Monday 30 September 2013

One result from Newton Abbot today:

Fairyinthewind (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).


A number of runners of interest at Chepstow tomorrow:

14:00 Creepy (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Maiden Hurdle

15:40 Pantxoa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Annacotty (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

16:50 Hail Tiberius (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Handicap Hurdle

17:20 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Standard Open NH Flat Race (Conditional Jockeys & Amateur Riders)


I guess Wayne retains the ride on Pantxoa, as he did today on Fairyinthewind, because he’s won aboard both horses during the summer whilst Choc was on the sidelines.  But I’m sure it will pick up again for Choc once the season gets into full swing, as there are plenty of horses in the yard to go round.   


Channel 4 racing has drawn attention to the fact that Megan Nicholls rides Southfield Vic for her father in the 17:20 at Chepstow tomorrow, her first ride under rules.


I’ve already uploaded the photographs I took yesterday, and I’m hoping to begin my diary this evening.


Click here to view the photographs:

Owners’ Day Part I

Owners’ Day Part II

Owners’ Day Part III

Sunday 29 September 2013


Milan filly for blog r.jpg


Currently unnamed filly by Milan 


I’ve had a fabulous day in the beautiful Cotwolds, attending Martin Keighley’s Owners’ Day.  The weather was warm and sunny ... and Choc was there too.  What more could I possibly want? 


No photos of Choc today, but lots taken of the horses.  But picture Choc dressed in a light brown tweed jacket, jeans, very shiny brown boots and, I think, a blue shirt with white collar, plus sunglasses.  And sporting stubble today too – which I can attest to having kissed him on the cheek ... twice!  Unusual, as his face is usually as smooth as a baby’s bottom! 


I shall be kept busy over the next few days, choosing and uploading the photographs and writing my diary of the day.  I was very taken by a currently unnamed filly by Milan, pictured above.  She is very sweet natured and gentle, my favourite! 


Georgian King, who used to be trained by Alan King, is one of the new inmates of the yard.  Here are photographs of the horse taken at Kempton Park in November 2008:

One runner of interest at Newton Abbot tomorrow:

15:20 Fairyinthewind (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

Saturday 28 September 2013

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

Duroble Man (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th in the Juvenile Hurdle (10 ran).

Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).


Strictly Come Dancing has began for another season and I thought all the celebrity dancers performed well this weekend, apart from Tony Jacklin.  And I expect Hairy Biker Dave Myers to be the celebrity who the general public vote for to stay in the competition for longer than his dancing talents should dictate ... but that’s not a bad thing, as you need a good laugh every now and then!  Now looking forward to weekday evenings, between 18:30 and 19:00, when It Takes Two returns! 

Looking forward to tomorrow ...

Friday 27 September 2013

There were a number of runners of interest at Worcester today, but it was not the best of days at the office, as this is how they fared:

Katie’s Massini (Henry Oliver/Choc) finished 9th in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (14 ran).

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Maiden Hurdle (13 ran).

Hail Tiberius (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished last in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) fell in the Handicap Hurdle Div II (13 ran).  I hope she is okay.

Two runners of interest at Market Rasen tomorrow:

13:45 Duroble Man (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle

15:20 Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Chase


Choc has lost his sponsorship (Lycetts) so is now seeking a new sponsor.  William Kennedy is also still looking for a new sponsor. 


Choc rode out at Martin Keighley’s this morning. 


I’m looking forward to the return of Strictly Come Dancing tonight and tomorrow.  Then, on Sunday, my friend Lesley and I shall be heading into the Cotswolds to attend Martin Keighley’s Owners’ Day.  I’m looking forward to seeing Champion Court, Seymour Eric, Benbane Head and all the other horses ... plus, of course, Thomas and Crunchie!

Thursday 26 September 2013

A number of runners of interest at Worcester tomorrow, with one for Choc too:

15:25 Katie’s Massini (Henry Oliver/Choc) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

16:00 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) - Maiden Hurdle

17:10 Hail Tiberius (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

17:45 Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle Div II

The Cheltenham 2013/2014 brochure arrived in the post today – Choc’s bottom appears on the cover page, he’s aboard my favourite horse, Walkon (the photo shows mid-race action from the 2012 RSA Chase, which Bobs Worth won).  Sky Calling is shown on page 16, along with her rider Mark Caswell, having won last October’s charity race.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

From reading a number of tweets, I discovered that there’s a questions and answers article with Choc is this week’s RP Weekender newspaper.  Well worth a read. 


As a taster, when asked what worries him most, Choc said ‘lots of things’ including his ex-wife!  Also, he was asked to tell the readers something that no-one else knows about him ... he said that he sleeps on the floor at least three nights a week, and admitted that this was weird!

Many happy returns of the day to my niece Kim who is 21 today – they grow up so fast.  She returns to Sheffield University on Saturday for her final year, and her brother James heads off to Warwick University on Sunday to begin his first year.  Brother Neil and sister-in-law Karen’s home will be very quiet with their children away.

Sunday 22 September 2013

I’m useless ... I’ve been slaving over a hot DVD player all morning, transferring recordings from my Sky hard drive.  Then, when I turn my attention to the live racing I dose off just a few minutes before Choc’s race is run, only to wake up as the winner passes the line.  What sort of super fan is that?  Absolutely useless!!!


Anyway, today’s results from Uttoxeter are as follows:

The Wicked Kipper (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Div I) (10 ran).

Mortlestown (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 7th in the Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).

Pollystone (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

Dealing River (Mrs Caroline Bailey/Choc) finished 10th and Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran). 


The results may not have gone to plan, but the weather looked beautiful at Uttoxeter today; unlike Hertfordshire which has been grey and overcast for most of the day.


Nice to see talented mare Aimigayle win at Plumpton today, having raced just once since May 2012.


I was great to meet up with fellow Choc fan, Sandra Stewart, and friends at the Osmonds concert yesterday.  Although I feel like a bit of a lightweight compared to them, as they attend a number of concerts each time the brothers go on tour.  And have travelled abroad too.  I may have my useless moments as a Choc-fan (above), but I do turn out in all weathers during the National Hunt season to see my gorgeous hero, so perhaps I’m not such a lightweight in the world of fandom after all!


The good news is that I’ve now purchased a Hennessy Gold Cup ticket and tickets for Day 2 and Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival, so that’s my pre-purchases completed for the season, apart from maybe Betfair day (February) at Newbury. 


Choc rode out at Martin Keighley’s yard yesterday and Belinda took a number of photos of and including William:


And Choc tweeted one taken later in the day too:


Back to work tomorrow, no holidays planned until a long weekend in October, coinciding with Cheltenham and Kempton Park of course!  I’m already looking forward to next weekend when Strictly Come Dancing returns and to visiting the beautiful Cotswolds for Martin Keighley’s Owners’ Day. J

Saturday 21 September 2013

National Hunt racing returns tomorrow, with fixtures at Plumpton and Uttoxeter.  There are runners of interest at the latter, with Choc having one ride too:


13:40 The Wicked Kipper (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Div I)

14:10 Mortlestown (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Maiden Hurdle

14:40 Pollystone (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

15:10 Dealing River (Mrs Caroline Bailey/Choc) & Always Bold (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle


Hannah Bishop, who is Mrs Prowting’s racing manager (owner of Letsby Avenue), has also tweeted a couple of photographs taken by Les Hurley (official Stratford photographer).  William again features in the group photograph; he was being ‘minded’ by Choc’s mum, Sally, during racing.


And Choc reported on twitter that he lost a sock at the gym yesterday!!!  It wasn’t me ... although I wouldn’t be adverse to accepting a sock donation from my favourite jockey, sad person that I am!


News that Big Buck’s is expected to return to racecourse action in January.  More


Meanwhile in Ireland, Flemenstar’s owner has switched his horse from Peter Casey to Tony Martin for the forthcoming season.  More


I’m looking forward to the Osmonds concert this evening.  Although the venue is within walking distance of my home, I’ve decided to drive there as the balls of my feet are sore today and high heels will only exacerbate the problem ... I’ve been breaking-in my new pair of winter ‘walk to work’ boots for the past two days!  The problem is I’m too heavy, I travel too fast and have been walking in flat comfy moccasins all summer!

Thursday 19 September 2013

Choc has tweeted an official photograph of the presentation ceremony following his win at Stratford on Tuesday:


I belong to a Lotto syndicate at work and was surprised to discover we’d got 4 numbers on one of our lines last night.  So how much do you think we won?  £50, £60 or maybe even £80?  No ... just a measly £30!  I was gutted, especially as the two jackpot winners netted over £4 million each.  The cost of buying a Lotto ticket is increasing to £2 per line from 05 October ... no wonder everyone I speak to about this is going to half the number of lines they select in order to keep the cost the same.  It’s a mug’s game ... unless of course you win the jackpot!


I was sad to learn that the Aintree Festival Bumper winner, Killyglass, lost his life at Stratford on Tuesday; it was his first outing over obstacles. RIP

Wednesday 18 September 2013


My cross stitch picture has been completed ... and here is a photograph as promised. 


Zebra's cross stitch 17 9 2013.jpg


It measures 10 inches by 11¾ inches and has taken less than 3 weeks of weekend days and weekday evenings to complete ... but all those days and evenings have been almost full-on stitching!


As a postscript to yesterday, Choc tweeted to say it had been a great day which was made even more special by the fact that William had accompanied him to the races. 


Obviously Alan King was pleased to have Choc back in action and with a winner too.  More


And Martin Keighley has also written about Choc’s return in his blog ... and I love young Harry’s reaction to the win!    More


I shall be at a loose end now that I’ve completed my cross stitch project, but I’m very much looking forward to attending the Osmond’s American Jukebox tour concert in St Albans on Saturday.  Their tour schedule is very busy; Friday’s concert takes place in Darlington, Choc’s birthplace.  I’m also looking forward to meeting up with fellow Choc fan, Sandra Stewart, who coincidently is attending the concert with her friends!


The following weekend’s highlight is Martin Keighley’s Owners’ Day, which I will be attending with my friend Lesley.  And I’m hoping to go racing to Cheltenham and/or Kempton Park in mid-October, if not before.  Happy days!

Tuesday 17 September 2013










Choc rode Letsby Avenue to victory at Stratford today ... it was an arresting ride (sorry I couldn’t resist), his mount winning by 5 lengths from the game Benny (Benbane Head).  And I’d forgotten how nerve-racking it can sometimes be watching Choc ride live (albeit on TV)! 


Here is a run-down of today’s results of interest from Stratford:

Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Letsby Avenue (Alan King/Choc) won, Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd and Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) was pulled-up in the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).  Choc’s 1st winner of the season.  It was also a come-back run by Court In Session, following a recent back operation.

In A Heartbeat (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 5th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (13 ran).


Here is the race report on the At The Races page.  More


Artist and cartoonist Darren Bird has tweeted a cartoon of Choc, to celebrate the win:

I can no longer view twitter photos via my laptop so have no idea if these links still work; I have to use mobile twitter until I update my system!  But you will be able to find the thread using a smartphone.  


My cross stitch picture is almost finished, I now just need to sew the sparkly thread which forms the water ripples.  The subject matter is African equine in nature and all will be revealed shortly.   


Not liking this wet weather ... my trouser knees were soaked by the time I reached home today.  And that is despite dodging all the vehicles which splashed through nearby road puddles on the walk back to my abode.  But at least I soon warmed up when I switched on the TV to watch Choc’s race! 


Another break now until National Hunt racing re-commences, next Sunday, with fixtures at Uttoxeter and Plumpton. 


Choc is back ... Happy Days!!!

Monday 16 September 2013

The time has finally arrived for Choc to return and he has one riding engagement at Stratford tomorrow; there are other runners of interest too:

17:05 Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Novices’ Hurdle

18:05 Letsby Avenue (Alan King/Choc) & Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) & Court In Session (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) – Handicap Hurdle

19:05 In A Heartbeat (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Standard Open NH Flat Race


Balder Succes had an outing on the all-weather at Kempton on Saturday, finishing 5th of 14.


Clan Royal, best known for being carried out by a loose horse on the second circuit before Bechers when leading during the 2005 Grand National with AP McCoy aboard, has passed away at JP McManus’ stud in Ireland.  More


Choc has tweeted a piccie of William about to tuck into an evening meal.  William is usually not too keen on the food offered by Choc but, on this occasion, it appears he likes it!


I’ve been slaving over a cross-stitching frame all weekend and have completed my 2013 summer project all bar the back-stitch outline, which is partly done.  There will be a photograph uploaded once finished.   It’s a new project, not the cross stitch picture which I began in 2011, as that remains incomplete for the time being!  


As Choc’s race is due off at 18:05 tomorrow evening I will be rushing home in time to watch the race live.  I’m also going to record the ATR coverage so I don’t miss a second, just in case the race-day presenters decide to interview him too.

Friday 13 September 2013






The excellent news today is that Choc has tweeted to say he’ll be returning to race riding next Tuesday, if there are any rides for him at Stratford!  It’s been a long wait for his return and I look forward to him having a very successful and, of course, injury free season.  He deserves it after all the unlucky injury timeouts in recent years. 


One runner of interest today, at Bangor-On-Dee:

Suburban Bay (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).


Sad news on the Racing Forum Memorials page that Prophete de Guye has been put down having suffered a bad injury when he was struck into during a race at Fontwell last Sunday.  Sad when any horse dies in action, and especially when it’s a name one knows. RIP


Another quiet weekend at home is planned for me.  I’m hoping to get within ‘spitting distance’ of completing my current cross-stitch picture, especially as my Choc-related trips and projects will be commencing again shortly!

Thursday 12 September 2013

One runner of interest tomorrow, at Bangor-On-Dee:

14:50 Suburban Bay (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase


Then that’s it until National Hunt racing returns on Sunday 22 September ... apart from the infamous Stratford twilight meeting scheduled for Tuesday 17 September, which has been slipped into the fixture list as an after-thought!


The Jump Jockeys’ Derby took place at Epsom this afternoon and it was won by Jamie Moore aboard Rossetti, trained by his father Gary. 

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Three runners of interest at Uttoxeter today:

The Wicked Kipper (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 3rd in the Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).

Faultless Feelings (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Beginners’ Chase (6 ran).

Pollystone (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) won the Handicap Hurdle (9 ran). 

Congratulations to the team, their 3rd and 4th winners of the season.


But sad news reported by Martin Keighley today that stable stalwart Sky Calling has been forced into retirement due to a leg injury.  But the good news is that she will be heading off to a new career at stud.


Today Alan King’s blog gives a run-down on all the stable favourites, ahead of their 2013/2014 season campaigns.


I received a copy of the Injured Jockeys Fund Autumn 2013 newsletter in the post today.  Inside there is an article about the AlterG Treadmill and a photograph of Choc running upon it.  Evidently it has been a godsend to him, because initially his knee (he mentions an old injury ... that will be his right knee then) swelled up through all the running he’d been doing in order to keep fit over the summer. However, after switching to the treadmill the problem cleared up immediately and he says it felt like he could run forever!


It’s a pity that they can’t invent a machine which will take the weight of my boobs off me so that I could jog instead of walk!

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Runners of interest at Uttoxeter tomorrow:

14:10 The Wicked Kipper (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Maiden Hurdle

15:15 Faultless Feelings (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Beginners’ Chase

17:25 Pollystone (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Handicap Hurdle


Another busy day of schooling for Choc, this time at Martin Keighley’s yard.  The trainer reported in today’s blog that Choc schooled Benbane Head, Creepy and The Wicked Kipper over hurdles plus Merlin’s Wish over fences. 


My winter-weight quilt is now on my bed.  Yesterday evening I stayed up into the early hours of the morning to watch the US Open Men’s final, whilst also sewing my cross stitch project; I turned in as the match reached the beginning of the fourth set.  However, having transferred my viewing to the TV in my bedroom, I was so roasty toasty warm that I dozed off and missed the end of the match!  Typical! 


The standard of tennis played was amazing, and I’m very pleased that Rafael Nadal won.  I’ve seen him play live just once, when he beat Agassi in the third round at Wimbledon in 2006. L  It was Andre’s retirement season, his final professional match being at the US Open that same year.

Monday 09 September 2013

Just one result from Huntingdon today, as Sky Calling was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle:

Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) won the Handicap Chase (9 ran); Martin’s 2nd winner of the season. Victory had been within Darnborough’s grasp when falling at the last but fortunately the horse appeared okay following the mishap.  


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


News that the Philip Hobbs trained Balthazar King won a listed cross-country race yesterday in France.  More


With the sudden drop in temperature, I’m already thinking about swapping my summer weight quilt for my winter one, as I had goose bumps on my goose bumps when I woke up this morning!

Sunday 08 September 2013

A number of runners of interest at Stratford yesterday and this is how they fared:

Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 4th in the incident-packed Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).

Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) finished 7th in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Henry San (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (4 ran).

In A Heartbeat (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 2nd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (8 ran).


And one at Fontwell Park today:

Wooly Bully (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Juvenile Hurdle (9 ran).  Wayne’s 22nd winner of the season.


National Hunt racing at Perth and Huntingdon tomorrow, with two runners of interest at the latter:

14:40 Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Handicap Chase

15:10 Sky Calling (Martin Keighley/Handicap Hurdle) – Handicap Hurdle


Choc rode out for Richard Phillips yesterday and here is a lovely photograph tweeted by the trainer.  I don’t know which horse it is, but the lady is Catch (Catriona) Bissett, Richard’s Assistant.

Friday 06 September 2013

A number of runners of interest at Stratford tomorrow:

14:10 Bold Tara (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Handicap Hurdle

15:20 Midnight Thomas (Martin Keighley/Ollie Garner) – Novices’ Hurdle

16:30 Henry San (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

17:40 In A Heartbeat (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Standard Open NH Flat Race


And one at Fontwell Park on Sunday too:

14:10 Wooly Bully (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle


Choc rode out for Martin Keighley this morning.


There was news earlier this week that Good Friday racing may become a reality in 2014.  More

Personally I’m not in favour, as the Lambourn and Middleham Open Days may be affected by this development.  And it’s a bit unfair on the jockeys too, who hold their annual Lester Awards the evening before. 


Another quiet weekend at home planned for me.  St Albans missed most of today’s forecasted rain, there may be a few showers tomorrow, but Sunday is expected to be dry.  I’ve become addicted to my current cross-stitch project since last Sunday, so that is my plan for the next two days.  I’m also looking forward to Strictly Come Dancing returning tomorrow evening, when we find out which celebrities are dancing with which professional partner ... my personal choice would be Artem Chigvintsev! 

Wednesday 04 September 2013

One runner of interest at Southwell today and this is how he fared:

Compton Blue (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (4 ran).

National Hunt racing at Sedgefield tomorrow, but no runners of specific interest.


And Choc has tweeted a piccie of William, who appears to have found a lady friend!

Tuesday 03 September 2013

One runner of interest tomorrow, at Southwell:

16:40 Compton Blue (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

Jockey Dave Crosse has returned from his USA adventure and uploaded his latest blog on the Love The Races website.  Click here to read.

News today that retired chaser 22-year-old Direct Route has been put down following an accident in his paddock.  More

Monday 02 September 2013

Confirmation today that Choc has been riding out at Barbury Castle and will return to race-riding later this month.  Also news that Group horse First Mohican and Ebor winner Tiger Cliff will be heading to Alan King’s yard to begin a jumping career in the not too distant future.


But not good news regarding Monty’s Revenge – he’s injured a tendon and will be out of action for the remainder of the season.


I spent a quiet weekend at home; I knitted a Katia Guipur lace scarf, did some cross-stitching, cleaned a car, and trimmed a privet hedge too.  I also transferred a number of items from my Sky hard-drive to DVD in order to free up space in preparation for recording Choc’s exploits once he returns to action! 



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