Wednesday 30 September 2015

Anyway, there are a number of runners of interest today and this is how they fared:



Right On Roy (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 11th in the Maiden Hurdle (13 ran).

Mortlestown (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (10 ran).

Laughingalltheway (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 11 yards] (9 ran).



Baltic Histoire (Jamie Osborne/Tom Queally) finished 9th in the Maiden Stakes (2-year-olds) (14 ran).


There are three runners of interest tomorrow:



14:20 Paddys Runner (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle



15:50 Shadarpour (Alan King/W Featherstone) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]

16:55 Theatre Goer (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Maiden Hurdle


There’s no surprise that Aidan Coleman is wondering why Southwell’s drunken intruders weren’t asked to leave the racecourse sooner.  He sustained a couple of chipped teeth in the incident – how galling must that be when they weren’t sustained as a result of riding, especially as he would wear a gum shield to prevent such problems.


I’ve succumbed to a streaming cold today and my nose is now fast turning red!  I seem to have lost the ability to identify the first symptoms of a cold ... but I was expecting sore tonsils, not a sore and tickly lower throat, which was what I had.  Anyway, I’m going to continue with the double dose of acid reflux medication for a few days, as all colds I catch upset the equilibrium.  I can’t take ibuprofen because they cause the stomach to produce more acid, and I’m still not fancying the scary ‘spaced out’ side-effects of paracetamol!  If only I’d realised I’d got a virus sooner, I could have used First Defence, which a number of people I know swear by, in an attempt to stop the worst of it.  Poodles.  L

As I’m feeling rough again, I would turn in early tonight but ... I’ve been following the Great British Bake Off, and Doctor Foster and the new ITV serial starring Anna Maxwell Martin; the latter on +1.  There’s no point recording too many programmes, as one never gets around to watching them!

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Apologies there was no blog yesterday, despite there being a runner at Southwell today:

Pattara (Noel Williams/Gerard Tumelty) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs 110 yards] (15 ran).


There’s unbelievable news this evening, also from Southwell, with Aidan Coleman being assaulted by two drunks who had forced their way into the jockey’s changing room:

But it does makes you wonder why they weren’t ejected from the racecourse before they could cause any damage?


I had intended to write a blog entry yesterday evening, but I was feeling rough so went to bed early instead.  I’m not sure whether it’s a virus or if my acid reflux has flared up, but I’ve got a sore throat.  Or, of course, it could be a combination of the two!  Anyway, I’ve doubled my acid reflux medication, which the prescription recommends I should do for a week if my symptoms get worse, and we will see what happens.  I have a hiatus hernia and the medication stops my stomach producing acid, thus preventing it from leaking upwards into my oesophagus.  And I must lose some weight too – my poor old stomach is compressed between my ever expanding spare tyre and my enormous boobs!!!  LOL


Anyway, there are a number of runners of interest tomorrow:



14:00 Right On Roy (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Maiden Hurdle

15:35 Mortlestown (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

16:10 Laughingalltheway (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 11 yards]



13:40 Baltic Histoire (Jamie Osborne/Tom Queally) – Maiden Stakes (2-year-olds)


RIP Ollie Magurn, who has died in retirement aged 17, following a heart attack:


Alla Svelta continues to recover from his horrendous fall at Fontwell Park a few weeks ago, he’s getting plenty of TLC:


Darren Bird’s cartoons have been compiled into a book to be released shortly:


Choc paid another visit to Martin Keighley’s gallops last Saturday, with an Apple Tree Stud 2-year-old to canter alongside Jazzy; Gerard Tumelty piloting again.


Choc is in Ireland, visiting the Goffs Orby Yearling Sale I presume; it takes place today and tomorrow.


Talking of sales, the DBS Sales return to Newbury racecourse on Friday 27 November – it will be a National Hunt Horses in Training sale.  The sales were suspended due to the racecourse redevelopment.


Plans are afoot for Menace’s next racecourse outing – either Exeter on Thursday 08 October or Newton Abbot on Friday 09 October. 


I was a bit rubbish when it came to seeing Monday’s moon eclipse – I didn’t set my alarm but was sure I’d wake up at some point to see it ... instead I slept through until 04:45 ... but here is my photograph anyway:


for blog 2.jpg

Saturday 26 September 2015

There were four runners of interest this afternoon, at Market Rasen and this is how they fared:

Cahill (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th, tailed off, in the Juvenile Hurdle (8 ran).

Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 6th in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs 89 yards] (8 ran).

Laser Blazer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 2 furlongs 140 yards] (10 ran).

The Barbury Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th, never nearer, in the Open National Hunt Flat Race (6 ran).


There’s no National Hunt racing tomorrow.

And I have now ordered my Cheltenham Festival tickets, for all four days as usual. J

Friday 25 September 2015

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



My Lad Percy (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs] (9 ran).

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished last in the Selling Hurdle (5 ran).

Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (13 ran).



Dream Dana (Jamie Osborne/Tom Queally) finished 10th in the Maiden Stakes for 2-year-olds [7 furlongs 32 yards]; making her debut, she was slowly away. 


There are four runners of interest tomorrow, at Market Rasen:

13:40 Cahill (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

15:25 Friendly Society (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 5 furlongs 89 yards]

16:35 Laser Blazer (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 2 furlongs 140 yards]

17:10 The Barbury Queen (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Open National Hunt Flat Race


Andrew Thornton returns from injury tomorrow to ride at the Lincolnshire track, seeking to become a member of the exclusive 1,000 winners club in the near future.


Talking of Thorntons, Choc has been lifting weights at the gym, developing his muscles!     


The 2014 Champion Hurdler, Jezki, has been ruled out for the season through injury.


The printer at work finally decided to function properly today, but not until we’d changed two faulty toner cartridges; it’s so annoying, as we had already replaced both of them yesterday so they were barely used.  But at least all our printing backlog has now been cleared, although I only had time today for a ten minutes break to eat my lunch, no more.


I’ve no special plans for the weekend; I will probably do some more knitting, although I need to commence another project, as I’ve finished the Aran yarn jacket apart from sewing it together ... which is my least favourite part of the process!

Thursday 24 September 2015

There is one result from Tuesday, at Perth:

Kumbeshwar finished 2nd in the Claiming Hurdle (5 ran); the race was won by the David Pipe-trained Street Entertainer, and he was claimed for £12,000. 


Cyrus Darius won today, a Novices’ Chase at Perth.  He was 1-6, made a number of errors and only won by a neck under the stylish Brian Hughes; Choc’s description not mine ... although he is quite cute too!  He’s one of the horses I want to follow this season ... but presumably he’ll improve following today’s chasing debut!


There are runners of interest tomorrow:



13:50 My Lad Percy (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs]

16:40 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Selling Hurdle

17:15 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]



20:15 Dream Dana (Jamie Osborne/Tom Queally) – Maiden Stakes for 2-year-olds [7 furlongs 32 yards]; a bay filly by Dream Ahead. 


So that’s me watching ATR tomorrow evening, in the hope of spotting Choc at the races, followed by Strictly Come Dancing Part One, and An Extra Slice.


I’ve added a number of Apple Tree Stud horses to my ATR tracker; so I’ve now got fillies Dana Dream and Baltic Histoire, plus colt Canford Chimes and a part-owned colt Schoolboy Error, all trained by Jamie Osborne.  Plus Tyrell trained by Alan King.  The Apple Tree Stud silks are the same design as for the jumpers – Ned Stark and 3-year-old Ardamir, both also trained by Alan King – but green on a white background instead of black on an orange background.


I was pleased that Simple Verse got the St Leger back following yesterday’s appeal; trainer Graeme Mcpherson was the connections’ QC – his other career!  I did have the opportunity to visit Graeme’s yard last Saturday, as a member of one of the EPDS syndicates – perhaps next year, as I understand he trains near Stow-on-the-Wold – in ‘Choccieland’! 


Syndicate members are visiting Jamie Snowdon’s yard in Lambourn this weekend, Rebecca Menzies on 03 October, Noel Williams on 10 October, Robin Dickin on 17 October and Ali Stronge on 24 October.  I’m hoping to go to Noel’s on 10 October to see Menace again.   


It was one of those crazy ‘don’t know what to do next’ kind of days at work.  It hasn’t helped that we’ve been experiencing printer problems since 28 August.  Firstly the staple mechanism broke on our main colour printer; the engineer visited, said we needed a new part, but left us unable to use it at all.  So, since 08 September we’ve used a reserve printer but cannot print handbooks or double-sided flyers; on Monday that went wrong too!  And, with our track record, no-one else will allow us to use their printer!!! 


Today, the engineer visited again, and we can use the main printer once more, but the stapler still doesn’t work as the spare part hasn’t arrived – so still no handbooks.  However, by the end of the day, we were getting error messages again and having to switch it on and off on a regular basis.  Sometimes my colleague Sue and I would just like to scream!!!  We’re hoping a good night’s rest for the printer and ourselves will find us all in better shape by the morning ... if only we had a maintenance contract – false economy.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Firstly, here are today’s results from Warwick. 

Marley Joe (Martin Keighley/Sam Twiston-Davies) finished 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle Div I (9 ran).

Creepy (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 3rd and Gone Too Far (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs] (5 ran); it was Wayne’s 11th winner of the season, as he also rode a winner aboard Court of Law earlier in the afternoon!

Jeans Lady (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) unseated at the first and Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (13 ran); from the notes, it sounds like an eventful race, with 3 unseats, a fall and a slip up. 


My ATR tracker informs me that there is one runner of interest tomorrow, at Perth:

14:55 Kumbeshwar (Lucinda Russell/Mr WHR Read) – Claiming Hurdle.  Poor old boy, I think he deserves a long and happy retirement, rather than plying his trade in a claiming hurdle.  If I had a few bob, I’d ensure he lived out his life in a different role. L


I notice that Assistant Trainer, Ollie Wardle is now writing Alan King’s latest news column on the website, rather than Geoff Lester. 


I was up early today, to ensure I reached the local supermarket just prior to opening, with the intention of purchasing a copy of the Racing Post in order to read the articles relating to Choc’s retirement. 


I’m wondering if Choc will undergo an operation on his neck, as he mentions that there are “one or two things to be done still, but they shouldn’t affect my life out of the saddle”. 


These are notes regarding pinched nerves, but I should imagine the symptoms are similar to those experienced by Choc:


C5 nerve root (C4 – C5 disc)

Weakness will be felt in the upper arm deltoid muscle. Compression of the C5 nerve will rarely cause numbness or a tingling sensation in the skin but may cause shoulder pain.


C6 nerve root (C5 – C6 disc)

Typically the symptoms of a C6 nerve compression include weakness in the biceps and wrist extensor muscles. Compression of the C6 nerve can also cause numbness, tingling, and pain that will radiate from the bicep down the arm to the thumb side of the hand.


C7 nerve root (C6 – C7 disc)

Weakness can be felt in the triceps and finger extensor muscles. Pressure placed on the C7 nerve can cause numbness, tingling, and pain that will radiate down the arm from the triceps to the middle finger.


C8 nerve root (C7 – T1 disc)

Compression of the C8 nerve root will cause weakened handgrip. It will also cause numbness, tingling, and pain that radiates down the arm and to the outside of the hand.


*note* C6 and C7 are the most common nerves that suffer from compression in the cervical spine. The C8 nerve is the most uncommon.


As I now suffer from cervical spondylosis, in other words, arthritis in my neck ... the root cause being a horseriding accident in 1990 ... I can easily sympathise.  Luckily my arms and hands aren’t affected at the present time but, before I bought a support pillow, I had begun to suffer from a dull ache across my shoulders which would last for hours on end and sometimes experienced dizziness too.  I can also hear my neck ‘creaking’ every time I rotate my head and invariably, after long spells spent driving, I develop a bad headache. 


I had a flu jab at lunchtime so, hopefully, this year’s ‘concoction’ will protect me against the dreaded virus.  I also bought a redcurrant-coloured ribbed v-neck sweater from M & S - I just couldn’t help myself!

I want one of these, or maybe two – a unicorn and a lion (I also like the giraffe and owl) – or am I far too old?

Monday 21 September 2015


Choc announces his retirement

from race riding



Well, it’s finally happened, Choc today announced his official retirement from race riding.  More


Alan King pays tribute to Choc too.  More


During a telephone interview this evening with ATR’s Matt Chapman, Choc explained that he continues to suffer from intermittent numbness and tingling in his hands as a result of nerve damage in his neck – which is why he cannot race ride again. 


Choc told the viewers that he has become a good friend of Paul Dunkley, who recently set up the Appletree Stud along with Danny Reilly and they continue to expand their racing and breeding operation near Stow-on-the-Wold.  They own Medermit, which is why the grand old horse is now living at the stud too, along with Blazing Bailey who is owned by Sarah Welford; the ex-Alan King employee also works at the stud and is Gerard Tumelty’s partner.  Having received planning permission, the stud’s building works and paddocks have now been completed and Choc lives in a ‘cottage’ onsite – he’s the Racing Manager/Stud Manager!  He explained that they have 8 two-year-olds and will probably purchase two more fillies to race and subsequently breed from. 


Matt asked Choc which horse he would love to ride again – My Way De Solzen.  And which jockeys he’d like to have ridden like – Paul Carberry/Ruby Walsh for the older generation and Aidan Coleman/Brian Hughes for the younger generation!  He would also like to have ridden Call Equiname in the Queen Mother Champion Chase having picked up the winning ride aboard the horse in the 1999 Victor Chandler Chase.  


It was also suggested that he might like to appear on ATR’s Get In programme with Jason Weaver and Luke Harvey – Choc seemed keen and put forward the idea of appearing alongside AP McCoy too – so it seems that I will have to spend Friday evenings on the lookout for his guest appearance on their show!  Their studio is based in Milton Keynes these days.  


And I’m thinking it would be nice if Cheltenham racecourse made a presentation to him this autumn too; he’s a member of their exclusive ‘more than 50’ winners club!


I suppose, at this point, I have to confess that he sort of eluded to the fact that he wouldn’t be back when I spoke to him at Pogo Pandemonium at the end of January.  I asked Choc if he would return soon and his reply was “they won’t let me” – at the time I took this to mean ‘never’, so was surprised when he still appeared hopeful last month that there might be a chance to return. 


So I’ve had eight months to become accustomed to the idea that his retirement announcement might be imminent and, by all accounts, it seems that it’s taken that period for Choc to become comfortable with accepting that he cannot ride again too. 


I’m very happy that he’s retired in relatively one piece, although with the addition of a few screws and foreign bodies in his right knee and a metal plate and screws in his right arm.  And, of course, he’s fit enough to race against William on foot, whilst the latter is riding a quad-bike and also to play football with his son.   


There was one runner of interest today, at Kempton Park:

Baltic Histoire (Jamie Osborne/Timmy Murphy) finished 7th in the Maiden Stakes (10 ran).

And, yes, Choc was there too ... and tweeted a photo of the scene:


Racing returns to Warwick tomorrow; they are solely a National Hunt racecourse now. 

14:10 Marley Joe (Martin Keighley/Sam Twiston-Davies) – Novices’ Hurdle Div I

16:40 Creepy (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) & Gone Too Far (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs]

17:10 Jeans Lady (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) & Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle


As far as I can ascertain, Wayne Hutchinson and Denis O’Regan are now Alan King’s stable jockeys ... and I’m wondering if Alan will snap up Tom Cannon with an eye to the future too?


Trainer Charlie Mann has suffered injuries whilst piloting a youngster – a broken shoulder, three ribs and pelvis injury.  Ouch. 


My website will continue for the foreseeable future, despite Choc’s retirement; besides, I’m hopeful that I’ll see him at the races every now and then ... and be able to report back on my adventures too! J

Sunday 20 September 2015

Today there were three runners of interest:



Menace (Noel Williams/James Banks) finished 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle (11 ran); he did okay, he needs further but is just a baby, and tends to get outpaced in the middle of the race.  But, he is one step nearer getting a handicap mark which will enable him to run in Novices’ Handicap hurdles. 

Paddys Runner (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Juvenile Hurdle (4 ran); Wayne’s 9th winner of the season.


Here is the finish of Menace’s race ... the first four horses are pictured:

The winning distances were half a length, 10 lengths, 1 length and 6 lengths to Menace. 


Paddys Runner and connections photographed following their victory:



Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Div I (12 ran).


I was thinking that there are no runners of interest tomorrow ... because there is no National Hunt racing, but I am wrong, because my ATR tracker informs me there is an Appletree Stud runner at Kempton Park:

14:10 Baltic Histoire (Jamie Osborne/Timmy Murphy) – Maiden Stakes; she faded to finish last of seven at Wolverhampton on debut but, hopefully, will show improvement tomorrow.  I fully expect Choc to be at Kempton Park to see her run, so I will record the racing just in case I can get a glimpse of him!

Paul Carberry expects to be on the sidelines for three or four months having broken a leg when falling aboard the Noel Meade-trained Rich Coast at Listowel yesterday. 

Saturday 19 September 2015

Firstly, yesterday’s results from Newton Abbot:

Precision Five (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (13 ran).

Theatregoer (Noel Williams/James Banks) was badly hampered and unseated in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).


Tomorrow there are three runners of interest:



14:00 Menace (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:30 Paddys Runner (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) - Juvenile Hurdle



14:40 Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Div I


Choc yesterday tweeted a photo of William eating spaghetti bolognese for dinner ... not surprisingly he’s got into rather a mess!

I had spaghetti bolognese for my evening meal yesterday too ... I didn’t make quite such a mess ... but it’s the only meal when I wear a napkin just in case!


Freddie and Dinky have been out on the gallops again, this time with Real Gone Kid:


The Keighley’s had an equine visitor today, brought along by none other than Choc; an unnamed 2-year-old filly by Multiplex, to work with the yard’s Black Sam Bellamy filly and also Jazzy.  The Appletree Stud’s filly was ridden by Gerard Tumelty, who is also a vital cog in the stud’s operation, especially now that he is no longer AP’s chauffeur!  Choc has promised to take William along on his next visit. J


I’ve now purchased my Hennessy Gold Cup Day Grandstand Enclosure ticket.  The ridiculous thing is that there was a £5 discount for booking before 01 October, but a £2 fee for credit card payments, and £5 fee for special delivery!  This makes the total payable £32 ... which is the amount payable for same on the gate on the day!!!  As I already stated, ridiculous!


I learnt something about Newbury racecourse today, their Copper King bar is named after the first ever winner at the track 110 years ago!  I also learnt that Racing UK presenter Stewart Machin supports Coventry City football club!!!

I’ve been doing some knitting today, or I should say more knitting today.  I’m currently using Wendy Aran wool, which I’ve had for many years, to knit a jacket.  There are 12 balls of yarn - 4 red, 4 purple, and 4 a sort of taupe shade.  Originally I was going to knit three waistcoats – but now they are going to be a block colour jacket; I’ve completed the back, both fronts and am half way up the first sleeve.  Not bad progress, considering I began the project on Bank Holiday Monday. 

Thursday 17 September 2015

There are two runners of interest tomorrow, at Newton Abbot:

13:50 Precision Five (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

14:55 Theatregoer (Noel Williams/James Banks) – Novices’ Hurdle


The Appletree Stud is consigning another yearling to the sales; on this occasion the Tattersalls Yearling Sales Book 2, which takes place on 12 to 14 October in Newmarket.  The bay colt’s sire is Tamayuz and the dam, fittingly, Duo De Choc; the dam’s dam is called Choc Ice!  He’s lot 790 and you can find further details on the Tattersalls website.


Steve Ayres has tweeted a photo of Ayres Succes, a filly named in his honour and, of course, Balder’s little sister; the likeness is striking:


Hennessy Gold Cup Day will host a race named in honour of Sir Peter O’Sullevan who passed away this summer.


David Casey signed off with a winner aboard Long Dog at Listowel on Wednesday; Ruby Walsh forfeited the opportunity in the hope of giving his colleague a final winning ride.  David now begins a behind-the-scenes career with Willie Mullins.  More

Monday 14 September 2015

Here is today’s result from Stratford-Upon-Avon:

Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was a non-runner and Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Jamie Insole) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs & 7 yards] (10 ran).


There’s no National Hunt racing tomorrow.


I’ve just realised that I cannot go to Plumpton on Sunday to see Menace if he runs ... because I’ve already made arrangements to have my hair trimmed.  Poodles!


Choc went to the cinema in Cheltenham with Jennie to see Legend yesterday evening. 


I was disappointed that Roger Federer failed to exact revenge for his Wimbledon defeat against Novak Djokovic in last night’s Men’s Singles Final at the US Open.  It didn’t help me that the match began at just gone midnight our time due to a rain delay – the delay obviously hindered Roger too!  I’ll miss the tennis but I’m looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep for the next few days ...  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday 13 September 2015

Very sad news today.  Brown Panther lost his life having shattered a hind leg this afternoon during the Irish St Leger at The Curragh; he won the race last year.  RIP


Not surprisingly, owner Michael Owen is devastated, "I was with him when he was born and gave him his last kiss goodbye."  Michael Owen describes the horse's death as "saddest day of my life. I love you Panther ... life will not be the same without you."  Michael has already lost his dam, Treble Heights, which died last year when in foal to Nathaniel. 


At Longchamp, Treve, Postponed and New Bay all put up excellent performances in their respective Arc trials. 


Green Desert, who is one of Menace’s great grandsires (on his dam’s side), has passed away at the ripe old age of 32. 


Martin Keighley has tweeted a photograph of Thady Quil and Andrew Tinkler, along with Freddie and Dinky; Dinky is a wise old pony, he’s in his late twenties but certainly belies his age:


Choc has posted a lovely photograph on facebook of Blazing Bailey and Medermit clowning around in their field. 


Irish-based jockey David Casey has announced that he will retire this coming Wednesday, with his final ride taking place at Listowel.  More


There are two runners of interest tomorrow, in the same race, at Stratford-Upon-Avon:

14:50 Darnitnev (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) & Fred Le Macon (Alan King/Jamie Insole) – Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 6 furlongs & 7 yards]


I went for a walk this morning; as it took me one hour and 50 minutes, it must have been approximately 5½ miles in distance.  Mind you, I regret walking through Verulamium Park, as they were holding a Triathlon and other similar events in the park.  The runners weren’t a nuisance, but the cyclists certainly were and I’m not sure why they were riding through the parkland, as the cycling route was supposed to be taking place on the Hertfordshire roads.  Also, I refuse to respond to bells on bicycles when I’m minding my own business walking along any footpath regardless of where it is in the City ... you have to stand your ground!  I overheard a bystander at one of the regular Sunday morning football matches speaking on their mobile phone; he was describing the scene as havoc to the person on the other end of the line!  He can say that again!  Crazy. 


I later discovered that there was a children’s scootathon at 11:00 ... now that would have tipped me over the edge!  The most dangerous element of my journey to work every morning involves avoiding children aboard out of control scooters as they ride them to school.  Mind you, much of the fault lies with the schools as, unbelievably, they encourage this by providing areas where the children can park their scooters whilst there ... I bet the teaching staff have never walked to school to experience the dangers encountered by pedestrians, otherwise they would have banned scooters long ago. 

I shall watch the Men’s Singles Final from the US Open this evening – Federer vs Djokovic – hopefully the former will win.  I’ve only mellowed towards Roger in recent times, since he’s become the underdog!  Flavia Pennetta won the Women’s Singles event, beating compatriot Roberta Vinci, and promptly announced her retirement from the sport, aged 33!  This being her first grand slam title, as a complete outsider, I guess it would only be downhill from here anyway!

Saturday 12 September 2015

Much controversy in the racing world today, both at Doncaster and Leopardstown ...


Firstly, filly Simple Verse was demoted to second in the St Leger following a stewards’ enquiry.  More


Whereas Golden Horn retained the Irish Champion Stakes despite having bumped into Free Eagle whilst battling out the finish.  More


Personally, I wouldn’t have changed either result, as the best horse won in both cases.  I guess it all boils down to the fact that Simple Verse’s win involved jockey error, whereas Frankie Dettori had nothing to do with the fact that Golden Horn shied away from the rails and, as a result, bumped into the Dermot Weld-trained horse.  Also, in the latter case, the horse which would have benefitted from a demotion would not have been Free Eagle, it would have been runner-up Found.    


Choc has tweeted a lovely photo of William and Optimus:


IJF fundraiser Jack Lander took a nasty fall from his pony Splash earlier in the week; here he is today, back aboard:


Following his bone crunching fall at Fontwell Park last Sunday, Alla Svelta’s recovery continues:


Tom Cannon won the Jump Jockeys’ Derby at Epsom on Thursday, aboard veteran grey Starluck; Sam Twiston-Davies was the runner-up.


I’ve purchased my ticket for Kempton’s Boxing Day fixture; I need to book my Hennessy Gold Cup Day ticket before the end of this month in order to qualify for a £5 discount.  And also my Cheltenham Festival tickets before the prices start to increase following their Showcase fixture!  I won’t be pursuing the membership option, as parking is not included during Festival week! 


New plans are afoot for Menace, the preferred option being an entry at Plumpton on Sunday 20 September; alternatives being Uttoxeter, also on 20 September, or Worcester on 25 September, or Newton Abbot on 28 September. 


I’ve had a few laptop software problems this weekend but, fortunately, PC World was able to talk me through it and the troubles appear to have been resolved! 


There are Heritage Open Days taking place this weekend and I was mulling over whether to undertake a tour of St Albans Cathedral’s tower; it’s free this weekend, with no booking required, but a maximum of 12 people can attend per session.  However, with a wet start to the day, I shelved that idea ... although it did brighten up mid-morning.  I think my current plan is to pre-book a tour during October, as they carry out tours at least once a month and it costs just £8 per person anyway.  And early October fits in with my racing schedule too! 


Today, so far, has been spent surfing the internet, knitting and watching the racing on TV.  I guess I will tune into the US Open tennis this evening ... fortunately I won’t have to watch Serena Williams, as she was knocked out in the semi-finals!

Wednesday 09 September 2015

There were two runners of interest today, at Uttoxeter:

Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Beginners’ Chase (6 ran).

The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 7th in the Handicap Hurdle Div I [1 miles 7 furlongs & 215 yards] (9 ran).


AP McCoy won today’s Leger Legends Charity Race at Doncaster, with ATR’s ‘Leglock’ Luke Harvey completing in third place.  Retirement has failed to dim the Champ’s competitive streak ... and that is why he won the Jump Jockeys’ Championship for 20 years!  More


As mentioned yesterday, the Jump Jockeys’ Derby will be run at Epsom tomorrow; Aidan Coleman is riding the favourite, Royal History, which is trained by Saeed bin Suroor. 


There’s now no National Hunt racing until a fixture at Stratford-Upon-Avon on Monday; it’s the remnants of the former September break ... the jockeys’ ‘holiday’ break having now been moved to August.  

Tuesday 08 September 2015

Here are today’s results for my runners of interest ... under both codes:



Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was a non-runner in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs]

Cearys (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 4th in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (11 ran).



Tyrell (Alan King/Tom Queally) finished 7th in the Maiden Stakes (2-year-olds) Div I [7 furlongs] (13 ran).

Today’s race comment was “Slowly into stride, held up, not clear run well over 1f out, never nearer” – it sounds like he dwelt again, but can be forgiven on only his second career run. 

Mystery Code (Alan King/Fergus Sweeney) finished 5th in the Handicap [1 mile 3 furlongs 183 yards] (9 ran).


There are two runners of interest tomorrow, at Uttoxeter:

14:40 Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Beginners’ Chase

16:55 The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Hurdle Div I [1 miles 7 furlongs & 215 yards]


The Jump Jockeys’ Derby takes place on Thursday at Epsom ...


Saphir Du Rheu is Hennessy Gold Cup bound, all being well.


Charlie Longsdon is holding a public Open Morning on Saturday; he’s based at Hull Farm near Chipping Norton:


Brendan Powell Senior reports that Alla Svelta is gradually improving following an awful fall at Fontwell Park on Sunday; it looked like the horse was a goner at the time.


AP McCoy will be heading to Doncaster tomorrow to ride in the Leger Legends race.  More


I had no dial tone on my telephone landline throughout yesterday but, when I phoned BT, to be answered by their automated ‘advisor’, their test claimed to show there was no fault on the line.  I had tried three different phones in the main socket too.  My Sky broadband was fine throughout.  However, everything returned to normal overnight, which is fortunate, as it costs £129 just to call an engineer out!


With Andy Murray out of the US Open, I’m hoping to catch up on my sleep, having become almost nocturnal since the final Grand Slam of the year began last week.  I’m not quite sure why I feel the need to stay up to watch the Scotsman play, because he ‘ain’t no Agassi’!


I found two spiders in my bedroom this morning – one large garden variety on a thread, and the other on the ceiling; the second may not have been a spider because I couldn’t see it clearly, but it was sucked into the vacuum cleaner regardless.  I squashed the first one in a tissue, as I was frightened it might get away whilst I went in search of a plastic cup and cardboard to catch it.  I’ve left the vacuum cleaner set up in ‘spider mode’ – with the long tube connected – as, with the arrival of autumn, there are bound to be further spider emergencies in the coming days!  But I have to confess I am less ‘screamy’ these days when I see one!!!



Anita Wilson's photo.


One of my nieces, Lydia, was a bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding on Saturday – I know I’m biased, but isn’t she beautiful?

Monday 07 September 2015

There are runners of interest under both codes tomorrow:



14:10 Bobble Emerald (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs]

15:10 Cearys (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Mares’ Maiden Hurdle



14:00 Tyrell (Alan King/Tom Queally) – Maiden Stakes (2-year-olds) Div I [7 furlongs]

And Alan has a second runner at the track:

15:30 Mystery Code (Alan King/Fergus Sweeney) – Handicap [1 mile 3 furlongs 183 yards]


I am not a happy bunny following my dental hygienist appointment ... the locum spoke English (I think) but I could only understand around 25% of what she said!  That’s very disappointing and annoying, as I’m a private patient and pay £45 per visit for the privilege of having my teeth cleaned every three or four months.  My fingers are firmly crossed that Helen will be back in situ by the time my next appointment arrives in January!  

Sunday 06 September 2015

There were two runners of interest at Stratford-Upon-Avon yesterday and this is how they fared:

Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Archie Bellamy) finished 6th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Handicap Hurdle (9 ran).

Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) won the Handicap Chase [2 miles 213 yards] (5 ran); Martin’s 9th winner of the season.  Martin reported in his blog that the horse is a bad traveller and travels loose in a big lorry to the racecourse; hence the preference for running at a local track. 


The full brother to veteran Georgian King is due to arrive at the Martin Keighley yard soon. 


Leighton Aspell had a bad fall at Fontwell Park this afternoon and was taken to hospital to be checked out.  More  Fingers crossed he will be okay.


There are no runners of interest tomorrow, with the sole National Hunt fixture taking place at Perth, although Richard Johnson, Wayne Hutchinson and James Banks head to the track for rides. 


Apple Tree Stud’s Tyrell holds an entry for Leicester on Tuesday, so I presume Choc will be heading to the track if he runs ... and I need to set my Sky box to record accordingly!


I’ve finally got around to typing up Menace’s bloodline; being flat-bred, he has many distinguished ancestors!  More


Choc tweeted a video of his son William excitedly telling everyone that their dog Optimus had ‘done a poo!


I’ve been knitting, jewellery making and gardening this weekend; not my favourite time of the year for the latter due to all the cobwebs and spiders in the garden!  And I’ve been watching the US Open tennis; I stayed up overnight to see Andy Murray’s match – it finished at around 04:00 this morning.  Having finally got to bed, needless to say, I didn’t wake until gone 09:00 this morning.  


And, of course, I watched Strictly Come Dancing yesterday; lucky Carol Kirkwood has been partnered with Pasha Kovalev.  Mind you, I gather she is the favourite to leave first and the BBC usually teams last season’s winning professional with a ‘no hoper’ the following year!  I think from previous experience, the more intelligent the person the less likely they are to be a good dancer!  Prime examples being Carol Vordeman and Fiona Phillips who couldn’t dance to save their lives; whereas Chelsee Healey, who is at the other end of the intelligence spectrum, was runner-up in her season!  However, I think that Katie Derham may prove to be the exception to the rule!


Hopefully this week won’t be too busy at work, as my colleague Sue returns from annual leave tomorrow.  I’ve got my quarterly dental hygienist appointment tomorrow, but not with my usual hygienist Helen, as she’s recently broken her ankle! 

Friday 04 September 2015

There are two runners of interest tomorrow, at Stratford-Upon-Avon:

14:05 Kyles Faith (Martin Keighley/Archie Bellamy) – Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Handicap Hurdle

17:00 Johnny Og (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Handicap Chase [2 miles 213 yards]


There’s National Hunt racing at Fontwell Park on Sunday, but no runners of interest.


Strangely enough, I have attended both equivalent fixtures – my last recorded visit to Stratford was on 08 September 2012, and my only ever visit to Fontwell Park was on 07 September 2008!  I miss going to Stratford, as it’s my favourite smaller racecourse. 


Wayne Hutchinson rode his 8th winner of the season aboard Welsh Bard at Sedgefield on Wednesday. 


A 2-day DBS Horses In Training (HIT) sale took place this week, and two Alan King-trained horses were sold to new owners; Mystery Drama which sold for £14,000 to West Buckland Bloodstock and Uriah Heep sold for £17,000 to a Phyllis Smith.


Primo Capitano has been retired following his very disappointing showing at Southwell earlier in the week; plans have been put in place to find him a suitable new home.


A reminder regarding Cheltenham’s Showcase fixture arrived on my facebook feed today ... it informed me that it’s just six weeks away!


Choc has tweeted a photograph of William; he’s all dressed up ahead of his first day at school:


I’ve booked my flu jab for 22 September; I want no repeat of the illness that floored me in February 2014.  I presume this year’s concoction will prove more useful than last year’s, when reports stated the vaccine was only 3% efficient due to new flu strains making an appearance.  Fortunately I didn’t get a cold or flu last winter despite this; I was lucky.


I’ve no particular plans for the weekend, although I have begun a knitting project which I expect I will continue.  And the Strictly Come Dancing ‘introduction’ programme is broadcast tomorrow evening ... excellent. J

Wednesday 02 September 2015

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



Primo Capitano (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) was pulled up in the Maiden Hurdle (9 ran).



Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (7 ran).


The sole National Hunt fixture takes place at Sedgefield tomorrow, so no runners of interest.


Here is John Powell’s post-race report regarding Menace:

“I’m pleased to say Menace has come out of his race pretty well. He hurdled very nicely for his first attempt, but the pace of the race meant he was in top gear almost the whole way before tiring. He will probably need more of a trip in time; in the meantime he’ll have a quiet few days before coming back in to work and looking for another opportunity for him to continue his education in a few weeks’ time.”


Another busy day at work ... but just 80 minutes overtime worked today.  Mind you, having said that, there is a growing backlog!  I think I need a holiday; as I’ve had just one weekday off, to go to Worcester, since Aintree in April!  I have seven days booked, with ten more still to book, five of which I can carry into January and February next year if required. 

Tomorrow is a big day for Choc’s son William; it’s his first day of school! 

Tuesday 01 September 2015

There are two runners of interest tomorrow:



15:40 Primo Capitano (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) – Maiden Hurdle



19:10 Prettyasapicture (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Handicap Hurdle


Going forward, Huntingdon won’t need to worry about the weather on August Bank Holiday Monday as, from next season, their Family Fun Day will be moved to May and their first fixture following the summer break will take place in early October.  And that leaves Cartmel as the sole National Hunt fixture taking place on that particular Bank Holiday.


I’m keeping an eye on the Kempton Park website because tickets for their Boxing Day fixture are due to go on sale this month.  I also need to purchase a ticket for Hennessy Gold Cup Day before the end of September in order to qualify for a £5 discount.  And buy tickets for the Cheltenham Festival by 24 October because, after that date, the price increases!


I survived the day at work, despite the team being short-staffed due to holidays ... although I did work 9 hours without a break!




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