Saturday 31 October 2015


Choc in parade ring.jpg


For blog.jpg



I enjoyed my day out at Ascot; not only was it a beautiful day, but I saw Choc (above top) as hoped and said hello to him as he was on his way out at the end of the day ... as you do!  He was sporting facial hair, as he does most of the time these days ... but it didn’t put me off kissing him on the cheek!!!


I actually spent the time just pre-race, and just post-race, trying not to bump into him.  Because of the direction of the sun, I stood on the ‘bridge’ above the Parade Ring horse exit point to view the horses therein.  So, to find my way to the grandstand viewing steppings, I had to cross the path of connections making their way to the Owners and Trainers box.  So I hung back a bit in order to let his group go first; I’d already noticed that he had to be shown the way by his companions – very endearing; it must be very different from the jockeys’ eye view of the racecourse! 


Then, following the race, I actually got ahead of his group and had to take a diversion from my intended route to the ‘also ran’ unsaddling enclosure.  I’m trying hard not to ‘stalk’ him at the races, but confess I did pay my first ever visit to the Ascot Pre-Parade Ring, to see Ned Stark (above) being saddled and, of course, caught my first glimpse of Choc there today.  I still get butterflies in anticipation of seeing him!   



Ned Stark (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 6th in the Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (15 ran).

The race was won by Pendra, for Charlie Longsdon, JP McManus and Barry Geraghty.



Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the West Yorkshire Hurdle (Grade 2) (9 ran).

The race was won by Kilcooley, again for trainer Charlie Longsdon; he had an across the card treble, with Masterplan also winning at Ascot.  But it was not all good news for Charlie today, as his yard lost Boogie In The Barn which took a heavy fall at Wetherby; the horse was returning from 564 days absence.  RIP.


Noel Fehily rode a treble at Wetherby, Paddy Brennan a double.  Meanwhile Aidan Coleman rode three winners at Ascot, Barry Geraghty a double.  Nicky Henderson trained two winners at Ascot too.  Trainer Harry Fry had two winners at Wetherby, as did Colin Tizzard; the latter included Cue Card which won the Charlie Hall Chase from Dynaste and Ballynagour.  And, last but not least, Lucinda trained two winners at Ayr!


Baby Mix finished lame having passed the winning post in 3rd in the Byrne Group Handicap Chase and didn’t return to the Winners’ Enclosure; I hope he’s okay.


Wayne Hutchinson rode his 20th winner of the season aboard Katachenko at Wetherby. 


Another horse sadly lost this week was Kauto Stone; trained by Ben Pauling, he died after a heavy fall at Stratford having been off the racecourse for a year due to injury.  RIP.


One runner of interest tomorrow, at Huntingdon:

13:50 Duke Of Sonning (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle


I’ve no particular plans for tomorrow, apart from having my hair trimmed and beginning my post-Ascot website update.  I’ve fallen in love with my old purple coat all over again ... it will be worn to the races again ... and my new Hotter black Danielle ‘shoe’ boots too.   

Friday 30 October 2015

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



Sceau Royal (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished a nose 2nd in the Juvenile Hurdle (Listed) (5 ran).



Marley Joe (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 11th and Mille Nautique (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

Lady Persephone (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 4th in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (14 ran).


There are runners of interest tomorrow:



15:25 Ned Stark (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3); he is a Dunkley & Reilly Partnership owned horse and their Racing Manager is Choc!

He currently has 14 rivals – Houblon Des Obeaux, Virak, Fox Appeal, Double Ross, Le Reve, Royal Player, Present View, Lost Legend, Bennys Mist, Pendra, What A Warrior, Leo Luna, Cantlow and No Buts; only Pendra downwards carry less weight on this occasion.



14:00 Grumeti (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – West Yorkshire Hurdle (Grade 2); he’s being tried over 3 miles having won the Cesarewitch and rivals include Rock On Ruby, Splash Of Ginge and The Druids Nephew. 


I notice that Ma Filleule is running in the Mares’ Listed Hurdle at 14:30; it’s her final season prior to heading to the breeding paddocks.


The Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase takes place at 15:05 and Grand National winner Many Clouds will take on Menorah, Sam Winner, Holywell, Ballynagour, Cue Card and Dynaste.


Meanwhile the ex-Alan King-trained Uriah Heep is due to run in the 16:00 Handicap Hurdle at Ayr.


I’ve discovered the name of the iron grey horse I saw when I visited Noel Williams’ yard earlier this month – it’s Cinderfella:



It appears that I have plans for tomorrow ... namely a day out at Ascot races!  Can’t image why ... LOL!  But fingers crossed that I may see the lovely Choc too. J

I must be out of practice, as it took me around an hour to decide upon what to wear tomorrow.  The current weather forecast for Ascot is for some sunshine during the afternoon, with a high of 15 degrees – positively tropical for National Hunt racing!  But, despite this, I’m still going to wear two thermal t-shirts, a sweater and a fleece underneath my coat.  You can never take too many chances at the Berkshire track, as I’ve experienced some of my coldest race days at the course!

Thursday 29 October 2015

Three runners of interest at Stratford-Upon-Avon this afternoon and this is how they fared:

Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) won the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (9 ran); Martin’s 11th winner of the season.  Well done to the team.

Brod Na Heireann (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th and Right On Roy (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) was pulled up in the Maiden Hurdle (14 ran); only 5 completed the race, the remainder were pulled up.


There are four runners of interest tomorrow:



14:50 Sceau Royal (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle (Listed)



13:15 Marley Joe (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) & Mille Nautique (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:50 Lady Persephone (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle


Despite holding an entry at Carlisle on Sunday, Mark Bradstock is hoping that ground conditions will be suitable for Coneygree to make his seasonal debut at Sandown Park a week Sunday instead.  That will be an excellent crowd draw for the Esher track. 

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Fakenham, and this is how she fared:

Mystery Code (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (9 ran); Wayne’s 19th winner of the season.


Three runners of interest tomorrow, at Stratford-Upon-Avon:

14:40 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

15:10 Brod Na Heireann (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Right On Roy (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) – Maiden Hurdle


I thought I heard fireworks this evening so looked out of the window only to see what I presume were numerous Chinese lanterns flying over the roofs of my near neighbours.  Either that or they were UFOs!  They were being released a road or two away from where I live by, presumably, total idiots!  I can’t believe the stupidity of people who would release burning objects into the air not knowing when or where they would land; all I can say is that they were heading in a northerly direction, across residential areas in the first instance. 

Tuesday 27 October 2015

There were three runners of interest today, at Bangor-on-Dee, and it was a bit of an up and down (or should that be a down and up) day for Wayne Hutchinson:

Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Kevin Dowling) finished 3rd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (7 ran); the maiden having survived a bad blunder mid-race.

Precision Five (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) unseated at the second flight in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).  She stepped on the flight and stumbled because she was unsighted; the field was bunched up because they were travelling too slowly.

Criq Rock (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Standard Open NH Flat Race (14 ran); Wayne’s 18th winner of the season.


Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Fakenham:

14:10 Mystery Code (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle


I decided to try out my new contact lenses for work today, and the toric one was fine once my eye had adjusted to the slightly thicker than normal lense.  I used to wear hard lenses, before the disposable ones came into common usage, so it would have been a surprise if it had not suited.  Disposable daily lenses are so much easier, when I recall all the faffing about with the cleaning solutions that the hard lenses required!  And they are not expensive for me personally, because I probably use fewer than 30 a year anyway. 


And I think I’m finally regaining control over my acid reflux; colds and flu can cause symptoms, even when I don’t use any virus busting drugs.  It’s a month since I had a cold, but it takes 4-6 weeks to get back to normal again ... so I don’t want any more colds this winter.   Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!  And, hopefully, my flu jab will prevent me getting flu.  

Monday 26 October 2015

There are three runners of interest tomorrow, at Bangor-on-Dee:

13:55 Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Kevin Dowling) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

15:00 Precision Five (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:30 Criq Rock (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race


Looking ahead to the weekend, Ned Stark holds an entry in Ascot’s Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase and also in Sunday’s Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle.


Following further investigations close to the St Albans sink hole, a survey has revealed the likelihood of another void beneath the surface ... and indications are that it may be up to three times the size of the first one and extends under the houses.  Very worrying times for those with homes in Fontmell Close.  More

Sunday 25 October 2015


Race 5 z9a.jpg


RIP Radjhani Express


National Hunt racing lost one of its better known horses today, when Radjhani Express broke a hind leg upon landing over the penultimate open-ditch during today’s Grade 2 Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase at Aintree.  He was a Cheltenham Festival winner and also the winner of last season’s Topham Chase over the Grand National fences. 


Sound Investment won today’s race, beating last year’s victor, Wishfull Thinking.


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



Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) finished 4th in the Veterans’ Handicap Chase (8 ran); last year’s winner, the popular Lie Forrit, was pulled up shortly after halfway – it was not a going day for him.



McCabe Creek (Alan King/Jamie Insole) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs & 82 yards] (11 ran).

Theatre Goer (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Cahill (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Juvenile Hurdle (6 ran).

But my old favourite Forgotten Gold won the Handicap Chase for the Desert Orchid Silver Cup! (8 ran).


Choc spent yesterday shooting in Leicestershire, with son William, girlfriend Jennie, his parents, brother Richard and Richard’s two sons.  


There are no runners of interest tomorrow.

Saturday 24 October 2015

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



Baltic Histoire (Jamie Osborne/Timmy Murphy) finished 8th in the Nursery for 2-year-olds [5 furlong handicap] (8 ran).



Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [1 mile 7 furlongs & 199 yards] (12 ran).

Karezak (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Hurdle for 4-year-olds (8 ran).

Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 8th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles & 1 furlong], but the position does not reflect how well he ran (12 ran). 


Cheltenham got some rain, but they also got some sunshine and had to bypass a hurdle later in the day.  Whereas Newbury, which I don’t think were expecting too much wet weather, was absolutely dire!  


Sadly, My Lad Percy sustained a tendon injury when finishing lame at Cheltenham yesterday, so will need to spend a year on the sidelines.


Having watched The Morning Line, I wish I’d put a bet on my fancy for the big race at Doncaster ... Marcel won at 33-1!


There are also runners of interest tomorrow:



14:30 Any Currency (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) – Veterans’ Handicap Chase; the popular Lie Forrit also runs in this race.



13:40 McCabe Creek (Alan King/Jamie Insole) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs & 82 yards]

14:15 Theatre Goer (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:16 Cahill (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

And old favourite Forgotten Gold is due to take part in the Handicap Chase to be run at 14:45. 


I’ve not done much today, apart from watch the racing on TV, and Strictly Come Dancing; I’ve also knitted two Katia Big Bang loopy scarves – one in navy and one in bright red – they don’t take long to do.

Friday 23 October 2015

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

My Lad Percy (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) finished 8th in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle (Series Qualifier) (11 ran); he ran well for a long way but faded badly after the last and was reported to have finished lame. So I hope he is okay.

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Mr Joshua Newman) finished 10th in the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase (14 ran).


There are four runners of interest tomorrow:



14:10 Turn Over Sivola (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [1 mile 7 furlongs & 199 yards]

14:45 Karezak (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Hurdle for 4-year-olds

15:20 Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Chase [3 miles & 1 furlong]



18:05 Baltic Histoire (Jamie Osborne/Timmy Murphy) – Nursery for 2-year-olds [5 furlong handicap]


The current weather forecast for Cheltenham tomorrow is heavy rain around 09:00, light rain between 10:00 to noon, cloudy for an hour after midday, then light rain again between 13:00 to 15:00, followed by heavy rain between 15:00 to 18:00.  I think it’s succeeded on putting me off going tomorrow, having hoped for pleasant weather and the company of my friend Lesley too.  I also get apprehensive these days, when I’ve not been out to the races for a while.  What a bummer.  But at least there’s a 50/50 possibility of a trip to Ascot next Saturday although, knowing my luck, Ned Stark will run at Wincanton the weekend after!!!  


Choc and Jennie have got William staying with them this weekend; Choc’s one of my friends on facebook. 


There were a number of photos taken at Cheltenham racecourse tweeted today:


The first is of Freddie and Harry Keighley enjoying an afternoon out with their school friends, and with the new walkway in the background:



Belinda Keighley with sons Freddie and Harry standing on the new Owners’ and Trainers’ balcony overlooking the racecourse:



Trainer Fergal O’Brien has tweeted a couple of photos taken from the walkway, overlooking the Winners’ Enclosure:



From another angle:



And again, this time, a photo courtesy of the racecourse:



I like the idea of steppings on the walkway although, personally, all my viewing takes place at ground level!


And here is a view of the new grandstand, taken from the track itself:


The horses in the foreground are those taking part in the first race of the day, number 5 being Penglai Pavilion, trained by John Ferguson and ridden by Aidan Coleman; they won this novices’ hurdle race.   


I think I’ve enjoyed my day off ... although it always proves to be expensive when I’m not at work!  I almost cannot remember the last time I went shopping to Colney Fields retail park; it might even have been the day before I set off to Aintree in April!  Anyway, I bought two pairs of faux sheepskin hand-warmers (one pair black and one pair grey), a pair of ‘penguin’ fingerless gloves/mittens, two packs of 40 denier tights (my favourite triple packs of grey, black and purple), and a pack of 5 ‘Percy Pig’ Christmas socks!  And it’s really crazy that it cost a total of £69 for just those small items!!!


I then went into Next, to have a look at their handbags, and found a navy blue one – I have very specific criteria for handbags; they need to hold the proverbial ‘kitchen sink’, have an across the body strap and possibly handles too, plus secure zip fastenings.  I dislike those which have just a small zipped compartment in the centre and a large press-stud at the top edge, because not all of one’s valuables will fit in the secure section and they are not particularly weatherproof either.  Nor do I like those with just a shoulder strap; or at least not these days. 


I also visited Accessorize, looking for a burgundy handbag I’d seen on the internet but, instead, bought a large black and tan one which also fitted my criteria! 

Thursday 22 October 2015

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

Marley Joe (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was a non-runner in the NH Novices’ Hurdle

The Pier (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [1 mile 7 furlongs & 153 yards] (11 ran).

Ted’s Lad (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th and Weyburn (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 7th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).


It’s Day One of Cheltenham’s Showcase fixture tomorrow, and there are a couple of runners of interest:

15:20 My Lad Percy (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) – Pertemps Handicap Hurdle (Series Qualifier)

17:05 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Mr Joshua ‘Midnight Prayer’ Newman) – Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase


There’s news that Menace is back to his old self, following a quiet couple of weeks following his run at Exeter.  The current plan is to run him at Uttoxeter in a 2 miles 4 furlongs handicap hurdle race on Saturday 14 November; that clashes with Paddy Power day at Cheltenham’s Open. 


I got a nice surprise today, when I went into WH Smith’s to get three old lotto tickets checked; I won £25 on Wednesday 07 October’s draw.  Sadly, that was the final day of the old style draw, with 1 to 49 numbers, so my chances of winning another £25 (or more, as if) have greatly decreased since then.  But I did get one free lucky dip ticket too, for having two numbers last Saturday; mind you, the numbers on that ticket are three sets of two consecutive numbers, which doesn’t seem very random to me! 


My ticket for Pasha’s dance show cost £25.75, so my outlay is almost covered by my win; apart from the fact I’ve already paid out goodness knows how much just to win back that amount.  But I only spend £4 a week on lotto; yes, I know that’s over £200 a year.  Ouch!  Although I have actually won back £125 whilst each line has cost £2.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Otherwise known as Back To The Future Day!!!


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



16:00 Avispa (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (5 ran).


Fontwell Park:

Board Of Trade (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) unseated in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs & 31 yards] (4 ran); the ex-Alan King-trained Frizzo finished 2nd in this race.

Miss Crick (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Mares’ Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).


Meanwhile Calipto won on debut over the larger obstacles:



And Alla Svelta continues to make a recovery following his Fontwell Park fall a number of weeks ago:



Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Southwell:

15:00 Marley Joe (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:05 The Pier (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [1 mile 7 furlongs & 153 yards]

16:35 Ted’s Lad (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Weyburn (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Maiden Open NH Flat Race


I have to mention that I’m now dithering regarding an outing to Cheltenham on Saturday, especially as it’s supposed to be a wet day.  It appears that rain now has the ability to put me off; it wasn’t like that in Choc’s day! 


The Apple Tree Stud’s Baltic Histoire holds an entry for Chelmsford on Saturday evening so, whilst I’d be heading west, Choc might be heading east and vice versa on the return journey! 


There are quite a few changes going on at Cheltenham, now that their redevelopment work has been completed.  Punters heading in from the north and east are now expected to park in the north car park; this is to ease traffic congestion around the racecourse.  Personally, the only time I’ve had a problem escaping from the town is when the traffic police have intervened to force me to take an unexpected route.  I have a horrible feeling that I’ll now get trapped in a long tailback through Prestbury when I leave the racecourse.  Besides, it’s taken me 7 years to perfect my routes!


Races at the Festival will now take place every 40 minutes, as opposed to the current 35 minutes; this is to give connections more time to prepare their horses and get them to the pre-parade and parade ring in sufficient time for racegoers to see them.  It also allows everyone more time to use the racecourse facilities between each race, presumably to spend more money in the bars too ... but I now have to stand doing nothing for an extra five minutes between each race, often in the freezing cold. 


The new mares’ novices’ hurdle has been registered as the Dawn Run Novices’ Hurdle, although it will bear the name of the sponsor.  Qualification for the Pertemps Final has been tweaked, and Festival’s Cross-Country race will now be a conditions event, not a handicap – that will be of advantage to Balthazar King and disadvantageous to last year’s winner Rivage D’Or.  Any Currency is currently rated at 132, so I guess it’s ‘swings and roundabouts’, as Balthazar King may not be the same horse since the injury he sustained in the Grand National; besides Martin Keighley is happy with this change of classification as his charge is a specialist in this race.  The Open Cross-Country race will now be a handicap, and the December race a conditions race.  The Relkeel Hurdle has been moved from the December fixture to New Year’s Day.


As I’m on the lookout for tickets going on sale for Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang at Milton Keynes next May, I thought I’d also take a look at our local arena.  I discovered that Pasha Kovalev is appearing in his own dance show also next May, so I’ve booked a ticket for that.  From experience last June, I know it’s impossible to see the dancers’ feet if you sit too close to the stage but, regardless and because it was available, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to book the centre seat in the front row!


Tomorrow is my ‘Friday’ as I’ve booked the day after tomorrow as annual leave.  It’s the first of 12 days’ annual leave that I need to take before the end of the year, and my first working day off since early July ... and only my second working day off since I went to Aintree!!! 

Tuesday 20 October 2015

The Racing Post published the Alan King stable tour today, so I was up early and waiting outside the local supermarket in anticipation of purchasing a copy when they opened at 08:00! 


So, having read the details, I can relay some information regarding a number of the 120 horses in his charge this season.  Of course Uxizandre is on the sidelines this term; Carraig Mor currently also. 


Starting with the Dunkley and Reilly horses of course; Ardamir, which won in France in May, had a break at the Apple Tree Stud so is now just getting going and should be ready to run by the end of November.  Alan states that the horse has plenty of size and scope, so will be more than just a juvenile hurdler, and says he’s an interesting prospect!


And, secondly, Ned Stark – his seasonal debut will be either Ascot on 31 October or Wincanton a week later, with a view to running him in the Hennessy or another good 3-mile handicap chase ... so that’s a 50/50 date for my diary for a trip to Ascot!  I’ve not been there for ages.


Annacotty is being aimed at the Paddy Power; Grumeti will return to hurdling to see if he enjoys it and can be competitive, and may run at Wetherby on 31 October – otherwise he’ll be put away for the next flat season; no more steeplechase fences for him!  Despite his age, 10-year-old Manyriverstocross is back in training and in good form.  Miles To Memphis has been given a good break following a disappointing period and will be aimed at 2½ mile hurdle races, or thereabouts.  There are plans for fragile Montbazon to go novice chasing, but they need to tread carefully due to his past injury problems. 


Ordo Ab Chao is due to go chasing, but Alan will wait for the rain to arrive before risking him, as he is quite a heavy horse.  Midnight Prayer was withdrawn from last season’s Welsh Grand National on the morning of the race because they weren’t happy with his legs but, after having the remainder of last season off, and doing lots of road work, he’s back cantering and seems to be okay.  They will look for a 3-mile chase on soft ground at the end of next month for him, although Alan’s not sure if he will be ready in time to take part in this season’s Welsh Grand National renewal.      


Sego Success got a little tired towards the end of his seasonal debut at Chepstow earlier this month, and Alan thinks he will probably run at the Cheltenham Open meeting, in a 3½ mile handicap chase; the horse doesn’t mind soft ground but heavy is not ideal.  The trainer admits to making rather a mess of Smad Place’s 2014/2015 season, by sending him to the Hennessy Gold Cup without a run, and that put him out of sorts for the entire campaign.  The horse has been given a good break, and has undergone a minor wind operation, so is around a fortnight behind schedule but is now in good form.  Having won just two chases, he qualifies for graduation chases so may take up that option.


The Tourard Man ... having been given a run over hurdles at Chepstow, he will now go novice chasing over 3 miles; he’s been placed in hunter chases in Ireland and Alan thinks he will do well.  Turn Over Silvola may start off at Cheltenham this weekend if it’s decent ground.  Ulzana’s Raid is currently on box rest, having suffered a small stress fracture of a cannonbone, so he won’t be seen until after Christmas; once he returns, he will run over 2 miles 5 or 6 furlongs.    


Valdez won’t be ready to run until December, having returned from a leg problem; he’ll remain at 2 miles for the time being.  Wilde Blue Yonder also returns from injury, and will remain over hurdles, contesting valuable 2-mile hurdle races, although he will stay up to 2 miles 4 furlongs if required.  Alan likes Winner Massagot, but admits it was a step too far to run him at Aintree in Grade 1 company; he fell.  The horse prefers good ground at the moment, and will be campaigned in handicap hurdles. 


Alan is very excited about Yanworth, owned by JP McManus; he’s bigger and stronger following a summer at his owner’s stud farm and, with improved home work since returning, he’ll begin over 2 miles.  He’s also been sent three rangy 4-year-olds by JP, as yet unnamed, including a half-brother to Puffin Billy. 


All-in-all, Alan thinks they will be strong in the novice hurdle division, last year’s good bumper horses having moved into this sphere.  They also have a lot of useful fillies and mares to run in bumpers and novice hurdles, although they don’t have many for the big mares’ races, as a number have been retired to stud (that includes Apple Tree Stud’s The Pirate’s Queen).   


There are runners of interest tomorrow:


Fontwell Park:

14:25 Board Of Trade (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:10 Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs & 31 yards]

17:15 Miss Crick (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Intermediate Open NH Flat Race



16:00 Avispa (Alan King/Denis O’Regan) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

Monday 19 October 2015

There were two runners of interest at Plumpton today:

Wishing And Hoping (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Maiden Hurdle (9 ran); Wayne’s 17th winner of the season.  It was an incident-packed race, with the leader running out and a loose horse taking out another runner at the same flight!

Gone Too Far (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Novices’ Limited Handicap (8 ran); he blows hot and cold, so you never quite know whether it will be a going day or not – he was the 100/30 favourite today!


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


It looks like I’ll be ‘Norman No-Mates’ on Saturday for a trip to Cheltenham, as my friend Lesley has hurt her back; although she had also forgotten to put the date in her diary, thinking that I wouldn’t be venturing out to the races except on feature days now that Choc has retired!


However, we may be heading to Milton Keynes to see Lee Mead in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang next May!


Pontefract seems to be featuring on TV these past two days, with licorice growing returning to the town as featured on yesterday’s Countryfile programme (I love licorice); then Most Haunted featured Pontefract’s Black Monk poltergeist – with part 2 next week; and then there was racing from Pontefract today, their final fixture of the season. 

Sunday 18 October 2015

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

Oceane (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Juvenile Hurdle (4 ran); Wayne’s 16th winner of the season.

Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles] (7 ran).

The New One won the feature hurdle event for the third year in succession.

There are two runners of interest at Plumpton tomorrow:

14:30 Wishing And Hoping (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle; for the same connections as Smad Place.

16:00 Gone Too Far (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap


I’ve completed and uploaded the diary and photos relating to my visit to Noel Williams’ yard last weekend.  More

Saturday 17 October 2015

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

Desert Joe (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled-up in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 191 yards) (10 ran).

Presenting Lisa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (6 ran); Wayne’s 15th winner of the season.


And a reminder of tomorrow’s runners of interest at Kempton Park:

14:15 Oceane (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Juvenile Hurdle

15:50 Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]

I am glad I bought those Hotter ankle boots last weekend, as I checked online today and all three colours in size 8 are now sold out.  Phew!

Friday 16 October 2015

I know I’m back online now ...


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

The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (4 ran).

Laser Blazer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [1 mile 7 furlongs 65 yards] (8 ran).


Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Market Rasen, both for owner Liz Prowting:

15:55 Desert Joe (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 191 yards)

16:26 Presenting Lisa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle


Then, on Sunday, at Kempton Park:

14:15 Oceane (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Juvenile Hurdle

15:50 Midnight Cataria (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [3 miles]

The main draw is The New One making his seasonal debut in their Listed Hurdle race.


There are lots of bits and bobs of racing news today:


Richard Johnson rode his 100th winner of the season at Wincanton when piloting He’s A Bully to victory; he rode a double on the card.  Noel Fehily rode a treble on the same card!


Balthazar King is fit again and will be aimed at the Cheltenham Festival’s Glenfarclas cross-country race.


Cole Harden has undergone another wind operation.


Zarkandar and Caid Du Berlais are out for the season due to injury.


Did I hear a discussion on ATR’s ‘Get In’ show saying that Silviniaco Conti will be aimed at this season’s Grand National?


Jack Sherwood sustained a suspected broken arm in a fall at Fakenham today.


And there will be a late decision regarding Gleneagles’ participation at Ascot tomorrow; any rain equals a no-show ... yawn, yawn, yawn. 


Sorry there is a shortage of web links these days but, since ATR updated their website, it’s a problem to find links which will remain live. 


There’s news today that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is going on tour; but there’s good news and bad news regarding the casting – Lee Mead and Jason Manford are to share the role of Caractacus Potts – I love Lee but can’t stand Jason!  However, Jason will be in the show from 10 February 2016 to 24 April 2016, Lee from 4 May 2016 to 18 September 2016; Jason returns from 05 October 2016.  Martin Kemp is to play the Child Catcher.  I shall speak to Lesley when I see her next week and keep my fingers crossed that Lee’s stint will coincide with a suitable theatre location. 



I didn’t manage to finalise my contact lenses purchase yesterday because I’m not totally satisfied with the vision in my right eye when wearing them.  The optician has now given me a trial pack of toric lenses; I will wear a normal lense in the left eye and the toric lense in the right eye; they are intended to correct astigmatism, but not everyone gets on with them.  Trust me to have astigmatism in just one eye!  I shall return to see her in early November and make a decision about the lenses then.


I’ve no plans for this weekend except to, hopefully, complete and upload my ‘Menace’ diary. 


I’m looking forward to ‘The Returned’ returning tonight on More4 ... and a new series of ‘Most Haunted’ starting at 22:00 on Sunday on Really too!

Thursday 15 October 2015

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

Duke Of Sonning (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (10 ran); Wayne’s 14th winner of the season.

Board Of Trade (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier)

Double Chocolate (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) won the Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs] (10 ran); Martin’s 10th winner of the season, well done to the team.  Despite rising 13, there’s obviously still life in the old horse yet!

Cearys (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle [1 mile 7 furlongs & 168 yards] (11 ran).


I gather owner Max McNeill lives in Sonning, hence the name given to the horse.  I know the Thamesside village well ... although I didn’t enjoy my trip through it last Saturday when it took me over 15 minutes to travel around one mile in distance!  But it was lunchtime, and is always a bottle-neck due to the single track traffic-light controlled ancient bridge over the river.  Reading do actually want to built a new bridge crossing to the east of the town, but the problem is the landing side on the north bank of the river will need to be in Oxfordshire ... and they are not keen! 


There are two runners of interest tomorrow, at Wincanton:

14:25 The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Killian Moore) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

15:35 Laser Blazer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [1 mile 7 furlongs 65 yards]


There’s also further news from Tattersalls Book 2 sale – Apple Tree Stud has purchased two bay fillies in addition to the chestnut Pivotal filly purchased from Book 1.  They are Lot 992 from Highclere Stud, by Invincible Spirit out of Leavingonajetplane - £90,000; and from Crimbourne Stud Lot 1223, by Helmet out of Red Fuschia - £36,000.


So, not only am I a lover of National Hunt racing, I also follow flat racing in respect to the Apple Tree Stud runners, and now bloodstock too!


Don Cossack won on his seasonal debut at Punchestown today; a Grade 3 chase.  He’s a stunning looking horse.


Buttevant Boy is featured in this week’s ‘The horse that made me’ column in Horse and Hound; purchased for just £180 (although that would have been worth considerably more in real terms in around 1970) and, of course, ridden by Graham Fletcher.  That’s certainly a blast from the past!


I’ve not pressed the ‘upgrade’ button yet, to move from Zeus to Apache ... but, hopefully, will do so any time now!  And you’ll know when I have, because you’ll then be able to read this!!!

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Here are the results for my runners of interest today:


Kempton Park:

Baltic Histoire (Jamie Osborne/Tom Queally/Apple Tree Stud) was a non-runner in the Nursery Handicap.



Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Jamie Spencer) finished 3rd in the Maiden Stakes Div I (11 ran).



15:25 The Barbury Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Mares’ Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (8 ran).

16:00 Quantum Of Solace (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).


I notice that Uriah Heep, who is now trained by R Mike Smith, finished 3rd in a Handicap Hurdle at Wetherby today.


There are runners of interest at Uttoxeter tomorrow:

14:20 Duke Of Sonning (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Maiden Hurdle

14:55 Board Of Trade (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier)

15:30 Double Chocolate (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Chase [3 miles 2 furlongs]

16:05 Cearys (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [1 mile 7 furlongs & 168 yards]


Many Clouds will begin this season’s campaign with a run in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on 31 October. 


Micheal Nolan suffered concussion at Worcester, also an injury to his right arm, and has been taken to Worcester Royal Infirmary to be checked out.


My ‘Menace’ diary is progressing well, and I’ve almost completed the initial draft. 

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Concern had been growing on my part regarding my website blog updates for the past few days; it wasn’t that I hadn’t written them ... as you can see below ... but the fact that, despite me uploading them, nothing was appearing online! 


Anyway, having realised that I would have to investigate the unknown problem this evening, I then received an email in my work inbox late this afternoon from my provider telling me that, as their vendor no longer supported their Zeus platform, all web hosting would be moved to their new Apache platform ... at this point I take a brief pause to make Red Indian noises ... oops, I suppose I should say Native American in order to be politically correct!


My provider also sent me a link to a preview of the new website – the functionality appeared to be okay – but there was a problem with text characters such as apostrophes, exclamation marks, dashes, and spaces marked by little boxes instead of just space!  The latter a problem between sentences when I use two blank spaces as taught during my secretarial course many moons ago – I gather it’s just one space now, but I cannot change a habit of a lifetime.  Besides, I find it a lot easier to read with two spaces as opposed to one. 


So, having arrived home, I phoned up the support team and a member thereof loaded a small file onto the system and it seems to have done the trick as promised.  As I write this, I’ve not taken the plunge to upgrade ahead of schedule but I’m ‘on the end of the springboard’ and expect to do so tomorrow!  I really cannot wait until the actual scheduled date of 27 October – that’s miles away – as, although I can upload my blog updates, they cannot be viewed until I do so!!!  But I gather it’s now just a matter of updating my DNS records so everyone can see it once more!


Now, back to the racing ...


There is a horse from each of my ‘yards/owners of interest’ tomorrow:


Kempton Park:

17:45 Baltic Histoire (Jamie Osborne/Tom Queally/Apple Tree Stud) – Nursery Handicap



13:30 Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Jamie Spencer) – Maiden Stakes Div I



15:25 The Barbury Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

16:00 Quantum Of Solace (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Novices’ Hurdle; she lives in the stable next door to Menace and she’s nice-natured too!


Talking of Noel, the injured Kincora Fort (aka Brian) is reported to be eating him out of house and home!


I think Menace has been given a mark of 104 for his handicap debut. 


Seymour Eric is back in training with Martin Keighley:



And Quevega’s filly foal is due to be sold at Tattersalls Ireland National Hunt Sale in November:



Once again, The New One will make his seasonal debut at Kempton Park on Sunday but, as there are no runners of interest for me – in other words, Dunkley and Reilly jumpers – I won’t be venturing out.  But I do have a trip planned for Cheltenham’s Showcase Saturday regardless, with my friend Lesley.

Monday 12 October 2015

Day one of the Book 2 Tattersalls sale was running quite late this evening and I was able to watch the Apple Tree Stud’s Tamayuz/Duo de Choc colt go through the ring, at 19:45.  He fetched a good price - £45,000 - having been sold to bloodstock agent Jeremy Brummitt who purchased on behalf of Sir Mark Prescott. 


With the flat season close to reaching its conclusion, there’s news regarding three National Hunt stars.  Faugheen is expected to return to action in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown; meanwhile Vautour is due to head to Ascot for the Amlin 1965 Chase; and Rock on Ruby is being aimed at the Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby.


Not good news for Donald McCain; one of his owners has removed 50 horses from his yard:



There are no runners of interest tomorrow, despite there being one National Hunt fixture, at Huntingdon.


I was just thinking I would be having a quiet evening ... before I remembered that I have a diary to write, about Saturday’s visit to see Menace!

Sunday 11 October 2015


Menace and Jane for blog red.jpg



I very much enjoyed my visit to White Shoot Stables yesterday morning, to see Menace (above).  He’s ‘resting’ following Thursday exertions, and Noel has been putting a massage rug on him to ease any aches and pains and speed recovery.


Little known facts ... Menace is not a ‘trencher’, in fact he barely touches his food during the day, preferring to eat up in the evening when the stables are quiet.  But he does like polos, and a carrot fed to him by admirers yesterday!  His pet name, given to him by his breeder, was ‘Hayden’.  When searching for his racing name, Noel’s partner Clare asked a friend in the hunt service if they had any examples of names given to naughty hounds and ‘Menace’ was one of the suggestions.


Noel will be moving to Churn Stables in a few months’ time – it’s still in Blewbury, about a mile away from his current location.  I presume it offers more space as currently, three of his charges are housed within a small hay barn – Midnight Merlot, Theatre Goer and AN Other unnamed (an iron grey).       


All being well, and having run on his merits in his three hurdles outings, Menace should be given a handicap mark on Tuesday.  Connections are hoping for 100, but fear it may be 105.  Once handicapped, his next outing is likely to be over 2 miles and 3 or 4 furlongs ...


I shall be uploading a diary/photo album of my day in due course.


grumeti kempton dec 2013.jpg



Well done Grumeti (pictured with Choc above) and the Alan King team, who snatched the Cesarewitch from favourite, and top-weight, Oriental Fox yesterday.  Always a good race for National Hunt trainers, with Philip Hobbs, Nicky Henderson, Tony Martin, Martin Pipe and Mary Reveley having won it in the past.  He was carrying a light weight (he was number 31 of 34), and was returned at 50-1.  Alan and owner Max McNeill were at Chepstow, not Newmarket, where they saw Karezak take 2nd place in the Limited Handicap Hurdle; I gather Max’s brother was representing the owner at the East Anglian track.  Grumeti was ridden by Adam Beschizza, who also rode the winner of the Cambridgeshire a couple of weeks ago. 


Grumeti is a multi-talented horse, although Alan has switched him back to the flat because he felt he ‘wasn’t man enough’ for steeplechasing.  But you can’t mind when the winning prize yesterday was £155,625.00!


Anyway, here is the round-up from Chepstow yesterday:

Marley Joe (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 3rd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Karazak (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Limited Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 13th and The Tourard Man (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 11th in the Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3); The Tourard Man raced prominently but got tired towards the end of the race and faded. 

Sego Success (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 131 yards] (13 ran).

Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) finished 3rd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (11 ran).


It was local trainer Evan Williams’ and stable jockey Paul Moloney’s weekend, with Tea in Transvaal winning the Limited Handicap Hurdle, and Court Minstrel the valuable Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle at 40-1 yesterday.  Then, today, Roadie Joe won the Grade 2 Persian War Novices’ Hurdle for the same team!


I must also give a mention to Martin Keighley’s My Lad Percy, who won the Bob Champion Legends charity race under Conor O’Dwyer. 


Meanwhile, on Sunday, at Chepstow again:

Sceau Royal (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) just clung on to win the Juvenile Hurdle but was demoted in the stewards’ room!  That meant Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston-Davies were awarded the race, their representative being Adrien Du Pont.  Some you win ... some you lose ... it takes me back to Cheltenham Trials day in January 2012 when yesterday’s hero, Grumeti, was awarded the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial having been interfered with by Pearl Swan; the latter was trained by Paul Nicholls at the time.       


Meanwhile, going forward, there’s National Hunt racing at Hexham tomorrow but no runners of interest.  Apple Tree Stud’s Book 2 colt is due to be sold tomorrow at Tattersalls, and Baltic Histoire holds an entry for Kempton Park on Wednesday. 


I found this Racing Post photo of Alan King with Choc at Leicester when Tyrell ran early last month:



I wore my new contact lenses for over 12 hours yesterday and they don’t appear to have had an adverse affect on my eyelid, so it’s onwards and upwards with those! 


As I was in the Oxfordshire/Berkshire area yesterday, I dropped by to see my friend Denise; we had lunch, along with her husband Terry, at Wetherspoons in Caversham.  I then walked into Reading town centre to visit Bravissimo, as I wanted to have a bra fitting; their nearest shop to me is normally Milton Keynes.  Strangely enough, I was already wearing the same size as the two I purchased; I’m now hopeful that the guidance offered will hold me in good stead for buying bras at either Bravissimo or Marks and Spencers in the future.


I returned to Den’s house after my shopping trip, and I have to recount a funny story about what happened whilst we were watching Strictly Come Dancing.  Our viewing was disturbed by a loud knocking at the front door – Terry went to answer and found a couple of firemen on the doorstep.  Evidently there had been a fire at a house down the road earlier in the week and they were visiting neighbours to ensure every householder had smoke alarms fitted; they were giving out two free alarms to those who had not – that included Terry, because he’d not replaced them after decorating around 10 years ago!  This included the fire brigade members fitting the alarms too.


Anyway, as we couldn’t see into the hallway, Den asked her husband to check if they had any identification on them; he told them it was because they get all kind of weirdo’s in the area!  No, they didn’t have any identification but pointed out that their fire-engine was parked outside!!!  We burst out laughing when we heard this, and they probably heard us too.  Terry later told us they were also dressed in uniform, bar their helmets.  To cut a long story short, they handed over the alarms for Terry to fit himself, saying they were short of time ... or, I wonder, was it because they thought they had encountered one of those aforementioned Caversham weirdo’s!!!      


Whilst on the subject of Strictly ... wasn’t Jay and Aliona’s Pulp Fiction jive absolutely amazing?  I also enjoyed Kellie and Kevin’s Star Wars routine, and Anita and Gleb, plus Helen and Alijaz and Jeremy and Karen, and Peter Andre was okay; the others were disappointing this week.  I am reliably informed that, by those who watch EastEnders, Kellie lives close to the office where I work and has been previously spotted walking along the road beside it!   


Whilst watching the Chepstow highlights this morning on ATR, I saw a Lidl advert for Singer Sewing machines and overlockers ... the latter is being offered for just £129; the sale starts tomorrow.  It’s a shame I’ve spent all my money this month L ... but my Cheltenham Festival tickets and parking labels have arrived as a result!  J  I’ve been very naughty ... yes, again, as I also bought a pair of Hotter ankle boots – flint-coloured Danville style – I didn’t want to, yet, but they were already beginning to sell out.  It’s weird, as size 8 in many styles normally remains in stock until their sale ... but not this autumn.  I’m wondering if they are not manufacturing so many in that size, hence the shortage.  Damn.   


I’m also not surprised that there are calls to boycott Lotto ... I didn’t get even one number this weekend, with the numbers increased to 59. Poo.

Friday 09 October 2015

For the record, EPDS’ Our Reward finished 3rd of 9 at Newton Abbott this afternoon.


There are runners of interest at Chepstow tomorrow; it’s the first day of what I consider to be the ‘proper’ National Hunt season.

14:10 Marley Joe (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:55 Karazak (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Limited Handicap Hurdle

16:30 L’Unique (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & The Tourard Man (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)

17:05 Sego Success (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 7 furlongs & 131 yards]

17:40 Georgian King (Martin Keighley/Conor Smith) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase


Meanwhile, on Sunday, at Chepstow again:

14:15 Sceau Royal (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) – Juvenile Hurdle


I was up at 05:15 this morning and, upon discovering my right eyelid was puffy once more, I spent time bathing it with warm water before I got ready to go to work.  Having a dry eye is a pain in the rear end ... I normally get problems with the lower lid but, this time, it’s the upper one.  I’m meant to be trialling new contact lenses before a return appointment next Thursday but, as yet, daren’t put them in. 


However, whilst carrying out that task, I read the local newspaper.  A reporter has been investigating the background behind our now infamous sink hole – evidently old maps show clay pits in the area where the land collapse occurred and, according to one pensioner, he remembers a dell and landfill taking place in that spot when he was a child.  It just goes to show that more care must be taken by the planners when giving permission to build dwellings on what may be unstable ground. 


All being well, I shall be visiting Noel Williams’ yard tomorrow morning to see Menace, and the other horses too, hopefully.  Evidently our little pony is a bit stiff following his run, so he will be on light duties for a few days.

Thursday 08 October 2015


Guess who?




It’s Menace as a foal with his mummy!



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

Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Jamie Insole) finished 2nd and The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 2 furlongs & 111 yards] (10 ran).

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [3 miles & 54 yards] (7 ran).

Menace (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle [2 miles 175 yards] (7 ran).

Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 6th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).


There was much discussion on RUK about the start of Menace’s race, with the favourite diving away to his left and the other jockeys just waiting for Sam Twiston-Davies to send his mount forward rather than anyone taking advantage of the incident.  Mind you, having said that, he would have won anyway! 


Menace won £477.00 today; one of the RUK pundits is always rude about our little pony, saying that he could never fancy a horse named ‘Menace’ – believing it refers to his character.  He might be a little tinker, but he’s definitely not a menace; characterful, never nasty ... he doesn’t bite.  They also pointed out that three of today’s runners were bought for a total of £2,000 ... with change to spare!  Menace was purchased for £600, but handsome is as handsome does.    


There’s National Hunt racing from Newton Abbott tomorrow, with a horse named Our Reward making its debut for EPDS Racing in the Standard Open NH Flat Race at 17:05; he’s trained by Jamie Snowden and ridden by Brendan Powell Junior. 

Wednesday 07 October 2015

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

Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 4th in the NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 8th in the Handicap Chase [3 miles & 102 yards] (11 ran).

Jeans Lady (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was a non-runner in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle


There’s National Hunt racing at Worcester and Exeter tomorrow, with runners of interest at the latter:

14:25 Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Jamie Insole) & The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 2 furlongs & 111 yards]

15:30 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [3 miles & 54 yards]

16:40 Menace (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Novices’ Hurdle [2 miles 175 yards]

17:10 Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle


I’ve checked the sale details for the Apple Tree Stud Book 2 yearling – he’s lot 790 and is due to be sold at Tattersalls next Monday 12 October.  But he will be one of the later lots, as 514 to 818 are scheduled on that day.

Tuesday 06 October 2015

Gerard Tumelty has tweeted a photograph of Apple Tree Stud’s new purchase – a chestnut filly by Pivotal out of a mare named Best Terms:


Not a cheap purchase, even by Tattersalls Book 1 yearling standards, at 330,000 guineas!


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

14:20 Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – NH Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

14:55 Monty’s Revenge (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Chase [3 miles & 102 yards]

16:35 Jeans Lady (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle


EPDS’ Agent Gibbs won again today, this time a one and a half mile handicap at Leicester.  That’s four firsts and a second on his last five starts!


Apart from my not particularly liking wet weather anyway, I seem to get woodlice entering the house when it’s damp outside.  Strange really, as I thought these crustaceans like damp and darkness!  And, even more annoying, most of them seem to like my bedroom, especially crawling up the wall behind my bed ... so I will probably be sleeping with my feet against the headboard again tonight! 

Monday 05 October 2015

Here are today’s results of interest from Windsor and, as an avid National Hunt racing fan, you didn’t think you’d ever see me write that did you?  Although, of course, I remember the days when there was jumps racing from the Berkshire track!


Tyrell (Alan King/Tom Queally) finished 3rd and Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Joe Fanning) finished an excellent 2nd in the Maiden Stakes Div I (1 mile 67 yards) (10 ran).

Alan King’s Master Blueyes finished 6th of 11 in the Division II.


Not only has Jazzy been cantering up the gallops with one of the Apple Tree Stud’s other 2-year-olds, he’s part-owned by Nick Whittle who has been Choc’s commercial agent for a number of years.  I understand he is the grandson of the late Tommy Whittle, a long-time director at Haydock Park after whom one of their feature races is named.  


There are no runners of interest tomorrow.


Choc and Gerard Tumelty have travelled up to Newmarket ahead of the Tattersalls Book 1 Yearling Sale which takes place over the next three days.  Next week, 12 to 14 October, one of the Apple Tree Stud yearlings is due to be sold at the Book 2 Yearling Sale.  And, if you have time and patience, you can probably view the proceedings on Tattersalls’ website – I viewed a few lots being sold during the recent DBS/Goffs sales on their respective website.    


The Racing Post has tweeted a photo of Treve chilling out today:



I prefer this one, courtesy of Darren Bird:



I was a numpty last night, as I dozed off to sleep with my head resting against a soft pillow and woke up this morning with a splitting headache and intermittent nausea.  That will teach me not to ensure I use my support pillow every night.


I was correct in my assumption that Iwan Thomas and Jamelia would be in yesterday’s Strictly dance off; the judges decided to save Jamelia, so Iwan and Ola are gone. 

Sunday 04 October 2015

Two results from Huntingdon today:

Cahill (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Juvenile Hurdle (6 ran).

Passmore (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race (10 ran) ... but she was beaten by Walpole, who was a very expensive flat racing purchase and is trained by Hugo Palmer.  Hugo trained filly Covert Love to win the Grade 1 Prix De L'opera at Longchamp today!


Talking of Longchamp, Frankie Dettori rode a brilliant race aboard Golden Horn to win the Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe this afternoon:



I just love it when we beat the Frenchies!!! 


The Nicky Henderson-trained Forgotten Voice has been retired.


There are no runners of interest at Market Rasen tomorrow ... but there are on the flat at Windsor:

14:20 Tyrell (Alan King/Tom Queally) & Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Joe Fanning) – Maiden Stakes Div I (1 mile 67 yards)

Alan King also has a runner in Div II, namely Master Blueyes ridden by Fergus Sweeney.


I’ve not got as much done this weekend as I’d hoped; yesterday due to last minute visitors, who interrupted a jewellery-making session.  I didn’t go for a walk this morning, despite another beautiful early autumn day.  I cleaned my car, and then transferred recordings onto DVD – this consisted of Menace and Apple Tree Stud runners; sadly there was no sign of Choc but there was a brief item on 21 September from RUK mentioning his retirement.  Besides, I need to free up space to record going forward – and starting tomorrow! 


Having watched the Gigginstown-bred Tyrell again, I’m thinking that he would probably make a good juvenile hurdler next season; he’s a galloper, stepping up in trip tomorrow.  Presumably that is why he’s with Alan King not Jamie Osborne like the other Apple Tree Stud horses.  Another thing I learnt was that Baltic Histoire was a breeze-up purchase - she’s speedy, but doesn’t see out the 5 furlongs at the moment.   


I did a little bit more jewellery-making this afternoon, whilst watching the racing.  I was glad I didn’t book a St Albans Cathedral tower tour for yesterday morning, as I had a painful right knee which hurt particularly when going up and down stairs.  The odd thing was that I was fine when I went to bed on Friday, woke up with it yesterday morning and it continued all day then, this morning, I was perfectly fine again.  Very weird.


It’s clear that there are six very talented dancers on this season’s Strictly Come Dancing – Peter Andre, Anita Rani, Jay McGuiness, Helen George, Kellie Bright and Katie Derham.  Georgia Foote might improve to join this elite group but the remainder will only progress to the latter stages if it becomes a personality contest.   I don’t think Iwan Thomas or Jamelia will get far ... Iwan because he’s awful and Jamelia because she’s not someone you can warm to. 


I’m always amazed that Claudia and Tess wear such awful outfits – especially as the dancers’ costumes, and Darcey too, always look so nice.  I thought Claudia’s dress looked like it had a piece of misshapen cardboard stuck in the top ... but perhaps it was useful for writing her grocery shopping list upon when she had a free moment backstage!

Friday 02 October 2015

One runner of interest today, at Fontwell Park:

Oceane (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Juvenile Maiden Hurdle (8 ran); Wayne’s 13th winner of the season.


There are no runners of interest tomorrow, but there are two on Sunday, at Huntingdon:

15:05 Cahill (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle; owned by the McNeill Family, as was today’s winner.  

17:10 Passmore (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race; a very interesting runner, as she’s the daughter, by Passing Glance, of Call Me A Legend. 


Exuberant grey, Australia Day, has been retired today.


With It Takes Two beginning at 18:00 this evening for an hour long programme, as it will be each Friday of this season’s run, I ensured that I left work just after 17:30 today.  I don’t get paid for overtime, so I really don’t know why I sometimes stay after my contracted hours; besides, today, I worked through my lunch break as I also did yesterday. 


A cyclist nearly collided with me as I was walking to work this morning; he sped around a blind corner and I was within a stride or two of being knocked over.  The stupidity of cyclists never fails to amaze me – you never hear them approaching from behind, and how on earth they expect you to see around a corner I just don’t know.  And I’ve lost count of the number of times they ignore red lights when it’s a pedestrian’s turn to cross the road.  Besides, with my advancing years, I don’t fancy my chances of surviving a collision without sustaining some sort of injury – I’ve already been diagnosed as at risk from osteoporosis, with small areas of my spine already just within the osteoporosis category.


Rant over, I’m going to watch the second episode of BBC2’s Patagonia: Earth’s Secret Paradise this evening – it is narrated by none other than Santiago Cabrera, in other words, Aramis from The Musketeers ... he’s my favourite! 


I’m over the worst of my cold now, which is pretty quick really, as it only came out on Wednesday.  They say ‘three days coming, three days here and three days going’, but I began to feel better yesterday evening ... and that’s without taking any cold remedies!  But, as the virus made a beeline for my throat, my voice is still croaky. 

Thursday 01 October 2015

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



Paddys Runner (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Juvenile Hurdle (5 ran); Wayne’s 12th winner of the season.



Shadarpour (Alan King/Will Featherstone) finished a neck 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (7 ran).

Theatre Goer (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 3rd in the Maiden Hurdle (5 ran).


There’s National Hunt racing at Hexham and Fontwell Park tomorrow, with one runner of interest at the latter:

14:10 Oceane (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Maiden Hurdle


There was a bit of excitement overnight in St Albans, with a huge sink hole opening up in a residential road over the other side of the City:



I know there was talk of sink holes a few weeks ago in relation to a residential road on the Jersey Farm estate, where the road surface breaks up on a regular basis; but that must be at least a mile away from this Fontmell Close incident.


I had a rough night but still ventured out to work today; we’ve taken on extra work just recently and, as a result, the next few days will be the busiest of the month.  Mind you, my concentration certainly wandered on a number of occasions and, around lunchtime, I could easily have dozed off to sleep at my desk!  I’m not feeling too bad this evening so, hopefully, the worst of this virus is already over. 



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