MARCH 2016

 

 

Thursday 31 March 2016

I didn’t write a blog yesterday because it’s been so quiet this week ...

 

But there are three runners of interest tomorrow, at Newbury:

14:25 Hindon Road (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 6 furlongs & 93 yards]

16:10 Montbazon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 69 yards]

15:20 McCabe Creek (Alan King/Jamie Insole) – ‘Hands and Heels’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys & Amateur Riders); Alan had been worried that Jamie might not be fit to take up this engagement, having had a bad fall last week.

 

Liam Treadwell was knocked-out, briefly, today when falling at Bangor-on-Dee.  So he will be ‘signed-off’ for at least 6 days and may miss Aintree too.  I missed the fact that Jamie Moore is currently on the sidelines, having broken his left collarbone at Taunton on 22 March; but he does hope to be back riding in time for the Festival.

 

Other news is that Sprinter Sacre has been ‘pencilled in’ for Sandown’s Celebration Chase on the final day of the season, rather than travelling to Aintree or Punchestown.

 

And the news from the Alan King yard is that Ned Stark is likely to run at Newbury on Saturday, along with maybe Avispa, Awesome Rosie, Pemba, Pantxoa, Herewego Herewego and a newcomer in the bumper named Hidden Cargo.  I notice that Noel Williams’ Bingo D’Olivate is also an entry in the first race on the card, with Wayne Hutchinson set to partner him again.   

 

Meanwhile, Ardamir has been entered in the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on Sunday, along with Oceane; the trainer is mulling over whether to run the Dunkley & Reilly horse in a tongue-tie following the breathing problem encountered at Cheltenham.  Others mentioned in dispatches for Ascot are Midnight Cowboy, The Tourard Man, Salmanazar and Gone Too Far.   

 

It sounds like two very good end-of-season fixtures this weekend ... but, sadly, I’m still resting ahead of my 3-day adventure to the Aintree Festival at the end of next week ...

 

Alan thinks it’s extremely unlikely that Midnight Prayer will get a run in the National, as he’s 56th on the list.  But, all being well, Yanworth will run in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle a week Saturday.

 

Simply A Legend is out for the remainder of the year, having suffered a repeat of his leg injury – that’s news via Hannah Bishop, the owner’s Racing Manager.

 

Grantchester is brilliant but, sadly, there’s just one further episode before the end of the second series.  The storyline lulled one into a false sense of security where you thought something couldn’t possibly happen yet, yesterday, having expected a last-minute reprieve for the young lad who had been convicted of murder, he was hanged.  Poor Reverend Sidney is now in meltdown following this outcome, so I guess it all now depends on whether the series producers can hang on to actor James Norton, or whether he will move on to pastures new; onwards and upwards.  He’s very very good, and has recently appeared in two series of Happy Valley and also War And Peace.

 

Oh well ... Santiago Cabrera will soon return in Series 3 of The Musketeers ... although rumour has it that this is the final series L  I gather there’s a second series of the new Poldark in the offing ... but I lost interest in the remake quite quickly – it’s nowhere near as good as the original.  I know women rave about Aidan Turner ... but I can’t quite see it myself! 

Tuesday 29 March 2016

There are no results to report today as all three runners of interest, at Southwell, were non-runners due to the going - Sticking Point, Menace and Our Reward.

 

The new plan for Menace is to either run at Market Rasen on Sunday 10 April (the day after the Grand National), or at Southwell on Friday 15 April. 

 

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

 

Kerry Lee had another winner at Fairyhouse today, this time it was Top Gamble in a Grade 2 chase; he was ridden by Richard Johnson. 

 

But not very reassuringly, Willie Mullins is quoted as saying “Anything that’s right could run” at Aintree.  Horses mentioned were Annie Power and Nichols Canyon in the 2 miles 4 furlong Grade 1 hurdle, Vautour in the Melling Chase, Don Poli in the Bowl, and juveniles Apple’s Jade, Footpad and maybe Let’s Dance.  Also possibly Douvan.  However, Min won’t be making an appearance, as he’s been put out to grass for the summer; he didn’t return from Cheltenham in good heart.  Willie has his eye on our Trainers’ Championship evidently ...

I’m resting this evening, as regards my Cheltenham catch-ups ... I’ve been working today and also plagued by a whole variety of issues since this morning; I’ve had neck ache, dizziness, shoulder ache, ‘clampy head’ and back pain! 

Monday 28 March 2016

Today I found another Racing UK BetBright Cup interview with Choc and Hector on my Skybox (recorded pre-racing on Day 2) ... so I now have three, from 14 March (preview), 16 March (Day 2) and 17 March (Day 3).

 

Choc & Hector for blog.jpg

 

 

But the bad news is that the Skybox, having been set-up for auto delete at the time, moved Day 1’s Mark Your Card programme into the separate delete box because I’d briefly viewed it to check the recording had succeeded. I would have marked it straightaway as a ‘keeper’ had I realised there might be another Choc and Hector interview included.  But, as a result, I probably deleted it accidently when I was checking to see where it had disappeared to; typical.  But, as I wrote in my Cheltenham blog, it’s an issue of poor design on the part of Sky; that’s my software engineering brain kicking in (I have a BSc degree in Computer Science, with software engineering, gained in 1995).  I must have also missed an interview with Choc and Hector on Day 4’s Mark Your Card; but that didn’t even record in the first place, because the box decided there wasn’t enough room on the hard drive to do so.  What a bummer.  I’ve now reset the box to ‘manual’ housekeeping of recordings so, if there’s a problem with failed ones going forward, it’s my fault entirely.  

 

My problem is that I cannot bring myself to knowingly delete a number of my favourite recordings of my favourite person from the Sky box, despite having copies on DVD too!  It’s my back-up strategy I guess. 

 

I need a new camera, and am hoping to upgrade to a new and improved one within the next year ... but only if Hotter and Kipling agree to stop offering irresistible items in their seasonal sales!!!

 

I spend far too much on crafting also ... jewellery and knitting being my current favourites, but I also like cross-stitching and have recently bought a number of sewing patterns with the hope of re-establishing that hobby – although I cannot recall making anything since dresses and rah-rah skirts in the 80s.  It’s very difficult to find skirts, in designs I like, in the shops these days – I love hem detail, including ‘flippy’ hems and handkerchief hems; also pencil skirts.  Plain A-line skirts aren’t for me – I’m all stomach and boobs (again courtesy of my paternal grandmother), not bum and thighs!   

 

patterns for blog.jpg

 

 

There’s just one result today, as all three entered at Chepstow were non-runners due to the heavy going:

 

Fakenham: 

Kokomo (Noel Williams/Nick Scholfield) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Maiden Open NH Flat Race (5 ran).

 

Chepstow:

Sticking Point (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) was a non-runner in the NH Novices’ Hurdle

Ned Stark (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 131 yards]

Dalton Glance (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) was a non-runner in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

There was a successful raid to Fairyhouse for the Dan Skelton-trained Value At Risk, ridden by brother Harry; he won the Grade 2 Hurdle race.

Also, Emily Gray won the Grade 3 Mares’ Chase, ridden by Jonathan Burke; she was due to be piloted by David Bass, but travel problems threw both the jockey’s and trainer Kim Bailey’s journey into chaos and they failed to arrive.

 

Russe Blanc made an unsuccessful appearance in the Irish Grand National; he was pulled up, having been unsuited by the ground.  The race was won by Rogue Angel, for Gigginstown Stud, trained by Mouse Morris and ridden by Ger Fox.  And, a first for me, I was actually cheering home Ruby Walsh, who failed narrowly to win aboard the ex-Alan King-trained Bless The Wings!!!  I must have been having a funny moment ... but I was supporting the horse, not the jockey!

 

It has been announced that popular flat horse Cirrus Des Aigles has been retired; he has ligament issues. 

 

There may or may not be three runners of interest tomorrow, at Southwell:

15:30 Sticking Point (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:40 Menace (Noel Williams/William Featherstone/EPDS Racing) – Hands and Heels Handicap Hurdle (conditionals and amateurs) [2 miles 4 furlongs & 62 yards].

17:15 Our Reward (Jamie Snowden/Brendan Powell/EPDS Racing) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

However, as it has been raining at Southwell for much of today, Menace is reported to have just a 20% chance of running, as the ground will probably be too soft for our little boy. 

 

I’ve now drafted the top and tail of my third Cheltenham diary, Day 4.  I’m still on schedule ... yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees! 

 

Sunday 27 March 2016

There were two runners of interest at Plumpton and this is how they fared:

Authorized Too (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Maiden Hurdle (6 ran); Wayne’s 51st winner of the season.  I gather the horse’s stable name is ‘Arthur’.

Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Sussex National [3 miles 4 furlongs & 102 yards] (8 ran).

Also another favourite of mine, Billy No Name, finished 5th in the Sussex Champion Hurdle (7 ran).

 

There are five National Hunt fixtures tomorrow – Chepstow, Fakenham, Huntingdon, Market Rasen and Plumpton – with four runners of interest at two of these:

 

Chepstow:

14:55 Sticking Point (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:40 Ned Stark (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 131 yards]

17:15 Dalton Glance (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Fakenham: 

17:45 Kokomo (Noel Williams/Nick Scholfield) – Mares’ Maiden Open NH Flat Race

 

There was an inspection before racing at Plumpton today and, I gather, there will need to be another tomorrow with further rain expected in the south-east. 

 

Wayne Hutchinson has riding engagements at Market Rasen, but not for Alan King.  Also, Denis O’Regan will be riding at Fairyhouse again tomorrow; including a ride in the Irish Grand National.  Ruby Walsh is due to ride Bless The Wings in the race for Gordon Elliott.

 

Kerry Lee claimed her first Grade 1 victory today, at Fairyhouse, when Kylemore Lough won the Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase under Barry Geraghty.  There was also a first Grade 1 victory for Irish trainer Gavin Cromwell, when Jer’s Girl won the Mares’ Novice Hurdle Championship Final; she was also ridden by Barry Geraghty, as JP McManus had purchased her last week!  Kerry runs the white Russe Blanc in tomorrow’s Irish Grand National. 

 

Kylemore Lough:

https://mobile.twitter.com/Fairyhouse/status/714112487692566529/photo/1

 

Kerry Lee:

https://mobile.twitter.com/RacingPost/status/714131631464955905/photo/1

 

Jim Goldie reports that Jonny Delta suffered muscle damage as a result of yesterday’s crashing fall; however the horse should be fine following stable rest.  In contrast, Diarmuid O’Regan sustained a broken collarbone, cracked ribs and was awaiting the result of a scan on his knee. 

 

I’m still on schedule as regards my Cheltenham diaries, as I’ve now topped and tailed Day 2’s draft.  I even had time to do some knitting late afternoon.  Tomorrow’s task is to top and tail my Cheltenham diary Day 4. 

 

I’d intended to watch Jane Eyre late yesterday evening, but ended up dozing off, twice, instead.  That wouldn’t have been too much of an issue had I not already had a sore neck; I ended up aggravating the problem because I was sitting in an armchair at the time!   

Saturday 26 March 2016

 

http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/276334/Article/images/28950471/13429879.jpg

 

Picture courtesy of the Gloucestershire Echo

 

 

I was interviewed by a young man from the Gloucestershire Echo on Gold Cup Day ... and have made it onto their website:

http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Cheltenham-Festival-Gold-Cup-races-delights-fans/story-28950471-detail/story.html#2

 

I’m looking very ‘grey’ ... and should have lied about my age (or not told them) ... although the press guy did say I didn’t look it; however, I felt more like 70 by last weekend!!!  I’ve got to the stage where I don’t mind having grey hair, but I’d like it to turn completely white as soon as possible.  I had lovely brunette hair, until I began to turn grey at the age of 20!  And no, I’ve never had a desire to be blonde.  I inherited the ‘grey’ gene from my paternal grandmother, Clara, who was white by the time she was 30; her nickname as a youngster, evidently, was ‘darkie’!  But, looking on the bright side, I didn’t inherit tight curly locks from my dad.

 

I’ve been naughty again today ... this time I was looking at the Hotter Shoes website, as you do when taking a few minutes break, and thought I’d just take a look at their clearance items.  I found they were offering ‘Cannes’ style boots, in sizes including mine (8) in ‘mushroom’, for £49.99; that’s a 50% reduction on the full price.  I already have this style of boot in black, which I bought in their December 2014 sale, for £59.99.  What can I say ... I bought a pair, as they were foremost in my mind, having seen a lady at Cheltenham wearing the style and colour last week (when I was coincidently following her through the car park); I wore my pair on Tuesday and Friday and love them.  They are great for wearing with both skirts or leggings/jeggings ... or both at the same time as is frequently my preference for race-days at the present time – why be cold if you don’t have to be?  They are calf length, 80% suede, 20% leather, and lace-up too; plus the heel is a sensible height (2 inches) and wedge in shape – ideal for walking on winter grass, although I wouldn’t wear them in extremely wet conditions as that could ruin them, I’d wear my M&S snow-boots instead.    

 

There were two runners of interest today, at Haydock Park:

 

Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the 2-mile Hurdle Series Final (Handicap Hurdle) (14 ran). Vendor, currently trained by Sue Smith, could only finish in 10th.  Amazingly, both Jonny Delta and Serenity Now survived their falls at the first and second flights respectively.  However, jockey Diarmuid O’Regan (younger brother of Denis) was taken to Aintree Hospital for observation having lost consciousness when Jonny Delta made his bone crunching exit.  

Elgin (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was the 12-1 winner of Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran); Wayne’s 50th winner of the season.  I hope my friend Sandra put her money on Elgin today – it’s her home territory!  

 

For the record, EPDS’ Wildehearted Woman (aka Wilma), trained by Jamie Snowden and ridden by Brendan Powell, won her Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race at Carlisle this afternoon; price 12-1. 

https://mobile.twitter.com/LeaNor93/status/713812471648231424/photo/1

 

There are two runners of interest tomorrow, at Plumpton:

16:35 Authorized Too (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

17:10 Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) – Sussex National [3 miles 4 furlongs & 102 yards]

 

I have to say I’m underwhelmed by Windows 10 and Edge.  It’s easy enough to find what you want ... but it’s so old fashioned looking!

 

I’ve ‘topped’ my Day 1 diary, and also hope to ‘tail’ it before turning in tonight.  Having exhausted myself during Cheltenham, I’m in no hurry to complete my Cheltenham diaries before Aintree.  Just so long as I can complete all three ‘tops’ and ‘tails’, anything else will be a bonus, including uploading my photographs.  I will then be pacing myself well into the summer, especially as I’ll have further race days to diarise.  

Friday 25 March 2016

Firstly, First Mohican finished 4th in his all-weather race at Lingfield Park today (13 ran).  Meanwhile, at Wolverhampton, Agent Gibbs (currently leased by EPDS Racing) finished 3rd on the all-weather on his seasonal debut. 

 

I gather, earlier this week, Tom Bellamy was handed a 9-day ban for overuse of his whip; as a result he will miss the Aintree Festival, as the ban runs from 07 to 15 April. 

 

I gather that Stratford’s fixture, scheduled for tomorrow, has been abandoned.  This leaves just two runners of interest, at Haydock Park:

 

15:45 Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – 2-mile Hurdle Series Final (Handicap Hurdle); Vendor, currently trained by Sue Smith, also takes part in this race.

16:50 Elgin (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Lambourn had lovely weather for their Open Day ... very fortunate, as it’s now all downhill for the remainder of the Easter weekend!

 

Altior, winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last week, looking pretty at Seven Barrows today:

https://mobile.twitter.com/mjyharris/status/713440824101568512/photo/1

 

The current Champion Chaser, Sprinter Sacre:

https://mobile.twitter.com/Epsom1780/status/713432672463360004/photo/1

 

And the recently retired Long Run:

https://mobile.twitter.com/mjyharris/status/713445164451237889/photo/1

 

And, last but not least, Many Clouds:

https://mobile.twitter.com/AtTheRaces/status/713325964051267584/photo/1

 

As usual, I’ve failed in my quest to keep to my diary writing schedule ... it’s just so easy to get side-tracked.  I’ve been surfing the internet, and discovered that the Kipling handbag I’ve had my eye on, in my preferred colour too, has been reduced in price by 30% this weekend ... so I’ve bought one!  I just couldn’t help myself.

 

I’ve also been catching up with two episodes of Grantchester; I saw last Wednesday’s but missed the Wednesday before ... so I watched the first and then re-watched the second too.  But it’s never a chore, as the star James Norton is rather nice eye candy!!!  Fans are calling for his character, the Reverend Sidney Chambers, to ditch his old flame Amanda for sassy on/off new girlfriend Margaret ... and I couldn’t agree more.  Although, from almost half a century of experience, I know just who difficult it is not to be held prisoner by matters of the heart.

Thursday 24 March 2016

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

 

Chepstow:

Miss Minx (Alan King/William Featherstone) finished 8th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).

Brod Na Heireann (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs & 131 yards] (9 ran).

 

Ludlow:

Magic Music Man (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

Avispa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (5 ran).

Lady Persephone (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 6th but Morning Herald (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) won the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).  Well done Team Keighley; their 22nd winner of the season. 

 

Wolverhampton:

Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/Adam Kirby/part-owned by AppleTree Stud) finished 5th in the Handicap [1 mile 4 furlongs & 50 yards] (11 ran).

 

There’s all-weather action tomorrow, with Alan King’s First Mohican running in the 14:40 at Lingfield Park.  I’m not religious, but I don’t agree with there being horse racing on Good Friday.  And, of course, it’s the Lambourn Open Day tomorrow.  I understand Sprinter Sacre and Coneygree will be parading, amongst others; also, Many Clouds will be paraded at his trainer, Oliver Sherwood’s yard.

 

Both Sam Waley-Cohen and Nina Carberry have been cleared to ride in the Grand National.  Their respective bans were upheld but, due to ambiguous wording in the BHA rules, the authority conceded that the bans could not apply upon that particular day!  Oops! 

 

I took my car to my service company before I went to work this morning.  The mechanic put it on the ramp and re-checked the cooling system; it came back with a clean bill of health.  So, hopefully, it was just an airlock as suggested and will now be fine.  

Wednesday 23 March 2016

There were 3 runners of interest at Warwick and this is how they fared:

Clondaw Fonz (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Maiden Hurdle (17 ran).

Quantum Of Solace (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Bastien (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (18 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are also a number of runners of interest:

 

Chepstow:

14:05 Miss Minx (Alan King/William Featherstone) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

15:15 Brod Na Heireann (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs & 131 yards]

 

Ludlow:

14:30 Magic Music Man (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:40 Avispa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

17:20 Lady Persephone (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) & Morning Herald (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

 

Wolverhampton:

17:10 Schoolboy Error (Jamie Osborne/Adam Kirby/part-owned by AppleTree Stud) – Handicap [1 mile 4 furlongs & 50 yards]

 

You will have noticed that Menace isn’t running tomorrow, as he’s still sore; Southwell remains on the agenda for next Tuesday.

 

Thistlecrack, the impressive winner of last week’s World Hurdle, has been awarded an official rating of 174; that’s the same as the highest rating ever awarded to Big Buck’s!

 

There was a nice article about Any Currency and Martin Keighley is today’s Racing Post.

 

And, being a Wednesday, the latest issue of Weekender has appeared in the shops:

 

Alan King writes that he didn’t have a highlight last week ... because he didn’t have a winner at Cheltenham!  And his lowlight wasn’t Yanworth’s defeat, it was the very disappointing runs of all three of his Triumph Hurdle runners; he says that it’s clearly the case that the Irish juveniles are far better than the British ones.  However, Sprinter Sacre’s performance made him smile, because it was great for connections and for racing in general; he describes it as a marvellous performance.  There’s no surprise that the equine fatalities made him sad.  And he’s most looking forward to recharging his batteries after the Festival ... me too!!!   

 

Alan was delighted by Dusky Legend’s runner-up finish in the Mares’ Novices Hurdle.  However, Ardamir choked early on in the Fred Winter and couldn’t breathe; hence the disappointing showing.      

 

Alan reckons he will probably have just a small team of runners at Aintree; about 6 in total.  Winter Escape is ‘running up a bit light’ so won’t be there, instead he will be going back to JP McManus’ Stud in Ireland for the summer and Alan is very much looking forward to getting him back next season.  Midnight Maestro has returned to Alan’s yard, having been sold for £100,000 at the Cheltenham Sales last week; the trainer states that he was bought by one of Alan’s existing owners (research on Alan’s website reveals that to be JP McManus too!).  Sceau Royal may go to Aintree, provided all is well with him; but Gibralfaro will be gelded and put away for the season, while Who Dares Wins will be given a break and then run on the flat.

 

Ned Stark is due to run in a Handicap Chase at Stratford this weekend, as top weight; it’s still a fact-finding mission, due to his disappointing runs this season.  I guess it’s now big fish in a small pond, as opposed to small fish in a big pond! 

 

I woke with a sore neck this morning, which I’ve still got to some degree; and around lunchtime I was feeling a little dizzy too – that’s another symptom which occurs from time to time.   So I’m taking a break from my Cheltenham diaries this evening; although I’m actually still in the process of setting up the templates, rather than writing my memoirs yet. 

 

I’ve been in touch with the service centre which serviced my car, regarding the coolant, and have been asked to take it in tomorrow so that they can check it over.  The initial explanation however, is plausible.  The mechanic explained that there may have been an airlock in the system, because they did carry out a related-repair; thus, when the airlock cleared itself, the fluid will have filled the space and emptied from the overflow tank.  But it would have been nice if they could have warned me this might happen, so that I could keep an eye on it before the minimum level was reached.  So it was auspicious that the RAC checked under the bonnet last week.  

Tuesday 22 March 2016

For the record, Kuda Huraa finished 2nd and Our Phylli Vera completed in 3rd in Wetherby’s Selling Hurdle today.

 

Also, Wayne Hutchinson rode Godsmejudge in a 3-mile Handicap Chase at Exeter today; they finished 6th of 8.

 

There are 3 runners of interest tomorrow, at Warwick:

14:10 Clondaw Fonz (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

16:20 Quantum Of Solace (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

17:20 Bastien (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

With so much going on, I forgot to wish Long Run a happy retirement:

https://mobile.twitter.com/Channel4Racing/status/711960833933369344/photo/1

 

Menace has sustained a small bruise on his leg, so he may not run at Chepstow on Thursday; the contingency plan is to run him at Southwell on 29 March instead, in a Conditional Jockeys’ event.  I hate Southwell, and the brush hurdles ... so I’m not happy about that.

Monday 21 March 2016

There were 5 runners of interest today, at Southwell:

Sugar Mix (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) unseated and Ted’s Lad (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the NH Maiden Hurdle Div I (10 ran).

Sticking Point (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was a non-runner but Weyburn (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) won the NH Maiden Hurdle Div II (7 ran); well done to the team, their 21st winner of the season (Any Currency was their 20th winner)

Elkstone (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle [1 mile 7 furlongs & 153 yards] (12 ran).

 

There are no specific runners of interest tomorrow, but I do notice that two ex-Alan King-trained horses – Kuda Huraa and Our Phylli Vera are running in the Selling Hurdle at Wetherby.

I was going to have a little bit of a lie-in today ... but still woke up at 06:30; I must be on autopilot still.  Oh well, I now can’t have a lie-in until Friday at the earliest, as I return to work tomorrow following my Cheltenham Festival break. 

Sunday 20 March 2016

I wasn’t feeling particularly well yesterday evening, so turned in at 20:00.  I woke and made myself a cup of tea at 01:30, before going back to sleep and finally rising at 05:45.  I’ve been transferring recordings to DVD for most of today. 

 

It’s a nightmare trying to get ‘back in harness’ as regards to writing my blogs ... but I now feel I’m winning with the Cheltenham Festival blogs and hope to have them completed at some stage tomorrow.  

 

Wayne Hutchinson rode his 49th winner of the season today, at Carlisle aboard the Donald McCain-trained Bruce Almighty.

 

There are 5 runners of interest tomorrow, at Southwell:

15:20 Sugar Mix (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) & Ted’s Lad (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Maiden Hurdle Div I

15:50 Sticking Point (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Weyburn (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – NH Maiden Hurdle Div II

16:50 Elkstone (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Handicap Hurdle [1 mile 7 furlongs & 153 yards]

 

And, damn, my newer laptop caught me out this afternoon by beginning the Windows 10 Upgrade when I wasn’t looking ... I didn’t want to do that yet, as I think the deadline for obtaining a free upgrade isn’t until July?  Admittedly I did choose an upgrade date the last time I was asked ... of today ... but that was late Friday when I wasn’t in a fit state to decide anything!!!  Poodles. 

Saturday 19 March 2016

I’d been hoping to sleep in, having not turned in until 01:30 this morning.  However, at 08:30, I received a nuisance telephone call which woke me ... thanks a lot, whoever you were.

 

I’ve also been to the local sorting office to collect my Sandown Park Jump Finale tickets; they had tried to deliver them yesterday when I was at Cheltenham. 

 

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

 

Kempton Park:

Simply A Legend (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 2nd but Salmanazar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Silver Plate Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (17 ran).

King Kayf (Noel Williams/Ian Popham) and Mirkat (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) were both pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Thomas Shelby (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th, Too Far Gone (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 15th, and Midnight Merlot (Noel Williams/Ian Popham) finished 12th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (17 ran).

 

Richard Johnson gave up all his rides today; he wanted to take time out to recover from the rigours of the falls he’d suffered at the Cheltenham Festival. 

 

Fontwell Park:

Altesse De Guye (Martin Keighley/Conor Shoemark) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

 

Uttoxeter:

Daliance (Noel Williams/William Featherstone/EPDS Racing) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs] (11 ran).

 

Both Tom Scudamore and Thomas Garner were taken to hospital following falls at Uttoxeter; Tom Scudamore later tweeted to say it was just bumps and bruises, but he wasn’t sure when he would be fit enough to return. 

 

Two further foals have been born at the AppleTree Stud – a colt born last Tuesday to a mare named Midnight Thoughts, and a filly foal by Kalanisi for The Pirate Queen was born last Saturday. 

 

I’m also currently in recovery, the Cheltenham Festival having exhausted me.  In fact I didn’t even make it to Cheltenham on Thursday because I was far too tired to consider taking the long drive home after racing.  As it was, Wednesday’s homebound journey was awful, I could feel myself losing concentration and, eventually, I had to stop off at the M40 Beaconsfield Services for a break.  Friday wasn’t much better, so I avoided the motorways in an endeavour to beat the overwhelming tiredness from taking its toll – it didn’t help very much, but I’m still alive to tell the tale, just.  I can’t believe what a difference a year has made to my energy levels ... but I can certainly guess why ... and I’m not happy about it.        

 

 

Cheltenham Festival 2016 – Tuesday 15 March to Friday 18 March 2016 - Click here to read

Monday 14 March 2016

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

Forgiving Glance (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 2nd in the Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (8 ran).

Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [2 miles & 12 yards] (11 ran).

 

Choc and Hector have been publicising the BetBright Cup again:

https://mobile.twitter.com/JSCComms/status/709431431357997056/photo/1

 

Jamie Insole has tweeted a photo of Smad Place; he’s chilling out in his stable ahead of his race on Friday.

https://mobile.twitter.com/JamieInsole/status/709437169644015616/photo/1

 

Steve Ayres has tweeted a video of Yanworth, enjoying time in his field pen (this may be a photo if the link doesn’t work correctly!)

https://mobile.twitter.com/orse_racing_lad/status/709297215341203456/video/1

 

And photo on Yanworth in his stable too:

https://mobile.twitter.com/orse_racing_lad/status/709265032039768064/photo/1

 

Also a photo of one of AppleTree Stud’s yearlings:

https://mobile.twitter.com/Kirsty_Durham/status/709172113287020544/photo/1

 

Again, this may a photo or a video, depending on the software link:

https://mobile.twitter.com/Kirsty_Durham/status/709171891622297600/video/1

 

I forgot to mention Many Clouds yesterday, after his fabulous win at Kelso:

https://mobile.twitter.com/JaneJwills/status/709124654863147010/photo/1

 

Krackatoa King, having finished 3rd at Warwick yesterday:

https://mobile.twitter.com/noelwilliams03/status/709135793999257601/photo/1

 

Mad Moose actually behaving himself in his new career:

https://mobile.twitter.com/SophieBurkin/status/709112480514121734/video/1

 

This link features our visit to see Menace on Saturday; I’m pictured too:

http://epds-racing.co.uk/the-magic-of-menace-trip-to-noel-williams-racing/

 

A blast from the past ... Desert Orchid:

https://mobile.twitter.com/AnaglogsDaughtr/status/708795636427202560/photo/1

 

I understand that Jason Maguire, who suffered a life-threatening fall on the eve of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, only to return to race riding but injure his back in February last year, is going to make a decision next week regarding his riding career; he currently acts as Racing Manager for owners Paul and Clare Rooney.

 

There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow, on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival:

13:30 William H Bonney (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

16:10 Flementime (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) & Bitofapuzzle (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily) – OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

16:50 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Ms CV Hart) – National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase) (Listed)

 

There are 7 takers for the ArkleAso, Baltimore Rock, Fox Norton and Vaniteux for the home team, and Douvan, Sizing John and The Game Changer for the Irish. 

 

And twelve runners in the Champion Hurdle – Camping Ground, Hargam, Lil Rockerfeller, My Tent Or Yours, Peace And Co, Sign Of A Victory, The New One and Top Notch for the home team, and Identity Thief, Nichols Canyon, Sempre Medici and Annie Power for the Irish.  

 

I probably won’t be writing another blog until Saturday; it takes too much out of me to stay up late and then rise before 04:30 in order to get ready for a further journey to Cheltenham and back.   

Sunday 13 March 2016

Lambing Live – Oaklands College

Expectant mums.jpg

new mum.jpg

mum and twins.jpg

 

Expectant mums

 

This ewe has just given birth to twins ...

and I saw it happen

 

A ewe with twins born yesterday

impossibly cute.jpg

spotty lamb.jpg

Kerry Hill.jpg

 

This little black lamb is just the cutest

you’ve ever seen!

 

A spotty lamb

 

Kerry Hill sheep with lambs ...

my favourite breed

piglets.jpg

toggenburg kids.jpg

tulip.jpg

 

Saddleback sow with piglets

 

Toggenburg kids

 

This is Tulip; she lives at the

equestrian centre

 

alpacas 1.jpg

alpacas 2.jpg

pre-housing.jpg

 

This is Nemo, Mr Toots,

Machu and Picchu

(I don’t know which is which though!)

 

One of the aforementioned alpacas ...

and the legs of another!

 

Just how long will this be the view

from the lambing barn?  The College

is seeking permission to build a

housing estate upon the field in the

far distance; all well and good,

but the local road network cannot

cope with further housing

developments in the area

 

 

 

It’s been another busy day.  I arrived at ‘Lambing Live’ 10 minutes after opening time and already many people had arrived.  I spent around an hour and a half at the College and, this year, was rewarded with twin lambs being born when I was viewing.  I returned home before noon, as my sister-in-law dropped by to cut my hair.  

 

There were three runners of interest today, and this is how they fared:

 

Market Rasen:

The Barbury Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (5 ran).

 

Warwick:

Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished a close 3rd but Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 5 furlongs] (11 ran).

 

There are two runners of interest tomorrow, at Taunton:

15:25 Forgiving Glance (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle

16:55 Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Chase [2 miles & 12 yards]

 

I must sort out all my clothes tomorrow for Cheltenham, as I’ve not really started yet ... apart from taking eight skirts out of the cupboard to consider as possibilities!  Don’t panic ... although I think I probably should!  I’m sticking with winter-weight skirts, as it’s likely to be cold early and late.  Is it due to be similar conditions to the past two or three days, with mist or fog each morning?  If it’s cold, there’s always skirts with tights AND jeggings; my mainstay this season!  Temperatures are forecasted to be highs of 9oC, 9oC, 8oC and 7oC ... dry evidently, but not a lot of sunshine.

 

I’ve more or less drafted my diary from yesterday and hope to proof and upload it tomorrow.  I like to begin Cheltenham with a clean website slate. 

Saturday 12 March 2016

 

Menace 4.jpg

 

 

As you can see, I paid a visit to Noel Williams’ yard to see Menace today.  I wasn’t the first to arrive today, but was one of the first.  And it’s amazing what a small world it is; I discovered that one of my work colleagues is also a member of the Twitterati syndicate, as she paid her first visit to the yard today!  Caroline works mainly in the field, whereas I’m based at Head Office; she drove all the way down from Yorkshire today too.  And she’s attending Cheltenham next Thursday. 

 

I think I’m going to have problems with tiredness next week, as I was feeling worn out by the time I drove back to Hertfordshire; I yawned on a number of occasions.  And I can’t stop yawning this evening either – my energy levels have been peaks and troughs today.    

 

I’ve come to the conclusion that Oxfordshire doesn’t need to erect any county boundary signs on their roads.  Hertfordshire roads are in a terrible state of repair, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire’s too, but as soon as you enter Oxfordshire the roads are smooth and pothole free.  It was particularly noticeable today, driving from Pangbourne to Streatley and onwards to join the road to Blewbury; there was an enormous repair scar running along the carriageway for the entire distance.  However, at the county boundary sign, the scar disappeared abruptly because the A417 had been resurfaced all the way to the village and, presumably, beyond too. 

 

It was noticeable during my trips to Cheltenham last Festival, when my journey through Herts and Bucks was very bumpy, followed by smooth roads in Oxfordshire, only to return again to poor road surfaces in Gloucestershire.  Bedfordshire roads are reported to be good, but that’s because of revenue from Luton Airport!  It was noticeable that Essex had well maintained roads on the one occasion Mark and I ventured in that direction for a ramble, to Mersea Island in fact.     

 

There were 3 runners of interest today, at Sandown Park, and this is how they fared:

Desert Joe (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles & 37 yards] (8 ran).

Solstice Star (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) finished an excellent 2nd in the Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) [1 mile 7 furlongs & 211 yards] (14 ran).

Cajun Fiddle (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race (Listed) (13 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are also due to be three runners of interest:

 

Market Rasen:

17:05 The Barbury Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Warwick:

15:40 Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/James Banks) & Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 5 furlongs]

 

I’ve finished selecting the photographs taken today, and have uploaded them already.  However, I need to begin a draft of my diary tomorrow, although I may not have time to complete it before Cheltenham; especially as I’m going to pop down to the local College to see the new born lambs tomorrow too.

Friday 11 March 2016

There were no runners of interest today.

 

There are 3 runners of interest tomorrow, at Sandown Park:

14:35 Desert Joe (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles & 37 yards]

15:10 Solstice Star (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) – Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) [1 mile 7 furlongs & 211 yards]

15:45 Cajun Fiddle (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Standard Open Flat Race (Listed)

 

There are also due to be three runners of interest on Sunday:

 

Market Rasen:

17:05 The Barbury Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Warwick:

15:40 Krackatoa King (Noel Williams/James Banks) & Merlin’s Wish (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 5 furlongs]

 

James Banks rode out his 3 pound claim at Sandown Park today.

 

Huntingdon has abandoned next Wednesday’s fixture due to flooding ... but, looking on the bright side, RUK will be able to use 100% of their air-time on broadcasting the action from Cheltenham!

 

All being well, I’m heading off to East Oxfordshire to see Menace tomorrow morning.  Fingers crossed there’s no reoccurrence of this morning’s fog.  Also, of course, I hope there are no foggy mornings next week, or at least not Tuesday through Friday.  I have to admit that I checked my car’s manual earlier today, so that I can locate the fog lamps switch just in case!  The last time I needed them was probably Cheltenham a couple of years ago, when I encountered very poor morning visibility due to fog on both the Thursday and Friday of the Festival.  

 

Sunday I hope to pop down to the local Agricultural/Further Education College to see their new born lambs; I need to be home by late morning, as my sister-in-law is visiting to give me a haircut.  I’m not sure whether it’s wise to have a haircut when I’m due to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors next week; I wonder if I will regret it, as I’m bound to get cold ears!!!

 

And I’ve just purchased two tickets for Sandown’s Jump Finale fixture which takes place on Saturday 23 April; my friend Lesley will be accompanying me again this year. 

 

I’m now on annual leave until Tuesday 22 March. J

Thursday 10 March 2016

I’m still here ... but it’s been so quiet that I’ve missed another day of blogging.

 

There was no racing at Fontwell Park yesterday, due to the heavy rain, as I gather the emergency vehicles were unable to follow the competitors; a health and safety issue.  Today’s fixture at Wincanton was also abandoned due to water-logging.  And poor old Stratford have lost their pre-Festival fixture on Monday because the River Avon has burst its banks (yet again) and flooded the course!

 

In his column this week, Alan mentions that Willoughby Hedge pulled up lame on Monday, on the gallops presumably, and a scan has revealed that the horse has fractured his pelvis.  However, they are hoping to save him. 

 

There was a tweet today, from the McNeill family, saying that Gibralfaro schooled well in cheek-pieces today, and that Wayne has made the decision to ride him in the Triumph Hurdle a week tomorrow.  They also report that Olofi will be heading off to the point-to-point arena following a distinguished racing career. 

 

I actually managed to get a whole hour for my lunch-break today J although I still worked an hour’s overtime in total. 

 

Someone found the following internet article for my mum, it’s about my great uncle George, who was mum’s mother’s brother.

http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/first_world_war_bravery_award_for_man_who_served_in_both_wars_1_3876185

Mum’s cousin, Pat, passed away three months ago. 

 

Both of my grandfathers served during the First World War; and my late father served in the Navy during World War II; he was the wireless operator on a gunboat. 

 

Just one more working day until I break up for my Cheltenham Festival holiday J

Tuesday 08 March 2016

Here is today’s result for my runner of interest today, at Exeter:

The Mumper (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 48 yards] (7 ran).

 

There are three runners of interest tomorrow, at Fontwell Park:

14:50 Authorized Too (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

15:20 Daliance (Noel Williams/William Featherstone/EPDS Racing) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 35 yards]

16:50 Laser Light (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

There will be 10 horses taking part in next Tuesday’s ROR Parade at the Cheltenham Festival – namely Denman, Punjabi, Kasbah Bliss, Sizing Europe, Forpadydeplasterer, Mikael D’Haguenet, Cappa Bleu, Oh Crick, Comply Or Die and Tranquil Sea.  Nine of those taking part ran at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival – that was the first Festival I attended ... so it will be nostalgic for me!

 

Here is a link regarding the BetBright Cup which Choc has retweeted:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/racing/article-3482307/Robert-Choc-Thornton-counting-Yanworth-lead-British-charge-BetBright-Cup-Cheltenham-Festival.html

 

And another courtesy of Channel 4 Racing:

http://racing.channel4.com/news/newsid=1241381/index.html#thornton-relishes-kings-second-coming

 

I had a short lunch break today, 20 minutes ... but that was because I was seething and wanted to take advantage of a few minutes down time!

Monday 07 March 2016

With the Cheltenham Festival on the horizon, it’s gone fairly quiet at the moment ... hence no blog yesterday. 

 

However, here is a round-up of yesterday’s one result, from Huntingdon:

Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 145 yards] (10 ran).

 

There were no runners of interest today, at Lingfield Park or Southwell.

 

And there’s just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Exeter:

16:10 The Mumper (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 48 yards]

 

Just four brief items of news to relay:

 

Joseph O’Brien, having fought to keep his weight under control, has announced his retirement from race riding; he will now train.

 

Ma Filleule has been retired, and has gone to France to begin her career as a broodmare.

 

Annacotty will run in the Ryanair Chase.

 

And Victoria Pendleton has been given the go-ahead to ride in the Foxhunters at the Cheltenham Festival; she will be aboard Pacha Du Polder.  Personally I just can’t warm to the woman!

 

I was beginning to think that the Cheltenham Festival was going to take place during a cold snap, much like 2013.  However, the weather is due to warm up at the weekend, the day temperatures into double-figures ... and I’m hoping it will last into next week.  And to aid the arrival of a warmer spell, I’ve knitted two woollen hats – so that’s bound to frighten the cold weather away!

Saturday 05 March 2016

 

Bingo won!!!

 

 

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

 

Doncaster:

Pearls Legend (John Spearing/Jamie Moore) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles & 90 yards] (5 ran).

Sego Success (Alan King/Tom Cannon) finished 4th in the Grimthorpe Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs & 14 yards] (6 ran).

Midnight Maestro (Alan King/W Featherstone) won the Standard NH Flat Race (Conditional & Amateur Jockeys) (5 ran).

 

Newbury:

Flementime (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 118 yards]

Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 69 yards] (11 ran).

Bingo D’Olivate (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (7 ran); Wayne’s 48th winner of the season.

Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) won the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (8 ran); it was another brave front-running performance and he managed to hold off the challenge of Exmoor Mist (I like him too!); Martin’s 19th winner of the season.

Sir Antony Browne (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd and Tara View (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 11th in the DBS Spring Sales Bumper (Standard Open NH Flat Race) (14 ran).

 

Shotavodka won the Veterans’ Handicap Chase Qualifier (Leg 3) – he appears to have suffered no ill-effects having crashed out during the first leg at Exeter when Midnight Prayer was the sole finisher that day; he’s also gone down in the weights since his last victory, which obviously helps.

 

Yet again Paul Nicholls trained the winner of the Grade 3 Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase – his 7th win during the past 9 years ... he’s won it eight times in total!  Today’s victor was Sametegal ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies.

 

And, of course, the lovely Bingo won too ... he was keen initially, but jumped well and Wayne confirmed that he will get two and a half miles without problem.  He was 14-1 today!

https://mobile.twitter.com/DarrenBirdie/status/706151600360914945/photo/1

 

Here is Johnny Og:

https://mobile.twitter.com/NewburyRacing/status/706159926989742081/photo/1

 

Hannah Bishop and Coyaba finished 3rd in the Greatwood Charity Race at Newbury today. She raised a mega-amount of money for the charity, including a large donation from Alan King.

 

There was a little bit of snow in the Cotswolds this morning; Charlie Longsdon’s yard near Chipping Norton:

https://mobile.twitter.com/CharlieLongsdon/status/706015585000361984/photo/1

 

We’ve had a few tiny flakes of snow ... more like dandruff really ... plus sunshine and showers of rain and hail – very similar to conditions at Newbury in fact.

 

Tomorrow there’s one runner of interest, at Huntingdon:

15:00 Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 145 yards]

 

My sleep pattern doesn’t seem to have improved; I was awake by 04:00 again – that’s despite turning in at around 23:00.  I made a cup of tea, and did three lots of washing, whilst watching a recording of Grantchester, amongst other things.  The Church of the Holy Cross at Church End in Sarratt was one of the locations featured in this week’s episode; I recognised the almshouses opposite it in the first instance, as the saddleback roof was never in shot.  And yes, I used to ramble in that area, near Chorleywood, often.  However, its main claim to fame is that my mum was born in the village and christened in the church too!  Evidently the location also featured in Four Weddings and a Funeral!

 

And, finally, I’ve sewn together the child’s cardigan; all that it required now is to sew on the buttons and pin it out to the required measurements before placing under a damp cloth, then leaving to dry.  It’s certainly a relief to finish it before Cheltenham takes centre stage ...

 

Having woken early, I was flagging by early afternoon and did doze a little; but I don’t think I missed much of the racing.      

Friday 04 March 2016

Firstly, you must check out this youtube link ... it’s Choc and Hector publicising the BetBright Prestbury Cup:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRCsO-24dhY

 

There were a number of runners of interest today, and this is how they fared; I was a little surprised that Doncaster was okay, considering there was snow today a little further north and west:

 

Doncaster:

Mille Nautique (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 120 yards] (11 ran)

Briery Queen (Noel Williams/Leighton Aspell) won and Miss Crick (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 3rd in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran).

Mystery Code (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished last in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) (5 ran).

Elkstone (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 4th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

 

Newbury:

Midnight Cowboy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Theatre Goer (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & 52 yards] (7 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest:

 

Doncaster:

14:00 Pearls Legend (John Spearing/Jamie Moore) – Handicap Chase [2 miles & 90 yards]

15:45 Sego Success (Alan King/Tom Cannon) – Grimthorpe Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs & 14 yards]

17:30 Midnight Maestro (Alan King/W Featherstone) – Standard NH Flat Race (Conditional & Amateur Jockeys)

 

Newbury:

13:45 Flementime (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs & 118 yards]

14:50 Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & 69 yards]

16:00 Bingo D’Olivate (Noel Williams/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle; he’d better look after one of my favourite horses, especially as Bingo has a tendency to end up on the floor!

16:35 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

15:10 Sir Antony Browne (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Tara View (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – DBS Spring Sales Bumper (Standard Open NH Flat Race)

 

It is fortunate Bingo is listed on my ATR Tracker, as I missed him when I checked through the race-card!

 

Fruity O’Rooney has been retired. 

 

I’ve no plans for this weekend, apart from acting as a chauffeur on Mothers’ Day!

Thursday 03 March 2016

There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Doncaster:

14:10 Mille Nautique (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 120 yards]

15:15 Briery Queen (Noel Williams/Leighton Aspell) & Miss Crick (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:20 Mystery Code (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier)

16:55 Elkstone (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Newbury:

14:50 Midnight Cowboy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

17:05 Theatre Goer (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles & 52 yards]

 

I’ve pre-ordered a copy of the DVD of the most recent Star Wars film; release date 18 April.

 

It was another early start, I was working by 07:50; in fact it was a very early morning, initially, as I woke at 03:30.  I made myself a cup of tea but it took ages to get back to sleep again, probably around 05:00.  I worked through my lunch-break yet again but, as I needed to collect an item from M & S, I left at 17:15 which is 15 minutes early.  There’s also been a set-back as regards my workload. 

Wednesday 02 March 2016

There was one runner of interest at Wincanton today and this is how it fared:

Brod Na Heireann (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs & 82 yards] (8 ran).

 

I notice that Victoria Pendleton won her Hunter Chase at Wincanton today.  However, regardless, I don’t think she is ready to contest such a competitive race as the Foxhunters at the Cheltenham Festival.  It would be far wiser to wait another year in order to gain further experience, and thus not put herself or her fellow competitors at unnecessary risk. 

 

There’s National Hunt racing at Taunton and Ludlow tomorrow, but no runners of interest.

 

As it’s a Wednesday, there’s a new issue of Weekender.  In his column this week, Alan King reports that Winner Massagot sustained a fracture to his pelvis at Market Rasen and is now undergoing box rest, so won’t run again this season.

 

Midnight Prayer is now Alan King’s sole Grand National entry following the first forfeit stage and, as he’s currently due to carry 10 stone 1 lb, it is likely that the trainer will have to run him in the Kim Muir at the Festival in order to move him to the top of that weight bracket.  Currently, it’s not expected that those due to carry 10 stone 1 lb will get a run, due to the number of entries this year but, although they cannot now change their rating for the race, they may enhance their chances by running during this period. 

    

Following his disappointing run on Sunday, Medinas has been retired because he seems not to enjoy racing any longer.  He’s perfectly sound so, hopefully, will have a long and happy retirement.  Alan says he will be missed, as he’s been in the yard for six years.

 

Grumeti, who also ran disappointingly in the National Spirit Hurdle, will revert to flat racing, permanently. 

 

Having risen to a rating of 130 following his win at Doncaster last week, Alan thinks Ardamir is a possible runner in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival (Wednesday).  The trainer also says he’s very fond of Winter Escape; I added the JP McManus-owned horse to my tracker when he won his first race ... because I thought he had a nice face!!!  Obviously he’s a talented animal too!

 

Despite working at least 9½ hours, I come home feeling that I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing. L

Tuesday 01 March 2016

It goes without saying that I’m not paying 100% attention to the racing at the moment, due to pressures with my job.  So it comes as no surprise that I missed two runners of interest today, at Catterick ... although I could have sworn that I checked the race-card yesterday!

 

Anyway, here are those results for all three runners of interest today:

 

Leicester:

Genstone Trail (Alan King/Brendan Powell) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs & 45 yards] (5 ran).

 

Catterick:

The Wexfordian (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase [1 mile 7 furlongs & 145 yards] (6 ran).

Seymour Eric (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 1 furlong & 71 yards] (12 ran).

 

There is one runner of interest tomorrow, at Wincanton:

15:55 Brod Na Heireann (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs & 82 yards]

 

Needless to say, my resolution to remain within my contracted hours was blown out of the water as soon as I arrived at work today.

 

I’d already woken with ‘clampy head’ this morning and, before I’d worked an hour, this had turned into the constant dull ache across my shoulders which I suffer when I get stressed. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr  

 

Because there are few TV programmes of interest at the present time, I’ve taken to watching the Shopping Channels.  Fortunately I’ve not spent any money ... but I want a Kipling handbag when I can afford one!

 


 

 

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