Friday 30 September 2016
Here are the results from yesterday:
Breaking Bits (Jamie Snowden/Micheal Nolan) finished 7th and Faraway Mountain (Phil Middleton/Kielan Woods) finished 9th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs] (11 ran).
Suspect Package (James Fanshawe/Frederik Tylicki/AppleTree Stud) finished 5th in the Maiden Stakes [7 furlongs & 14 yards] (7 ran).
Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Redcar:
15:15 Jamacho (Brian Ellison/Kevin Stott/raised by AppleTree Stud) Ė Stakes for 2-year-olds (Listed) [ 6 furlongs]
And a number of runners of interest on Sunday:
14:05 Martha McCandles (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) Ė Novicesí Hurdle
14:35 Mille Nautique (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) & Fact Of The Matter (Jamie Snowden/Brendan Powell) Ė Handicap Chase [2 miles 3 furlongs & 189 yards]
15:15 Lord Huntingdon (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) Ė Juvenile Hurdle
15:45 Presenting Lisa (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Quantum Of Solace (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) Ė Novicesí Limited Handicap Chase
16:20 The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) Ė Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 137 yards]
13:55 Royal Plaza (Alan King/William Featherstone) Ė Conditional Jockeysí Maiden Hurdle
14:55 Cottersrock (Martin Keighley/Aidan Coleman) Ė Beginnersí Chase
15:35 Souriyan (Jamie Snowden/William Featherstone) Ė Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs & 70 yards]
Iíve continued to procrastinate more than Iíd hoped during the past two days, but I did take my mum food shopping yesterday.† I think I need human blinkers to prevent me losing focus when Iím walking through the M & S clothes department on my way to their Food Hall!† This week I bought two further thermal t-shirts Ė both black Ė in size 18 and size 20 because I couldnít decide which would be best ... but Iím going to keep them both!†
Yesterday I cleaned out the gutters on the garage and shed as water was pouring over the end when it rained heavily.† I then cut back the Kolkwitzia (Beauty Bush) Ė itís supposed to be pruned after flowering but I really donít get around to doing anything until after my racing diaries have been completed ... which was very late this summer.† The Kolkwitzia was rampant, so it took me over three hours to cut off the branches and then chop them up small enough to fit them in the green wheelie bin!† Itís now full.
Today I paid my bills Ė itís pay day Ė then I visited the dental hygienist.† I also walked to the bank after lunch, before settling down to complete the missing ĎClarcamí notes for my Opening Day of Aintree 2015 diary.† My website is now up-to-date, as two long outstanding tasks have been completed.†††††
Wednesday 28 September 2016
Well, today should have been so productive because it was the first dayís leave Iíve had since the winter when I didnít have anything planned to do but, in the end, all I did was procrastinate because I couldnít settle.† I finally gave in and bought a front row ticket to see Pasha Kovalevís 2017 show Ė heís appearing in Dunstable next April Ė late April I hasten to add!
Having got sidetracked yesterday evening, I ran out of time to write a blog so here are the results from yesterday at Sedgefield:
Our Reward (Jamie Snowden/William Featherstone/EPDS Racing) finished 2nd in the Novicesí Hurdle (7 ran); he was very game and led until collared in the final strides.† Unlucky.
Menace (Noel Williams/James Banks/EPDS Racing) did us proud when he finished 4th in the Novicesí Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 188 yards] (11 ran).† He didnít get off to the best of starts so spent most of the race near the back of the field however, although with much to do as they turned into the home straight, he stayed on through tiring horses to claim his place in the Winnersí Enclosure.† His experience over longer trips stood him in good stead.† I also confess that I had butterflies until I knew the result and, of course, that he was safe and sound.†
Our Reward is fine today and Menace is slightly sore as usual.† However, our little pony is due for a break so he is to undergo investigations to see if they can find out why he experiences this issue after every race.†
Today there were two runners of interest:
Daliance (Noel Williams/Tom Marquand) finished last in the Handicap Div I [1 mile 6 furlongs & 21 yards] (9 ran); it was his first run following a break but Dali didnít look very keen today.
Her Terms (William Haggas/Willie Twiston-Davies/AppleTree Stud) finished 5th in the Maiden Stakes [5 furlongs & 13 yards] (12 ran).
My personal racing highlight today was catching a couple of glimpses of Choc on TV Ė he was in the Parade Ring at Nottingham!
There are three runners of interest tomorrow:
16:45 Breaking Bits (Jamie Snowden/Micheal Nolan) & Faraway Mountain (Phil Middleton/Kielan Woods) -† Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 5 furlongs]
14:40 Suspect Package (James Fanshawe/Frederik Tylicki/AppleTree Stud) Ė Maiden Stakes [7 furlongs & 14 yards]
The big news today was the exodus of Gigginstown horses from the Willie Mullins yard.† I was watching ATR this morning when the news broke.† Although not a fan of the Irish trainer, I have to admire him for standing firm and speaking about his stance on fees to Matt Chapman just minutes later when the situation was so raw.† Willie has since regained his sense of humour and the tone of his tweets is now Ďgood riddanceí.† I guess there may be more to it than solely an increase in fees; perhaps Michael OíLeary doesnít think that there is room in the yard for two big egos - himself and the Ricciís.††
OíLeary is far from popular, but Gordon Elliott will now benefit from having Don Poli and the extremely talented Appleís Jade in his yard; around 60 horses have been moved.† Thereís also no surprise that Paul Nicholls is now 1-5 to retain his Trainersí title!†
Just Giving has now fixed the issue with the Microsoft Edge browser, so here is the link to my Charity walk webpage just in case you can spare a dime:
Iíve got to add an offline donation from my mum; Iím going to do this the easiest and safest way in accordance with instructions from Just Giving Ė which is to bank the money and then make an online donation myself to my Just Giving page using my own debit or credit card ... sorted.† But I must ensure that I un-tick the gift aid box for any offline donations, as only the donor themselves is eligible to claim this.††
I had my annual flu jab yesterday, so my upper left arm is a little sore at the moment.† But, hopefully, I wonít succumb to any mild cold or flu-like symptoms in the next few days; I did last year sadly ... and it was my only cold of the autumn or winter!† But I certainly made up for that in June when I caught a stinker of a cold.†
Monday 26 September 2016
There are two runners of interest tomorrow, at Sedgefield:
14:30 Our Reward (Jamie Snowden/William Featherstone/EPDS Racing) Ė Novicesí Hurdle
16:15 Menace (Noel Williams/James Banks/EPDS Racing) Ė Novicesí Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 188 yards]; having never won, Menace has two seasons in which to take part in a novice event.†
The Jump Jockeysí versus Flat Jockeysí annual football match took place yesterday ... the Jump Jockeys won 9-7!
The premier entrance at Newbury was demolished today, to enable the next stage of their redevelopment.† Iím in two minds as to whether I should purchase a premier ticket or a grandstand ticket for Hennessy Gold Cup Day Ė the question is, will they have moved the Winnersí Enclosure to the premier side of the Parade Ring by that date?†
Another date has been released for a stable visit Ė a return outing to Jamie Snowdenís Folly House yard on 29 October ... Iíve written it in my diary and will confirm with EPDS Racing nearer the time!† Iím not expecting to attend Ascot that day, as AppleTree Stud seems to be concentrating on flat racing at the present time.† It is worrying though, that concerns have recently been expressed in the racing press about overproduction of bloodstock.†
I did a practice walk yesterday; as it took over two hours, I must have completed over 6 miles in distance.† That all bodes well for the 10k next Sunday in Cirencester.† It is 6.2 miles in old money.† Initially I thought that Iíd completed blister free, but I found one underneath a toe this morning ... but I shall survive!
Yesterday I succumbed to purchasing a ticket to see ex-Strictly dancers Gleb and Kristina performing in London on 11 December.† There is a matinee and an evening performance; Iíve chosen the former, as Lesley is unable to accompany me on that day Ė sheíd already booked to see Status Quo.††
Tomorrow is my ĎFridayí as Iíve booked Wednesday through Friday as annual leave. J† Iíve been running on empty for a while, so it will be wonderful to have a few days off.† Iíve booked two days off in October, and six in November.††
Saturday 24 September 2016
There were two runners of interest at Market Rasen this afternoon and this is how they fared:
(Alan King/Daryl Jacob) finished 5th in the Juvenile Hurdle (7 ran).
There donít appear to be any runners of interest tomorrow.†
Recounting his injuries, Choc forgot to mention the time when he was kicked in the face by Minella Four Star at Newbury in December 2009.† Ouch.†
Taking my mum shopping every Saturday is proving to be very expensive ... I just canít resist looking around the M & S clothes department when we visit their food outlet in London Colney.† Today I bought 4 pairs of 60 denier tights, two thermal t-shirts (a patterned turquoise one and a black polo neck one) plus a burgundy animal print scarf!†† Naughty, Naughty.
And, today, Iíve completed one of those two outstanding website tasks from April 2015.† My Balder Succes memorial page.
Friday 23 September 2016
Firstly, here are todayís results from Worcester:
Precision Five (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Novicesí Hurdle (7 ran).
Miss Crick (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs] (7 ran); thatís Wayneís 23rd winner of the season and the fourth time Miss Crick has provided him with a winner this season too!!!
Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 11th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles] (14 ran).
There are two runners of interest tomorrow, at Market Rasen:
14:00 Invocation (Alan King/Daryl Jacob) Ė Juvenile Hurdle ... will the horse finally win?
16:55 Magic Music Man (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) Ė Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 2 furlong & 140 yards]
Hopefully this link will work; itís a recording of the BBC radio show in which Choc was interviewed about his upcoming charity walk.
Being a BBC item, it will be deleted from their website 25 days(?) following broadcast, which was 19 September ... so be quick!† The interview is one hour and 10 minutes into the recording!†
During the interview, Choc lists the injuries heís had over the years Ė broken right ankle, 3 snapped knee ligaments (Newton Abbot), right arm broken in three places on 2 occasions with a plate and 10 screws remaining (Hereford and Southwell), 10 right collarbones, 6 left collarbones, 3 lumbar fractures L1, L2, L3 (that was when he was kicked in the back by Cracboumwiz during a fall at Leicester in January 2010), he has no ligaments on the top of his right thumb*, and the broken neck which ended his career following a fall on the flat at Chepstow (T1 and C7); his mount didnít clip heels evidently, he just fell.† Say When was such a clumsy horse!† Plus numerous broken ribs.† Choc said he was actually paralysed for 10 to 20 minutes following his accident at Chepstow and it was the scariest few minutes of his life.† I bet it was.†
*Here is an excerpt from my ďAn Evening with Choc ThorntonĒ diary from September 2010 ... so that would explain why he couldnít open the bottle!
ďAs you can see from the photos above, there were refreshments aplenty for Choc!† I did notice, however, that he had to ask Andrew to undo the top on one of the bottles Ė I know Choc broke his thumb earlier in his career and I wonder if this affects his ability to open a tightly screwed bottle top?Ē
News broke yesterday that the Barbury Castle estate has been put on the market; current owners the Bunters want to downsize.† It consists of 1,800 acres of land and itís the second time the property been put up for sale during Alan Kingís tenure; the first being in 2003.† Alan is hopeful that nothing will change, but is being philosophical about it.
Colm Murphy, trainer of Brave Inca and Big Zeb to name but two, has announced that he will retire from training shortly.† I think heís just run out of patronage; it must be very difficult when Willie Mullins is so dominant, and Gordon Elliott too.†
Iím so looking forward to Strictly Part II tomorrow.† I loved Greg Rutherford and Judge Rinder ... the latter was so entertaining, who would have guessed, but they did under-mark him.† Ore faffed around too much Ė I like a more traditional tango.† Laura was wooden and over-marked.† Naga was okay (her professional partner Pasha is my favourite) as was Lesley Joseph.†
The skin under my eyes has flared up again ... I think it must be the micellar water Iíve been using to clean off my make-up.† Itís brilliant stuff, and this Garnier one is suitable for sensitive skin ... despite the fact I donít have sensitive skin.† But I donít know what else can be causing it.†††
Problems still exist with the Just Giving page if you try to donate when using the Microsoft Edge browser.† How infuriating.† Their helpdesk team said they knew about the issue and were working to fix it ... and that was over week ago!
This is ridiculous ... Iíve just completed writing todayís blog ... at one thirty in the morning.† That makes it, technically speaking, my Saturday blog!
Thursday 22 September 2016
Today, one runner of interest, at Chelmsford:
Celtic Artisan (Rebecca Menzies/Oisin Murphy/EPDS Racing) won the Handicap [1 mile] (13 ran); I hope you put your shirt on ĎDylaní as his starting price was 20-1!
The clash of the Cheltenham Champion Bumper winners, at Perth today in a Novicesí Hurdle, was won by Moon Racer; he beat Ballyandy by 3/4Ďs of a length.† But compensation was gained by Nigel Twiston-Davies later in the afternoon when Flying Angel won the Novicesí Chase.
There are three runners of interest tomorrow, at Worcester:
16:40 Precision Five (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) Ė Novicesí Hurdle
17:15 Miss Crick (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) Ė Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 4 furlongs]
17:50 Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) Ė Handicap Hurdle [2 miles]
My charity walk joining instructions arrived via email today ... all I need now is some sponsorship!† My problem is that Iím the worst self-publicist you can ever imagine!† I hate asking for anything, in case the answer is no ... but, just in case, here is the link again:
Iím walking for the Oncology department, as my dad passed away in 2011 after a long battle with Multiple Myeloma; thatís bone marrow cancer to the uninitiated.† Besides, the date of the walk - 02 October - was his birthday.††
One day I hope to pluck up the courage to ask Choc if I can visit the AppleTree Stud!
My newer laptop has been playing up again this evening; initially.† Itís really odd, exactly the same thing happened last Thursday evening too.† I reckon a process must be regularly running on this day of the week, but I have no idea what it is.† Thankfully itís fine again now.†††
Wednesday 21 September 2016
Itís now one year since Choc officially retired.† L† But at least heís no longer going to injure himself in a riding accident. J†† But it also means that I donít get to see him very often too.† L
There was one runner of interest today, at Kempton Park:
Sam Missile (James Fanshawe/Daniel Muscutt/AppleTree Stud) finished 2nd in the Handicap for 3-year-olds [1 mile 3 furlongs] (8 ran). I watched the race on RUK and got a quick glimpse of Choc in the Winnersí Enclosure but, sadly, the result caption was transposed over the top of him. Typical.
Tomorrow, also one runner of interest, at Chelmsford:
19:45 Celtic Artisan (Rebecca Menzies/Oisin Murphy/EPDS Racing) Ė Handicap [1 mile]
Martin Keighley is holding his Ownersí Open Day this Sunday but, sadly, no invite this year.† However, the good news is that he hopes to hold an Open Day for the general public at a later date, so hopefully Iíll be available to attend that.†
Is it wrong to have bought three Christmas presents already?† Especially as Iíve not bought my Cheltenham Festival tickets yet.† Oh well, with the Barclaycard hiccup at the end of last week, Iíve decided to delay the purchase thereof until early October.† Besides, the ticket prices donít increase until midnight on the final day of the Showcase Meeting later next month.†
All I want to do today is scream ... I hate my job, because it is filled with so much ongoing frustration.† If only I could let rip in my blog without getting into trouble for doing so ...††
Tuesday 20 September 2016
Having decided that I canít pass up the opportunity to see Choc when he does his upcoming ĎWalking for Wardsí in Cirencester on Sunday 02 October, I think it would be foolish to miss the chance to raise money too.† After all, walking is my forte and itís for a good cause.†
Having signed up for the walk, a fundraising page has been created on Just Giving for me too:
So, if you can spare £2 or even a fiver, please help me to take a few steps towards my target.† Thanking you in advance.†
I have also sponsored Choc for his walk.†
Thereís one runner of interest tomorrow, at Kempton Park:
20:10 Sam Missile (James Fanshawe/Daniel Muscutt/AppleTree Stud) Ė Handicap for 3-year-olds [1 mile 3 furlongs]
EPDS Racingís Anti Cool has picked up a slight tendon strain so will be recuperating for a while; ĎSuper Subí Galactic Power will be brought into action in his stead.
Sadly thereís news that Calgary Bay has been put to sleep whilst in retirement; heíd been suffering from chronic lameness for the past 18 months.† RIP.
That was a lucky escape, for me.† I great big house spider ran across the carpet towards me as I was writing todayís blog; I saw it out of the corner of my eye.† I screamed and jumped out of the way, and it has now been despatched to spider heaven!† I wonder if it was the same one which was caught and put out into the garden a few weeks ago; allegedly they return if you do that!
Many years ago, on a Saturday evening, I remember my dad had to rescue me from a huge house spider which was running around on my bedroom floor Ė it was caught and put outside.† And the following Saturday evening exactly the same thing occurred Ė so the spider was squashed!† And, ever since that day, Iíve ensured that the carpet in my bedroom has been a light shade in colour, so that I can see any creepy crawlies which might venture across it.† These days, those creepy crawlies are usually woodlice!†
Sunday 18 September 2016
Firstly, here are the results from Friday:
Who Dares Wins (Alan King/Pat Dobbs) finished last in the Handicap [1 mile 4 furlongs & 5 yards] (5 ran).
Ardamir (Alan King/Willie Twiston-Davies/AppleTree Stud) finished last in the Handicap [1 mile 2 furlongs & 6 yards] (7 ran).
Follow The Swallow (Graeme McPherson/Kielan Woods) ran out in the Handicap Chase [3 miles & 41 yards] (6 ran).
Kamool (Graeme McPherson/Kielan Woods) was a non-runner in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs & 63 yards]
Generous Chief (Graeme McPherson/Ryan Hatch) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 2 furlongs & 105 yards] (10 ran).
There was one runner of interest yesterday, at Ayr:
Jamacho (Brian Ellison/Chris Hayes/raised by AppleTree Stud) finished 10th in the Nursery Handicap [1 mile] (11 ran).
And three runners of interest today:
Jim Dandy (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Juvenile Hurdle (5 ran).
Quantum Of Solace (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) won the Maresí Handicap Chase (13 ran); Martinís 5th winner of the season.
The Kvilleken (Martin Keighley/Andrew Tinkler) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles] (10 ran).
There doesnít appear to be any runners of interest tomorrow.
Thereís a saying ďIf you want something done, ask a busy personĒ ... well, this weekend, that person has been me!†
The weekend didnít start off great, with Barclaycard notifying me late on Friday afternoon that my most utilised credit card had been compromised, along with the card details of a number of other customers; so they have cancelled it and will issue a new one.† Great.† Especially as I was shortly to purchase my Cheltenham Festival tickets!† It also affected a couple of my regular monthly payments, so I had to rearrange them too, transferring to another credit card to ensure service carries on as usual.† Fraudsters are a pain in the butt!
Yesterday I took my mum shopping at 08:00, before heading to Caversham to visit my friend Denise.† Traffic was a bit of a nightmare on the M25, and again in Sonning whilst waiting to cross the ancient bridge over the Thames; itís single file traffic only.† I gather George Clooney and our Prime Minister Theresa May live in Sonning; also racehorse owner Max McNeill.† However, with all the stress of the journey, I ended up with a headache; it was probably caused by the arthritis in my neck or, possibly, minor back issues as a result of the Ďgraveyard incidentí on Bank Holiday Monday.† Anyway, having subsided during the day, the headache then returned with a vengeance by the time I got home.† I turned in at 21:00 and fortunately it had gone by the early hours of the morning.† I just donít take painkillers; my solution is to lie down for a while, with my head on a support pillow and it seems to do the trick.†
I was up at 05:45 and spent time transferring recordings from my Sky box to DVD Ė mainly of Menaceís recent runs, also a race featuring Ardamir and another in which Tyrell was competing.† I then drove to the doctors to drop off a request for a repeat prescription, before dropping by one of the local supermarkets for a brief purchase.† Whilst there, I also bought 20 pansies to brighten up the garden in the winter; as a result, I then had to visit the local garden centre to buy more compost ... and purchased my first Christmas present whilst there too.
Once Iíd returned home, I potted up 10 pansies in a trough in the back garden, and the remaining 10 in individual flowerpots; Iíll have to wait until the fuchsias die off before I can find those a more permanent home.† After that I cleaned my car, before doing my weekly wash and settling down to watch the Davis Cup semi-final!† We lost. L
But, as I said, ďIf you want something done, ask a busy personĒ.† Itís amazing what I can get done once my website is up-to-date!† Although there are a couple of things I still have to complete from last year.†
And I found another newspaper article relating to Chocís forthcoming charity walk, itís slightly different from the previous one:
There is/was an issue when using Microsoft Edge to process donations via JustGiving.† The site knew about this issue, and was endeavouring to fix it at the end of last week.† Fortunately I managed to use my PC at work to make a donation instead, having encountered this problem when using my laptop.
Thursday 15 September 2016
Choc is taking part in a charity walk through Cirencester Park on Sunday 02 October in aid of the Cheltenham and Gloucester hospitals, and specifically A & E, further details via this link:
He has also set up a Just Giving page. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Robertthornton
But Iíve had to email Just Givingís support team because Iím unable to complete my payment details on his donation page due to the page flying in from the right ... only to fly out again almost immediately!† And itís not as if the software on my newer laptop is out of date Ė Iím running the most up-to-date version of Windows 10, including the recent anniversary upgrade, together with the Edge browser.† Although I actually preferred Windows 8.1!
Her Terms was a non-runner at Beverley yesterday, so there is no result to report.
Iíve found a number of runners of interest tomorrow, although only one (Ardamir) was notified via my ATR Tracker:
15:20 Who Dares Wins (Alan King/Pat Dobbs) Ė Handicap [1 mile 4 furlongs & 5 yards]
17:30 Ardamir (Alan King/Willie Twiston-Davies/AppleTree Stud) Ė Handicap [1 mile 2 furlongs & 6 yards]
18:05 Follow The Swallow (Graeme McPherson/Kielan Woods) Ė Handicap Chase [3 miles & 41 yards]
18:35 Kamool (Graeme McPherson/Kielan Woods) Ė Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 7 furlongs & 63 yards]
15:30 Generous Chief (Graeme McPherson/Ryan Hatch) Ė Handicap Hurdle [3 miles 2 furlongs & 105 yards]
Itís amusing really; Graeme McPherson invariably gets typed as Graeme McPerson in the first instance, before I proof and correct it!
Tuesday 13 September 2016
Firstly, Ardamir was a non-runner at Chepstow today ... but Agent Gibbs won the Handicap race.
Iíve discovered there were two additional runners of interest yesterday to report upon:
Buckle Street (Martin Keighley/Tom Marquand) finished 8th in the Maiden Stakes [1 mile 4 furlongs] (13 ran).
Somewhere To Be (Martin Keighley/Richard Johnson) finished 3rd in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).
I really need a ginormous ATR tracker to keep track of all the horses, now that there are so many on the flat as well as over the jumps!
Tomorrow one runner of interest ... I believe ... at Beverley:
17:10 Her Terms (William Haggas/Willie Twiston-Davies/AppleTree Stud) Ė Maiden Stakes [5 furlongs]
Commiserations to Martin Keighley and the connections of Marley Joe; the horse suffered a fatal injury on the gallops at the weekend.† RIP.
Jockey Adrian Heskin is to move to England and team up with trainer Tom George, thus ousting Paddy Brennan from this role.† Although the latter has set up a very rewarding partnership with trainer Colin Tizzard in recent times.†
The current plan is to run Menace at either Sedgefield or Southwell on 27 September ... I hate both tracks; they are positively dangerous.† Alternatively thereís Huntingdon on 02 October ... so Iíll be crossing my fingers for that engagement instead.†
Iíve had my eyes tested again today and am pleased to report no serious issues apart from a change in my vision.† As suspected, the left eye is less short-sighted now ... thatís old age for you!† And, strangely, the astigmatism in my right eye is also less pronounced than it was when tested in May 2015.† I donít suffer from astigmatism in my left eye.† Trust me to be odd!† Iíve ordered two new pairs of glasses as a result, namely one pair for distance and the other for computer work ... at work, not laptop work at home which doesnít cause an issue at all at the moment, although it has done in the past.
Monday 12 September 2016
There were in fact two runners of interest today and this is how they fared:
Sam Missile (James Fanshawe/Daniel Muscutt/AppleTree Stud) won the Handicap for 3-year-olds [1 mile 4 furlongs] (5 ran); thatís the Studís 4th winner.†
Stynes (Graeme McPherson/Rob Hornby/EPDS Racing) won a Handicap [1 mile 4 furlongs]
Thereís one runner of interest tomorrow, at Chepstow:
17:10 Ardamir (Alan King/Willie Twiston-Davies/AppleTree Stud) Ė Handicap [1 mile 4 furlongs & 23 yards]; Agent Gibbs, which used to be leased by EPDS Racing, also runs in this race.†
The Tattersalls Yearling Sales take place on 04 October to 06 October and AppleTreeS tudís Tapit Colt is lot number 196; their Champs Elysees filly lot number 1496.
Choc posted a photo of himself and Jennie in Milton Keynes yesterday; they were eating in Pizza Hut ... what a pity they werenít out and about in the town on Saturday evening and feasting in TGIís like Lesley and me!
Rusterix and Fruity OíRooney have been winning many rosettes in their new careers following retirement from racing.† I follow the adventures of many ex-racers via ĎRacehorses, where are they now?í on facebook.
Iím tired today because I stayed up to watch the Menís Singles final at the US Open. †It was an incredible match, with Stan Wawrinka seeing off Novak Djokovic in 4 sets, although the world number one did pick up a toe injury during the match.† Evidently Stan is the oldest player to win the US Open menís title since Ken Rosewall in 1970; he is 31.† Also, heís won the last eleven finals which heís contested; this is his third Grand Slam success Ė heís won the Australian Open and the French Open previously.† Needless to say, I didnít agree when the commentator said ďyou have to feel sorry for DjokovicĒ ... er, no, as I hardly think the Serbian has ever felt sorry for the opponents heís seen off over the years!†
I finished proofing and then uploaded my yard visit diary late yesterday.†
Sunday 11 September 2016
Iím back in harness today, following a quiet spell for racing, if not for me!
Firstly, Zabeel Star was a non-runner in the Jump Jockeysí Derby Handicap at Epsom on Thursday.
There is one result to report from Friday, at Sandown Park:
Jazzy (Martin Keighley/Edward Greatrex) finished 8th in the Handicap at Sandown Park [1 mile and 14 yards] (10 ran).
One result from yesterday, from Lingfield Park:
Londonia (Graeme McPherson/Harry Bentley/EPDS Racing) finished 2nd in the Handicap [1 mile 6 furlongs] (9 ran).
And there is one runner of interest tomorrow, at Kempton Park:
17:15 Sam Missile (James Fanshawe/Daniel Muscutt/AppleTree Stud) Ė Handicap for 3-year-olds [1 mile 4 furlongs]
Yesterdayís St Leger result was an even bigger surprise than when Vautour fell during the Melling Chase!† I love it when an underdog wins, so many congratulations to Laura Mongan, the first lady to train the winner of this particular Classic; Harbour Law being that horse and congratulations to jockey George Baker too.† That means ex-AppleTree stud-owned Dalavand now has a Classic-winning stablemate!† Dalavand was sold on 26 July and Dream Dana on 30 July, the latter now being owned by trainer Jamie Osborne.††††
Yesterday was busy, as I took mum for a weekly food shop in the morning; sheís incapacitated at the present time due to a shoulder injury.† She didnít have a fall so sheís not broken anything, but has lost a lot of movement in her right arm so cannot drive at present.† Then, in the evening, I went to Milton Keynes with my friend Lesley to see Keep Dancing, starring ex-Strictlyís Robin Windsor; along with Anya Garnis (who has been dancing with Pasha when Iíve seen his shows), plus 2015 Strictly Champions Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani.† They performed four dances, including their fabulous jive.† However, it wasnít performed to the music of Pulp Fiction, but to another composition.†
Despite being just three rows from the back of the auditorium, we had an excellent view of the stage; aided by the fact that four or five rows in front of us were empty!† We were centre front of the cheap seats ... but at least we could see everyoneís feet, which you cannot do when you sit too close to the stage.† We had booked late because, initially, the show had been dismissed by ourselves because we werenít aware that the 2015 Strictly Champions would be the guest stars for the run in Milton Keynes.† At other venues, the guests have been or are due to be Chelsee Healey, Lisa Riley and Louis Smith ... and I donít like any of them!†††
Apart from seeing Jay and Aliona, the highlight was an extremely fast Ďpat-a-cakeí routine, with eleven dancers including Robin sitting on the edge of the stage performing.† It was a-maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-zing.†
Fortunately my journey home from Lesleyís house following the show was smooth, in the main, unlike those heading in the opposite direction.† The M1 was closed between Junctions 11 and 12 from 20:00 yesterday until 14:00 today in order to remove a bridge; itís all part of a scheme to build a new route from the west which bypasses Dunstable.† When I joined the A5 just south of Dunstable, traffic was queued nearly all the way back to Junction 9 at Friars Wash.†
There were two incidents however.† The first was a car travelling on the wrong side of the road, and heading straight towards me as I approached the Caddington turning; what a dickhead, lack of patience is not an excuse for stupidity.†† Fortunately the road was wide at that point and I was able to avoid it.† Secondly, a car which came off at Junction 9, before taking a southerly route, only to decide that a U-turn in the middle of the road was a good idea despite the fact that he/she had to cross my lane in the process.† The driver was copying a manoeuvre by another driver just ahead of us.† It was fortunate that I could read the driverís mind ... if he had one that is!!!† It just had to be a man, because a woman would have done a u-turn around the roundabout which was only a short distance further along!
Needless to say, Iím looking forward to having my eyes tested on Tuesday, as my night vision is not aided by the fact that my glasses and contact lenses need to be revised again.†††
With yesterday being a horribly soggy day, for the most part, by contrast today has been absolutely beautiful.† Despite going to bed late, I woke early and drove to the local supermarket to fill up the petrol tank of my car.† Then, having returned home, I thought Iíd just leaf through the local paper whilst I ate my porridge and discovered it was the final day of the 2016 Heritage Open Days.† So I promptly decided upon a brisk walk to the City Centre in the hope of arriving in time for the first tour of the day of the ancient Abbey Gateway which, as the name might suggest, is adjacent to the Abbey!†
I was in time as hoped and a History Master showed our small group around rooms within the building; itís part of the adjoining St Albans School.† It was strange to see computers and the like within such an ancient building, as the large rooms are classrooms.† My father and my mumís two brothers attended the School during the 1930ís.† Stephen Hawking was also a pupil in his day, and the Master recounted an entry in the Ďpunishmentí book where he and three friends, also now eminent people in their respective fields, were found guilty of bullying a fellow pupil!† They had stolen named pupilís cap and were throwing it between themselves whilst the boy tried to retrieve it.† Tim Rice is another of the famous Ďold boysí.†
First tour over, and it being such beautiful weather, I decided to head back to the City Centre and undertake whatever tour was leaving from the Old Town Hall at 11:00.† It was a tour around the area to see a number of historical buildings Ė including the old Moot Hall (WH Smithís for many years), the Clock Tower, the Abbey Gateway again, the Cathedral, The White Hart Inn and the old offices and seed hall of Samuel Ryder of Ryder Cup fame.† There was no charge levied for any of the Heritage Day tours, nor for gaining entry to any of the buildings today.†
I had hoped to go up the Clock Tower on my route home but, having got to the first floor, I decided the stone staircase was far too claustrophobic!† I never used to have problems of this nature but, having also encountered issues with heights in recent years, Iíve decided that a hoped for Cathedral Tower tour might not be a sensible idea after all!
Iíd planned to proof read my stable visit diary today but have been sidetracked so far ...
Wednesday 07 September 2016
There were three runners of interest this afternoon, at Uttoxeter, and this is how they fared:
Our Three Sons (Jamie Snowden/Brendan Powell) finished 4th in the Maiden Hurdle (4 ran).
Faraway Mountain (Phil Middleton/Kielan Woods) finished last in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 207 yards] (6 ran); Graeme McPherson did mention that the horse was running up light following his race at Perth and would need time to recover ... presumably his new trainer hasnít take this into account and ran him too soon.
Mille Nautique (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs] (9 ran).
There is one runner of interest tomorrow, at Epsom:
15:50 Zabeel Star (Graeme McPherson/Kielan Woods) Ė Jump Jockeysí Derby Handicap
There is now a 4-day break in the National Hunt programme, a vestige of the old calendar which had a longer break at this time of the year.† Aidan Coleman, Richie McLernon and Sam Twiston-Davies are heading to Las Vegas for a few days!
Joseph OíBrien won todayís Legendís race at Doncaster ... surely he doesnít qualify to be a legend at the age of 23?† Besides, he only retired 14 months ago.† I know AP won the race last year, but he is over 40 and definitely qualifies as a true legend, although a shorter time had elapsed since his retirement!
I booked for another event today, namely Remembering Fred (Astaire) starring Aljaz and Janette from Strictly Come Dancing.† Itís a long way ahead though, Sunday 28 May 2017!† But the show is being held at the Alban Arena, near the end of its nationwide tour; Lesley will be accompanying me.†
Another event on my radar is a dance show starring Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe, next April, again at the Alban Arena.† However, there are still plenty of tickets available for that one, so Iíll delay booking it for the time being.† Besides, I need to put money aside to buy my Cheltenham Festival and Hennessy Gold Cup Day tickets at the end of this month.† Although I only found out about Remembering Fred today, via twitter, I had to book them quickly as the tickets are selling like hotcakes!!!
I also noticed that Donny Osmond is touring at the end of January / early February next year but, upon investigation, I discovered that the tickets are ridiculously expensive!† Itís a limited tour and presumably fits in with a break from the Donny and Marie show in Las Vegas.† Also, travelling a fair distance to a venue in mid-winter is not my favourite hobby.† But itís a shame nevertheless.†††
Tuesday 06 September 2016
Thereís one result to report from yesterday, at Perth:
Kumbeshwar (Lucinda Russell/Derek Fox) was pulled up in the Handicap Chase [2 miles] (6 ran).
One result from today, at Worcester:
Fact Of The Matter (Jamie Snowden/Brendan Powell) won the Novicesí Handicap Chase (9 ran).
There are three runners of interest tomorrow, at Uttoxeter:
15:15 Our Three Sons (Jamie Snowden/Brendan Powell) Ė Maiden Hurdle
15:50 Faraway Mountain (Phil Middleton/Kielan Woods) Ė Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 207 yards]
16:20 Mille Nautique (Alan King/Tom Bellamy) Ė Handicap Chase [2 miles 4 furlongs]
Faraway Mountain is the ex-Gordon Elliott-trained horse which Graeme McPherson returned with following a trip to Perth during the summer.† It appears a deal has been done and the horse has now transferred to Phil Middletonís yard in Dorton near Aylesbury; presumably the connection was through jockey Kielan Woods who rides for Graeme.† Thatís a shame, as Faraway Mountain was my favourite Ďfindí at Graemeís yard when I visited in July.†
I know Dorton, as itís below the hilltop village of Brill; needless to say, Iíve rambled through Dorton back in the day!††
With the sad demise of poor Kokomo, Noel Williams has 16 named horses listed on his website at present Ė Authorized Too, Bingo DíOlivate, Briery Queen, Chance Taken, Daliance, Hot Whiskey N Ice, Kincora Fort, Menace, Midnight Jitterbug, Midnight Merlot, Oast House, Pattara, Primo Blue, Theatre Goer, Undisputed, and Wild Murphy.†
Heís lost Krackatoa King to Kerry Lee, because the owner wants to win the Welsh Grand National!† And, presumably, King Kayf has gone to the same yard because heís in the same ownership.† The enigmatic Friendly Society has moved on too Ė perhaps heís moved to a different sphere, as he fell out of love with racing.†
However, Noel does have at least one new unnamed horse that he purchased at the Fairyhouse sales and they are currently in the process of breaking in.†
EPDS Racing suffered the sad loss of Homer Run a couple of years ago; I overhead John Powell say that theyíd taken him home following his last race, but they lost the horse the next day.† So this prompted me to look up the details on the Racing Post website Ė he was brought down during a race at Towcester, which resulted in the injury.† It was then that I noticed that some but not all fatally injured horses are now listed as ĎDied as a x-year oldí; thatís a new innovation, because that information was never recorded before.† I wonder if itís recorded for horses which have passed away due to racecourse accidents since a certain date, because Invictus and Katchit are not recorded as such.
One of Alan Kingís horses, Gone Too Far, was sold at the Goffs UK HIT sale today; he went for £30,000 to David Pipe.† I thought JP McManusí horses had a home for life once purchased, but evidently not.††††
And, finally, I purchased my Kempton Park Boxing Day ticket today, along with a car parking docket.† So thatís Aintree and Kempton sorted, with the Cheltenham Festival and Hennessy Gold Cup day tickets still on my shopping list.
Sunday 04 September 2016
Menace is enjoying a post-lunch roll!
I enjoyed my visit to Noel Williamsí new yard yesterday and Iíve already loaded up a selection of photos and have begun drafting my diary too!† Thereís no rest for the wicked!
There was one runner of interest yesterday, at Stratford:
Tengri (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Standard Open NH Flat Race (5 ran); Wayneís 22nd winner of the season.†
There were four runners of interest today and this is how they fared:
Belcanto (Jamie Snowden/Brendan Powell) finished 2nd in the Maresí Handicap Hurdle (5 ran); she jumped very well throughout the race Ė Jamie mentioned she was a brilliant jumper despite her small size!†
Breaking Bits (Jamie Snowden/Micheal Nolan) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 33 yards] (7 ran).
Cautorillo (Jamie Snowden/Brendan Powell) finished 6th in the Maresí Standard Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).
Her Terms (William Haggas/William Twiston-Davies/AppleTree Stud) finished a very close 2nd in the Maiden Stakes [5Ĺ furlongs] (12 ran); sheís a chestnut with a pennant tail.†
Just one runner of interest tomorrow, at Perth:
15:40 Kumbeshwar (Lucinda Russell/Derek Fox) Ė Handicap Chase [2 miles]
By close of play yesterday, the skin beneath my eyes was beginning to flake; it probably didnít help that it was windy on the Oxfordshire downs.† Iíve now resorted to using lip balm and they seem to be responding to treatment!† Fingers crossed it will return to normal soon.†
Friday 02 September 2016
There is one runner of interest tomorrow, at Stratford:
17:10 Tengri (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) Ė Standard Open NH Flat Race
Iíve found three runners of interest at Fontwell Park on Sunday:
14:20 Belcanto (Jamie Snowden/Brendan Powell) Ė Maresí Handicap Hurdle
15:50 Breaking Bits (Jamie Snowden/Micheal Nolan) Ė Handicap Hurdle [2 miles 3 furlongs & 33 yards]
17:20 Cautorillo (Jamie Snowden/Brendan Powell) Ė Maresí Standard Open NH Flat Race
It transpires that Dream Dana is no longer owned by AppleTree Stud; ownership has reverted to her trainer, Jamie Osborne.† That being the case, the Stud didnít have a winner yesterday after all and remain on 3.†
Thousand Stars has been retired; heís 12 years old and recently suffered a stress fracture.† Heís won 13 of his 80 races, including the 2010 County Hurdle and the 2011 and 2012 French Champion Hurdle.†
My sore ribs donít seem to be improving, in fact last evening and during the night they were at their most painful yet.† But perhaps I aggravated them by carrying a full watering can around the garden a number of times yesterday evening.†
The skin under my eyes is also red and itchy; Iím not a pretty sight at present.† I think it may be caused by sitting in front of a fan during the hot weather.† The trouble is that the more eye cream I put on to ease the itch, the more the skin plumps up and the worse the existing wrinkles appear ... I just canít win!† However, I can recall having this problem on a previous occasion and fortunately it cleared up in a week or two.
Thursday 01 September 2016
There were three runners of interest on the flat today and this is how they fared:
Tazmania (Clive Cox/Adam Kirby/AppleTree Stud) finished 4th in the Maiden Fillies Stakes Div II [6 furlongs & 212 yards] (9 ran); a promising debut.
Sam Missile (James Fanshawe/Frederik Tylicki/AppleTree Stud) finished 4th in the Handicap [1 mile 4 furlongs] (8 ran).
Dream Dana (Jamie Osborne/Timmy Murphy/AppleTree Stud) won the Handicap [6 furlongs] (11 ran); it was her 8th run and AppleTree Studís 4th winner.
And two over jumps at Sedgefield:
Anti Cool (Robin Dickin/Charlie Poste/EPDS Racing) won the Novicesí Handicap Chase (Series Qualifier) (5 ran); thatís three in a row for ĎAndyí as heís known in the yard!
Our Reward (Jamie Snowden/William Featherstone/EPDS Racing) won the Conditional Jockeysí Novicesí Hurdle (5 ran); so a first fixture double for EPDS Racing.† Our Rewardís stable name is ĎRodneyí ... but hopefully heís not a plonker!
I presume there are no runners of interest tomorrow, as there are no National Hunt fixtures and Iíve received no notification from my ATR tracker either.
Racing returns to Hereford on Thursday 06 October; thatís just five weeks away.
There has been a mass exodus from the Henry de Bromhead yard, with Alan and Ann ĎSizingí Potts removing all of their runners (13) and sending them to Jessica Harrington, Mouse Morris, Colm Murphy and Jim Dreaper.††