OCTOBER 2012

 

 

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Runners of interest tomorrow:

 

Stratford Upon Avon:

14:40 Buddy Love (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:40 Godsmejudge (Alan King/Choc) – Beginners’ Chase

 

Hereford:

15:30 Cold Knight (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

16:30 Une Dame D’Or (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Mares’ Maiden Open NH Flat Race

 

Obviously the biggest horse racing news today is the announcement of Kauto Star’s retirement.  It is the sensible thing to do; he’s a veteran now and owes nothing to anyone.  More

 

And here are tributes from his trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Ruby Walsh following the news.

 

It’s nice to know that Kauto Star will be making a guest appearance at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, as it wouldn’t be quite the same without him!  I’ve been honoured to see him win his last three King George VI Steeplechases and his second Cheltenham Gold Cup.  Which reminds me, my Kempton Park Boxing Day ticket should arrive soon ...

Tuesday 30 October 2012

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

Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Choc) finished a neck 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran). 

Kenai Peninsula (Alan King/Ciaran McKee) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).

From the race comments, it sounds as though it was a close thing, with Turn Over Sivola not quite lasting home on this occasion:

“Tracked leaders, went 2nd before 2 out, led going strongly 2 out, hung left and wandered, found nil and headed close home.”

 

No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow.

 

I burnt the midnight oil last evening in order to complete and upload my Kempton Park diary.  Click here to read.

Monday 29 October 2012

One runner of interest today at Bangor On Dee:

Hollow Penny (Alan King/Choc) won the Maiden Hurdle (12 ran).  Choc’s 14th winner of the season. J

The 2011 Northumberland Plate winner, Tominator, made a winning debut over hurdles at the track today.  He is now trained by Jonjo O’Neill. 

Two runners of interest at Taunton tomorrow:

13:30 Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:30 Kenai Peninsula (Alan King/Ciaran McKee) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

The remainder of this evening will be spent working on the drafts of my two outstanding diaries!

Sunday 28 October 2012

I’m so happy ................... my laptop has installed sufficient updates to enable me to download my preferred FTP application (it’s free to download), connect to my host server and upload files onto my website.  Oh dear, I’m beginning to sound like a techie nerd!!!  I suppose, in a way, I am ... as I do have a BSc Computer Science (Software Engineering) degree awarded in 1995.  But I’ve not had the confidence to use my knowledge during the intervening years, so that’s centuries ago in the world of technology.  However, one thing that does annoy me is when techie people patronise me in the belief that I have no idea what they are talking about!

 

I’m still not ‘bells and whistles’ on Explorer, so I can’t upload photos onto Twitter, but thankfully I can read and send tweets; I would have been gutted if I’d not been able to congratulate Choc on his win yesterday ... he replied too J.  Also another congratulatory tweet today.

 

Runners of interest at both Aintree and Wincanton today:

 

Aintree:

Vendor (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up before two out in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs] (10 ran).  Assistant trainer, Noel Williams, thought it was because he ran too free, rather than disliked the ground. 

Handazan (Alan King/Choc) won the Juvenile Hurdle (7 ran); Choc’s 13th winner of the season.

Lovcen (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (series qualifier) [3 miles & half a furlong] (xx ran).  A good run from the Grade 1 winner, carrying top weight in soft ground.  The winner of the race was bottom weight Ely Brown, with jockey Keilan Woods taking 5lbs off too! 

Lidar (Alan King/Choc) was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase, the ground having gone against him.

 

Outside of Choc’s races, I particularly enjoyed the jumping of the Tom George trained, Forgotten Gold in the Beginners’ Chase; the horse has the same dam as Frankie Figg.  It was only a 3-runner race, but he jumped for fun in the soft ground, making all the running to win by 1¾ lengths.  I shall keep my eye on him, he’s a nice horse.

 

Wincanton:

Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) won the Handicap Chase [3 miles 3½ furlongs] (8 ran).  Congratulations to the team, their 12th winner of the season.  The horse’s first win since November 2009, but that 3-year period does include an injury timeout. 

Hot Whiskey (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Tower (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle Div II (10 ran).

Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 1½ furlongs] (9 ran).

Valdez (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished a neck 2nd on his hurdling debut in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

One runner of interest tomorrow, at Bangor On Dee:

14:30 Hollow Penny (Alan King/Choc) – Maiden Hurdle

Having experienced laptop problems since last Tuesday, I now have just five days to complete and upload my diaries before it may be time to go racing again!  Aaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhh ...

And I’ve rectified the website hyperlink problem with part 2 of my Cheltenham photographs; I uploaded them late Monday when my laptop was starting to display problems and, as panic set in, accidently linked to the files, as opposed to the .html page.  Click here to view.

I’m going to soldier on with Windows Vista for the time being but, the next time I experience a major problem, I plan to take a shopping trip to PC World to spend my Red Letter Days Lifestyle voucher!  Although there might be competition for the credit, in the shape of a bridge camera ... because I want to take better photographs of Choc.

It’s going to be a busy week, as a member of my team at work is on holiday.  And, now that the clocks have gone back to GMT, I’ll have to walk home in the dark for the next few months.

I’m still awaiting the results from the ultrascan on my shoulder which took place last Tuesday.  The specialist did mention, at the time, that I’d got inflammation in two of the four tendons; I’ll need to make another appointment with my doctor to arrange for an x-ray of my back.  It seems to be all downhill when you get to my age; it’s just one niggle after another!

And, finally, I’m much relieved that John McCririck has not been offered a contract with the new Channel 4 Racing team ... he complains that it’s ageist ... no, John, it’s because you’re disgusting and obnoxious!  More   I’m not particularly keen on Graham Cunningham; I like young Ollie Bell from Racing UK!

Saturday 27 October 2012

Runners of interest at Chepstow and Stratford today, none at Aintree:

 

Chepstow:

Desert Joe (Alan King/Choc) won the Maiden Hurdle (10 ran); Choc’s 12th winner of the season.

Henry San (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 3½ furlongs] (8 ran).

Tenby Jewel (Keith Goldsworthy/Choc) fell 3 out in the Persian War Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Bakbenscher (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).  An excellent comeback run, having been off the racecourse with injury for 609 days.  Philip Hobbs trained runners filled the first three places!

Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles & half a furlong] 

 

Stratford:   

Midnight Sail (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 5½ furlongs] (9 ran).

It was a good day for the Alan King yard, with all their runners acquitting themselves well; Kings Troop won the Lady Amateur Riders’ Handicap at Newbury, under Chloe Boxall.

The Nick Williams trained, Noel Fehily ridden, For Non Stop trotted up in today’s Grade 2 Old Roan Chase at Aintree. Filling runner-up spot was Wishfull Thinking.  More

The laptop saga continues ... although a horror story would now be a better description.  Having re-installed my printer and camera software, I was actually hopeful that I could also install the Vista Service packs to enable me to update Explorer to a more ‘bells and whistles’ version.  But, after what appeared to be 90 minutes of error free installing of Pack 1, its final task was to tell me the installation had failed.  I checked the error code and discovered that my files might be corrupted ... and, having run a disk scan as suggested, some were.  However, my laptop is okay most of the time, apart from the odd crash here or there which, I gather from my Systems Department contact Justin, is common before all the updates have been installed.

So my decision is to ... continue to update my website pages on the poorly laptop, whilst ensuring that I backup the files on DVD at the end of each session (quicker than storing it on my hard drive). 

And I’ve finally registered a Red Letter Days voucher which was presented to me earlier this year for serving 15 years with my employer.  Deciding on a Lifestyle gift, I’ve ‘purchased’ a voucher to spend at PC World/Currys, which will offset £150 towards the purchase of a new laptop with Windows 8!  It has been my plan for this voucher throughout ... I just didn’t think it would be needed quite so soon; the Red Letter voucher was valid until March 2014, so I had plenty of time to redeem it, and I understand the PC World/Currys voucher will be valid for 24 months also.

Friday 26 October 2012

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

Tower (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) won the Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Handicap Hurdle (8 ran); the stable’s 11th winner of the season.

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) unseated in the Handicap Chase [3 miles ½ a furlong] (14 ran).

 

I’ve discovered that my Systems Department contact, Justin, has a sideline helping people with their computer problems; so I’ve arranged for him to assist should I be unable to update the software or reload any of the applications.

 

Thursday 25 October 2012

No runners of interest today.

After confirmation earlier in the week that Martin Keighley’s stable jockey, Ian Popham, has broken his pelvis again, news today that it’s not as bad as last time and surgery can be discounted on this occasion.  Very best wishes to Ian for a speedy recovery.  

Laptop now restored ... but running software 4.5 years out of date!  Prehistoric.  I can get onto the internet now ... but have lost most of the functionality.  I can read twitter but can’t tweet!  Updates from 2008 to present now downloading; most successfully, but not all.  I have use of Word, so am able to update this blog diary ... but my FTP (file transfer protocol) program won’t re-install, so I have no connection to my Choc Thornton website. L

Wednesday 24 October 2012

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

Simply Wings (Richard Lee/Choc) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs] (14 ran).

Ma Toolan (DM Loughnane/Choc) finished 2nd and Brukirk Lass (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 9th in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (17 ran).

 

Took my laptop to work today and one of the guys in our Systems Department got it working again.  However, he said I had two options – either limp on with the current configuration of software or have it wiped and start again ... I choose the former.

 

But when I got the laptop home, I couldn’t get a connection to my broadband.  I checked with my provider’s technical support department; they weren’t able to fix it, but suggested I ask my work colleague to take a look.  Being very annoyed by this time, I backed up my remaining ‘wanted’ files and decided that I’d go for the other option now ... restoration to an earlier version ... little did I realise that this would open a whole new can of worms! 

 

Tuesday 23 October 2012

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

Pantxoa (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Best Mate Beginners’ Chase [2 miles 1½ furlongs] (11 ran).

Jacob’s Ladder (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) unseated in the Beginners’ Chase [3 miles] (10 ran).

Having experienced problems with McAfee on my laptop yesterday, I took a look at the application ... and it promptly locked up my keyboard!  Nothing else for it than to switch off the laptop and reboot ... but it refused reboot.  Disaster.  Fortunately I stayed up late yesterday evening to back-up my website files and photographs, so it wasn’t the end of the world on this occasion. 

Monday 22 October 2012

Bad news from Plumpton today, with jockey Ian Popham being injured when unshipped from the Martin Keighley runner, Oyster Hill, on the way to the start of the Maiden Open NH Flat Race.  Especially as he’s only returned to action relatively recently having broken his pelvis last year.  More

 

Choc has re-tweeted a photo of himself and William taken at Cheltenham on Saturday.  It’s a gorgeous photo of two very cute guys. 

https://twitter.com/MollyWilsonxx1/status/260049054262755328/photo/1/large

 

And more photos of William today:

https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/260358835951239169/photo/1/large

https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/260360687187025920/photo/1/large

https://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/260362222541344768/photo/1/large

 

I forgot to mention, yesterday, that I did speak with Choc to congratulate him after his win aboard McVicar.  I was thwarted on my first attempt, after the race itself, when he was accosted at the wrong moment by Clerk of the Course Barney Clifford; the latter wishing to gain a report about the going from the winning jockey.  But I waited for Choc after the third race and congratulated him when he was walking back to the weighing room. J

 

Two runners of interest at Exeter tomorrow:

15:10 Pantxoa (Alan King/Choc) – Best Mate Beginners’ Chase [2 miles 1½ furlongs]

16:40 Jacob’s Ladder (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Beginners’ Chase [3 miles]

 

News that Hold On Julio will now be aimed at Newbury’s Hennessy Gold Cup on 01 December.  More

 

I’ve uploaded my Kempton Park and Cheltenham photos taken this last weekend.  Click here to reach the photos index.

Sunday 21 October 2012

 

McVicar.jpg

 

Choc and McVicar win the Juvenile Hurdle

 

It was a damp and murky day at Kempton Park and, having experienced problems in keeping my camera dry, many of my photos aren’t as good as I’d hoped for. L  I need to upgrade my camera. 

 

The weather was so miserable, in fact, that I gave up and went home after the fourth race.  But, had Choc been riding later in the afternoon, I would definitely have held on until the bitter end!!!

 

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

McVicar (Alan King) won the Juvenile Hurdle (10 ran); Choc’s 11th winner of the season.

Roberto Pegasus (Alan King) finished 4th in the Listed Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

 

There’s a National Hunt fixture at Plumpton tomorrow, with one runner of interest:

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

 

The big equine story today is that Frankie Dettori will be going freelance next season, ending 18 years as retained jockey to Godolphin.  Not unexpected though ... More

 

Two 5-day weeks lie ahead of me ... my next day off is Monday 05 November ... and maybe a return visit to Kempton Park!  I don’t envisage any trips to the races next weekend, as there’s Aintree (Saturday & Sunday), Chepstow (Saturday), Stratford Upon Avon (Saturday) and Wincanton (Sunday).

As always, the Daily Express is obsessing about the weather and predictions are for an early winter, yet again.

Saturday 20 October 2012

 

Hold On Julio 20121020.jpg

 

Hold On Julio

finished 3rd in the 3 miles ½ furlong Handicap Chase

 

A number of runners of interest at Cheltenham today and this is how they fared:

Divers (Ferdy Murphy/Choc) was last of the finishers & Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 10th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs] (20 ran).

Hold On Julio (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles & half a furlong] (19 ran).

Medinas (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (23 ran).

Creepy (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 4th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (17 ran).

 

Special mention for Sky Calling, who took part in the eleven runner Greatwood Charity race; her jockey Mark Caswell swooped late to claim victory from Georgie Nicholls, wife of trainer Paul.

 

Choc has two riding engagements at Kempton Park tomorrow:

14:15 McVicar (Alan King) – Juvenile Hurdle

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

 

Despite the testing ground, superstar Frankel made it 14 out of 14 and now heads into retirement.  More  

 

It’s been a long day, I left home at 09:20 this morning and arrived back 11 hours and 55 minutes later ... mind you, that is nothing compared to my Cheltenham Festival visits when I leave home at 06:30 and don’t get back until around 20:30!

 

I saw lots of Choc today, as he was out and about following his rides, and William too; Meally had brought him to the races, spending time with Fiona Johnson, wife of Richard, and their children.  

Friday 19 October 2012

Two rides for Choc at Fakenham today and this is how he fared:

Operation Tracer (Michael Bell) finished 2nd in the Juvenile Hurdle (9 ran).

Quinsman (Caroline Bailey), stepping up in trip, finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7½ furlongs] (8 ran).

 

Fakenham is one of Choc’s least favourite tracks, because it’s such a long way to travel from Gloucestershire.  Folkestone falls into this category for him too ... but he won’t have to worry about that for much longer with the impending closure of the Kent track! 

 

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

14:30 Divers (Ferdy Murphy/Choc) & Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs]

15:40 Hold On Julio (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase [3 miles & half a furlong]

16:20 Medinas (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]

17:30 Creepy (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

And Sky Calling will be taking part in the Greatwood Charity race, piloted by ex-professional jockey Mark Caswell.

 

Choc has two riding engagements at Kempton Park on Sunday; more details tomorrow.

 

I confess that leave from work is very expensive, as I drove down to the petrol station to fill up my car’s tank ahead of my car journeys this weekend and, of course, I just had to visit the nearby Marks and Spencer superstore.  They had the scarf I’d set my heart upon (the wine coloured one) ... yes, I also buy them as well as knit them ... plus two per una ‘swan print’ scarves I happened upon when heading for the fitting room to try on a long length skirt ... yes, I bought it too, as trying on items nearly always results in a purchase.  The skirt looks and feels much nicer than would be expected from the website picture. 

 

I liked this skirt a lot too, but didn’t buy it ... however I bought this skirt instead, which also looks much nicer ‘in the flesh’ than on the website.  My reservation about the emerald one (which I prefer to the black) is that I believe green is unlucky, but I may not be able to resist it forever, as it did look and feel nice when handled!!!  I then trotted over to Next and bought a purse which I’ve had my eye on via their website.  I am now penniless, almost L.  And I’d like to buy this handbag too, despite it being green!  I hate appliquéd clothes but love this. 

 

Mind you, waiting for Choc to tweet can also be costly ... as I find myself surfing the web and discovering items I’d love to own.  I always keep a notebook containing numerous lists of my most wanted shoes and boots, clothes, accessories, yarn, DVDs, books, tickets for racing fixtures, etc.    

 

After a relaxing day today, it looks like I’m going to have a busy, racing-filled weekend! J 

Thursday 18 October 2012

A number of runners of interest today and this is how they fared:

 

Wincanton:

Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle Div II (10 ran).

Ukrainian Star (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished last in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs] (7 ran).

Scales (Richard Lee/Choc) fell 3 out in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (20 ran). It was Choc’s 2nd fall of the season.

Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) was a non-runner and Backfromthecongo (Richard Lee/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 1½ furlongs] (9 ran).

 

Uttoxeter:

Buddy Love (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 6th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (qualifier) (11 ran).

 

National Hunt racing at Cheltenham and a ‘matinee’ meeting at Fakenham tomorrow ... with my favourite jockey riding at the latter!

12:00 Operation Tracer (Michael Bell/Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle

13:30 Quinsman (Caroline Bailey/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7½ furlongs]

 

I’m pleased to report that my back and shoulder have been much better today; the heat treatment seems to have done the trick.

 

I have a day’s holiday tomorrow ... yippee!!!  And with 10 days remaining of my 2012 leave, there are going to be a number of 4 day weeks before Christmas. J 

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Runners of interest at both Wincanton and Uttoxeter tomorrow.

 

Wincanton:

14:50 Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) - Maiden Hurdle Div II

15:50 Ukrainian Star (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs]

16:50 Scales (Richard Lee/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]

17:20 Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) & Backfromthecongo (Richard Lee/Choc) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 1½ furlongs]

 

Uttoxeter:

14:40 Buddy Love (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (qualifier)

 

I’ve just been watching an all weather race from Kempton Park’s evening fixture.  The Alan King trained La Belle Doyenne was misbehaving, rearing up and getting rid of her jockey Fergus Sweeney before she headed rider-less to the start.  But she did finish 4th in the 1 mile 4 furlong event.   

 

My back and right shoulder have had a bit of a relapse today; so I’ve been warming up the heat pad and using a hot water bottle again ... damn.  I’ve got an appointment next Tuesday for an ultrasound scan so, hopefully, it will shortly become apparent as to what is causing the current problem. 

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Two runners of interest at Huntingdon this afternoon, where it was blowing a gale!

Miss Exhibitionist (Alan King/Choc) finished a neck 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & half a furlong] (13 ran).

Genstone Trail (Alan King/Choc) won the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 2 furlongs] (15 ran); Choc’s 10th winner of the season. J

 

No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow.

 

News today that one of my favourites, Walkon, will be entered in the Paddy Power Gold Cup run on 17 November 2012.  More

 

Having ridden 7 out of 8 winners at Windsor yesterday, Richard Hughes continued his golden run of form with a treble today at Leicester.  More

 

It has been one of those days at work; it started okay, but just got busier and busier and I was there until 18:20 trying to catch up with the backlog.  I think the problem is that I have at least 150 people who may have a call upon my time so, as you can imagine, sometimes it becomes very difficult to service everyone’s request on a timely basis.  It’s horrible when I become ‘paralysed’, not knowing what to do first!

Monday 15 October 2012

Two runners of interest at Huntingdon tomorrow:

14:20 Miss Exhibitionist (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles & half a furlong]

16:20 Genstone Trail (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 2 furlongs]

 

Unfortunately Medermit has suffered a training set-back and plans have been put on hold.  More

 

The good news is that my back is a lot better than it was, although not quite back to normal yet.  But, hopefully, I’ll be going to the races this coming weekend; my friend Lesley fancies a trip to Cheltenham ... and I rather like going to Kempton’s first jumping fixture of the winter.  So it might be a very busy weekend!!!

Sunday 14 October 2012

Choc was at Goodwood this afternoon; their final fixture of the season and this is how he fared:

Kings Troop (Alan King) finished 7th in the Alderbrook Handicap (15 ran).

Jason Maguire and Paddy Brennan fought out the finish, with the former prevailing.  Although there was a stewards’ enquiry, Jason’s mount having bumped his opponent close to the finish. 

 

No National Hunt racing in the UK tomorrow.

 

Just a four day week for me ... I’ve booked Friday as leave; I’m looking forward to watching the racing from Cheltenham.  Not sure about Saturday’s plans or Sunday’s for that matter; as usual it all depends on the number of riding engagements which Choc has!   

Saturday 13 October 2012

Runners of interest at Chepstow today and this is how they fared:

Handazan (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Juvenile Hurdle (8 ran).  The McNeill Family owned colt ran well but wasn’t as fluent a jumper as the Paul Nicholls trained winner, Far West, who had run over fences before, at Auteuil. 

The good news is that the Robin Dickin trained Kitegen won the 2 mile 4 furlongs Handicap Hurdle, but the bad news is that he was ridden by Henry Oliver not Choc!  Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Nicky Slatter) finished 7th (17 ran). 

 

Choc will be at Goodwood tomorrow:

14:00 Kings Troop (Alan King) – Alderbrook Handicap – all horses to be ridden by professional National Hunt jockeys

 

Aaim To Prosper won today’s Cesarewitch, the first horse in history to win the race twice.  He carried top weight and was a 66-1 shot this year.  Triumph Hurdle winner Countrywide Flame finished a close second; with Northumberland Plate winner Tominator in third.  The latter is now trained by Jonjo O’Neill and has a National Hunt career ahead of him.  More

 

I received news late yesterday that my friend Angy’s second child has arrived, another daughter Chloe Emma, a sister for Rebecca.  Many congratulations to Angy and her husband Alex. 

Friday 12 October 2012

Three runners of interest tomorrow, at Chepstow:

13:55 Handazan (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle

16:10 Kitegen (Robin Dickin/Choc) & Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Nicky Slatter) - Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]

 

On Sunday Choc will be taking part in the Alderbrook Handicap at Goodwood, where all the riders are professional NH jockeys.  More details tomorrow.

 

Once again no plans for the weekend, apart from having my hair trimmed. 

Thursday 11 October 2012

One runner of interest today, at Exeter:

Cadoudalas (Richard Lee/Choc) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs] (7 ran).

 

No riding engagements for Choc tomorrow, with National Hunt racing at Carlisle but with Newton Abbot abandoned due to water-logging.

Heavy rain and floods outside the kitchen door ... but the latter is due to the toilet cistern malfunctioning!  One of the parts inside is broken and the plumber isn’t sure whether he can obtain a replacement, as it may be too old.  So a new loo may be the only remedy.  As a stop gap, the cistern is being filled by turning on the stopcock located in the pipe above it – the joys of having just one loo in the house.  

Incredible footage of water gushing through ‘Down Along’ in Clovelly in North Devon today.  A very picturesque village which I visited during a holiday in the region a number of years ago.  I feel lucky that, touch wood, Hertfordshire does not seem to be afflicted by these devastating weather-related problems. 

However it seems there is the prospect of 350 homes being built on nearby land belonging to the local College of Further Education.  Not satisfied at selling their city centre campus for housing a few years ago and moving to what was an agricultural college, they now wish to develop that too.  The roads in my vicinity are enough of a nightmare in the morning, without any additional traffic ... and that’s me talking as a walker not a driver!  It makes me sound like a NIMBY!!! 

Wednesday 10 October 2012

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

Bill The Yank (DP Quinn/Choc) finished 10th in the NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Tower (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (15 ran).

Valrene (Robin Dickin/Choc) was a non-runner in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

Munchkin (A Carson/Choc) finished 8th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race Div I (10 ran).

 

One runner of interest tomorrow, at Exeter:

16:20 Cadoudalas (Richard Lee/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs]

 

As racing from Exeter is now broadcast on Racing UK not At The Races, I must remember to set up my Sky box correctly so as to tape Choc’s race tomorrow!

Tuesday 09 October 2012

Runners of interest tomorrow, at Towcester:

14:20 Bill The Yank (DP Quinn/Choc) – NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

15:20 Tower (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) - Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]

15:50 Valrene (Robin Dickin/Choc) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

17:20 Munchkin (A Carson/Choc) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race Div I

 

I’ll tell you a little secret ... my ‘pet’ name for the lovely Robert is Choccie Munchkin, because he’s so overwhelmingly cute, so I was amused to discover he’s booked to ride a horse called Munchkin!

 

News today that Medermit is to be aimed at Aintree’s Old Roan Chase, with Haydock’s Betfair Chase and Kempton’s King George also on the agenda.  More

 

Choc has posted a photograph of William watching cartoons on TV this morning:

http://twitter.com/Choc_Thornton/status/255598862033629184/photo/1

 

Today’s ‘back’ bulletin is that I’ve been to see my doctor and she has decided to send me for an x-ray, presumably because mum has osteoporosis.  Having felt down my spine and discovered that the tenderness is slightly to the right-hand side, her instinct is that it’s actually muscle-related, rather than bone-related, but better to be safe than sorry.  Physiotherapy is also on the agenda to help ease the discomfort, as I’ve regularly experienced acute tingly pains and aches since my fall in 2009; with this being the first prolonged period of discomfort since then. 

The doctor also suggested that I should take up rope skipping ... I’m not so sure about that, with my big boobs!!!

Sunday 07 October 2012

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

Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 11th in the Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran); as expected, Rysbrack (Paul Webber/Choc) was a non-runner in this race.

Compton Blue (Alan King/Choc) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4½ furlongs] (9 ran); Choc’s 9th winner of the season. J

Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle Div I [3 miles 2 furlongs] (11 ran).

 

Meanwhile at Uttoxeter:

Forresters Folly (Alan King/Peter Hatton) finished 4th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Maiden Hurdle (10 ran).

 

There’s no scheduled National Hunt racing in the UK until Wednesday.

 

I watched the TV coverage of Huntingdon, Kelso and Longchamp this afternoon, apart from a brief trip with my mother to visit my father’s grave; he’s buried along with her parents in a local churchyard.  It was our final visit before winter and was in order to clear away the flowers which we had placed upon the grave two or three weeks ago before the bad weather sets in.  The grave is quite close to the path and we discovered the flower-heads had been torn from their stems and scattered behind the gravestone ... presumably the deed was carried out by an obnoxious little vandal, perhaps from one of the local schools or the nearby council estate.  Why does no-one show any respect these days? 

 

Another full working week ahead ... although my back is still bothering me despite resting at every possible opportunity.  I just hope that I’m feeling fitter in a couple of weeks’ time, ready for the Cheltenham/Kempton Park weekend of racing.

Saturday 06 October 2012

There are a couple of runners of interest at Fontwell Park this afternoon and this is how they fared:

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) won the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 3 furlongs] (8 ran).

Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (5 ran). 

Congratulations to the team; their 9th and 10th winners of the season.

 

A number of runners of interest at Huntingdon tomorrow:

14:30 Typhon De Guye (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley), however Rysbrack (Paul Webber/Choc) is now listed as a doubtful runner – Novices’ Hurdle

16:45 Compton Blue (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4½ furlongs]

17:20 Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Handicap Hurdle Div I [3 miles 2 furlongs]

 

Meanwhile at Uttoxeter:

14:10 Forresters Folly (Alan King/Peter Hatton) – Conditional Jockeys’ Maiden Hurdle

 

I’ve been watching Strictly Come Dancing this weekend and Darcey Bussell is already getting on my nerves ... ya ... ya ... ya ... evidently her birth name was Marnie Mercedes Darcey Pembleton Crittle, Bussell being her stepfather’s name.  And I think it’s about time Bruce Forsyth was pensioned off too.  But I will enjoy It Takes Two every weekday evening for the next couple of months or so. 

Surprisingly, Lisa Riley gained the highest score this weekend for her Cha-Cha; closely followed by Kimberley Walsh and Louis Smith.  The Olympic medallist, evidently, has a crush on the Girls Aloud singer.  And, from her post-dance comments, I think Darcey has a crush on him too!

Friday 05 October 2012

Choc has tweeted a very cute picture of William wearing his dad’s shoes:

http://twitter.com/i/#!/Choc_Thornton/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com%2FMddmsh9o

 

There are a couple of runners of interest at Fontwell Park tomorrow:

16:35 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 3 furlongs]

17:45 Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race. 

I guess he got his name because his dam was called Prowler. 

 

Choc will be back in action at Huntingdon on Sunday, more details tomorrow.

 

I’ve no specific plans for the weekend, as my back is still bothering me.  But I’m hoping that I’ll be well rested by the time the first Cheltenham meeting and/or Kempton Park fixture arrives in a fortnight’s time! 

Thursday 04 October 2012

Choc had one ride at Bangor-on-Dee today and this is how he fared:

Henry San (Alan King) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (7 ran).

 

Choc has no rides tomorrow.

 

I’m looking forward to Strictly Come Dancing returning tomorrow, with a further show on Saturday.

 

Today’s ‘back’ bulletin is that I’m slowly getting better, although the discomfort has moved a little higher up today!  I’ve had no sharp pains at all; it’s been an almost constant dull ache, to a greater or lesser degree.  I know I could ease it with painkillers, but I took some a few weeks ago for a persistent headache and they gave me hot flushes and I also felt faint, so I’m trying to avoid them if possible.  

Wednesday 03 October 2012

One runner of interest at Bangor-on-Dee tomorrow:

15:50 Henry San (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Chase

 

The grandparents of weighing room colleague Sam Jones found a photograph of a young Choc in an old copy of Horse and Hound, which Sam subsequently tweeted to my favourite jockey:

http://twitter.com/i/#!/Choc_Thornton/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com%2FqkVOCx6E

Choc has asked for the original clipping, presumably for his scrapbook! (Or perhaps his mother’s scrapbook)

I’ve spent most of today with a heat pad wedged between myself and my office chair; it has helped ease my backache.  Whereas yesterday walking to and from work caused me a lot of pain, today it seems that doing the same thing caused me less pain than just moving around the office. 

Tuesday 02 October 2012

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

Quinsman (Mrs Caroline Bailey/Choc) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (Series Qualifier) [2 miles 5½ furlongs] (11 ran).

The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs] (6 ran).

The Wicked Kipper (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).

 

No National Hunt racing tomorrow, with Bangor-on-Dee scheduled for Thursday.

 

News today that Nathaniel will be a non-runner in Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe; he’s had a temperature and subsequent blood tests were unsatisfactory.  He joins a list which includes the injured Snow Fairy and the quarantined Danedream; the latter as a result of serious equine infection being discovered at her base in Cologne.  A decision will be made tomorrow regarding Camelot’s participation.

 

Unfortunately my back has been hurting all day today.  This afternoon I even resorted to propping a hot water bottle against my back when sitting at my desk at work.  And it did help quite a lot.  I shall have to see what tomorrow brings ... I’ve an appointment to see my doctor about it next Tuesday. 

Monday 01 October 2012

Three runners of interest tomorrow, at Sedgefield:

14:50 Quinsman (Mrs Caroline Bailey/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle (Series Qualifier) [2 miles 5½ furlongs]

15:20 The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs]

17:20 The Wicked Kipper (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

My painful back is aching less today ... it started last Monday as a pain across the front of my left shoulder and into my boob; it got better through the week, until a relapse on Friday when my upper back began to ache too.  I’ve had back and boob pain during the weekend, but now I have mainly upper back pain.  It’s always a concern, as mum has osteoporosis.  I don’t suppose it helps that I’m a stone heavier than when I hurt my back three years ago ... the weight having been put on due to my sinus problems ... and the inches always go onto my stomach and chest!

 

I greatly enjoyed watching live the Ryder Cup singles matches; I even had to flick back and forth during Downton Abbey to find out how the Europe team was progressing.  The Ryder Cup has a connection with my home city, with Samuel Ryder, a wealthy local seed merchant, sponsoring the original UK vs. USA competition and donating the gold trophy. 

 

The Verulam Golf Club, in St Albans, is the home of the Ryder Cup http://www.verulamgolf.co.uk/  My older brother, Nick, enjoys playing golf and is a member of the Club.


 

 

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