MAY 2012

 

 

Thursday 31 May 2012

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

 

Wetherby

Sapphire Moon (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

 

Ffos Las

17:05 Consult (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Just one National Hunt fixture in the UK tomorrow, at Stratford.  It’s Hunter Chase evening, so only 3 races for professional jockeys and one runner of interest:

20:50 Tower (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle

 

A number of Barbury Castle inmates went to the sales this week:

Rivermouth was purchased for £5,500 by Laura Mongan

Dineur was purchased for £12,000 by P Bowen Esq.

Soleil D’Avril was purchased for £7,500 by Tim Easterby

Sedano was purchased for £5,500 by Neville Ender (a northern based point-to-point commentator evidently)

Tuscan Gold was purchased for £30,000 by Laura Mongan

Torphichen was purchased for £44,000 by JP McManus’ racing manager, Frank Berry (the Million In Mind Partnership always sell their horses at the end of the season)

Alan King purchased Henry San for £25,000

 

Here is the link to the catalogue; I find it interesting to see the names of horses I know changing hands.

 

http://www.dbsauctions.com/catalogue.aspx?saleId=243&saletype=HIT

 

I thought the weather was due to be okay this coming weekend, although not as hot as recently.  However, having seen the forecast for the southeast it now appears that Saturday is to be dry, with rain on Sunday and Monday and Tuesday!  The weather will improve on Wednesday.  Typical.

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Today one runner of interest, at Newton Abbot:

Mister Chancer (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Beginners’ Chase (4 ran).

 

Two runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Wetherby

17:55 Sapphire Moon (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

 

Ffos Las

17:05 Consult (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle

Martin Keighley wrote in today’s blog that Monty’s Revenge burst a blood vessel yesterday, which accounted for his very disappointing run at Huntingdon.

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Four runners of interest at Huntingdon this evening and this is how they fared:

Yvonne Evelyn (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up & Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Cool Steel (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up & Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

 

Tomorrow just one runner of interest, at Newton Abbot:

14:30 Mister Chancer (Alan King/Choc) – Beginners’ Chase

Monday 28 May 2012

Four runners of interest at Huntingdon tomorrow evening:

20:25 Yvonne Evelyn (Alan King/Choc) & Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Handicap Chase

20:55 Cool Steel (Alan King/Choc) & Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Handicap Hurdle

Sunday 27 May 2012

One runner of interest at Fakenham this afternoon:

Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) fell in the Han

Handicap Chase (10 ran).

Grumeti was beaten a short-head in a 1 mile 4 furlong Handicap at Goodwood yesterday.

 

No National Hunt racing tomorrow.

 

Choc and William have spent a lovely weekend in Leicestershire with his parents; Choc’s uploaded a number of photographs on twitter too.

 

http://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/206781421115817984/photo/1

 

http://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/206420339884957696/photo/1

 

http://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/206664189790519296/photo/1

 

Choc has been travelling down ‘memory lane’ today, as it was the Belvoir Hunt’s Open Day; he’s also uploaded a number of related photos if you search for them.

 

I went for a walk this morning, around 5 or 6 miles distance.  It was so hot that my fingers swelled up and felt like sausages; that’s the first time that’s happened.  Fortunately after I’d taken a shower and rested for about an hour they returned to normal and I was able to continue with my cross-stitch project once more.

As there was nothing on TV of interest yesterday evening, I finally watched the War Horse DVD.  I’m not sure whether I liked the film or not ... and I’m sure the storyline was a little different from the book, but that always happens in a screen adaption.  

Friday 25 May 2012

Just two runners of interest at Towcester and this is how they fared:

Both Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) & Dalavar (Alan King/Choc) were non-runners in the NH Novices’ Hurdle

Oyster Hill (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 6th but Buddy Love (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) won the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).  The pretty mare is Martin’s 4th winner of the season; well done to the team.

 

No National Hunt racing in the UK tomorrow; and just one runner of interest on Sunday, at Fakenham:

15:30 Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) - Han

Handicap Chase

No plans for this weekend; although I haven’t watched War Horse yet, nor have I re-started my cross-stitch project. And, having watched the Channel 4 series about extreme hoarders, I think I may attack my bulging clothes cupboards! 

Thursday 24 May 2012

There were six runners of interest at Wetherby this afternoon, and this is how they fared:

Junior Jack (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 8th in the Selling Hurdle (10 ran).

Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Chase (3 ran).

Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase (10 ran).

Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 4th & Counterparty (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (13 ran).

 

Tomorrow evening there are 4 runners of interest at Towcester:

17:55 Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) & Dalavar (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

20:55 Oyster Hill (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) & Buddy Love (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

 

Henrietta Knight has announced her retirement from training; Mick Channon will take over the majority of her horses.  More

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Two runners of interest at Worcester this evening, and this is how they fared:

Wolf Moon (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 8th in the Handicap Chase (15 ran).

Rich Buddy (Richard Phillips/Choc) was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran).

 

And just when I thought tomorrow would be a quiet day, with just one National Hunt fixture ‘up north’ at Wetherby, we have 6 runners of interest!!!

14:45 Junior Jack (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Selling Hurdle

15:20 Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Novices’ Chase

15:55 Kings Bayonet (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:30 Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) – Handicap Chase

17:40 Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) & Counterparty (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle

 

Choc’s locks are no more:

https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/205220420134256641/photo/1

 

I’m really pleased that I have my own treasured lock of Choc’s hair, from 2008, which I keep in a jewellery box.  And yes, every now and then, I do open the lid to take a look!

 

And here is the end result following his haircut:

https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/205227817665957888/photo/1

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Choc had two riding engagements at Towcester and this is how he fared:

Cold Knight (Alan King) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Midnight Sail (Alan King) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Chase (4 ran).

Tomorrow there are a couple of runners of interest at Worcester:

18:50 Wolf Moon (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase

20:20 Rich Buddy (Richard Phillips/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

Here are links to photos which Choc has posted on Twitter recently:

 

https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/202487447865659392/photo/1

 

https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/204875713667534848/photo/1

 

https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/204887300017111041/photo/1

 

And he’s also re-tweeted one which Rhys Flint sent to him:

https://twitter.com/rhys_flint/status/204250362364952576/photo/1

Monday 21 May 2012

One runner of interest at Newton Abbot this afternoon:

Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).

 

AP McCoy rode a four timer at the Devon course; one which he got in the Stewards’ Room, but he missed out by a short-head on a fifth victory too!  More  It looks like no-one else is going to get their hands on the NH Jockeys’ Championship just yet ...

 

Tomorrow evening, Choc has two riding engagements at Towcester:

19:45 Cold Knight (Alan King) - Handicap Hurdle

20:15 Midnight Sail (Alan King) – Novices’ Chase

It was a bit chilly today, but I went for a walk at lunch time.  May is an excellent month to see flowering plants and shrubs in everyone’s gardens; and I just love Horse Chestnut trees when they are in bloom.  Tuesday through Friday is supposed to be dry and warm so, hopefully, I’ll be out and about during my lunch breaks. 

Sunday 20 May 2012

Market Rasen:

Compton Blue (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished 3rd & Ulys Du Charmil (Alan King/Choc) won the Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).  Choc’s 2nd winner of the season.

Soleil D’Arvil (Alan King/Choc) finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (11 ran).

Suburban Bay (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (11 ran).

 

Ulys Du Charmil is trainer Alan King’s 1000th winner too.

 

Stratford:

Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Mr Nicky Slatter) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

 

No riding engagements for Choc at Newton Abbot tomorrow; but there is one runner of interest:

16:20 Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase

 

According to the weather forecast, this week is expected to be warm and sunny.  That will make a nice change.

Saturday 19 May 2012

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

 

Bangor On Dee:

Saudi Pearl (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the NH Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).

Henry San (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 1 furlong] (8 ran).

 

Uttoxeter:

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

One More Cookie (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) was a non-runner in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Five runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Market Rasen:

14:00 Compton Blue (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) & Ulys Du Charmil (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Maiden Hurdle

15:00 Soleil D’Arvil (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]

15:30 Suburban Bay (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase

 

Stratford:

15:50 Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Mr Nicky Slatter) – Handicap Hurdle

 

I was shocked to read that Cheltenham Festival winner, the very promising Brindisi Breeze was killed in a freak accident last night.  More  That’s three winning horses from the final day of this year’s Festival already gone – Synchronised, Bellvano and now Brindisi Breeze.

 

Jockey Steven Clements has been fighting a losing battle with his weight and has decided to call it a day on his riding career.

 

And mission accomplished ... I’ve completed my outstanding Cheltenham diary.  Click here to read.

Friday 18 May 2012

Choc was at Aintree this evening and this is how he fared:

Lidar (Alan King) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (6 ran).

Torphichen (Alan King) finished 14th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs] (17 ran).

All That Remains (Steve Gollings) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ furlong] (20 ran).

 

Four runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Bangor On Dee:

14:05 Saudi Pearl (Alan King/Choc) – NH Maiden Hurdle

16:20 Henry San (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 1 furlong]

 

Uttoxeter:

17:55 Midnight Appeal (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

20:00 One More Cookie (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

 

Choc will be at Market Rasen on Sunday, more details tomorrow.

 

No specific plans for the weekend; but there are always plenty of things to do at home.  And I’ve had the War Horse DVD for a couple of weeks but haven’t found time to watch it yet, maybe tomorrow or Sunday.

Thursday 17 May 2012

Three runners of interest at Ludlow this evening, and this is how they fared:

Junior Jack (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) won the Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Hurdle (8 ran). Martin’s 3rd winner of the season.

Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase (15 ran).

Tuscan Gold (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

 

Tomorrow evening, Choc has 3 riding engagements at Aintree:

18:30 Lidar (Alan King) – Handicap Chase

19:05 Torphichen (Alan King) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]

20:15 All That Remains (Steve Gollings) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles ½ furlong]

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Choc had two riding engagements today at Fontwell Park and this is how he fared:

Jojabean (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Maiden Hurdle (8 ran).

Sweet Irony (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Beginners’ Chase (5 ran).

Three runners of interest at Ludlow tomorrow evening:

17:30 Junior Jack (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Hurdle

18:40 Pilgrims Lane (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase

20:15 Tuscan Gold (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

 

I like to be able to watch horse racing of an evening but it does delay my daily blog entry because I’m waiting for the results!  It’s after 22:00 as I write this blog and that’s because I’ve been watching the video tape of Choc’s Fontwell rides and also races 5 to 7 on Day 1 of Cheltenham in preparation for my diary draft.

I hope I don’t catch a cold, as both my mum and my immediate manager at work have colds at the present time.  It’s only 27 days since my sinus operation and I don’t feel ready for one just yet! 

However, I’ve booked an appointment on Friday with my doctor as, although my operation went okay, I have what appears to be a swollen vein in my wrist; it’s tender too.  The swelling starts a couple of inches above the site where the intravenous drip was inserted; the vein runs across the ‘bump’ at the end of my ulna and, as it’s on the outside of my wrist, I keep on knocking it against objects too, which doesn’t help either!

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Wincanton

Miss Exhibitionist (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Rivermouth (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

 

Hereford

Monturgeon (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd & R Craig (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) won the Novices’ Chase (5 ran).  Pantxoa (Alan King/Choc) was a non-runner.

Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) won the Handicap Chase (7 ran).

Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

 

Martin’s first and second winners of the new season.  Well done to the team.

 

Southwell

Cold Knight (Alan King/Choc) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle.

Tomorrow, runners of interest at Fontwell Park:

14:40 Jojabean (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle

15:10 Sweet Irony (Alan King/Choc) – Beginners’ Chase

Court In Session, Brimham Boy and Monty’s Revenge have entries too but, as they ran today, I presume they won’t run again tomorrow.

I’m still working on my Cheltenham Day 1 diary; watching the tape and making notes regarding the races.  I don’t believe I’ll be taking a trip to the races for at least a fortnight, because the weekend ‘Choc’ fixtures are all too far away L; so I’ll have plenty of time to finish it off in the meantime.  But I must recommence my cross stitch project as soon as the diary is finished. 

Monday 14 May 2012

Just one result today, from Towcester:

Ukrainian Star (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).

 

Runners of interest tomorrow at all three NH fixtures:

 

Wincanton

14:10 Miss Exhibitionist (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

15:40 Rivermouth (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Hereford

13:50 Monturgeon (Alan King/Choc) & R Craig (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:20 Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) & Pantxoa (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Chase

16:20 Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Handicap Chase

16:50 Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Southwell

19:40 Cold Knight (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

Yesterday, Choc tweeted that his mum thinks it’s time he had a haircut ... so I guess he’ll be having his gorgeous locks trimmed very soon! 

Sunday 13 May 2012

Choc was at Plumpton today ... and he rode a winner J

 

Plumpton:

The Mumper (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd & Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Choc) won the Maiden Hurdle (8 ran).  Choc’s 1st winner of the season.

Patsy Finnegan (Alan King/Peter Hatton) finished 4th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).

Hollow Penny (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).

 

Worcester:

R Craig (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) was a non-runner in the NH Maiden Hurdle

 

Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Towcester:

18:30 Ukrainian Star (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase

 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

 

wrest park 13 05 2012.jpg

 

As it is my mum’s birthday today, we went to visit my younger brother and his family in Silsoe for lunch.  Afterwards, we took a trip to the nearby Wrest Park, above.   This is a view of the house; in the foreground is my mum, my brother Neil and his wife Karen.

Saturday 12 May 2012

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

 

Haydock Park (Mixed Card):

Le Beau Bai (Richard Lee/Choc) finished 15th in the Long Distance Handicap Hurdle (18 ran).

Secret Edge (Alan King/Peter Hatton) finished 11th in the Handicap Hurdle (Swinton Hurdle); the race was won by the favourite, the Donald McCain Jnr trained Red Merlin (19 ran).

 

Warwick:

Teshali (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).

Sapphire Moon (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Maiden Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).

 

Ascot:

Grumeti won the 1 mile 4 furlongs Handicap with Jimmy Fortune aboard (4 ran).

 

Tomorrow, there are four runners of interest:

 

Plumpton:

14:10 The Mumper (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle

17:10 Hollow Penny (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Worcester:

14:50 R Craig (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – NH Maiden Hurdle

 

Choc uploaded a lovely photograph of William on Twitter today ... he’s so cute, just like his Daddy!

http://twitter.com/#!/Choc_Thornton/status/201175849792311296/photo/1

 

Dave Crosse has posted a new blog on the Love The Races website in which he gives an overview of last Saturday’s Jesters:

http://www.lovetheraces.com/voices-of-the-races/william/blog-articles/what-went-on-at-da-jesters-and-getting-on-the-score-sheet/?voice_tab=blog

 

Following a few days break, I’ve been working on my outstanding diary today and I’m pleased to say it’s coming along very nicely indeed! 

Friday 11 May 2012

Here are today’s results from Market Rasen:

Ali Baba (Alan King/Ciaran McKee) finished 6th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Bless The Wings (Alan King/Wayne Hutchison) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase (15 ran).

Dineur (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Whispering Bob (Ian Williams/Choc) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I (9 ran).

 

Runners of interest at Haydock Park (Mixed Card) tomorrow:

14:00 Le Beau Bai (Richard Lee/Choc) – Long Distance Handicap Hurdle

15:40 Secret Edge (Alan King/Peter Hatton) - Handicap Hurdle (Swinton Hurdle). Jockey claims 7lbs.

 

And at Warwick:

20:05 Teshali (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle

20:35 Sapphire Moon (Alan King/Choc) - Mares’ Maiden Open NH Flat Race

 

And Grumeti is running on the flat at Ascot tomorrow, in the 1 mile 4 furlong Handicap at 17:40; Jimmy Fortune rides.  Evidently he’s a bit of a ‘trencher’ so is having a couple of runs on the flat before his summer holiday so as not to get too fat!

 

Choc will be at Plumpton on Sunday for two rides; details tomorrow.

 

No planned excursions to the races this weekend, as it’s my mum’s birthday on Sunday and we have a prior engagement. 

Thursday 10 May 2012

After a very quiet week, there are a number of runners of interest at Market Rasen tomorrow:

13:55 Ali Baba (Alan King/Ciaran McKee) - Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

14:55 Bless The Wings (Alan King/Wayne Hutchison) – Handicap Chase

15:25 Dineur (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Chase ... the horse’s chasing debut

16:35 Whispering Bob (Ian Williams/Choc) - Standard Open NH Flat Race Div I

 

Hopefully Choc will get off the mark for this season soon; he’s currently 0 from 4. 

Wayne Hutchinson is 2 from 8!

And, following the meeting at Wincanton, AP McCoy has got his head in front for the first time this season with 9 winners; from Aidan Coleman who has 8 victories.

 

Today’s fixture at Kelso was lost to the weather.

Wednesday 09 May 2012

And it’s still raining ... splish splosh splish splosh.

 

Racing goes ahead at Wincanton and Kelso tomorrow, but Newton Abbot has been abandoned.  And no riding engagements for Choc. L

 

I completed and uploaded my Cheltenham Day 2 diary late yesterday.  Click here to read. 

 

Just one more diary to write and then my website will be up-to-date once more. 

 

I think I’ll take two or three days break now though, as I woke up with a headache at 03:30 this morning.  When I woke again at 06:15 it was even worse!  And I felt quite nauseous before I set off for work.  It eased having taken a couple of paracetamol, but was still in the background until lunchtime.  It doesn’t help that I’ve been slaving over a hot PC at work for the past couple of days, endeavouring the catch up with the work following my recent absence.  And, foolishly, I’ve not been taking any breaks, not even a lunch hour.  And, non-smokers like myself, work at least one hour and 40 minutes more each week than colleagues who do smoke! 

 

There was a report in my local newspaper that thieves stole cabling and everyone’s internet connection was lost in an area close to where I live; some customers lost it for as long as a week!  But the dates don’t coincide with the problems I had last month ... but it just goes to show that people will steal anything these days.  I recall walking along a stretch of the Ridgeway path and discovering that the safety railing along the side of a footbridge over the A41 bypass had been nicked.  Thieves also took the railings from a footbridge over the North Orbital Road near London Colney.  And I gather railway cabling is stolen on a regular basis.

Tuesday 08 May 2012

Choc had one riding engagement at Exeter and this is how he fared:

Flaming Charlie (Alan King) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).

 

No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow; Stratford having been abandoned due to water-logging. Ffos Las goes ahead, but I believe he may have been due to ride at the Warwickshire course.  

Monday 07 May 2012

One riding engagement for Choc tomorrow, at Exeter:

18:55 Flaming Charlie (Alan King) – Handicap Hurdle

 

I really don’t enjoy May Day Bank Holiday; it always seems so pointless.  The cold and miserable weather doesn’t encourage one to venture out either.

 

But I’ve kept busy most of this weekend and have typed up the first complete draft of my Cheltenham Day 2 diary. 

Sunday 06 May 2012

Did you know that the first recognised English National Steeplechase took place in 1830?  It was the forerunner of the Grand National.  The 4-mile St Alban’s Steeplechase was organised by Thomas Coleman of St Albans, and was run from Bury Orchard, Harlington, in Bedfordshire to the Obelisk in Wrest Park, Silsoe, also in Bedfordshire. The winner was Captain Macdowall on "The Wonder", owned by Lord Ranelagh, who won in a time of 16 minutes and 25 seconds.

 

Strangely, I live in St Albans and my younger brother and his family live in Silsoe; my niece went to school in Harlington, and my nephew still does. 

 

Sam Thomas was gutted to be beaten to Da Jesters ‘T-Spoon’ Award by Andrew Tinkler.

However, Choc seems to have taken it in good heart and appears to be pleased to have won the ‘Twitter Twat of the Year’.  http://twitter.com/#!/Choc_Thornton/status/199123223101714432/photo/1

 

Jockey Dave Crosse, who organises Da Jesters, has promised news and photographs tomorrow; once he’s recovered from his hangover!

 

Florida Pearl has been put down aged 20 due to illness.  More

Sadly the ex-Alan King trained Jubail, who was currently trained by Donald McCain Jnr, lost his life at Uttoxeter yesterday; he broke his off hind when galloping/jumping, he didn’t fall.  

 

Saturday 05 May 2012

Today there were a number of runners of interest but everyone seemed to be out of luck:

 

Uttoxeter:

Out Of Nothing (D Burchell/Choc) finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle (17 ran).

Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Mr Nicky Slatter) fell in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles] (13 ran).

Andhaar (Richard Phillips/Choc) made a bad error at the third last when weakening and was pulled up before the next in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4½ furlongs] (10 ran).

Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (6 ran).

 

Meanwhile, at Hexham:

One More Cookie (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (6 ran).

Manor Court (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) was a non-runner in the Novices’ Hurdle

The Wicked Kipper (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished last in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (5 ran).

No National Hunt racing tomorrow or Monday. L

Friday 04 May 2012

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

Hindon Road (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Maiden Hurdle (13 ran).

Dunraven Prince (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

Desert Robe (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).

 

Tomorrow there are a number of runners of interest at Uttoxeter:

14:20 Out Of Nothing (D Burchell/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle

15:35 Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Mr Nicky Slatter) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles]

16:10 Andhaar (Richard Phillips/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4½ furlongs]

16:45 Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Handicap Chase

 

Meanwhile, at Hexham:

19:40 One More Cookie (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle

20:10 Manor Court (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Novices’ Hurdle

20:40 The Wicked Kipper (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

The Jesters take place in Lambourn tomorrow evening.  More  As mentioned previously, Choc has a nomination as "Twitter Prat of Da Year" so, hopefully, he WON’T win it!!!  I love reading Choc’s tweets!

Here is a link to Dave Crosse’s Love the Races blog, in which he lists the nominees for a variety of awards:

http://www.lovetheraces.com/voices-of-the-races/william/blog-articles/0pen-day-the-national-shaggy-and-da-jesters-nominations/?voice_tab=blog

I returned to work today; although, technically, it wasn’t a work day.  As our reward for winning our Head Office Award for Excellence for 2011, my department visited Jean-Christophe Novelli’s Cookery Academy at Tea Green near Luton.  More  

Jean-Christophe demonstrated how to make a caramel before creating a fruit basket; he also created a chocolate and fruit dessert which we would eat after our main meal, which was belly of pork.  We made some bread rolls, although the dough was already created for us.  We also used a pasta machine to create ravioli.  Another task was to invent a salad dressing and, finally, we created fondant roses.   Can you tell from my descriptions that cooking is not one of my more developed skills?  Unlike knitting, sewing, cross-stitching and jewellery making! 

Nothing special planned for this weekend; not even a shopping expedition.  Since my operation I’ve not had the urge to spend money, and my credit cards have remained firmly in my wallet.  And long may it continue!  

Thursday 03 May 2012

Three runners of interest tomorrow, at Fontwell Park; Choc missing these due to serving the second day of his suspension. 

17:15 Hindon Road (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

19:15 Dunraven Prince (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

20:15 Desert Robe (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

The table for this season’s National Hunt Championship is already up and running on the PJA’s website.  Aidan Coleman is leading the way from ... AP McCoy!  Choc is currently on page 4, with £829 prize money won. 

http://www.thepja.co.uk/champ_jump.aspx

 

Choc’s final column of the season appeared in today’s issue of Horse and Hound. 

 

Despite having two days in Punchestown that he’d rather forget, having ended up on the floor both times, he has surprised himself by concluding that the current UK whip rules are very workable; he found a couple of races in Ireland uncomfortable to watch due to the jockeys’ use of the whip. 

 

In Ireland, jockeys can use their whip 12 times during a race; but there is a great deal of discretion used in applying penalties to those who go over that number.  In Britain it currently stands at 8 strikes; after that the stewards examine the ride and decide whether to apply a penalty.

 

He uses the example of Grumeti when he won at the Aintree Festival; Choc states that he used his stick 10 times after coming off the bridle early during the race.  He received a warning but not a penalty.  However, when winning aboard Lovcen, he used his stick 13 times and the stewards didn’t say a thing.  They used their discretion; the race was over a mile further in distance, the horse not having travelled at any time during it.  Choc hit his mount in the correct place and, on each occasion, gave him time to respond; hence the sensible response.

 

Choc says in Britain you don’t tend to see horses unduly pressured for minor places now; in contrast to Ireland.

 

Choc’s personal highlights of the season were his two Grade One winners at Aintree, and Invictus’ triumph in the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot.  He was bitterly disappointed that the latter then picked up an injury.

 

His general highlights were the continuation of Big Buck’s supremacy in the staying hurdle category and Kauto Star’s triumph in the King George.  He thought the Gold Cup was a bit of an anticlimax. 

 

The revelation of the season was jockey Lucy Alexander.  Choc says she’s a very good rider; 38 winners being a great effort and the best ever by a woman.  He sincerely wishes her luck and hopes she can thrive against the top professionals.

 

Not surprisingly, Choc’s low point was when he broke his arm at Hereford on 11 December.  He found his 9 weeks on the sidelines very frustrating; and, upon comeback, said he’d be happy to make it to 50 winners and £500,000 prize-money before the end of the season.

 

As it turned out, he rode 51 winners and earned his boss Alan King and their yard’s owners £683,000 in prize-money.  So it was job done.

 

Choc believes he will have a fairly quiet summer, although he is hoping to ride as much as possible by getting some spare outside rides.  He says Alan King has very few summer jumpers and prefers to have some Flat horses to run instead.

 

The yard will also have a bit of a clear out; it not being in their owners’ best interest to retain horses who won’t win. 

 

Choc is hoping to spend lots of time with William this summer and he’s sure that, at some point, his son will sit on a pony for the first time.

 

Choc mentions two events which he will be attending this summer.  He is due to ride in a donkey derby at the Heythrop Hunt’s Summer Fair on 17 June. 

 

Secondly, he mentions the jockeys versus event riders’ challenge taking place at the Barbury Horse Trials held on the Barbury Castle estate where Alan King trains.  He says the challenge involves rodeo bull-launching which appears to involve wearing air jackets and seeing how long they can stay on a rodeo bull.  He asks for colleagues to volunteer.  And it’s in aid on the IJF and the Air Ambulance. 

 

And, as I like to research these things just in case I decide to attend, here is the link to the Barbury Horse Trials website:

 

http://www.barburyhorsetrials.co.uk/

 

The Heythrop Fair and Donkey Derby, taking place on 17 June, involves 5 driven donkey races, jockeys, trainers, huntsmen and celebrities have their own heats and compete for a place in the final.

 

http://www.countryside-alliance.org.uk/ca/midlands-news/midlands-grass-e-route-april-2012#headline9

 

And there’s another new photograph of William too:

 

http://twitter.com/#!/Choc_Thornton/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com%2FNQtA6Ky6

 

As expected, I’ve completed my Aintree Ladies Day diary; there are two instalments:

Ladies Day Part 1

Ladies Day Part 2

I return to work tomorrow, followed by a 3-day Bank Holiday weekend!  But I still have plenty of home-based tasks to do, with two Cheltenham diaries to write and my cross stitch picture to complete.  The latter having not been touched since Choc returned from injury in February. 

Wednesday 02 May 2012

Two runners of interest at Southwell today, and this is how they fared:

Prince Du Seuil (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (5 ran).

Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (6 ran).

 

No runners of interest at Hereford tomorrow, despite Choc being suspended.

I’ve very nearly finished my Aintree Ladies Day Diary; again I’ve split it into two instalments, and hope to upload both of these before I turn in tonight.

Tuesday 01 May 2012

Two runners of interest at Southwell tomorrow:

15:20 Prince Du Seuil (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase

17:05 Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

 

RUK broadcast from Exeter for the first time today; and Nick Luck certainly concentrated on interviewing as many trainers as he could find!  There’s a fixture at Kelso tomorrow; they, too, have changed broadcasters from ATR to RUK.

 

Here is a link to a report on the ATR website regarding the initial enquiry into the death of two horses at this year’s Grand National.  More

 

Choc has posted a lovely photograph on twitter of himself and William; they are like two peas in a pod and very cute!

http://twitter.com/#!/Choc_Thornton/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com%2FHfVDAy3v

 

Evidently there was a really bad storm over Gloucestershire last night; it woke Choc but William slept through without a murmur!  I heard distant rumbling at midnight, but it never materialised into anything more in my area. 

 

Choc is organising a team of jockeys to take part in an Eventers vs. Jockeys rodeo bull riding competition at the Barbury Castle International Horse Trials which take place on 30 June/1 July 2012.

 

 


 

 

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