DIARY – NEWBURY

SATURDAY 26 MARCH 2011

EBF MARES’ ONLY FINALE DAY

 

 

 

Newbury 26 03 2011 r for blog r.jpg

 

Choc returns to the Winners’ Enclosure

having been victorious aboard

Turbo Du Ranch in the ‘bumper’

 

 

It was eight days since I’d gone racing, although that had been the last of four consecutive days at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival!  I had a backlog of 4 racing diaries to write but, as my working week had been one of the worst I’d ever experienced, all related to overwhelming stress which resulted in tears being spilt on more than one occasion, I felt I needed to go racing and get away from my work-related problems ... and, of course, it gave me the opportunity to see the lovely Choc, which always cheers me up!  Besides, he was scheduled to have 5 rides today, at the final fixture of Newbury’s 2010/2011 National Hunt season.

 

The gates at Newbury are always opened more than two hours ahead of their first race and today was no exception.  The first race was due off at 13:45, gate opening time being 11:20; so I calculated that if I set off just after 10:00 I would arrive at around 11:30. 

 

I awoke just after 06:00; I showered, washed and dried my hair, watched Channel 4’s Morning Line, ate breakfast, applied make-up and got dressed to go ... but it was a ‘faffing around’ kind of morning as l didn’t manage to set off from home until 10:25! 

 

Spring weather had arrived earlier in the week, but the forecasters warned of colder temperatures and possibly a few rain showers for Saturday ... south of the Thames.  Having suffered from the cold at Cheltenham last week, I wasn’t about to take any chances; two thermal vests, a purple sweater, black frilly edged cardigan, neon blue fleece, black skirt, black 40 denier tights, black wedge shoes and cerise pink short length coat.  I took a chenille scarf too but, in the event, didn’t wear it.

 

My route took me around the M25 and I had intended to leave the motorway at Junction 15, the M4.  However, as I approached Junction 17, there was a warning of delays at Junction 1 of the M40 which, as I needed to take a split-second decision on whether to continue on the motorway or bypass the next section, my initial thought was that it was the M40’s junction with the M25 but, in hindsight, I realised that was Junction 1A.  So, stupidly, I left the motorway at Junction 17 and my route then took me through Maple Cross, Denham, Gerrards Cross and Stoke Poges to Slough; although it is a route I am very familiar with from the year I spent working in Bracknell.

 

Once in Slough, I turned westwards along the A4, and then joined the M4 at Slough Central.  Traffic was moving well on the motorway, although there was a short 50 mph section at the Junction with the A404, where bridge repairs are being undertaken.  I left the westbound carriageway at Junction 12, Reading West, and travelled the remainder of the journey along the A4, through Thatcham to Newbury.  One of the things that annoy me as a driver, are vehicles which pull out of side-roads, forcing me to brake, when the road behind me is clear for miles and miles – what is that all about?  Can’t they see further than the end of their stupid noses?  It happened to me when travelling at 60 mph on the A4 today.

 

Anyway, I finally arrived in Newbury, deciding to drive through the Industrial Estate and under the railway mainline bridge to reach the car park.  The lane is in a desperate state of repair once again, the potholes having been filled prior to last winter’s bad weather; but there’s no way the repairs are going to last if they are not ‘sealed’ to prevent the ice getting in. 

 

It was 11:55 when I parked up; I was directed to park on the end of a row, immediately next to the entrance road.  Following my Cheltenham experience last week, I can’t believe that I always seem to arrive at the wrong moment but, fortunately, the Newbury car park entrance road at this point is concrete not dusty gravel.

 

Oh dear, when are Newbury racecourse going to ban the gypsies who patrol the car park on racedays?  They are such a nuisance to the racegoers; I object to them peering in through the windows of my car, like a thief, and then invading my space as I lock my car door.

 

Before setting off for the turnstiles I ate a couple of the cheese rolls I’d prepared earlier. Having bought a Grandstand enclosure badge (£15 today) plus a racecard for £2.50, I popped to the loo, and then went to see what activities were planned for racegoers today.  As I was later than usual in arriving, these activities had already commenced.

 

At noon there had been a ‘Celebration of the Horse’ Parade in the Paddock; as it was now 12:20, a demonstration by Yogi Breisner and Eventer Lauren Shannon was just getting underway in the Pre-Parade Ring.  At 12:30 a ‘Behind The Scenes Tour’ with ex-jockey Colin Brown was due to commence.  I noticed a number of people gathering outside the Weighing Room, so I decided that I’d go on the tour today.

 

There were supposed to be a maximum of 20 people on the tour, although I was well up the list, but Colin did permit everyone who wished to attend to tag along.  Our first port of call was to the Weighing Room, where Colin explained about the weighing out procedure.  One of the young members of our party was persuaded to stand on the scales to be weighed, whilst Colin slipped the tablets of lead into the weight cloth for her to hold. 

 

Safety equipment doesn’t count towards the weight carried, so the jockey doesn’t wear a helmet when being weighed out; and two pounds excess is allowed to take account of their safety vest.  The jockeys need to carry the horse’s headgear such as the blinkers, but we were told that this doesn’t include cheekpieces as they are attached to the bridle.  But surely they are ‘velcrowed’ on, and easily fitted and removed?  In the days when Colin used to ride, he said that far more equipment had to be weighed!  

 

The jockeys are permitted to come back half a pound light and up to one and a half pounds heavy.  If their weight differs from this, the Clerk of the Scales reports it to the Stewards and they interview the jockey in an attempt to discover why.  If the jockey is more than half a pound underweight, the horse is disqualified and the jockey is given a suspension; if over the weight permitted then the jockey also gets a suspension but the horse keeps the race (as it won despite being disadvantaged). 

 

Once weighed out, the jockey must remain in the Weighing Room until the trainer or representative has arrived to collect the saddle; they can then return to the changing room ... although they should not change any of their riding gear (such as boots) however much they are tempted to do so!  Following the race, The Clerk of the Scales doesn’t ‘weigh-in’ all the jockeys; just so long as those placed are weighed in. 

 

The old fashioned scales were replaced by electronic scales only within the past three years; and linked to a computer system only within the past 3 months!  So much for technology!

 

Whilst we were in the Weighing Room, Sam Twiston-Davies set off to take a run around the course, and Dominic Elsworth walked through too. 

 

Our next port of call was the Judge’s Box; this is located at the top of Berkshire Stand.  A number of the group went by lift to the top floor, the remainder (including myself) walked up the stairs.  The judge today, Guy Lewis, is an ex-jockey.  He explained that he has a coding system for the colours; for example, he calls black and white colours COW.

 

Colin mentioned that he still rides out, but prefers to ride two year old horses these days, not National Hunt horses which take a longer time to exercise!

 

Having completed this part of the tour, we returned to the area outside the Weighing Room steps, and made arrangements to meet up again in 15 minutes’ time, near the Saddling Boxes to see a horse being saddled ahead of the first race.  Whilst I was waiting, it was announced that Choc’s intended ride in the first race, Balerina, was to be a non-runner.  However, he would now ride Alan King’s second string, Franklino, owned by the McNeill family.

 

Once the tour group had re-grouped, we watched as Nicky Henderson and his assistant saddled Moose Moran.  Colin explained that, these days, just one girth is used, with a surcingle being secured over the top of the saddle to ensure safety.

 

Ex-jockey Graham Thorner, who won the 1972 Grand National aboard Well To Do, was nearby and spoke briefly with us.  I’d forgotten that he was part-owner of the ill-fated Marching Song who had been electrocuted in the Parade Ring incident last month; but he did refer to it briefly and a number of people said how sorry they were that his horse had died.  He also mentioned that he would be taking part in a Charity Race at Aintree on Grand National Day.   

 

Tour complete, I’d missed the opportunity to find a space to stand on the raised steps surrounding the Parade Ring; I therefore went to stand beside the Parade Ring exit walkway to wait for Choc and Franklino to leave the Paddock.  Having seen him depart for the course, I went to find a vantage point near to the course-side rails. 

 

When interviewed by Nick Luck of Racing UK prior to the race, Alan King mentioned how disappointing the McNeill family owned Franklino had been; he was hoping to continue running the horse during the summer months, after which he would probably be placed on the ‘transfer list’.

     

The horses cantered past the stands to reach the start, which was at the far end of the home straight.

    

Race 1

Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Distance

2 miles 3 furlongs (10 flights to negotiate)

No. of Runners

7

 

Then they were off.  The field was led away by Two Kisses, who was bumped by the Nick Scholfield ridden Ultravox when jumping the first flight, but this did not affect their momentum.  In third was Comedy Act, followed by Kahfre on the outside of the field, Franklino on the inside, then Moose Moran, and in rear was Promised Wings.  Moose Moran damaged the orange protector strip when he hit the top of the second flight. 

 

Two Kisses and Ultravox disputed the lead around the top bend, Franklino now alongside Promised Wings and Kahfre at the back of the field.  Down the back straight for the one and only time, the field was closely packed; leading was Ultravox alongside Two Kisses, then Comedy Act, Moose Moran, Kahfre, Franklino and Promised Wings.  The latter appeared to be struggling by the final flight therein and received a couple of reminders.

 

Moose Moran looked to be dropping out around the far bend, with Promised Wings still being pushed along and receiving more reminders in rear. Turning in, Ultravox led the field, from Kahfre and Two Kisses; Comedy Act became the next to struggle and drop out.  Nick Scholfield’s mount led over the third flight from home, Franklino now making progress to become his nearest pursuer.  Moose Moran was pulled up before the next. 

 

Ultravox led over two out, from Franklino; Kahfre, a close third, stumbled badly on landing and lost any remaining chance.  Over the last Choc’s mount was just half a length down but despite not giving up the challenge, he was unable to close on Ultravox, who had extended his lead to 1½ lengths at the line. 

 

In hindsight this wasn’t a bad effort from Franklino, as this would be the first of a sequence of wins for Ultravox (the next would be at Ascot on 10 April 2011, beating another Alan King inmate, Jubail; following that would be a victory at Haydock Park on 23 April 2011).  However, Franklino would run in a Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the Ayr Grand National Festival 21 days later, and would finish a disappointing 5th of 14.  Perhaps the gap between Franklino’s races holds the key – on the two occasions where there have been gaps of more than 50 days, he’d finished 2nd in both his subsequent races. 

 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Ultravox

Nick Scholfield

J Scott

2nd

Franklino

Choc Thornton

Alan King

3rd

Two Kisses

AP McCoy

Brendan Powell

4th

Promised Wings

Colin Bolger

Chris Gordon

 

I returned to the Winners’ Enclosure to see Choc and Franklino arrive back and in preparation for Choc’s second ride of the day, aboard Asturienne in the Mares’ Novices’ Chase Finale. 

 

Asturienne, who was very much on her toes today, wore cheek-pieces.  She shied away from her handler as Choc was about to exit the Parade Ring; so he kept his feet out of the stirrups in order to calm her.  I set off to find a vantage point near the course-side rails to watch the race.

 

The start of this event was in the back straight, with one fence to negotiate before entering the bottom bend.

 

Race 2

EBF/TBA Mares’ Novices’ Chase Finale (Handicap) (Listed)

Distance

2 miles 6 furlongs 110 yards (17 fences to negotiate)

No. of Runners

9

 

Then they were off.  Smuglin initially took the lead, from Cool Friend, Evella and Douryna.  Evella soon took up the running, from Douryna, Cool Friend, one of the greys Smuglin, and Kerada; Asturienne had moved up on the inside into 4th position as they turned into the home straight for the first time.  Easter Legend and Cobbler’s Queen were at the rear of the field.

 

Evella led the field over the first ditch; Barry Geraghty took his mount, Kerada, wide to the outside of the field as they travelled up the home straight for the first time.  Evella led over the water-jump; around the top turn Smuglin was in rear and received reminders; she was preceded by the other grey Magical Legend, Cobbler’s Queen and Easter Legend. 

 

Evella was still ahead over the second open-ditch (the 9th), from Douryna, Asturienne, Kerada and Cool Friend.  In rear Smuglin was struggling (I’m a poet and didn’t even know it!). Evella led over the 11th; Asturienne travelling well just behind the leaders.  Barry Geraghty’s mount took over at the head of affairs over the 12th, the long-time leader dropping out quickly.  Easter Legend’s distinctive white face now noticeable in fourth.

 

Douryna held a slight advantage as the runners jumped the cross-fence; Asturienne making a slight error here, as did Cobbler’s Queen, the former receiving reminders.  Douryna led into the home straight, from Kerada, Easter Legend, Asturienne, Cool Friend, Magical Legend and Cobbler’s Queen.  However the favourite, Kerada, fell at the fourth last, hampering Cobbler’s Queen in the progress, the latter flinging Andrew Tinkler out of the saddle as a result.  Barry appeared to have been kicked as Cobbler’s Queen galloped over him.

 

Easter Legend soon took up the running, from the grey Magical Legend, Douryna, Cool Friend and Asturienne; the former a little clumsy two out, but it didn’t stop her momentum.  The flashy mare cleared the last and galloped on to win by 5 lengths from Magical Legend, who could make no impression on her lead on the run-in, Douryna and Cool Friend.  Asturienne was last of the finishers, in 5th.     

 

A good result for the sire, Midnight Legend, having sired the winner and the runner-up.

 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Easter Legend

Jack Doyle

Emma Lavelle

2nd

Magical Legend

Paddy Brennan

Mrs S Leach

3rd

Douryna

Mr RG Henderson

Colin Tizzard

4th

Cool Friend

Nick Scholfield

J Scott

 

I returned to the Parade Ring to see Choc unsaddle Asturienne and in preparation for his third ride of the day, aboard Way Back When, in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle Finale.  Having a connection to Choc’s intended ride, Robert Waley-Cohen (father of Sam) came across to speak with Alan King and Choc as the latter waited to be legged-up onto his mount.

 

Once Choc has exited the Parade Ring I set off to find a vantage point near to the course-side rails.  Jeremiah (Jerry) McGrath replaced the injured Barry Geraghty aboard Line Freedom, although both Barry and Andrew Tinkler had walked back in unaided following the previous race.  Trainer Nicky Henderson had four runners in this race.

The start of this race was in the far corner of the track, the horses cantering past the stands to reach it.  At the start, the vet took a prolonged look at Annimation, but she was passed as fit and allowed to take her chance.

Race 3

EBF Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle Finale

(Limited Handicap) (Listed)

Distance

2 miles 5 furlongs (10 flights to negotiate)

No. of Runners

18

 

Then they were off.  The field was led away by Wistow, with the Sam Twiston-Davies ridden Definitley Lovely soon taking over, although jumping to the left over the first flight.  Francesa didn’t jump the first particularly well when in rear.  Choc and Way Back When were travelling near the outside of the field, approximately 4 from the back.

 

Definitley Lovely hit the third flight, her nose touching the turf, but it didn’t affect her momentum.  Past the winning post with one circuit to go, Sam Twiston-Davies’ mount still led, from the Nathan Sweeney ridden Mizzurka, Emmaslegend, Semi Colon, Wistow, Empress Orchid, Aneyeforaneye, Whoops A Daisy, Kells Belle, Line Freedom, Alverstone, Violin Davis, Annimation, Molly Round, Way Back When, Malindi Bay, Francesa, with Shop DJ at the back. 

 

The field was closely packed on the top turn; as a result Alverstone stumbled and unseated her jockey, David Bass.  Her jockey was fine, but the mare sustained a suspensory injury; connections uncertain if she would make a full recovery. 

 

Mizzurka soon went on from Emmaslegend; Definitley Lovely losing ground quickly having relinquished the lead.  Francesa was at the back of the tightly bunched field, which was spread wide across the track.  Line Freedom had lost a little ground too; Sam Twiston-Davies giving his mount, Definitley Lovely a few reminders in rear.  Wistow dropped out too.

 

Mizzurka led over the final flight in the back straight, having regained the advantage over Emmaslegend, Semi Colon and Molly Round.  Way Back When was now struggling near the rear of the field.  Having turned into the home straight, Nathan Sweeney’s mount held a very narrow advantage over the third last.  Approaching two out, Line Freedom, Semi Colon and Violin Davis were challenging for the lead; the former going on after the penultimate flight. 

 

Line Freedom retained her lead over the last, Semi Colon still in second place; Ruby Walsh brought Violin Davis up the stand-side rails to challenge but Jerry McGrath’s mount held on by 1½ lengths at the line, Shop DJ having made an error 2 out, finished 3rd, with Mizzurka 4th and Semi Colon fading into 5th. 

 

Way Back When completed in 11th.    

 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Line Freedom

Jeremiah McGrath

Nicky Henderson

2nd

Violin Davis

Ruby Walsh

Paul Nicholls

3rd

Shop DJ

AD Leigh

Peter Fahey

4th

Mizzurka

Nathan Sweeney

RH Buckler

 

I returned to the Parade Ring to see Choc unsaddle his mount before returning to the Weighing Room. 

 

It was now time for the fourth race of the day; Choc didn’t have a ride in this one.  AP McCoy substituted for the injured Barry Geraghty aboard the David Arbuthnot trained Theatre Dance. 

 

The weather, having been beautiful earlier in the afternoon, was now overcast with the threat of rain on the horizon.  Having wondered if I was wearing too many layers of clothes, as compared to those in ‘summer’ outfits, my choice of clothes would soon be vindicated! 

 

Once the horses had left the Parade Ring I went to find a vantage point near to the course-side rails.  The start of this race was at the beginning of the back straight, with two circuits to travel.

 

Andrew Thornton, who was engaged to ride in the NH Flat Race, the last event on the card, was doing his customary pre-race jog around the course!

 

Race 4

Handicap Chase

Distance

3 miles 2 furlongs 110 yards (21 fences to negotiate)

No. of Runners

9

 

Then they were off.  The field was led away by the blinkered Double Dizzy, followed by the visor wearing Theatre Dance, Ogee, the grey Scots Dragoon, blinkered Noble Crusader, Maktu, Briery Fox, cheek-piece wearing Rey Nacarado, with Burren Legend in rear.  Briery Fox hit the third fence.  Double Dizzy and Theatre Dance were soon disputing the lead and continued to do so as they turned into the home straight for the first time.  Maktu was disputing third with Ogee, Rey Nacardo was to the outside of the runners near the rear of the field.

 

By the top turn, Briery Fox had slightly lost touch with the remaining runners.  Josh Moore aboard Double Dizzy and AP aboard Theatre Dance disputed the lead; followed by Ogee and Ruby Walsh aboard Maktu; Burren Legend cleared the first fence in the back straight slowly.  Rey Nacarado, with his unusual one-sided blaze, had begun to make progress down the outside of the field.  Double Dizzy was soon being pushed along to keep up with Theatre Dance.

 

Ogee hit the 15th fence.  AP sent his mount into a clear lead as they turned the far bend, heading for the cross-fence.  Ruby’s mount was soon cruising upsides Double Dizzy; Andrew Tinkler aboard Rey Nacarado in their slipstream.  Theatre Dance led into the final straight but hit the top of the 4th last and fell, leaving Maktu in the lead.  Rey Nacardo had now taken 2nd from Ogee, with Double Dizzy plugging on in 4th. 

 

Andrew Tinkler administered encouragement to his mount, and was one length down clearing the penultimate fence.  Maktu was now under pressure from Ruby Walsh; Rey Nacarado led narrowly over the last and went on to win by 2 lengths.  As they crossed the line, it was noticeable that Andrew Tinkler’s saddle had slipped back; with tack flapping loose under the horse’s belly!

 

Scots Dragoon stayed on to finish 3rd, with Ogee in 4th.

 

A win for the bottom weight (10 stone 1 pound) over the top weight (11 stone 12 pounds).   

 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Rey Nacarado

Andrew Tinkler

Charlie Longsdon

2nd

Maktu

Ruby Walsh

PG Murphy

3rd

Scots Dragoon

David Bass

Nicky Henderson

4th

Ogee

Jimmy McCarthy

Mrs P Robeson

 

I returned to the Parade Ring to see the horses arrive back in the Winners’ Enclosure.  When Andrew Tinkler unsaddled his mount, it was clear that one of the girth buckles had come undone during the race, the saddle now secured by a mere sliver of leather! 

The weather had well and truly taken a turn for the worse by this stage so, as I was feeling hungry, I decided to buy some French Fries.  It was raining heavily, so having made my purchase I went to shelter under overhanging edge of the Dubai Duty Free grandstand to consume my purchase. 

I didn’t return to the Parade Ring to see the runners ahead of the next race, but instead went straight to the course-side rails to watch it.  There was plenty of room by the rails, as many of the punters weren’t feeling brave enough to venture out of the stands yet, although the rain would soon stop and the sun put in a re-appearance! 

 

The start of this race was half-way down the home straight, with just over one circuit to travel.  Due to the unsuitable ground conditions, Newbury electrocution survivor, Kid Cassidy, was one of the two non-runners in this race.  Current Event took a keen hold on the way to the start; the favourite, Tony Star, overshot it as he was pulling so hard!

 

Race 5

Novices’ Hurdle

Distance

2 miles 110 yards (8 flights to negotiate)

No. of Runners

7

 

Then they were off.  The field was led away by Katchmore; Tony Star fighting for his head and gaining the advantage over the first flight.  These were followed by Current Event, Cheney Manor, Fontano, Surf and Turf, with Only Witness in rear.

 

As the field passed the winning post with one circuit to go, Tony Star had pulled his way into a clear lead from Current Event, Katchmore and Cheney Manor disputing third; the former was 3 lengths ahead over the 2nd flight.  Surf and Turf was now bringing up the rear.

 

As the field approached the fourth flight, a pheasant which had been standing in their path ran for cover at the side of the track!  Tony Star still led from Current Event, Cheney Manor and Katchmore.  Current Event hit the top of 4 out.  Only Witness and Surf and Turf appeared to be struggling in rear. 

 

Tony Star led around the far turn; Current Event soon cruising up alongside him.  The latter was sent into the lead after 3 out, as Richard Johnson’s mount began to struggle.  Fontano soon his nearest pursuer, with the Cheney Manor in 4th position, and these clear of Katchmore.

 

Current Event was never under any pressure; after the last Ruby Walsh checked behind to see if there were any challengers ... there weren’t.  He ran on to win by 18 lengths from Fontano and Tony Star; Only Witness staying on to finish 4th. 

 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Current Event

Ruby Walsh

Paul Nicholls

2nd

Fontano

Alex Merriam

Emma Lavelle

3rd

Tony Star

Richard Johnson

Philip Hobbs

4th

Only Witness

Tom Siddall

Brendan Powell

 

I returned to the Parade Ring in preparation for the next event, in which Choc would be riding the McNeill family owned Norman The Great.  Once Choc had set off down the horse-walk aboard his mount, I went to find a vantage point beside the course-side rails.

 

The start of this race was half way down the home straight, with just over one circuit to travel.

 

Race 6

Handicap Chase

Distance

2 miles 1 furlong (13 fences to negotiate)

No. of Runners

6

 

Then they were off.  The field was led away by Qianshan Leader, followed by Lord Singer, Quipe Me Posted, with Norman The Great to the inside, then Mister Matt and Coach Lane.

 

Jumping the water, Lord Singer under Andrew Glassonbury had taken a clear advantage, Qianshan Leader still in second, Quipe Me Posted in third, then Mister Matt, Coach Lane, and Norman The Great relegated to last position.  Andrew Glassonbury’s mount had a 5 length advantage over the 4th fence, from Quipe Me Posted.  Norman The Great landed a little steeply over the next, the open-ditch. 

 

Lord Singer still led over the final fence in the back straight, from Quipe Me Posted, Mister Matt, Coach Lane, and Qianshan Leader; a gap had opened up between these 5 and Norman The Great, the latter struggling.  Choc pulled him up after jumping the cross-fence.

 

Lord Singer led the field into the final straight, from Quipe Me Posted; the latter taking the lead 4 out.  Lord Singer remained in second position until a slow jump at the second last fence, a staying on Qianshan Leader now assuming the runner-up spot. 

 

Quipe Me Posted galloped on to win easily, by 14 lengths, from Qianshan Leader, Mister Matt and Lord Singer.  The other runner, Coach Lane, was pulled up before the last.

 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Quipe Me Posted

Mr TJ Cannon

Miss S Smith

2nd

Qianshan Leader

Jack Doyle

Emma Lavelle

3rd

Mister Matt

Nathan Sweeney

RH Buckler

4th

Lord Singer

Andrew Glassonbury

Gary Moore

 

I returned to the Parade Ring to see Choc unsaddle his mount and return to the Weighing Room ahead of the final race of the day.

 

Choc’s mount in the bumper race would be the Warren Greatrex trained Turbo Du Ranch; the colours were those also carried by Crack Away Jack. 

 

The start of this race, being a ‘Junior’ bumper and a mere 1 mile 4½ furlongs in distance, was at the beginning of the back straight.  Therefore upon exiting onto the course, the horses cantered from the horse-walk exit point to the start just a short distance away.

 

Race 7

‘Junior’ Bumper (Standard Open NH Flat Race)

Distance

1 mile 4 furlongs 110 yards

No. of Runners

15

 

Then they were off.  The field was led away by Trevis, from Forgotten Promise, Rachael’s Ruby, Ginger Fizz, Conigre, Silver Stirrup, Judge Davis, Duke of Monmouth, Jumps Road, Broomfield, Dark Shadow, Lady Kathleen, on the inside Turbo Du Ranch, Frolic Along, with Cailin Maghnailbhe at the rear.

 

Trevis led the field out of the back straight, and into the home straight too; he relinquished the lead 3 furlongs out, Forgotten Promise taking over.  Ginger Fizz took the advantage over 2 furlongs out; it was then Judge Davis’ turn to lead for a brief spell. 

 

Broomfield, ridden by Ruby Walsh, took the lead over 1 furlong from home, but it was not to be the final throw of the dice.  Choc’s mount, having made progress from over 3 furlongs out and, although green and hanging a little when pushed along, came to challenge the leader and he stayed on under pressure to take the lead close home.  Turbo Du Ranch had won by a neck.  A 16-1 winner! 

 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Turbo Du Ranch

Choc Thornton

Warren Greatrex

2nd

Broomfield

Ruby Walsh

Paul Nicholls

3rd

Judge Davis

Ian Popham

Mrs Caroline Keevil

4th

Ginger Fizz

Charlie Poste

BI Case

 

I returned to the Winners’ Enclosure to see Choc and Turbo Du Ranch arrive back.  It was the first time I’d seen Choc win ‘live’ at Newbury.

 

Once dismounted, Choc unsaddled his mount, and spoke with trainer Warren Greatrex and Claude Charlet (who I recognised from his appearances as a presenter on Racing UK) who was closely connected with the horse, which runs in the same colours as Crack Away Jack.  Claude had also been responsible for purchasing Current Event, a winner earlier in the afternoon. 

 

Like 2009 Grand National winner, Mon Mome, Turbo Du Ranch is a French AQPS non-thoroughbred horse.

 

It was Choc’s 999th career winner, although I wasn’t aware of this at the time ... as I’d forgotten to count his 6 flat-race winners in the total or, perhaps, I’d decided (erroneously) that these wouldn’t count towards his total! 

Having returned to my vehicle, I polished off the two remaining cheese rolls but setting off for home.  Initially cars queuing from the main entrance/exit had been blocking my escape but, by the time I left, the roadway was clear.  I set off in the opposite direction, towards the golf course, to return whence I came. 

And you certainly see some sights ... as I drove out I was confronted with the rear view of a naked man!  It was a bit cold for that I would have thought!  And further down the road, a group of people, some possibly drunk, were wandering along the centre of the road.  But, fortunately, they soon cleared out of my path.  My route took me back through the Industrial Estate and onto to the A4.             

It was an event free journey back to the M4 towards London; after which I took the M25 clockwise carriageway back to Hertfordshire.  Upon reaching Junction 22, I decided to visit the petrol station at the nearby Retail Park to top up the tank of my car.  And my visit was not uneventful.  Firstly, as I was at the pump, a car sped out of the station, screeching tyres were heard as it took the corner at the far end of the forecourt.  Then, as I went inside the shop to pay, I was confronted with the tail-end of an argument between the staff and a group of yobs.  Often when I’ve visited the filling station during the hours of evening, there are police traffic officers having a break from their duties; it’s a pity they weren’t there tonight! 

Fortunately, as these events didn’t affect me, having paid my bill I was able to soon set off for home; although on the way into St Albans, a police car with blue flashing light sped past me in the opposite direction.  Had the filling station staff raised the alarm and was the police car heading for the petrol station perhaps?      

I arrived home at 19:15.  Time to eat an evening meal, write my daily blog, upload and select photographs for my website before turning in for the night.  Not too late an hour tonight, especially as British Summer Time started at 02:00 in the morning and I would lose an hour’s sleep.   

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