Thursday 31 October 2013

There were a couple of runners of interest at Stratford today:

Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (10 ran); Wayne’s 25th winner of the season.

Billy Biscuit (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 11th in the Maiden Hurdle (14 ran); the race was won by Andy Kelly (that’s a horse not a jockey) ... and he ran in the final race at Kempton Park on 20 October. 


Talking of Kempton Park on 20 October, my diary has been completed and uploaded.  Click here to read.


A number of runners of interest tomorrow, with Choc in action too:



12:50 Carraig Mor (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:20 The Pirate’s Queen (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle

14:20 Raya Star (Alan King/Choc) – Beginners’ Chase

16:05 Wilde Blue Yonder (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race



13:10 Unknown Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle


I walked through the local park on my way to work this morning, where a large cedar tree near the gatehouse had been mutilated by Monday’s storm; a number of the top branches had been ripped off by the wind and still lay in a heap around its trunk.


And more wet and windy weather is expected this weekend ...

Wednesday 30 October 2013

There are a couple of runners of interest at Stratford tomorrow:

14:10 Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

16:10 Billy Biscuit (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle


Hopefully Choc will be in action on Friday.


And, if all goes to plan, I will make the final amendments to and upload my Kempton Park diary later this evening; although I am putting aside time to watch Poirot, as Dead Man’s Folly was the first Agatha Christie book I read many moons ago.  My younger brother has an extensive collection of paperbacks written by the author so, when younger, I read almost 80 of them! 

Monday 28 October 2013

I don’t think the storm turned out to be quite as bad as expected in St Albans.  Although there was a fatality in nearby Watford when someone was crushed inside a car due to a falling tree.  Very tragic. 


There were no problems during my walk to work this morning, as the wind had eased and the rain had stopped too.  And the roads were very quiet because it’s half-term.  Colleagues arrived at work earlier than usual, because they had expected problems so left home early.   


But my colleague, Susan, wasn’t so fortunate.  She glanced out of the window just before 07:00 this morning and thought ‘it doesn’t look too bad out there’ only to hear a huge crash a few minutes later.  A neighbour’s tree had fallen into her front garden and had crushed both her husband’s and son’s cars.  Fortunately her own car was okay so she was able to drive to work.  Evidently it was an old tree which had a preservation order on it.  But there’s preservation in order to retain a mature and beautiful tree which someone might be tempted to cut down on a whim and there’s just darn right dangerous – I wonder if these old trees are regularly checked.      


My Cheltenham diary has been completed and uploaded onto my website.  Click here to read.


Looking ahead to the weekend entries, it’s almost certain that I won’t be going racing on Saturday, as I expect Choc to be at Wetherby.  So that will give me a little extra time to complete my outstanding Kempton Park diary.  But Huntingdon could be a possibility on Sunday and/or Kempton Park on Monday, as I’ve booked a day’s leave.  There’s no rest for the wicked!!!


Racing in the UK was abandoned today due to water-logging following the storms; tomorrow there are no runners of interest at Ffos Las.

Sunday 27 October 2013

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



Memberof (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up before the last in the Juvenile Hurdle having faded quickly under pressure (6 ran); he was the odds-on favourite and much thought of by his trainer, so there must have been something amiss.

Lovcen (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [Pertemps qualifier] (7 ran).

Dundee (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

Hope For Glory (J Ward/Choc) finished 6th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).


Due to the low sun experienced at Aintree, both Lovcen’s and Dundee’s races became entirely different events due to the omission of the three flights in the home straight on each circuit.    



Forresters Folly (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (7 ran).

Compton Blue (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) stumbled and fell at the 5th & Hot Whiskey (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) launched his jockey into orbit when unseating at the 11th fence in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (16 ran). 

Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 3½ furlongs] (12 ran).

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase [3 miles 1½ furlongs]


Champion Court was taken to Wincanton too, for a gallop on the track after racing.


The Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase was a race full of incident, with two falls, two unseats, a brought down and a slip-up, but all horses were reported to be okay; although Daryl Jacob was stood down and taken for precautionary x-rays.


And I think the Wincanton green keepers will be less than happy with the Nicky Henderson runner entered in the final race, the David Bass ridden Looking Hopeful, bolting around their golf greens prior to the race!  Having done all his running, the horse was withdrawn from the event. 


It’s been a unlucky weekend for the Alan King horses – is someone sticking pins in voodoo dolls?


With the prospect of a big storm overnight, racecourses holding fixtures tomorrow have called precautionary inspections.  More  There are no runners of interest at Bangor-On-Dee’s scheduled meeting.


I’ve been slaving over a hot laptop, this morning, and have almost completed my Cheltenham diary.  I hope to proof and upload it before turning in tonight.  One down ... one to go!

Saturday 26 October 2013

Firstly, here are today’s results for my runners of interest:



Star Of Aragon (James Nash/Choc) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

Walkon (Alan King/Choc) clobbered and unseated 4 out in the Old Roan Chase [Grade 2 Limited Handicap] (11 ran); RUK reported that Choc was fine, and Choc later tweeted to say both he and Walkon were fine.  Phew, that’s a relief ... my favourite jockey and favourite horse; he’s like me ... becoming greyer and greyer!



Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Persian War Novices’ Hurdle [Grade 2] (7 ran).

Araldur (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).



Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 5th in the Selling Hurdle (6 ran).

Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).


With Choc hitting the deck again, I wonder if he’s being a little too ‘gung ho’ at the moment and taking too many risks, conscious of the criticism aimed at him on twitter by disgruntled punters.  They talk through their pockets and probably have never ridden a horse, so don’t realise just how unpredictable they can be.  It must also get under his skin when they praise Wayne Hutchinson as a jockey but are full of criticism for Choc.  Damn them. 


AP McCoy rode a treble today at Aintree ... it just goes to show the difference between riding with confidence and riding when one’s confidence has been dented. L


Alan King’s former Assistant Trainer, Noel Williams, who set up as a trainer in his own right this summer, had his first runner today, Minty Fox in a Ladies Amateur Riders’ race at Newbury.  Unfortunately it finished last of 12.


A number of runners of interest tomorrow:



13:00 Memberof (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:05 Lovcen (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [Pertemps qualifier]

15:50 Dundee (Alan King/Choc) – National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle

16:20 Hope For Glory (J Ward/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race



13:45 Forresters Folly (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:20 Compton Blue (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) & Hot Whiskey (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

14:55 Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 3½ furlongs]

16:05 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 1½ furlongs]


Forgot to mention this news story regarding Simonsig, who has suffered a set-back due to lameness as a result of a splint.  More


I was doing a bit of research for my Cheltenham diary and discovered this time-lapse video of the initial stages of the racecourse re-development.  http://www.cheltenham.co.uk/about/new-stand-development/


My Sky HD box hard drive needed to be re-built today, for the second time in less than six weeks. Last time it was because a recording didn’t stop, this time because the play back wasn’t working – the blue play light was showing but the TV screen was blank!  I phoned Sky again – rather than look on their internet help page – and they are very helpful.  I’ve now made a note of the instructions from the website, so hopefully I’ll be able to do it myself next time without being talked through it!  I know why it happened ... I deleted a number of old recordings late yesterday in order to free up space.  This results in the disk becoming fragmented and it just needs to be ‘consolidated’ once more; no recordings are lost during the process.  Phew!  Although, of course, I have got them on DVD too!

Late yesterday evening I attempted to watch a recording of last Saturday’s Strictly Come Dancing (the drive was still working at that stage) but had to give up because, for each of the first four dancers, I dozed off to sleep.  I just didn’t see anything ... I’m useless!  I shall delete the programme without watching it – although, knowing my luck, that will probably cause another fragmentation issue with the hard-drive! 

It’s been a busy day spent slaving over a hot PC keyboard; I’ve now topped and tailed my Cheltenham diary and transferred the first three races of last Sunday’s Kempton Park fixture to DVD.  There was a lucky escape, timing wise, for Choc’s interview on RUK, as the recording was interrupted by signal loss due to a thunderstorm less than two minutes later!  I hope to transfer the remainder before I turn in tonight.  Then it’s full speed ahead with the race comments, as I hope to complete the diaries before I go racing again ... but it may not happen! 

Friday 25 October 2013

Just one runner today, at Fakenham, and this is how it fared:

Chasse En Mer (Caroline Bailey/Choc) finished 2nd in the Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (6 ran).


Three National Hunt fixtures tomorrow and runners of interest at all of them:



13:55 Star Of Aragon (James Nash/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

15:05 Walkon (Alan King/Choc) – Old Roan Chase [Grade 2 Limited Handicap]



15:35 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Persian War Novices’ Hurdle [Grade 2]

16:10 Araldur (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle



14:45 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Selling Hurdle

15:20 Havingotascoobydo (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Handicap Chase


Here is a link to Martin Keighley’s Stable Talk column in the Gloucestershire Echo this week.  More


My department manager Michelle insisted I accompany her and friend Steph to the London Colney retail park at lunchtime – my first lunch-break for almost two weeks.  Whilst they made a beeline for New Look and Next, I headed across the car park to M & S ... which is only to be expected!  And I bought a pair of burgundy coloured  chunky biker boots plus a beautiful unicorn scarf.  There is an advantage to never having time to go out at lunchtime ... I can’t spend money!!!


My friend Lesley has now booked our tickets for the Once in a Lifetime tour in Birmingham on 27 June 2014.


I’m hoping to make further inroads into my outstanding racing diaries this weekend, although progress seems a little slower than usual.  At least I will get an additional hour this weekend, with the clocks going back early Sunday morning.  But I’m not looking forward to walking home from work in the dark for the next few months.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Here are today’s results of interest:



Fearless Leader (David Bridgwater/Choc) was a non-runner in the Novices’ Handicap Chase

Portway Flyer (Ian Williams/Choc) was also a non-runner in the ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle

Hollow Penny (Alan King/Choc) unseated at the first flight in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran); he started as favourite.

Ifonlywecud (CA Mulhall/Choc) was another non-runner in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (Div I)

Di’s Gift (Richard Guest/Choc) finished 3rd in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (Div II) (9 ran).


Poor old Choc is having a bit of a torrid time at the moment ... I hope his luck changes soon.



Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, by a head (5 ran); Wayne’s 24th winner of the season.


Meanwhile it’s full speed ahead for AP McCoy; he rode 5 winners at Carlisle this afternoon including his 100th winner of the season.  And his 4,000th career winner is getting ever closer.  More


Tomorrow there is one runner of interest at Fakenham:

16:00 Chasse En Mer (Caroline Bailey/Choc) – Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle


I’m still struggling to overcome the backlog at work, and to add insult to injury, today I’ve sustained numerous paper cuts from carrying and packing reams of printed paper.  They are horribly stingy and I had to throw away a few sheets because they had my blood on them!

Work continues on my Cheltenham and Kempton Park diaries – I write until at least 22:30 each evening, before spending time transferring the day’s relevant racing action (Choc) onto DVD.  After which it’s my bedtime.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Just one runner of interest today, at Fontwell Park:

Simply A Legend (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran); beaten by a Charlie Longsdon trained horse – but his is the hottest yard around at the moment!


Runners of interest at Southwell and Ludlow tomorrow:



13:30 Fearless Leader (David Bridgwater/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

15:05 Portway Flyer (Ian Williams/Choc) – ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle

15:35 Hollow Penny (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

16:40 Ifonlywecud (CA Mulhall/Choc) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race (Div I)

17:10 Di’s Gift (Richard Guest/Choc) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race (Div II)



16:15 Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle


I forgot to mention that Alan King’s yard featured in yesterday’s Racing Post stable tours.  Evidently Hold On Julio will find himself ‘on the transfer list’ following one more run, if his form doesn’t improve.  Of other inmates, Hung Parliament fractured a cannon bone on the gallops but, following surgery, is back in training.  Also, Roberto Pegasus fractured a leg, also on the gallops, but he too is back in training following an operation.


There was also a report that Cheltenham is to review its schedule with regard to chases run at the Showcase fixture, following Choc’s mishap on Saturday.  Timings are already taken into consideration at the November, December and January fixtures because of the low sun problem – avoiding them on a shifting timetable anywhere between 14:40 and 16:10.  In addition to Daryl Jacob, AP McCoy also said it was difficult to see the second last. 


Should I state the obvious ... the second last on the Old Course was moved into the home straight not that many years ago, following many incidents when situated on rising ground just before the turn – could that be why it’s not been a problem at this particular fixture before?


The Racing Post reported that Alan King jokingly called for the abolition of all second last fences, following Uxizandre’s error at Plumpton on Monday.  And following on from Pantxoa’s mistake at the second last at Cheltenham on Friday, followed by Balder Succes’ mishap, and Turn Over Sivola almost unseating Choc at the penultimate fence at Kempton on Sunday!


Poor old St Nicholas Abbey has suffered yet another set-back in his recovery from a fractured pastern.  More


And Denman too has been suffering from a very serious infection, with his survival not certain.  More

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Three runners of interest at Exeter tomorrow:

Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase having made an early error which appeared to dent his confidence (6 ran).

Coyaba (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was a non-runner & Leviche (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).


One runner of interest tomorrow, at Fontwell Park:

15:25 Simply A Legend (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle


Choc tweeted to say he’d been given a free breakfast at The Little Chef today, as the Manager had backed Katchit, presumably to win the Champion Hurdle.  My family used to frequent Little Chef restaurants when on road journeys and I loved their cherry pancakes with ice cream!


Colin Tizzard is mulling over his plans for Third Intention, winner last Friday, at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting. More


Plans relating to Captain Chris and Menorah are outlined in this ATR article. More


Finally, Gary Moore’s schedule for his novice chasing star Sire De Grugy. More


I shall spend time this evening working on my weekend diaries, as I need to get a move on before my memory fails me!  The Kempton Park one is well underway but the Cheltenham diary hasn’t been started yet.

And my friend Lesley has asked if I’d like to go to see the Once in a Lifetime tour in Birmingham next June ... Osmonds, Showaddywaddy, Les Mckeown’s Legendry Bay City Rollers and David Essex ... the answer is yes, so she’s going to book the tickets! 

I used to have Showaddywaddy’s Greatest Hits on vinyl (an LP) but my father threw out all my records a few years ago ... without asking or telling me until it was far too late.  And I shall never get over the fact that one of the LPs had been signed by all the Osmonds L

Monday 21 October 2013

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

Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 8th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

Uxizandre (Alan King/AP McCoy) won the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase despite ploughing through the penultimate fence (4 ran).

Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished a very game 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).


Three runners of interest at Exeter tomorrow:

15:40 Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

17:10 Coyaba (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Leviche (Alan King/Choc) – Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race


Annoyingly I’ve been bothered by almost continuous acid reflux today – probably the result of the extra stress which I’ve been suffering at work for more than a week.  The symptoms (tenderness in the stomach area, nausea and incessant throat-clearing) have been affecting me since last Thursday, but they are far worse today.  In fact it’s spoilt my day’s holiday.  Typical.

I had hoped to make quicker progress with my website updates following this weekend’s outings.  However I have finished uploading a selection of photographs.  Click here to go to the photo gallery index. 

ATR stated that, following a very disappointing move to the USA, Hunt Ball will be returning to the UK to be trained by Nicky Henderson!  He’s currently undergoing quarantine.

Sunday 20 October 2013


race 2 b for blog.jpg


Choc ahead of his ride aboard Turn Over Sivola



Another soggy day at the races but, fortunately, Choc’s luck had changed by today, as he rode a winner and a 2nd from his two rides at Kempton Park:

Duroble Man (Alan King/Choc) won the Juvenile Hurdle (10 ran); Choc’s 5th winner of the season.

Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Beginners’ Chase (5 ran).

Suburban Bay (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (11 ran).

Oh Crick (Alan King/Mr Joshua Newman) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase (6 ran).

Gold Ingot (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 10th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Three runners of interest at Plumpton tomorrow:

15:20 Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

15:50 Uxizandre (Alan King/AP McCoy) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase; the horse is now owned by JP McManus, hence the jockey booking

17:20 Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Hurdle


It was so damp today that my camera lense misted up due to ingress of water (that’s a first).  The good news is that it didn’t happen until the third race, but the bad news is that the weather was so bad during the earlier races that many of my photos are blurred anyway!  The camera did dry out later in the afternoon, but it was too late to take photos of the feature race (race 5)!  It’s just been one of those weekends when photography is a challenge ...

I have a day’s leave tomorrow so, hopefully, I’ll be able to make inroads into my photograph uploads and diaries.

Saturday 19 October 2013


Hold on Julio r.jpg


Choc aboard Hold On Julio


Nice day.jpg


Nice weather


Horrible day r.jpg


Dreadful weather


Rainbow r.jpg





I had such high hopes of a good day at Cheltenham but it didn’t turn out that way.  Choc was totally out of luck, with just one third place, two unplaced, an unseated and a fall; the latter was a result of being unable to see due to the low sun.  But fortunately both he and Balder Succes were fine, as was The Cockney Mackem who departed at the same fence; although it looked touch and go for the latter who was down for a long time, with the green screens being erected.  Daryl Jacob, rider of the winner Dark Lover, also stated that he could not see the penultimate obstacle due to the low sun.  


In fact the weather played a big part in the day – it started out sunny, then rained after the third race, left off for a bit during the fourth ... then absolutely tipped it down as Balthazar King returned to the Winners’ Enclosure, and was accompanied by a clap of thunder.  As the rain eased off after the fifth race there was a rainbow, and then finally it was sunny for the remainder of the afternoon – which was unfortunate for Balder Succes. 


So, as you can imagine, my racing clothes are very soggy and have now been consigned to the airing cupboard in the hope that the warmth will dry them out.  And I’ve even had to remove all the contents of my handbag because it’s so damp!


Anyway, there turned out to be nine runners of interest at Cheltenham, and this is how they fared:

Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd & Hold On Julio (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 10th in the Handicap Chase (16 ran).

Handazan (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Hurdle (6 ran).

Mickie (Henry Daly/Choc) unseated at the last & Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran).

Balder Succes (Alan King/Choc) fell 2 out in the Novices’ Chase (6 ran).

The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 11th & Innocent Girl (Lucinda Russell/Choc) finished 14th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (18 ran).


Tomorrow Choc will be at Kempton Park, where there are a number of runners of interest:

14:15 Duroble Man (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:45 Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Choc) – Beginners’ Chase

15:50 Suburban Bay (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

17:00 Oh Crick (Alan King/Mr Joshua Newman) – Handicap Chase

17:30 Gold Ingot (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

Kempton here I come ... although the forecasted weather is due to be worse than today!  I look forward to that ... NOT!

Friday 18 October 2013

Here are today’s results from the first day of Cheltenham’s Showcase fixture:

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished a very gallant 2nd having stumbled 2 two out & Possol (Henry Daly/Choc) finished 16th in the Handicap Hurdle (20 ran).

Pantxoa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished a very game 2nd having blundered badly at the second last & Faultless Feelings (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Novices’ Chase (9 ran).


Eight runners of interest at Cheltenham tomorrow:

14:00 Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Hold On Julio (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:35 Kumbeshwar (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

15:10 Handazan (Alan King/Choc) – Hurdle

16:25 Mickie (Henry Daly/Choc) & Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle

17:00 Balder Succes (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Chase

17:30 The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Standard Open NH Flat Race


Here is a link to an interview with Choc which has been uploaded by Michael Elders onto the Cheltenham Festival Info website. Click here to read.


And a link to Martin Keighley’s latest Stable Talk column in the Gloucestershire Echo where he looks forward to his Showcase runners this weekend.  More


The Queen Mother stand has been demolished ahead of the re-development of Cheltenham racecourse – hopefully that will mean far fewer problems with the horrendous bottleneck which occurs on big race days.  I imagine there will be barriers installed for the Festival, in order that Club enclosure badges can be checked for those venturing to the rails. 


There are so many runners of interest to me at Cheltenham tomorrow ... why would anyone go to Ascot?  Not me!  It may be over twice the distance away, but I know which direction I’m heading! 


And, as things stand, to Kempton on Sunday too – Choc has two early rides for Alan King, Wayne two late rides for the yard, although the weather doesn’t look very promising.  I’m ‘Norman no mates’ on my journeys this weekend.  Never mind, I’m hopeful I’ll survive!

Thursday 17 October 2013

Good news from Uttoxeter today:

Herod The Great (Alan King/Choc) won the Juvenile Hurdle (7 ran); Choc’s 4th winner of the season

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (8 ran).

Ashes House (Rebecca Curtis/Choc) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran); evidently Choc lost his whip before the last and he couldn’t hold off the Jonjo/AP challenge.



Typhon de Guye (Martin Keighley/Tom Scudamore) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle


It’s the first day of Cheltenham’s Showcase fixture tomorrow and a number of runners of interest:

15:15 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Possol (Henry Daly/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

15:50 Pantxoa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Faultless Feelings (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Chase


People are dropping like flies at work ... I’m surrounded by colleagues with either a stomach sickness bug or a cold.  I shall not be happy if I succumb to either of these, especially as I’m on annual leave tomorrow and Monday. 

Wednesday 16 October 2013

A number of runners of interest tomorrow:



14:00 Herod The Great (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle

15:00 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase

15:30 Ashes House (Rebecca Curtis/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle



16:20 Typhon de Guye (Martin Keighley/Tom Scudamore) – Handicap Hurdle


Details on Sky News regarding Alan King’s probable and possible entries for Cheltenham this weekend. More


But a setback for Choc’s winning comeback ride, Letsby Avenue, he’s picked up an injury and will be out for the remainder of the season.


Work remains a nightmare ... a heavy workload compounded by sickness absence.

Tuesday 15 October 2013

There is an article in the Gloucestershire Echo today, looking forward to Choc’s return to Cheltenham this weekend.  Click here to read.


Things are beginning to shape up for my weekend racing programme, but no final decisions will be made until lunchtime on Friday when the cards are published online. 


It appears that Imperial Commander is back in training.  More  I would have thought he’d have earned himself an honourable retirement by now ...


Excellent news reported via Martin Keighley’s blog regarding the retired ex-inmate Deep Reflection – having won classes at a number of shows this summer, including my local Herts County Show, Deep Reflection won the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse of the Year Championship at this year’s Horse of the Year Show.


But very sad news regarding another of the competitors, Steveys Lad, who died in a road accident on the way home from the Show. RIP.


No runners of interest again tomorrow, with National Hunt racing taking place at Wetherby.


It continues to be very busy at work ... in early, out late, no lunch breaks or other breaks either (being a non-smoker)!

Sunday 13 October 2013

Choc’s mount, Eshtyaaq, was a non-runner in Goodwood’s Alderbrook Handicap for Professional NH Jockeys, presumably due to the ground – it had been raining in the south for hours this morning.  However, the race was won by Wayne Hutchinson riding the Graeme McPherson trained Harry Hunt.  But, as a ‘special’ event, it doesn’t count towards his season’s winners!


It was interesting to listen to RUK’s interview with Graeme, who is a lawyer in his other guise, who represented jockey Martin Dwyer in his successful appeal to the BHA not to reciprocate a 56-day riding ban imposed by the Indian racing authorities. 


There’s an update on Alan King’s website regarding his plans for Balder Succes and Pantxoa next weekend; with Wayne already booked to continue his association with the latter.



Following his successes yesterday, Choc has been promoted onto page 2 of the Jump Jockeys Championship league, and is now top of those who have ridden 3 winners this season.  His current strike rate is 23% (3 wins from 13 rides) with total prize money won of £38,661.   http://www.thepja.co.uk/champ_jump.aspx


With Choc and Wayne having assumed ‘dual first jockey’ status, I just hope my favourite jockey makes it to the fixtures I can attend ... otherwise it might just be a very quiet season for me.  Although there are already forecasts of a very severe winter this time around, which would put paid to all plans regardless.


No National Hunt racing on the UK mainland tomorrow; with a special Britain vs. Ireland card taking place at Limerick in aid of injured jockeys JT McNamara and Jonjo Bright.  Amongst those taking part, who usually ride on this side of the Irish Sea, are Richard Johnson, AP McCoy, Tom O’Brien, Jason Maguire, Alain Cawley, Robbie Dunne, Jamie Moore, Nick Scholfield, Kieran Fallon, Tom Queally and Jamie Spencer.

Work again tomorrow, and hopefully the replacement fuser for the photocopier will arrive ... we thought we had two spares in stock, but one numpty had put a used one back in the cupboard instead of disposing of it and the other was discovered to be damaged.  An urgent order was placed and a number of consumable items arrived on Friday ... but there was no fuser included!  The items (a newsletter, a number of information sheets and numerous marketing flyers) I need to print are backing up all the time ... so it will be a relief to clear it. 

And it’s going to be a 4-day week, this week and next, as I’m on holiday on Friday and the following Monday.  Yippee!  Especially as I don’t believe I’ve had a day’s leave since 01 July ... and before that not since the beginning of April! 

Saturday 12 October 2013

An excellent day at the office for Choc, with two winners from two rides! J


And here are the results from Chepstow:

Wooly Bully (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Juvenile Hurdle (5 ran).

Balder Succes (Alan King/Choc) won the Novices’ Chase (5 ran); Choc’s 2nd winner of the season and an excellent jumping display from the chasing debutant. 

Handazan (Alan King/Choc) won the Hurdle [Limited Handicap] (6 ran); Choc’s 3rd winner of the season.

Fighter Jet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).


Also, prior to racing, there was a charity flat race for Jump Legend jockeys in association with the Bob Champion Cancer Trust and Spinal Research.  Their mounts included three of Alan King’s horses – Jetnova, McVicar and Secret Edge – along with late call-up Court In Session (Judge) trained by Martin Keighley.  And the winner was ... Court In Session ridden by Jimmy Frost!  In fact Alan’s horses chased him home; Secret Edge (Kevin Mooney) finished 2nd, McVicar (Jimmy McCarthy) completed in 3rd and Jetnova (Adrian Maguire) finished 4th.


Tomorrow, Choc heads to Goodwood:

14:00 Eshtyaaq (PD Evans/Choc) – Alderbrook Handicap (ridden by Professional NH Jockeys)


Disappointment for many Channel 4 viewers regarding the broadcaster’s racing priorities next weekend – they are NOT going to show any coverage from Cheltenham’s Showcase meeting, deciding to concentrate instead on Ascot’s Champions’ Day.  It’s at times like these that I’m pleased I have Racing UK and ATR available to me ... but not every National Hunt fan has. 


It was a shame there were no ATR presenters at Chepstow today to interview the winning connections; Robert Cooper was sent up to gloomy Hexham instead!  But I guess there must have been some sort of ‘broadcasting’ issue involved. 

Friday 11 October 2013

A number of runners of interest at Chepstow tomorrow:

14:25 Wooly Bully (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

16:15 Balder Succes (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Chase

16:45 Handazan (Alan King/Choc) – Hurdle [Limited Handicap]

17:15 Fighter Jet (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle


Then, on Sunday, one runner of interest at Goodwood:

14:00 Eshtyaaq (PD Evans/Choc) – Alderbrook Handicap (ridden by Professional NH Jockeys)


There’s an overview regarding tomorrow’s runners on Alan King’s website. More


Here is a link to Martin Keighley’s Stable Talk column in this week’s Gloucestershire Echo.  More


And there is also a link on Martin’s homepage to photographs taken at this year’s Owners’ Open Day:


I’m on the left in the second photograph, with my friend Lesley.  And, you’ll find Choc in a couple of the later photographs too!  My memory served me well, as the description of Choc’s outfit(!) mentioned in my diary was exactly as I recalled it!


Another busy day at work ... but not quite as bad as yesterday, having managed a 40-minute lunch-break today. 

It’s wild and windy tonight – so probably best to stay at home in the warm this weekend and watch the racing ... although, come to think of it, that was what I’ve planned regardless of the weather!

Thursday 10 October 2013

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

Barrs Lane (AJ Whiting/Choc) finished 3rd in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (5 ran).

No Regrets (Mrs A Clarke/Choc) was pulled up in the Selling Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).


No runners of interest tomorrow.


I’ve had a rotten day at work ... I arrived as early as I could (08:00) and worked through non-stop until 17:45 ... and still have more work to do than when I began this morning – there are just so many people who have a call on my time.  I’m feeling very stressed again and my hiatus hernia is giving me gyp too. L  But, looking forward, I’m on leave next Friday and the following Monday.  Yippee. J

Wednesday 09 October 2013

Here are today’s results from Towcester:

Hail Tiberius (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (8 ran).

Katie’s Massini (Henry Oliver/Choc) finished 5th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Queen Spud (Henry Daly/Choc) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs] (10 ran).

In A Heartbeat (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (9 ran).


Tomorrow there is National Hunt racing at Exeter and Worcester, with runners of interest at the latter:

15:30 Barrs Lane (AJ Whiting/Choc) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

16:00 No Regrets (Mrs A Clarke/Choc) – Selling Handicap Hurdle; Hail Tiberius was declared to run in this race too just in case today’s ground was too quick but, as he ran today, he will be a non-runner tomorrow.

Tuesday 08 October 2013

National Hunt racing at Ludlow and Towcester tomorrow, with four runners of interest at the latter:

15:20 Hail Tiberius (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]

15:50 Katie’s Massini (Henry Oliver/Choc) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:20 Queen Spud (Henry Daly/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3½ furlongs]

17:20 In A Heartbeat (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race


Martin mentions in his blog that, today, Hail Tiberius was ridden out in a snaffle bit, as opposed to the usual hood and eye-shields.  He’s turning into a pussycat! 

It looks like Choc will have a number of rides for Alan King at Chepstow on Saturday, with the possible runners split 50/50 between himself and Wayne Hutchinson.  And, as things stand, Choc will also be travelling to Goodwood on Sunday to take part in the annual race for National Hunt jockeys; his ride being Eshtyaaq.

Choc has tweeted a couple of photographs this evening.  Lucky William – lovely daddy and the opportunity to ride ponies too:



Monday 07 October 2013

Yesterday evening, Choc tweeted this photograph taken at Huntingdon:



I had been all of a dither on Friday, not knowing whether to confirm or cancel my hair appointment scheduled for yesterday.  With Choc having two rides at Huntingdon, I was on the horns of a dilemma.  If he’d had three rides then I’d have postponed my haircut, if one I would confirm.  But two?  That’s always a difficult decision.


If I’d been sensible I’d have arranged a hair appointment for next Sunday instead, and that would have given me the 100% freedom of a last minute change of mind ... and, having woken up yesterday to what was a beautiful and warm early autumn day, that is precisely what I’d have done ... gone to Huntingdon! 


I’m so annoyed with myself for having missed both Choc and William. L  But it was great that Choc sent me a kiss via twitter when I told him I was gutted that I’d not gone to Huntingdon so had missed seeing them.  He’s so lovely. J

Sunday 06 October 2013

One runner of interest at Fontwell Park yesterday:

Havingotoscoobydo (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (7 ran); Martin tweeted to say he was bitterly disappointed as the horse looked a picture in the paddock.  He’s frustrated, as he’d hoped Scooby would be back on form following numerous injury problems. 


But an excellent victory at Ascot yesterday for my local trainer, Dean Ivory.  More


And this is how today’s runners of interest fared:



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

Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the Handicap Chase (6 ran).

Quinsman (Caroline Bailey/Choc) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).



Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Nick Slatter) finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Hail Tiberius (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) won the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran); Martin’s 7th winner of the season.  Well done to the team, the horse’s second victory in a week; they have found the key to a horse which Martin admits is not the easiest of charges!   


I feel gutted for Frankie Dettori who, due to injury, missed the winning ride aboard Treve in this afternoon’s Prix de l’arc de Triomphe.  More


Choc has tweeted a couple of photographs of William:





It has been another beautifully warm early autumn day ... so I wish I’d decided to go racing to Huntingdon instead of making an appointment to have my hair trimmed this afternoon!  But, fingers crossed, my National Hunt season will kick off with Cheltenham and/or Kempton Park in a fortnight’s time! 

Friday 04 October 2013

One runner of interest at Fontwell Park tomorrow:

15:05 Havingotoscoobydo (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle


Then, on Sunday, runners of interest at Huntingdon:

14:10 Uriah Heep (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:45 Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase

16:25 Quinsman (Caroline Bailey/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

Good to see Choc back aboard Quinsman, as he won aboard him twice last season (at Bangor on 27 August and at Sedgefield on 06 September)


Meanwhile at Uttoxeter:

16:05 Mauricetheathlete (Martin Keighley/Nick Slatter) – Handicap Hurdle

17:05 Hail Tiberius (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Handicap Hurdle


Choc tweeted last night to say he’d had the fright of his life when he’d gone outside his home after dark only to discover a herd of cattle in his yard!  Evidently it took him around an hour of running around before he’d rounded them all up and secured them in their field once more.  I tweeted to ask if it was ‘Daisy and Buttercup or a load of old bullocks?’ ... and he tweeted back to confirm it was a ‘load of old bullocks!!’


Being a ‘resting’ rambler, I have a number of tales to tell regarding cattle encountered in the countryside, always bearing in mind that the number one rule is never walk between a cow and its calf because the mum will try to protect its youngster and may attack you. 


I recall a couple of encounters near the village of Hawridge in Buckinghamshire where a nearby farm had a large herd of Highland cattle – so you can imagine just how big their horns were!  On the first occasion we climbed over a stile to enter their field but, having got part way across, this large hairy huge horned animal wandered onto the footpath ... so we decided to retreat and find a different route to reach our destination. 


On the other occasion it was very damp weather so I was wearing my red cape when we walked through the valley bottom, it was only when we glanced up the hill that we noticed the same herd sheltering near the hedge – I’m not sure what possessed me as a rambler to buy a red cape – a bullfighter I’m not!  Fortunately on this occasion they took no notice but I was very pleased to clear the stile into the next field. 


Once when Mark and I were driving back from a ramble we were held up in the village of Hudnell by a couple of bullocks who had escaped from their field and had entered a nearby garden.  We had to wait whilst the farmer herded them back to their enclosure. 


Then there was the time when we were walking south of St Albans and had to trespass along a lane and over a farm gate in order to avoid a herd of young animals which was crowded around the stile on our sign-posted route.


And the time Mark and I were in Cornwall.  We had begun our walk in Tintagel and walked along the coastal path to Boscastle; the return took us across country back to the car.  On this latter stage we had crossed a stile only to find a herd of cattle drinking from a stream which ran along a thin strip of land adjoining their main field.  Having disturbed them, the cattle decided to head back to the open space whilst we walked along behind them ... it wasn’t until we entered the wide open space that a straggler appeared from behind us and trotted out into the field.  That could have been scary as we might have been trampled! 


Just two more recollections – these occurred whilst I was walking with members of the Ramblers Association.  We entered a large field of young cattle and must have disturbed them, as they cantered around and around the field as we walked across it, although we never felt in danger on this occasion.


Finally, I recall the time we walked through a field near Westcott and must have spooked the small herd of cows because they headed for a newly constructed post and rails fence and actually tried to jump it, two of them succeeded in trashing it and escaping.  However, we were relieved to see the animals head back up the lane towards their home farm, rather than out onto the busy A41.  A couple of my companions went to the farm to tell them what had happened and we moved on ... whoops!

Thursday 03 October 2013

One runner of interest at Bangor On Dee today and this is how he fared:

Herod The Great (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Juvenile Hurdle (5 ran).


National Hunt racing at Fontwell Park and Sedgefield tomorrow but no runners of interest.


My Cheltenham Festival tickets arrived today ... two envelopes, as I bought them two by two to spread the cost!


And I’ve finished my Martin Keighley’s Owners’ Day diary too.  Click here to read.

Wednesday 02 October 2013

One runner of interest at Bangor On Dee tomorrow:

14:20 Herod The Great (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle


Alan King discusses the plans for his returning stars in this ATR article.  More


Bad news for Frankie Dettori, he suffered a broken ankle when unshipped prior to a race at Nottingham today.  More


It’s Will Kennedy’s birthday today.  I was my dad’s birthday too. 


I stayed up until almost midnight again yesterday, putting the finishing touches to the initial draft of my Owners’ Day diary.  I hope to complete the proof reading and to upload it before turning in tonight.

Tuesday 01 October 2013

A number of runners of interest at Chepstow tomorrow:

Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Maiden Hurdle (14 ran); Martin’s 5th winner of the season

Pantxoa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won & Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (8 ran); Wayne’s 23rd winner of the season.

Hail Tiberius (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) won the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran); Martin’s 6th winner of the season ... HT may be a biter but he was also a fighter today!

Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 10th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (Conditional Jockeys & Amateur Riders) (14 ran).


An excellent day at the races for my runners of interest and congratulations to all the winning connections.


There is an overview of today’s racing from Chepstow on the ATR website.  More


No National Hunt racing tomorrow.


Excellent news today that Sandown Park will stage a solely jumps card on the final day of the National Hunt season, instead of its usual mixed card.  More  Presumably the BHA will publish the official 2014 fixture list shortly!


I began drafting my Owners’ Day diary yesterday evening, not turning in until almost midnight.  I had hoped to spend my lunch-break today writing more but, in the event, I had to work through due to an unexpected last minute job.  Drat it!



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