Saturday 29 September 2012

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

Rayhani (J A Nash/Choc) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs] (12 ran).

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley) finished 9th in the Handicap Chase [Listed] [2 miles 6½ furlongs] (16 ran).


I watched the Morning Line and took careful note of their pros and cons for a number of the Cambridgeshire runners; I came to the conclusion that Bronze Angel would win ... but I was shocked when he did!  On this occasion, a pity that I rarely bet ...


As mentioned yesterday, no National Hunt racing in the UK tomorrow.


My back is still bothering me today, despite resting.  I’m definitely beginning to feel old and creaky. L


I’m watching the live coverage of the Ryder Cup this evening ... Europe’s form doesn’t seem to have improved since yesterday.  But at least Tiger Woods’ game is absolutely rubbish!!!

Friday 28 September 2012

Today was my favourite day of the month ... pay day!!! 


My colleague Sue and I have survived the past fortnight whilst our immediate Manager has been on honeymoon (in Barbados).  Mind you, Sue hurt her lower back earlier this week, and to add to a number of aches and pains I’ve been suffering since Monday, my upper back has been playing up today too.  I find mass envelope stuffing has caused me pain ever since I slipped over (3 times within the space of around 100 metres) in October 2009 on a very damp and slippery pavement.  It was like an ice rink and my flat shoes had smooth soles.  I was stone cold sober at the time, as I always am!  I’ve never seen the point of getting paralytic ...


The lovely Choc will be back in action at Market Rasen tomorrow, with one riding engagement:

13:40 Rayhani (J A Nash/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs]

14:40 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley) – Handicap Chase [Listed] [2 miles 6½ furlongs]


No National Hunt racing in the UK on Sunday.  I’ve no special plans for the weekend, which is a good thing really, as I’m not feeling that grand.

I’m fortunate to be able to upload a blog this evening, as my telephone landline (and therefore broadband too) has been out of action since early Wednesday.  A problem at the local exchange was given as the reason when I phoned BT a couple of days ago.  I had noticed that my broadband connection was very slow on Monday, so I wasn’t really surprised when it failed completely in midweek!


Tuesday 25 September 2012

Just a couple of runners of interest this afternoon, at Newton Abbot:

Tower (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Selling Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett), always consistent, finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 5½ furlongs] (10 ran). 


National Hunt racing at Perth tomorrow, so no rides for Choc.


Hurdle races at Chester?  Maybe if this report is anything to go by!  More

Ticking over nicely yesterday at work ... okay this morning too ... but then all hell broke loose again after lunch.  Oh well, just three more days before our reinforcement arrives back following holiday leave!

Monday 24 September 2012

Just a couple of runners of interest tomorrow, at Newton Abbot, but no rides for Choc:

16:20 Tower (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Selling Handicap Hurdle

16:50 The Fox’s Decree (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 5½ furlongs]


Autumn seems to have arrived with a vengeance; although, fortunately, Hertfordshire doesn’t seem to have been badly affected like some areas.  I hate these dark mornings and evenings ... this really is my least favourite season of the year.  But I will enjoy the National Hunt season as it cranks up a gear, with lots of opportunities to go to fixtures to see Choc ride.

Sunday 23 September 2012

Choc was back in action today, and this is how the runners of interest fared:



Midnight Myth (Martin Keighley/AP McCoy) finished 6th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Div I (11 ran).

Forresters Folly (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle; unfortunately the Jonjo O’Neill trained, AP McCoy ridden, Dursey Sound cruised past them after the last to win handily (11 ran).

Genstone Trail (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Div II (12 ran).


No National Hunt racing tomorrow. 


William visited a farmyard yesterday:!/Choc_Thornton/media/slideshow?

I don’t feel like I’ve done much this weekend; having ordered my Cheltenham Festival tickets yesterday I spent the remainder of the day surfing the web!  Early this morning I went with mum to the petrol station, as she likes someone else to fill up her car and I’m not insured to drive it!  I then knitted a blue SMC Castagnette scarf; followed by a red one this afternoon!  I already have a green one, and still need to knit a mauve one.  Yes, I’m crafts obsessed!!!

I’m not looking forward to the coming week at work ... although I am hoping that it’s not as busy as last week.  If it is, I’ll probably be in ‘treatment’ by next Saturday!

Saturday 22 September 2012

Today I ordered my 2013 Cheltenham Festival tickets plus car parking passes.  A total of £315 including fee and postage ... ouch!  However, being a sad old grey mare, I don’t have ‘going away’ holidays as such; so the Aintree and Cheltenham Festivals are my holiday.  I’ve never really been one to worry about spending time away at the seaside or aboard.


I’ve also ordered the Cheltenham Festival 2012 DVD; although, unfortunately, this has replaced the Jump Racing Review DVDs of previous seasons.

A copy of this week’s Horse and Hound arrived today; better late than never.


Also a reminder about buying tickets for the William Hill Winter Festival at Kempton Park has arrived ... I shall purchase my ticket and car parking voucher for the Boxing Day event, using one of my ‘flexible friends’, shortly. 


Choc has tweeted a couple more photos of young William:!/Choc_Thornton/media/slideshow?


I like a mug of warm milk before bedtime too ... I’m not sure if that makes me feel very young J or very old L!/Choc_Thornton/media/slideshow?


My eyes have been puffy, dry and itchy today; I think I must have spent too much time glaring at my PC screen at work this past week.  Do slices of cucumber placed over the eyes work?  I think I may be about to find out!!!

Felix Francis appeared on The Morning Line to publicise his latest book – Bloodline – I’ve added it to my ‘wanted books’ list as I have read all of his father’s novels and all bar one which he collaborated upon too.  I’ve not read Crossfire or Gamble yet, but I do have them.  I want to read Clare Balding’s autobiography too.

Friday 21 September 2012

Phew ... one week down, one week to go ... until my team at work is back to full strength again.  I’ve had two busy but okay working days, and five nightmare days, since Thursday last week!  I think I should lie down in a darkened room all weekend. 


Choc is back in action on Sunday, and here are the runners of interest:



13:40 Midnight Myth (Martin Keighley/AP McCoy) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Div I

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

17:10 Genstone Trail (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Div II


There’s also National Hunt racing at Plumpton, and I understand the weather forecast for the south-east is wet and windy on Sunday!


Today Choc has tweeted a photograph of himself at William’s age!  A cute little blondie ... he’s not changed much!


No particular plans for the weekend; apart from purchasing my Cheltenham Festival tickets ... which will cost me over £300!  Never mind, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.


My Horse and Hound magazine hasn’t arrived this week (usually delivered on Thursday); I haven’t cancelled it, but the quarterly direct debit is due to be taken out of my bank account this week.  I wonder if there has been an error.  Choc has mentioned that he expects his column to return sometime in October, so if the magazine doesn’t make a re-appearance next week, I’ll have to contact them. 

Thursday 20 September 2012

Having bought a new table and chair for the growing William earlier this week, Choc has been tweeting piccies today.  William likes playing with trucks and his ever present favourite, his cuddly rabbit:


Confirmation earlier this week that a couple of Alan King’s stable stars, Invictus and Batonnier, will be out of action until next season.   More


More changes to the Grand National course have been announced today; here is the Racing Post report.  More  

And from the At The Races website too.  More

I’m looking forward to the return of National Hunt racing on Sunday ... and, of course, the beginning of the ‘proper’ season now being less than a month away with Cheltenham back on 19 and 20 October, and Kempton Park the day after that!

Saturday 15 September 2012

Choc has been tweeting photos:


The first one is of William ... amusingly someone suggested ‘Here’s Johnny’ would be a good caption!!/Choc_Thornton/media/slideshow?


Today Choc and his mates have been attending the wedding of friend Stu Morris:!/Choc_Thornton/media/slideshow?!/Choc_Thornton/media/slideshow?


You can’t take the huntsman out of him ... looks like they’ve frightened the sheep too!


A very disappointing result in today’s St Leger, with Camelot failing to catch 25-1 outsider Encke; the winning distance was ¾ of a length.  More  Normally I’d not wish an Irish runner to win, I’m too patriot for that, but it would have been good to see history made again after such a long period.  Nijinsky having been the last to complete the colts’ version of the Triple Crown in 1970. 

Thursday 13 September 2012

The Jump Jockeys’ Derby Handicap took place at Epsom today; there were 13 runners, with two runners from the Alan King yard:

Compton Blue (Choc) finished 10th and Kings Troop (Jimmy McCarthy) finished 4th.

The race was won by Denis O’Regan aboard the James Fanshawe trained Novirak, who triumphed by a neck from Jason Maguire riding the Mark Johnston trained The Bells O Peover.


National Hunt racing is now taking its customary September break until a week on Sunday.  I believe Choc will be acting as an usher at one of his best mate’s wedding on Saturday.  Hopefully Choc will also spend many happy hours with young William during the break. 


There will be a National Hunt jockeys football match in aid of charity held in Evesham on Saturday too.  More


Provided the TV doesn’t gain my attention this evening, I’ll be taking a look at my Stratford diary with the hope of uploading it shortly.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

One runner of interest at Uttoxeter today:

Forresters Folly (Alan King/Choc) finished 10th in the Maiden Hurdle (15 ran).

Having run at Worcester yesterday, Jacob’s Ladder (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) was a non-runner.


As mentioned briefly yesterday, the Jump Jockeys’ Derby Handicap takes place at Epsom tomorrow, there are 14 entries, with two runners from the Alan King yard:

15:40 Compton Blue (Choc) and Kings Troop (Jimmy McCarthy)


I’ve finished the first complete draft of my Stratford diary and hope to upload it tomorrow.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

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

Jacob’s Ladder (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Tresor De Bontee (Richard Lee/Choc) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).


Uttoxeter tomorrow:

14:10 Forresters Folly (Alan King/Choc) & Jacob’s Ladder (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) – Maiden Hurdle


Uttoxeter is the last National Hunt fixture before a 10-day break ... but Choc will be travelling to Epsom on Thursday to take part in the Jump Jockeys’ Derby Handicap.  More details tomorrow.


I toughed it out into the early hours of the morning to watch the US Open final ... although my viewing was interspersed with ‘power naps’!  I saw the entire first set, the early part of the second before I dozed off only to awake to discover that Andy had lost his service breaks, but I did stay awake to see him take the second set too.  I’m not sure how much I missed of the third and fourth sets, probably quite a lot, but I was wide awake by the time Andy had two breaks of service in the fifth and saw him go on to win the championship.  I remained viewing until the broadcast ended just before 03:00.  Needless to say, I had difficulty waking up this morning, and it didn’t help that I thought it was Wednesday!!! 


The standard of play during the match was excellent, it was such a hard fought contest, and Andy really deserved to win.  I think he has redeemed himself this summer and I, for one, now view him differently!  Selection of the SPOTY is going to be so difficult this year, with Mo Farah, Bradley Wiggins and Andy Murray all deserving of the honour.

Monday 10 September 2012

A couple of runners of interest at Worcester tomorrow:

17:10 Jacob’s Ladder (Martin Keighley/Danny Hiskett) - Novices’ Hurdle

17:40 Tresor De Bontee (Richard Lee/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle


I’m disappointed with the line-up on Strictly Come Dancing this year:

Kimberley Walsh (Girl’s Aloud)

Jerry Hall (model and ex-Mrs Mick Jagger)

Denise Van Outen (aka Mrs Lee Mead ... hopefully we’ll see Lee in the audience)

Lisa Riley (ex-Emmerdale ... never watch it)

Fern Britton (she’s a game bird!)

Victoria Pendleton (Olympian - cyclist)

Dani Harmer (who?) actress, played Tracy Beaker on TV evidently 

Sid Owen (ex-Eastenders ... never watch it)

Johnny Ball (Zoe’s dad)

Richard Arnold (camp showbiz reporter!)

Louis Smith (Olympian – gymnast)

Nicky Bryne (Westlife)

Michael Vaughan (former England cricket captain)

Colin Salmon (who?) actor


I shall be watching the Men’s US Open tennis final this evening – will Andy win his first grand slam title?  If he does, he’ll be in the record books as our first male grand slam champion since Fred Perry in 1936!  And if he loses, he’ll be the first player in history to lose his first five attempts!

There was a photocopier toner spillage at work again today; my colleagues changed the toner waste container but didn’t notice that they’d spilt the toner all over the carpet in front of the machine.  I discovered what had happened when I found the dust adhered to my sandals and toes a short time later.  I hope I don’t suffer any ill effects if it’s got into the atmosphere in the office, as that is what I believe triggered my serious health problems last summer when I missed six weeks of work due to breathing issues.

Sunday 09 September 2012

Today there were two runners of interest at Fontwell Park, and this is how they fared:

Golbelini (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) was pulled up in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).


No runners of interest tomorrow.


I missed this news from last week; due to weight problems, young Rhys Flint has decided to retire and hopes to take up training.  More


Did Choc go to the Blenheim Horse Trials today?  He tweeted earlier, asking for advice as to whether he should attend; I believe the majority vote was yes ...

I’ve uploaded my photographs from yesterday’s trip to Stratford races.  Click here to view. 

And my diary is currently being drafted! 

Saturday 08 September 2012


Choc & Henry San for blog.jpg


Choc aboard Henry San


As you can see, I took a trip to Stratford races; it was a day of mixed fortunes.  Choc experienced his first fall of the current season, but won the 2 mile 1½ furlong Handicap Chase; however his victory was at the cost of a last fence fall for Sky Calling who would surely have won had she stood up. 


Here is the Stratford Upon Avon round-up:

Tower (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Handicap Hurdle (13 ran).

Danehill Dante (Alan King/Choc) fell at the final flight in the Novices’ Hurdle when in third place, possibly hampered (7 ran).

Henry San (Alan King/Choc) won the Handicap Chase [2 miles 1½ furlongs]; Sky Calling having fallen at the last when leading (9 ran).  Choc’s 8th winner of the season.


Tomorrow there are runners of interest at Fontwell Park, but no riding engagements for Choc:

15:40 Golbelini (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

16:45 Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Alain Cawley) – Handicap Hurdle


Andy Murray has reached the final of the US Open tennis championship; but high winds and the threat of rain may curtail the second semi-final between Djokovic and Ferrer.  The women’s final, between Serena Williams (boring!) and Victoria Azarenka, has already been postponed until tomorrow.

Friday 07 September 2012

Runners of interest at Stratford Upon Avon tomorrow afternoon, including two for Choc:

14:05 Tower (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Handicap Hurdle

15:05 Danehill Dante (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:55 Henry San (Alan King/Choc) & Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) -  Handicap Chase [2 miles 1½ furlongs]


Not sure about my plans for this weekend ... earlier in the week I was on standby to go to Stratford ... then I became convinced that Choc would have just a single ride, as Danehill Dante had entries elsewhere so I put plans on hold again ... and then upon checking the card yesterday, it seemed that two rides were still a possibility, and this was confirmed today!  I hate being in limbo, with plans unsure.  Let’s see what tomorrow brings ...

Thursday 06 September 2012

It may have been a long trip to Sedgefield in County Durham today, but it was a successful one for Choc J

Quinsman (Caroline Bailey) won the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran); Choc’s 7th winner of the season.


No National Hunt racing tomorrow, with fixtures at Stratford Upon Avon on Saturday and Fontwell Park on Sunday.

Following the sad announcement yesterday of John Oaksey’s passing, Alastair Down has written a tribute published on the Racing Post website.  Worth a read.  Click here

Wednesday 05 September 2012

Choc has a long journey ahead of him tomorrow, as he will be heading to Sedgefield for one riding engagement:

14:50 Quinsman (Caroline Bailey) – Novices’ Hurdle


Endeavouring to save money, I’ve been going on long ‘route marches’ during my lunch-breaks this week, as opposed to ending up on the high street and invariably spending too much!  I’ve discovered that I can walk from my office all the way down to Verulamium Park and back within an hour, and I get to enjoy the birdlife too ... ducks, swans, geese, coots and moorhens.  And there’s a considerable climb on my way back to the city centre, so even better. 

Tuesday 04 September 2012

The quiet times continue, with no runners of interest at Hereford tomorrow ...

Sunday 02 September 2012

A very quiet weekend at home for me.  I did some cross stitching yesterday morning, although I am susceptible to backache when bending over my frame to sew.  Since a fall three years ago, I’ve experienced backache when undertaking mass envelope stuffing at work, so I shouldn’t really be surprised at this. 


I also knitted a Rico Can Can scarf, in dark turquoise, using 10 stitches instead of the usual 5, 6 or 7 ... and it has turned out to be my favourite using this yarn so far.  I now can’t wait to buy more balls of the yarn when my finances permit!  I also knitted a Sirdar Aruba scarf in the shade of ‘Hippie’ and re-knitted a navy blue Katia Big Bang scarf using a different configuration of stitches.  Both Aruba and Big Bang are very quick to knit!


No National Hunt racing until Wednesday, when Choc has a provisional riding engagement at Hereford, and possibly another riding engagement, on recent winner, Quinsman, at Sedgefield on Thursday.



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