DIARY – KEMPTON PARK – LANZAROTE HURDLE DAY

SATURDAY 12 JANUARY 2013

 

 

 

Race 5 f for diary.jpg

 

Choc returns to the Winners’ Enclosure

having finished 4th in the Lanzarote Hurdle

Is he cold?

It’s 4 degrees with a brisk chill wind; snow is forecast within 48 hours.

 

 

Today was my second consecutive visit to Kempton Park, my last trip to the races having been to attend Boxing Day’s King George VI fixture.  Also, notably, with this visit, the racecourse would become my most visited venue, with 24 attendances.  Although I expected Cheltenham to reassume that mantle before the season was out!

 

I decided to set my alarm for 06:00, as I wanted to watch The Morning Line (with special guest Aidan Coleman) before I set off.  And, I also needed to pop into my local Next store to return an item of clothing too.  I showered, washed and dried my hair and ate a breakfast of toast and croissants.  Then applied my make-up before the programme began. 

 

Expecting rain, which didn’t materialise, I had decided it was purple anorak weather.  As always at this time of the year, I wore 3 thermal vests, two of which were long-sleeved.  My cerise cardigan, black frill-edged BHS cardigan, new purple fleece, long purple cardigan and black fleece gillet.  That’s 8 layers plus coat!  As I don’t really possess any high-necked tops (because they don’t look good with big boobs!) I decided to wear two scarves. My pretty flowered River Island one, which is a soft brushed material, and my turquoise Katia Big Bang scarf too.  And, as you will learn, later in the afternoon I was very pleased that I’d worn the first of these!  I wore a pair of brown leggings, with 40 denier tights beneath, and a flouncy knee-length handkerchief skirt.  I also wore my black M & S Thinsulate boots. 

 

I was currently using my black shearling Next handbag, because its very roomy and I can fit the kitchen sink in; although my shoulder probably doesn’t thank me for it!  But it is an across the body bag, so isn’t as uncomfortable as it might be.  Jewellery, I recall, was my Chaotic Rainbow ‘Magic Branches’ necklace (a recent purchase) with a pair of sterling silver Next drop earrings. I never wear studs, and rarely hoops, but I love drops.  

 

I set off at 09:10, driving to the local retail park.  I had decided not to take the road around a housing estate on the edge of St Albans because invariably I’d see a magpie.  However, before I’d even reached the roundabout where my alternative route began, I saw one.  Damn.  As a result, I decided to re-route via the perimeter of the housing estate after all, hoping to see more of these black and white birds ... I saw a further two.  Whew!  

 

Whilst in Next, I took a look around the racks to see if I could find a replacement item for the one I’d returned.  But, instead of another jacket, I bought two skirts!  Then, because I still had a few free minutes before I needed to set off to Kempton Park, I walked across the car park to reach the large M & S store which is also based at the same location.

 

I took a look through the Per Una section; but I thought that everything looked frumpy on this occasion.  Close by was the accessories section ... and I noticed a flowery turquoise scarf which I couldn’t resist.  Plus a pack of three 40-denier tights – in black, grey and purple.  It’s a shame they don’t do triple packs of just purple tights!  I love their dark purple tights; the black are very useful too but, for some reason, I don’t like plain grey tights.  So I wear those for work.  I also bought a pair of patterned tights, and two pairs of individual bright purple tights.  I’d not seen the latter before; they also stock turquoise, pink and blue. 

 

It was just before 10:00 when I set off for Kempton Park.  I joined the M25 at Junction 22, which is very close to the retail park.  My journey took me around the anticlockwise carriageway to Junction 12, before joining the M3 and heading towards London.  I left the motorway at Junction 1 to travel along the A308 in the direction of Hampton Court.  I noticed that the signage on the M3 has been changed, it no longer suggests vehicles destined for the racecourse leave at that junction; the arrow now directing cars to continue along the carriageway, presumably to take the same route as on Boxing Day.   

 

My well trodden route took me past the main racecourse entrance before I entered the gateway further along and proceeded up the driveway to leave my car in the free parking area.  It was 10:35; gates opening time being 10:45, with the first of seven races off at 12:20. 

 

Having arrived early, I decided to sit in my car for a few minutes, to consume the four cheese submarine rolls I’d brought with me.  At one point I glanced across at the racecourse and believe I saw Barry Geraghty completing a walk of the course; I couldn’t say for definite, as I was parked close to the grandstand, not close to the racecourse.

 

Having put on additional layers to wear and my boots, I locked my car and walked around to the main entrance.  I had three hats in the car but, as it was quite blowy, I decided against wearing any of them.  Besides, since my hair has been cut short, its my ears which get cold. I’ve now put my black and pink dappy hat in my car for future use; that will keep my ears warm and cover my grey hair too! 

 

I might have seen Choc’s car parked on the far side of the main car park ... but I couldn’t be 100% sure of that, as I think I need new contact lenses!  Anyway, I paid £16 for a ticket at the main desk, and £2.50 for a racecard at the kiosk just inside the entrance.  Strangely, as I was waiting to pay for the racecard who should pass by me but Barry Geraghty himself, possibly heading for the car park; and he was dressed in his jogging gear! 

 

As the tables and chairs outside the grandstand were damp following overnight rain, I decided to set off through the ground floor and exit into the betting ring before climbing up the steppings of the grandstand itself.  However, it was colder on this side of the building, with a chill wind blowing in from the east.  I remained there for a while, before returning to the area to the back of the Parade Ring ahead of the first race. 

 

Alan King had six runners at Kempton Park today, and four at Warwick.  Choc had five riding engagements, because Alan was to run two horses in the feature race, the Lanzarote Hurdle.  I remember the 1974 Champion Hurdler Lanzarote, and his sad demise in the 1977 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

 

Today’s feature fixture was Warwick, their big race being the Classic Chase.  Both Channel 4 and Racing UK had an outside broadcast team at the West Midlands course; there was no TV presentation from Kempton.

 

Choc’s first ride of the day was aboard the filly, L’Unique.  They’d previously been successful in a Mares’ Listed race at Aintree on 08 December. 

 

Once the horses had left the Parade Ring, I headed around the side of the grandstand and down to the course-side rails.  I arrived in plenty of time to see Choc canter by aboard L’Unique. 

 

The starting gate for this race was at the far end of the home straight, with this and one full circuit to travel. 

 

Race 1

Juvenile Hurdle

Distance

2 miles (8 hurdles)

No. of Runners

5

Then they were off.  The field was led away by ShamrockedL’Unique travelled on the outside of Watt Broderick, the two greys Deia Sunrise and Vibrato Valtat bringing up the rear.  The latter made a small error and stumbled slightly after the first.  The runners made their way up past the winning post; the only one which was truly settled was L’Unique!

The runners headed down the side of the track, Deia Sunrise having pulled his way up through the field to now dispute the lead and then go on after the third flight.  The Paul Nicholls trained runner was a few lengths off the pace, rapping most of the obstacles as he went.

Deia Sunshine and Shamrocked shared the lead around the far turn, L’Unique travelling well in third, Watt Broderick less well in fourth, Vibrato Valtat still in rear.

L’Unique was travelling so well that, as they cleared the fifth hurdle, she jumped into the lead, Choc permitting her to go on as Shamrocked began to struggle.  She was soon followed through by Vibrato Valtat, who had made up ground on the outside of the field, then came Deia Sunrise, Watt Broderick and the weakening Shamrocked.

Having cleared the third last, L’Unique entered the final bend pursued by the Paul Nicholls runner three lengths adrift; the others having dropped away completely.  Choc stole a glance over his left shoulder to see where the opposition was.  Entering the home straight, Vibrato Valtat had possibly gained a length, but no more.

Choc steered his mount to the nearside rail, crossing in front of his rival; Harry Derham more animated now.  L’Unique was more fluent clearing two out, her jockey giving her a couple of mild taps behind the saddle which encouraged her to extend away from the grey.

Having cleared the last well, unlike his clumsy pursuer, Choc rode L’Unique out to win by 8 lengths at the line.  In second, Vibrato Valtat finished 50 lengths clear of the tailed off Watt Broderick, with Deia Sunshine 4th and Shamrocked 5th.

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

L’Unique

Choc Thornton

Alan King

2nd

Vibrato Valtat

Harry Derham

Paul Nicholls

3rd

Watt Broderick

Robert McCarth

Ian Williams

4th

Shamrocked

Will Kennedy

Mick Channon

 

I returned to the Winners’ Enclosure to see Choc arrive back; my route taking me down the steps beside the main grandstand, around the side of the building and along the concourse to reach it.  Having arrived back, Choc unsaddled, spoke with connections, had his picture taking with the horse and then returned to the Weighing Room.  En route, Clerk of the Course, Barney Clifford, accosted Choc; he wanted to find out what the winning jockey thought of the going. 

 

There was a fairly large puddle just behind the space reserved for the winner.  Each time L’Unique was led around, she deftly side-stepped to avoid putting any of her hooves in the water! 

 

Once the three runners had left the Parade Ring ahead of the next race, I set off to find a vantage point beside the course-side rails.

 

The starting gate for this race was at the far end of the home straight, with this and one full circuit to travel.  The horses therefore cantered down past the grandstands to reach it. 

 

Race 2

Novices’ Chase

Distance

2 miles (12 fences)

No. of Runners

3

Then they were off; starting about 20 yards behind the tape.  The Donald McCain trained Kie led them away, following by Tetlami and Escort’men who was pulling slightly in rear.  The hood wearing latter was not fluent at the first fence; good jumps were made by all three at the second. 

However, odds-on shot, the Nicky Henderson trained Tetlami stumbled badly having cleared the third, almost unseating Barry Geraghty.  The jockey lost his nearside iron in the incident, struggling to regain it for a number of strides, holding his stirrup to enable his foot to be put back in. Strangely, he seemed to have a bigger problem regaining an iron than many of the other jockeys who I’ve seen experience the same problem!  Anyway, by the time the runners had reached the top bend, he was back on an even keel once more.

Despite this incident the order remained the same as the runners headed down the side straight; Kie a couple of lengths clear of Tetlami, followed by the held-up Escort’menKie flew over the open-ditch, all horses jumping and travelling well.  The horses then galloped around the far turn, straightening up to face the line of 4 fences, the third of which is another open-ditch.

Kie continued to lead, Tetlami now a little closer, Escort’men still in rear.  The former jumped the open-ditch particularly well, with Barry Geraghty encouraging his mount as they headed into the final bend.  Tetlami, having responded to his pilot’s urgings, was upsides clearing 3 out, and then went into the lead heading towards the penultimate obstacle.  Henry Brooke gave Kie a slap with his whip in an effort to remain competitive. 

Barry Geraghty’s mount, having cleared two out, extended his advantage and jumped the next and final obstacle fluently, unlike on the previous circuit!  They galloped on to win by 6 lengths easing down, Barry Geraghty glancing behind to check on his rivals as he did so.  Kie completed in 2nd, with Escort’men filling last position, as he’d done throughout the race.

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Tetlami

Barry Geraghty

Nicky Henderson

2nd

Kie

Henry Brooke

Donald McCain

3rd

Escort’men

Nick Scholfield

Anthony Middleton

4th

Only 3 ran

 

I returned to the Winners’ Enclosure to see the horses arrive back.

 

It was soon time for Choc’s second ride of the day, aboard Hold On Julio.  Alan King had decided to run him in a Novices’ Hurdle in the hope of rekindling his interest following a poor round of jumping at Ascot in December when he unseated Choc as a result of an error in the back straight.  

 

The start of this race was at the beginning of the side straight, with two circuits to travel.  The horses cantered directly to the starting gate having exited from the walkway.

 

Race 3

Novices’ Hurdle

Distance

3 miles and 110 yards (12 hurdles)

No. of Runners

8

Then they were off.  The field was led away by Dunloughin, Atriptomilan almost upsides.  Behind, five abreast, were Kaysersberg, Westaway, Portrait Emotion, Hold On Julio and Buck’s Bond.  Cloudy Copper was held up in rear; Atriptomilan slightly dived at the second flight.  Choc was aware that the better ground was to the outside of the hurdles track today and he rode all his mounts over the smaller obstacles accordingly.

The chestnut, Dunloughin, held a half-length lead around the far turn, the runners soon straightening up to face the third hurdle.  All the runners jumped this flight well, the exception being Hold On Julio who had a disagreement with his jockey about the take off point and hit it; as a result the reins were pulled through Choc’s hands, resulting in him re-gathering his knitting as they continued.  Fortunately he’d lost little momentum and only a length or two.

Atriptomilan held a very narrow advantage over the next; the runners soon headed around the bend and into the home straight on the first occasion.  Cloudy Copper close up in rear.  The horses spread wide across the course as they headed up towards the grandstands; Hold On Julio nearest the standside bar one.  Having rapped the top of the second of the hurdles in the straight, Choc gave his mount a slap down the neck to encourage him along.

The field then set off into the country for the final time; the eight runners still spread across the track.  At the far bend, the first runner to show signs of distress was Portrait Emotion, a gap now opening up between him and the remaining runners.  Over the next flight, although being ridden along, Dunloughin continued to hold a very narrow advantage from Westaway, Hold On Julio and Buck’s Bond.  Cloudy Copper was travelling well behind these. 

Atriptomilan now dropped off the back of the group, with Kaysersberg being strongly ridden along and in danger of losing touch.  Then Westaway hit three out, and immediately lost his place.  Heading into the final bend, Cloudy Copper had advanced through the field to dispute the lead with Hold On Julio; the former travelling well, Choc animated aboard his mount.  These two had drawn a few lengths clear of the toiling Dunloughin, Buck’s Bond and Kaysersberg.

Again Choc brought his mount over to the standside rail.  Cloudy Copper was two lengths clear over two out; a tired Hold On Julio hit this flight.  Richie McLernon’s mount was now in command, he cleared the last and ran on to win by 2¾ lengths from the Alan King trained runner who stayed on close home.  He, in turn, finished 20 lengths clear of the 100-1 shot DunloughinKaysersberg completed in 4th. 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Cloudy Copper

Richie McLernon

Jonjo O’Neill

2nd

Hold On Julio

Choc Thornton

Alan King

3rd

Dunloughin

Marc Goldstein

Diana Grissell

4th

Kaysersberg

Alex Merriam

Neil King

 

I returned to the Winners’ Enclosure to see Choc and Hold On Julio arrive back. 

 

The third placed horse, Dunloughlin, caught sight of the racing being broadcast on the large screen to the rear of the Parade Ring.  He appeared to be fascinated, his ears pricked, and showed reluctance to be led around by his stable-lass!  She was amused.  Perhaps TVs should be installed within stables so that horses can watch the racing and be inspired!!!

 

The starting gate for the next race was in the far corner of the track, the horses exiting from the walkway and cantering directly to it.   

 

Race 4

Handicap Chase

Distance

2 miles 4 furlongs and 110 yards (16 fences)

No. of Runners

8

Then they were off.  The runners were led away by Midnight Haze, from Manger Hanagment and Wessex King.  Cruchain and Triangular were at the back of the field.  The horses cleared the first two fences well.  A number of swans had congregated in front of the open-ditch; these waddled out of the path of the oncoming runners as they approached the fence. 

Heading up to home straight on the first occasion, the order was Midnight Haze, Manger Hanagment, Wessex King, Five Rivers, Niceonefrankie, Triangular, Bally Legend and Cruchain.  Triangular was jumping more slowly than his rivals and his jockey, Barry Geraghty, was already niggling him along.

Midnight Haze continued to lead as the runners headed past the winning post with one circuit to go. Five Rivers reached for the first fence down the side, dust rising from the birch as his hind-legs touched the fence.  Triangular, who continued to jump less fluently than the others, remained in rear. 

Heading around the far turn, Midnight Haze held the advantage over Manger Hanagment, Niceonefrankie, Wessex King, Bally Legend, Cruchain, Five Rivers and Triangular.  The runners then progressed down the back straight; Wessex King jumped the 11th awkwardly and soon dropped away.  Having taken closer order, Cruchain hit the open-ditch and was then ridden along. 

Manger Hanagment led over 4 out, Five Rivers then taking over at the head of affairs as they travelled around the final bend; Niceonefrankie and Bally Legend closing the gap as they reached and cleared three out.  The latter then went on, Five Rivers now under pressure and receiving reminders.  They jumped two out; Will Kennedy’s mount fell, leaving Niceonefrankie in second position.  Cruchain although hampered when Five Rivers fell, now in 3rd. 

Niceonefrankie had closed to within a length or two of the leader by the last, but Bally Legend was more fluent, being driven out to win by 2¾ lengths.  Cruchain completed in 3rd, with Manger Hanagment 4th.  The winning jockey Ian Popham’s second victory since returning from a pelvis injury earlier in the week; which was a repeat of the same damage 18 months earlier.  Five Rivers and Will Kennedy were fine following their fall.

 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Bally Legend

Ian Popham

Caroline Keevil

2nd

Niceonefrankie

Liam Treadwell

Venetia Williams

3rd

Cruchain

Dougie Costello

Dai Burchell

4th

Manger Hanagment

Mr M Ennis

Barry Brennan

 

I returned to the Winners’ Enclosure to see the placed horses arrive back.

 

Alan King had two runners in the following race, today’s feature event, the Lanzarote Hurdle.  Choc would ride the giant chestnut Araldur, with stable conditional Peter Hatton claiming 7lbs aboard Secret Edge.

 

Once the horses had set off down the walkway, I went to find a vantage point beside the course-side rails.

 

The starting gate for this race was in the far corner of the track, the horses exiting from the walkway and cantering directly to it.   

 

Race 5

Lanzarote Hurdle (Handicap) (Listed)

Distance

2 miles 5 furlongs (10 hurdles)

No. of Runners

18 ran

 

Then they were off.  Captain Sunshine had been led in at the start, the forward momentum causing his handler to fall over as he released the horse!  The runners were led away by the confirmed front-runner Loose Chips, from Lamb Or Cod, Son Of Flicka, Buck Magic, Victor Leudorum, Secret Edge, Bear’s Affair, Rigidity, Oscara Dara, Trackmate, Romeo Americo, Araldur, Topolski, Black Thunder, Uncle Jimmy, Oscar Prairie, Captain Sunshine and Sircozy. 

 

Heading up the home straight on the first occasion there was no change at the head of affairs, the runners spread across almost the entire width of the racecourse due to weight of numbers.  The horses then progressed down the side of the course, Loose Chips still holding the advantage.  One of the competitors flattened a flight at the next set of hurdles, possibly Captain Sunshine, certainly not Araldur as stated by the commentator!  The long-time leader held a two lengths advantage as the runners headed into the far turn. 

 

Having entered the back straight, a number of competitors began to struggle and drop off the back of the main group, these included Oscar Prairie, Son Of Flicka and Trackmate.  Loose Chips still led, from Buck Magic; Oscara Dara was cruising on the outside of the field, although he kicked the orange protector strip off the top of 3 out.  Araldur was close up too and travelling okay.  Secret Edge had begun to drop back through the field by this stage. 

 

Loose Chips had been collared by Buck Magic as they headed into the final turn and soon faded.  Oscara Dara now in second position, from Bear’s Affair, Araldur, and Romeo Americo.  Barry Geraghty steered his mount toward the stand-side rail, Romeo Americo’s jockey deciding upon a route up the inside of the hurdles track. 

 

Oscara Dara and Buck Magic crossed two out in unison, Romeo Americo a very close third, Araldur in 4th.  From the rear of the field, Captain Sunshine had been weaving his way through runners and soon came to mount a challenge.  However, having taken 4th place, he tripped and fell upon landing over the last.  Araldur had to sidestep to avoid the flailing hooves. 

 

There was another scary moment for Barry Geraghty when his mount made an error and stumbled on landing at the last; as a result he had to be driven out strongly to stay ahead of the chasing pack.  He won by 3½ lengths at the line.  The 100-1 shot Romeo Americo held off Buck Magic by half a length.  A further 5 lengths back, Araldur claimed 4th.  The 9/2 favourite, the Paul Nicholls trained Black Thunder completed in 5th, with the second Nicky Henderson runner Bear’s Affair in 6th.     

 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Oscara Dara

Barry Geraghty

Nicky Henderson

2nd

Romeo Americo

Wayne Kavanagh

Seamus Mullins

3rd

Buck Magic

Neil Mulholland

Dougie Costello

4th

Araldur

Choc Thornton

Alan King

 

I returned to the Winners’ Enclosure to see Choc arrive back.  Instead of heading to the nearside where the winner would be unsaddled, I walked around to the back of the Parade Ring so as to get closer to Choc and his mount!  Choc had folded his arms across his chest as he was led in; he looked cold.  He glanced up at the big screen hoping to see a replay of the race.  He then dismounted and unsaddled Araldur; both owner David Sewell and himself again viewing the large screen.  He then set off for the Weighing Room.

 

Choc’s ride in the next race was Stoney’s Treasure.  Once he had been legged up aboard his mount and had set off down the walkway to the course, I headed around the grandstand, up the steps and down beside the betting ring to reach the course-side rails.  The venue seemed very quiet today; hardly any busier than a weekday National Hunt fixture in fact.  There were very few punters who ventured down to the rails in the area close to the fences.  Although, as had happened on previous occasions at Kempton, there were punter/photographers taking pictures with their fancy zoom lense cameras.  My poor little Olympus camera seemed feeble by comparison.   

 

I think it was at about this time that I decided it was far too cold not to wear a head covering; although quite sheltered behind the grandstand, when standing around the Parade Ring, it was a far different story when standing beside the course-side rails.  So I took my River Island scarf from my neck and wrapped it around my head instead; it wasn’t completely wind-proof, but a great improvement on no headwear! 

 

The start of this race was at the beginning of the side straight, with two circuits to travel.  The horses cantered directly to the starting gate having exited from the walkway. 

 

Race 6

Handicap Chase

Distance

3 miles (18 fences)

No. of Runners

9

 

Then they were off.  The runners were led away by On Trend, from Handtheprizeover, Brackloon High, Golden Chieftain, Mush Mir, Baile Anrai, Stoney’s Treasure, Kingsmere and Prophete De Guye. 

 

On Trend had a two length advantage as the runners headed into the far bend, Mush Mir gaining on the leader and taking over as the horses jumped the first in the back straight.  Choc was travelling on the outside of the field aboard Stoney’s Treasure; in last but one position, Golden Chieftain got a little close to the open-ditch. 

 

Heading around the bend into the home straight on the first occasion, Mush Mir led, from On Trend, Handtheprizeover, Golden Chieftain, Brackloon High, Kingsmere, Baile Anrai, Stoney’s Treasure, with Prophete De Guye in rear.

 

No change at the head of affairs, nor the rear, as the runners travelled up towards the stands.  On Trend took a slight lead around the turn, as he was to the inside of Mush Mir and was taking the shortest route.  He continued to lead as the field headed down the side of the track, Stoney’s Treasure jumped slightly awkwardly at the next fence, Choc administering a tap down the horse’s neck.  On Trend blundered at the open-ditch and received a reminder from his jockey Andrew Thornton; having surrendered his lead for a few strides, he soon took the advantage once more. The field was still closely grouped as it headed around the far turn; only Prophete De Guye slightly adrift of the other runners. 

 

On Trend and Mush Mir continued to vie for the lead as the field headed down the back straight.  Golden Chieftain, on the outside of the field, blundered badly at the 13th fence and dropped to the rear of the field.  He also hit the next, the open-ditch.  Stoney’s Treasure had also hit the 13th; he received reminders but soon began to weaken.

 

Mush Mir led into the final bend from On Trend and Brackloon High; they were followed by Kingsmere and Baile Anrai.  Brackloon High joined Mush Mir as they jumped three out, On Trend still close up in third.  The former was ridden to take a one length advantage over two out and had extended it by the time he reached the last, although he did hit this fence. 

 

Jockey Nico de Boinville drove his mount out to win by 1¾ lengths at the line.  On Trend rallied to take 2nd from Mush Mir, and Baile Anrai completed in 4th.  Choc had pulled up Stoney’s Treasure before 3 out.   

 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Brackloon High

Mr Nico de Boinville

Noel Chance

2nd

On Trend

Andrew Thornton

Nick Gifford

3rd

Mush Mir

Jeremiah McGrath

Nicky Henderson

4th

Baile Anrai

Harry Skelton

Ian Williams

 

I returned to the Winners’ Enclosure to see the placed horses arrive back; but obviously no Choc on this occasion.

 

Choc’s mount in the final race of the day was Turn Over Sivola; once he had been legged up and was on his way to the racecourse, I set off to find a vantage point beside the course-side rails ... although not before I’d watched the completion of Warwick’s Classic Chase on the big screen.  The Alan King representative, novice Godsmejudge, was collared close home by the Venetia Williams trained Rigidin De Beauchene.  Alan had also remained in the Parade Ring to see the completion of the race; and Choc had glanced up at the screen before he exited the Paddock too. 

 

As a result of the slight delay, I was only halfway across the tarmac in front of the stands when Turn Over Sivola cantered by on his way to the start.   

 

The starting gate for this race was at the far end of the home straight, with this and one full circuit to travel. 

 

Race 7

Handicap Hurdle

Distance

2 miles (8 hurdles)

No. of Runners

11

 

Then they were off.  The runners were led away by Ivor’s King and General Ting; Forgotten Voice took a very keen hold near the rear of the field. 

 

Heading up past the winning post and setting off into the country, the order was Ivor’s King upsides General Ting, followed by Whitby Jack, Laterly, Starluck, Turn Over Sivola, Switched Off, Looks Like Slim, Forgotten Voice, Cousin Khee and Barizan; the first two having set up a considerable lead. 

 

The runners were travelling at speed; Laterly taking a crashing fall at the 4th flight.  Both horse and jockey were soon on their feet, the former chasing after the field.  Heading around the far turn, Choc was in 5th place and going well.

 

The pace had slowed having entered the back straight, the remaining ten runners now closely grouped; Ivor’s King still ahead, with General Ting now alongside Starluck and Whitby Jack.  Ryan Mahon’s mount swept around the outside of the field to lead into the home straight, from Ivor’s King, Starluck, Forgotten Voice, Whitby Jack and Turn Over Sivola.  Ivor’s King was the first to fade away.

 

Three horses cleared two out in unison, Whitby Jack, Starluck and General Ting; Choc steering his mount up beside the near-side rail, soon taking 4th from Forgotten Voice, the latter’s early exertions now taking their toll.

 

Whitby Jack went clear approaching the last flight; he tapped the top of the obstacle but galloped on to win by 3¾ lengths.  General Ting and Starluck jumped the last flight upsides but the latter fell, leaving Ryan Mahon’s mount to collect second prize.  Choc steered his mount around the prostrate grey to claim 3rd ahead of the also hampered Forgotten Voice. 

 

Starluck and his jockey Tom Cannon we fine following their fall.

 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Whitby Jack

Jamie Moore

Gary Moore

2nd

General Ting

Ryan Mahon

Lucy Wadham

3rd

Turn Over Sivola

Choc Thornton

Alan King

4th

Forgotten Voice

Jeremiah McGrath

Nicky Henderson

 

I returned to the Winners’ Enclosure for the final time today, to see Choc arrive back.  Having unsaddled his mount and spoken with connections he headed back to the Weighing Room.

 

I waited until Choc has disappeared from sight before popping to the loo and heading to collect my car.  It becomes a bit of a struggle though, when I’m wearing so many layers!  I then exited the racecourse via the gate nearest the free car park.  One of the stewards joked that I should do up my coat; I laughed and said it was okay, because I was wearing 8 layers of clothing and my car was parked just a short distance away.  Weirdly he also made a comment that it must take me ages to go to the loo when wearing so many clothes ... I exaggerated and told him 30 minutes! 

 

Having no more food to consume before departing, having removed my outer layers of clothing and boots, I set off immediately.  Heading back towards the M3, the queue of traffic stretched from Kempton Park’s main entrance to the junction.  It must have taken around 10 minutes to reach the roundabout; I was then on my way.  It wasn’t quite dark yet but, by the time I reached home and being winter, it was. 

 

My journey took me down the M3 to re-join the M25 at Junction 12.  I then travelled in a clockwise direction to Junction 22 before leaving the motorway to enter St Albans.  On both the M3 and M25 there had been signs warning of snowfall the following day.  I arrived home at 17:15.  It was raw cold when I put my vehicle away under the carport. 

 

After a bowl of tomato soap and a piece of Black Forest gateau, I settled down for the evening to write my blog, select photographs and upload them.  It was just after midnight before I shut down my laptop and turned in for the night.  Owning two water-bottles now, I filled both of them, one to rest my feet upon and one to cuddle! 

 

I decided to read a few pages of a fiction book before finally settling down for the night, but I didn’t manage many pages, I was too tired.

 

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

Click here for photos Races 1 to 3

Click here for photos Races 4 to 7

 

 

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