Kempton Park Monday 31 October 2011


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Ruby Walsh returns to the

Winners’ Enclosure aboard Plenty Pocket

having won the Novices’ Hurdle easily 


Yvonne Evelyn –

Choc’s first ride of the day

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Choc in the Parade Ring with

connections prior to his ride

aboard Yvonne Evelyn


Choc in the Parade Ring aboard

Yvonne Evelyn; Assistant Trainer,

Noel Williams, checks the girth

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Choc in the Parade Ring aboard

Yvonne Evelyn   


Yvonne Evelyn clears to last to finish

5th in the Novices’ Handicap Steeplechase

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The Henrietta Knight trained Loch Ba

ridden by Dominic Elsworth, winner of

the Novices’ Handicap Steeplechase


Choc in the Parade Ring prior to his ride

aboard the Mark Bradstock trained

Radetsky March in the Handicap Hurdle

Kempton Park 31 Oct 2011 race 4 b r.jpg

Kempton Park 31 Oct 2011 race 4 c r.jpg





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In the Parade Ring,

Choc aboard Radetsky March 


One circuit to go in the Handicap Hurdle;

Choc third from right

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Choc returns having pulled up

Radetsky March after 3 out


Winners of the Handicap Hurdle –

Ruby Walsh and King Of The Night 

Kempton Park 31 Oct 2011 race 5 a r.jpg

Kempton Park 31 Oct 2011 race 5 b r.jpg


Somersby clears the last

to win the Graduation Chase

from Aiteen Thirtythree 


Somersby and Dominic Elsworth

return to the Winners’ Enclosure




Halloween, I hope there are no horrors today! 

By this stage of the year, and unusually for me, I hadn’t many days holiday left.  This was because of sinus problems which affected me very badly in July and August; so much so that, having used almost all of my allotted sick leave for the next 12 months, I then needed to take 10 days of my annual leave because I still felt too unwell to attend work.  Basically, I just couldn’t breathe ... and it was very scary!  However, I did book today as leave in the hope that Choc would be at Kempton Park.   

Having attended Ascot two days previously, and then discovering Choc had just two rides at today’s Kempton Park fixture, I was in two minds about whether I should go into work instead ... but, upon reflection, I decided that seeing Choc for just a few minutes is a million times more enjoyable than my job, which was very stressful at this time ... no contest!!!  Come to think of it Choc vs. Anything ... No Contest!!!

Today was the second day following the clocks being set back to GMT; so it would get dark early.  Horrible.  Nor had my body clock sorted itself out yet ... I awoke at 05:45.  But I decided to use my time wisely and worked on the unfinished draft of my Ascot diary before rising and taking a shower, washing and drying my hair, then applying make-up and eating breakfast. 

Having dressed up on Saturday for my trip to Ascot, today I decided upon casual clothing.  Black jeans, blue ankle boots and purple jacket.  However there was a little indecision about a handbag ... I changed my usual ASOS one for a large black one and then changed it again for my blue Accessorize one.  Sorted.  It’s always difficult when I wish to take the ‘kitchen sink’ to the races.

The gates at Kempton Park were due to open at 11:00, two hours before the first race.  However, I wanted to buy some peppermints from the local supermarket, and pick up a reserved item from Argos, so I set off at 09:35.  It took a little while longer than usual to find the correct aisle in Morrisons because they have recently extended the store and have moved all the products to new locations.  And a number of customers are unable to read ... ‘Baskets Only’ means baskets only, not trolleys! 

I continued my trip across the City to Argos and, being a weekday, I was served promptly.  I was then able to set off for Kempton Park at 10:05.  As always, my journey took me around the M25 and up the London bound carriageway of the M3.  The only slight delay was a 60 mph limit on the M25 between the M40 and M4.  I arrived at the racecourse at 10:50, travelling along the A308 to reach the entrance driveway to the free parking area. 

I then encountered a problem ... the gate was padlocked!  I decided to turn around and drive back to the main car park. I asked the steward at the main gate if the car park was supposed to be open.  He checked via his walkie talkie – yes, it should be open but no-one had actually got around to unlocking the gate yet!  He directed me through the ‘Silver Ring’ gateway instead, and I drove around the grandstand to park in the usual place.

Having taken a packed lunch with me ... cheese rolls as usual ... I ate these before heading to the main entrance to buy a ticket, £15 today.  No sign of the ‘Chocmobile’ yet ... but it was a Monday, and Alan King’s schooling days are Monday and Thursday, so I presume Choc had visited Barbury Castle before heading to Kempton Park.

I purchased a race-card for £2.50 and, as it was unseasonably mild for the time of year, I went to sit at one of the tables on the concourse beside the grandstand, hoping for a glimpse of Choc; he arrived, with a number of colleagues, at 12:10.  He was wearing black breeches, a black sweatshirt and brown riding boots.  And those lovely blonde flowing locks!!!

I then went to stand on the grandstand steps to wait for the first race.  Race-day presenter Anthony Kemp was broadcasting from Kempton Park TV’s ‘gazebo’ when bookmaker Barry Dennis arrived to ask him if he could confirm the rumour that Plumpton’s first race had been delayed due to technical problems in the betting ring.  Yes it was true and, as a result, Kempton’s first race was put back until the Sussex track’s first event had been completed.

The first race of the day was a Novices’ Hurdle.  The Nicky Henderson trained Zama Zama started as favourite.  There was a faller at the second flight, Taigan ridden by David England.  He interfered with Dubawi Phantom who unseated his jockey, Mr JM Quinlan.  The latter was not amused, thrashing the grass with his whip.  However, David England had to be attended to by the medics, Mr Quinlan also going to see if his colleague was okay.  The final flight was omitted on the next circuit, although David had, by this time, walked away unassisted.  The Paul Nicholls trained, Ruby Walsh ridden, Plenty Pocket won the race without being extended.  Zama Zama finished 2nd.

The second event was a National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle.  It was won by the Gary Moore trained, Jamie Moore ridden, Grabtheglory from Twentyfourcarat and Kumasi Clan. A victory for the favourite.

The third race was a Novices’ Handicap Chase.  Choc’s first ride of the day was aboard the Alan King trained mare, Yvonne Evelyn, having her first race over fences.  She ran okay and was a modest 3rd when blundering 4 out and weakening to finish 5th.  Approaching the final fence, it looked like Autumm Spirit would win but she fell at the last, leaving the Henrietta Knight trained, Dominic Elsworth ridden, favourite Loch Ba to win.

The fourth race was the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle (series Qualifier).  Choc’s second and final ride of the day was aboard the Mark Bradstock trained Radetsky March.  Choc held up his mount towards the rear of the field but he weakened when travelling down the back straight and Choc pulled him up after 3 out.  The winner was the Paul Nicholls trained King Of The Night, ridden by Ruby Walsh.  Another easy win.

The feature race of the day was the Graduation Chase, with Somersby taking on just 2 rivals, Aiteen Thirtythree and Gee Dee Nen.  To qualify for this event, the horses are not permitted to have won more than two steeplechases; Somersby qualifying because he’d been competing in high class events where he’d been placed rather than victorious.  He had a rating of 166 today.  Not surprisingly he won, by 3 lengths from the Ruby Walsh ridden Aiteen Thirtythree.  Gee Dee Nen completed for third place, 94 lengths behind!  A double for jockey, Dominic Elsworth.

Having seen the horses return to the Winners’ Enclosure, at this point I decided it was time to go home.  I didn’t wish to drive back in the dark, nor get caught in the rush-hour on the M25. 

For the record, the sixth race, a Handicap Chase, was won by Handtheprizeover trained by Ben Case and ridden by Daryl Jacob.

The final race, a Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, was won by Right Stuff, trained by Gary Moore and ridden by Joshua Moore.

I returned to my car ... there was bird poo on the bonnet and roof.  Seagulls.  I cleaned it off with a wet tissue before setting off for home.  It was 15:25.  My journey took me back past the main entrance of the racecourse and along to the roundabout beneath the M3.  The queue was short but I was held up for one additional traffic signal change than expected when the driver of the car in front of me seemed oblivious to the green light! 

The journey around the M25 went smoothly, although there was quite a lot of traffic despite it not yet being ‘home time’ for the workers!  Having left the motorway and joined the A405, I decided to head around the City’s ring-road to reach home.  In hindsight, perhaps not a good idea as, again, traffic was heavy and delayed by traffic signals too. 

I arrived home at 16:40.  When I went to put the car away under the carport I noticed yet more bird poo, on the nearside headlight and above the passenger door.  Damn seagulls! 

I spent the evening completing the first draft of this diary; knowing that I still had my Ascot diary to complete and a very busy season of diary writing ahead of me!!!




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