday Forum whilst completing a Sudoku puzzle.  However, I had also noticed traffic queuing along the road outside my home since mid-morning – very unusual for a Sunday, although not so during the morning rush-hour during the week!  Upon investigation, which meant scanning through the local paper, I discovered it was Lambing Day at the local College.  I love ‘baa lambs’ so just had to go, especially as it’s only a short walk away ... and the blue skies and warm sunshine had certainly brought out the crowds – it took over half an hour of queuing to eventually reach the lambing shed but, as you can see below, it was certainly worth it.

 

The equestrian centre was also open; they have over a dozen horses on site and an indoor arena.  I also visited the animal care centre where there were snakes, lizards, rabbits and guinea-pigs on view; my late father kept many guinea-pigs as a child and my brothers and I once had a white and ginger coloured guinea-pig which we called, unimaginatively, Guinea!  Over the years we also kept a couple of tortoises, a rabbit named Patch, and two budgerigars – Pele and Smokey.  Pele because he was yellow and blue like the Brazilian football team strip and Smokey because he was white and grey. 

 

Lambing Day at Oaklands College

Lambs 1 r.jpg

Lambs 2 r.jpg

Lambs 3 r.jpg

Please don’t mention

the mint sauce!

 

 

Lambs 4 r.jpg

Lambs 5 r.jpg

Lambs 6 r.jpg

This one was so cute ...

And soon it would be time for me

to stroke the lamb too!

 

Lambs 7 r.jpg

Lambs 8 r.jpg

Lambs 9 r.jpg

 

These twins were born last night

Lambs 9a r.jpg

Alpacas 1 r.jpg

Piggies r.jpg

Dinner time!

The alpacas are sunning

themselves in their paddock

And the Saddleback pig ‘weaners’

enjoy the sunshine too

 

Saturday 08 March 2014

 

3 sleeps to go ...

until the Cheltenham Festival begins

 

 

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest and Choc rode a winner too J:

 

Sandown Park:

Gone Too Far (Alan King/AP McCoy) finished 9th in the NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final [Grade 3] (16 ran).

Avispa (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race [Listed] (9 ran); the race was won by Irish raider, Gaillimh A Chroi.  I gather the Emerald Isle had a very successful raid on Ayr today too.

Midnight Sail (Alan King/Choc) won the Handicap Chase by 11 lengths (2 miles 4½ furlongs) (10 ran); Choc’s 24th winner of the season and an excellent confidence booster ahead of the Festival. 

 

I confess I couldn’t look at the TV as Midnight Sail jumped the final fence ... just in case he experienced a ‘Wilde Blue Yonder’ moment!  I used to be exactly the same with Agassi when, during a tight match, such as both the French Open Final and the US Open Final in 1999, which he won, I would spend time pacing up and down in a different room to the TV!

 

The David Pipe trained Baltimore Rock won today’s feature event, the Imperial Cup.  However, he won’t be able to go for the bonus at the Cheltenham Festival because the horse is still too far down the handicap to get a run in the Martin Pipe or County Hurdle.  More

 

Chepstow:

Pyleigh Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (6 ran); well done to the team, their 19th winner of the season.

Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) fell in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (10 ran); Belinda Keighley reported via twitter that both horse and jockey were fine following the mishap.

 

And a reminder of tomorrow’s runners too:

 

Market Rasen:

16:40 Lily Waugh (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) - Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Warwick:

14:20 Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

16:20 Trigger The Light (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

 

It’s a worrying time for AP McCoy, with news that young Archie underwent a cardiac operation at a London Hospital yesterday.  Not surprisingly, he has opted out of riding for the next two days in order to spend them with his wife and son.  More

 

Further Cheltenham Festival riding engagement details are appearing for the Alan King horses, with Choc also booked to ride Smad Place in the RSA, and Medermit in the Ryanair.  Wayne Hutchinson takes the ride aboard the diminutive Medinas in the World Hurdle.

 

The Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux will not be travelling to Cheltenham to take part in the Festival.

 

I thought I’d follow up on the fates of Lovcen, Jetnova and Secret Edge who went to the sales at the end of January. 

 

Lovcen went to Sophie & Christian Leech’s yard for £18,000; Jetnova was purchased by Mrs K Smith-Maxwell for £8,000 (point-to-pointing sphere); and Secret Edge sold for £21,000 to Renstall Recke (German?)

 

I stayed up into the early hours of the morning to transfer one copy of the Earls Court tennis action onto DVD, and I completed the task, including checking the recorded disks, this morning.  I also spent time yesterday evening sorting my Festival clothes into four daily piles, ensuring that even the colour of my thermal t-shirts doesn’t clash with my cardigans, fleeces and coats! 

 

Tomorrow morning I shall fill up my car’s petrol tank and then give the vehicle a wash and Spring clean.  Although, by Friday, the paintwork has every chance of being disgustingly muddy if the weather turns wet!!!  But you have to make an effort, don’t you?

Friday 07 March 2014

 

4 sleeps to go ...

until the Cheltenham Festival begins

and my holiday has now begun!

 

 

Runners of interest tomorrow at Sandown Park and Chepstow.

 

Sandown Park:

14:05 Gone Too Far (Alan King/AP McCoy) – NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final [Grade 3]

15:50 Avispa (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race [Listed]

17:00 Midnight Sail (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase (2 miles 4½ furlongs)

 

Chepstow:

16:30 Pyleigh Lass (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

17:05 Westerly Breeze (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

17:35 Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase

 

And three on Sunday too:

 

Market Rasen:

16:40 Lily Waugh (Anthony Honeyball/Choc) - Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Warwick:

14:20 Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

16:20 Trigger The Light (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

 

Nothing planned for the weekend, apart from final Festival preparations!  And I’m now beginning to get excited!!!

Thursday 06 March 2014

 

5 sleeps to go ...

until the Cheltenham Festival begins

 

Preparations are already underway ... in the wardrobe department that is!

 

I’ve been rummaging through my cupboards for outfits for next week and have selected 6 skirts – 4 odds-on favourites and 2 reserve outsiders; my beloved long black handkerchief hem skirt currently falls into the latter category and will be a ‘runner’ if the weather turns colder.    

 

I’ve also decided upon my outer wear - my mauve jacket, my cerise jacket, new grey and black ‘block’ design coat, any of which I may wear twice, or maybe my burgundy M & S coat which has not seen the light of day since I purchased it in Autumn 2012! 

 

With the weather forecast for next week promising to be fine and temperatures above average for the time of year, there will be no need to wear any of my knitted scarves this year; so I’ve had a look through my collection of ‘material’ ones and found something to complement each of my jackets/coats.  

 

On Tuesday I will be testing the air temperature and the going conditions ... beside the course-side rails!  Will it be shoe-friendly or boots recommended I wonder?  Boots will definitely be the order of the day on Wednesday if I’m to venture into the centre of the racecourse for the cross-country event, as it is to be run on the second day of the Festival this year. 

 

Steve Ayres, Balder Succes’ lad, has tweeted a photo of the yard’s entries board, showing their intended runners on the first day of the Festival:

https://twitter.com/orse_racing_lad/status/441472523667247104/photo/1

 

Wayne Hutchinson is due to ride Grumeti in the Champion Hurdle, and Choc will be aboard Valdez in the Arkle. 

 

There’s a new blog entry on Alan King’s website, giving an overview of this weekend’s runners and looking back at last weekend’s runners too.

http://alankingracing.co.uk/news.htm

 

All is now well with My Tent Or Yours, following an injury scare earlier in the week.  More

 

But not such good news for Cue Card who will be out of action for the remainder of the season, a minor stress fracture of his pelvis the eventual prognosis.  More

 

Another quiet day tomorrow ... the calm before the storm ... with no runners of interest.

I have a few chores lined up for the weekend – I need to clean my car, which the garage didn’t do when I had it serviced last month ... I’m sure they’ve done it previously. And fill the tank with petrol too.  I also need to transfer two copies of the Agassi vs Sampras match to DVD so that I can remove the recording from the hard disk.  I must free up other space too ... and it will be ‘painful’ for me to delete these ... recordings of the 2012 Cheltenham Festival with a number of RUK interviews with Choc although, of course, I already have them on DVD! 

Wednesday 05 March 2014

 

6 sleeps to go ...

until the Cheltenham Festival begins

 

No runners of interest again tomorrow.

 

According to forecasts, a high pressure zone will be moving in shortly and temperatures are due to rise this weekend ... I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it lasts until the end of the Festival because I really don’t wish to encounter weather like last year!  It just so cold on the Tuesday and so wet on the Friday. 

 

I managed just 3 pancakes yesterday ... followed by a spoonful of Gaviscon! 

Tuesday 04 March 2014

 

7 sleeps to go ...

until the Cheltenham Festival begins

 

 

There are concerns, although currently minor, that My Tent Or Yours may not make it to the Champion Hurdle line-up having sustained a puncture wound to the sole of his near-fore. More

 

And here is a photograph of ‘Scooby’ and Helen Diment from Saturday’s Charity event at Newbury:

https://twitter.com/amajox/status/440298220011679744/photo/1

 

No runners of interest tomorrow, with Fontwell Park abandoned, leaving solely Catterick.

 

The standard of tennis played by Andre Agassi at last evening’s event at London’s Earl’s Court arena was absolutely fantastic; you’d never think he was now 43.  Pete Sampras’ game took a little while to ‘come together’ so, with Andre choosing to serve having won the coin toss (which is unusual in itself, because he used to prefer to receive), the latter won the first set 6-3.  The second set was decided on a tie-break, with Andre racing through to take the match 6-3, 7-6. 

 

Andre mentioned that he had surgery a couple of years ago to ‘shave off’ bone from his hips, and this has now given him more flexibility and cured the back problem he experienced during the latter years of his career. 

 

And I almost forgot to mention that Pat Cash beat Ivan Lendl; the former is 48, compared to Andy Murray’s coach being 53 (although he will turn 54 on Friday).   

 

I wish I’d actually gone now, although the match didn’t finish until 22:45 which would have made my journey home, alone, very late.  If only I’d known about the event earlier, I could probably have found someone to accompany me. 

 

Pancakes, pancakes, pancakes, pancakes, pancakes ... which is probably the number I’ll eat this evening if the batter goes far enough!!!  But I do eat them with ‘nothing on’ ... no sugar or lemon that is!  Although it is probably fortuitous that I prefer to shower in the morning these days, rather than soak in the bath of an evening, because I might sink without trace otherwise like the Mary Rose, having overloaded!!!

Monday 03 March 2014

 

8 sleeps to go ...

until the Cheltenham Festival begins

 

 

Just one runner of interest at Southwell this afternoon and this is how he fared:

Mortleston (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

 

No runners of interest tomorrow.

 

Old news now ... Annie Power will be heading for Cheltenham’s World Hurdle, partnered by Ruby Walsh.  More Personally, that has been my opinion all along that she should run in that particular race!

 

Martin Keighley’s Havingotascoobydo also took part in the Greatwood Charity race at Newbury on Saturday, piloted by Helen Diment who works part-time at Martin’s yard.  They finished 5th. 

 

This is an excellent photo of Hannah Bishop, Richard Phillips and Prince Du Seuil taken on Saturday ... say cheese!

https://twitter.com/HannahBishop79/status/440411551259189248/photo/1

 

A total of £25,000 was raised for the Greatwood Charity. 

 

The ‘Voice of Racing’, Sir Peter O’Sullevan is 96 today; he was ‘the commentator’ on the BBC when I was growing up. 

 

I’m putting on my ‘tennis head’ tonight and turning back to clock to enjoy the Agassi vs. Sampras match on Eurosport HD broadcast from Earl’s Court to celebrate World Tennis Day; the match starts at around 21:00.

 

I’ve been to the doctor because I’ve been experiencing breathing problems since having the flu ... and have discovered it’s nothing to do with my lungs and everything to do with my acid reflux; I thought perhaps it was 50/50, but no.  I have a vague recollection that I’ve read on the internet that ibuprofen can affect acid reflux and my doctor confirmed that this is indeed the case.  That’s great; I took ibuprofen to bring my temperature down when I had the flu because paracetamol makes me feel strangely ‘spaced out’.  Further research tells me that ibuprofen increases the amount of acid in the stomach and, as a result, can cause heartburn.  No wonder I’ve had heartburn for the first time ever. 

And the solution - I need to continue shovelling down the Gaviscon, along with my acid reflux capsules once a day, and it should settle down again, eventually.  And I really don’t know which painkillers I’ll use in the future; although fortunately it’s very rare for me to take them, even for a headache.

Sunday 02 March 2014

 

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

 

 

Two runners of interest at Huntingdon this afternoon and this is how they fared:

Pirates Cay (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle (6 ran).

Ordo Ab Chao (Alan King/Choc) won the Standard Open NH Flat Race (8 ran); Choc’s 23rd winner of the season.  Commentator Mark Johnson informed the viewers that the horse’s Latin name translates as ‘Order out of Chaos’. 

 

Just one runner of interest at Southwell tomorrow:

15:00 Mortleston (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

 

Following his run in yesterday’s Grimthorpe, there is news that Grand National plans are on hold for Godsmejudge.  Alan knows there’s a ‘stress’ problem somewhere, but it’s yet to be identified.  More  That would explain why he’s not been jumping like his usual fluent self on his last two outings. 

 

There’s further news regarding 5lb claimer Kieron Edgar, who broke a leg as a result of a penultimate flight melee at Newbury yesterday.  More

 

Here is a link to a photo of Hannah Bishop and Prince Du Seuil at the end of the Greatwood Charity race yesterday ... trainer Richard Phillips can be seen in the background running the last half furlong!

https://twitter.com/jolinesaunders/status/440098717568626688/photo/1

 

And another one of Hannah being led into the Winners’ Enclosure.

https://twitter.com/HannahBishop79/status/440122051299663872/photo/1

 

And a picture taken pre-race too.

https://twitter.com/jolinesaunders/status/440037168900485120/photo/1

 

Also the video of the race, shown via the big screen, recorded by one of Hannah’s young sons:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adL3g13RGgs&feature=youtu.be

 

I’ve already set up my Sky hard-drive to record tomorrow’s Eurosport World Tennis Day action from Earls Court, featuring Agassi vs. Sampras; their match is scheduled to commence at 21:00, Lendl and Cash play earlier in the evening.  As the name suggests, tennis action will be taking place around the world and matches from other venues will be shown throughout the day, according to their time zone. 

 

Further research regarding the Bead Fair scheduled to be held on Sunday 24 August 2014 at the University of Hertfordshire indicates that it will take place on the De Havilland Campus in St Albans Road ... so it’s even nearer than I ever imagined and I could even walk there and back, if I’m feeling energetic!  And, if I cannot wait that long, there’s a 2-day Kempton Park Bead Fair on 07 and 08 June; there is also one at the Sunbury On Thames track next weekend but, if I’m not keen to go racing to Sandown Park just 2 or 3 sleeps before the Cheltenham Festival, I definitely won’t be venturing out on an 80-mile round-trip excursion to buy beads!!!  

I’ve been rummaging through my racing outfits and have, hopefully, now washed anything which needed a freshen up ahead of the Festival ... including my much-loved long black handkerchief hem skirt which becomes a mainstay if the weather turns cold. 

Saturday 01 March 2014

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

 

Doncaster:

Lidar (Alan King/Barry Geraghty) finished last and Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (9 ran); despite jumping well on the better ground today, that horse just does not like putting his head in front!

Godsmejudge (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Grimthorpe Chase (Handicap) having made a mistake at the water-jump and not jumped particularly fluently today (12 ran); very disappointing, but hopefully he’ll bounce back in time for the Grand National. 

Monksgold (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran); the race became a bit of a joke with 6 flights removed due to the low sun, leaving just 4 obstacles to negotiate!  However, with the horse’s preference to carry his head high and to the left despite the application of a noseband, perhaps that wasn’t such a bad thing in this instance!

 

The Grimthorpe Chase was won by Night In Milan.  More

 

Newbury:

Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (10 ran).

Frizzo (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished last and Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle due to the ground [3 miles and half a furlong] (5 ran).

Kuda Huraa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished a close 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle possibly because he stumbled after the last [2 miles and half a furlong], three fancied runners having departed two out when second favourite Seventh Sky fell and brought down the favourite, Tiqris, and Roman Flight unseated as a result (6 ran).  More  

L’Amiral David (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 4th and McCabe Creek (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race (10 ran).

 

Roman Flight’s jockey Kieron Edgar was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg following his unseating.  More

 

Jonjo O’Neill tweeted a photo of Burton Port, runner-up in today’s veteran chase, preparing to leave for home.  He was fine, as there was concern regarding blood dripping from his mouth following the race, but he’d actually bitten his tongue!

https://twitter.com/JonjoONeill/status/439825436126609408/photo/1

 

And excellent news regarding the Greatwood Charity race at Newbury today.  It was won by Hannah Bishop aboard Prince Du Seuil who, reportedly, made all the running!  Here is the first photo which Hannah retweeted, and no doubt there will be more later:

https://twitter.com/wiggledotdot/status/439823089984364545/photo/1

 

I watched the Channel 4 coverage of Newbury and presenter Alice Plunkett seemed to be obsessed with the fact that Venetia Williams, who trained two of today’s winners at the course, wore purple tights to match her handbag.  Very stylish she said.  I have to say that in around 75% of cases I wear purple tights to the races when wearing a skirt ... does that make me stylish too?

 

And, whilst watching ATR, I saw Dishy Guru win on the all-weather at Lingfield Park today.  We made ‘friends’ with a two-year-old Dishy Guru when we visited Michael Blanshard’s yard during the 2011 Lambourn Open Day. 

 

A reminder that Choc has a couple of riding engagements at Huntingdon tomorrow:

16:30 Pirates Cay (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle

17:00 Ordo Ab Chao (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

I know that a number of bead fairs are held at racecourses across the country, so I checked out to see what events were available during the coming months ... although, of course, I can’t go to one which clashes with a racing fixture elsewhere!  I notice there is one in my neighbouring town in August; I should know the way too, as I attended the University of Hertfordshire for my Computer Science BSc degree course, although the campus will have changed since that time. 

http://www.ukbeadfairs.com/

 

And my Kempton Park diary has been completed and uploaded.  Click here to read.


 

 

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