Richard Johnson: I'm recharged for Aintree after suspension
Having made the most of his time off by going skiing with the family, a refreshed champion jockey is now looking ahead to the Grand National Festival.
First skiing trip in 14 years
We had a really fun time skiing in France last week and we all managed to stay in one piece thankfully!
Obviously it’s frustrating to be suspended, but it was great to get away and in hindsight it didn’t work out too badly with most of the jump racing being off.
It definitely helped me enjoy the holiday slightly more that I didn’t miss too much. It gave my body a bit of a break and it’s nice to spend a week away with the family.
My weight has never been too bad so I was able to eat pretty much anything I wanted in moderation which was nice.
We skied from 8.30am to about 5pm each day, so I got plenty of exercise and the kids really enjoyed themselves too.
They’ve all picked it up really well and I’m already worried that they are going to be much faster than me in no time!
It’s the first time I’ve been skiing in 14 years, so it took a bit of time to get back into.
It was really fun, but I’m now looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with Aintree starting on Thursday.
Grand National Festival
Philip Hobbs had a winner at Exeter on Sunday and hopefully the horses are coming into form at the right time.
Quite a few of them would like better ground, but unfortunately the rain seems to be endless at the moment.
Hopefully it stops soon and we can get some better ground for Aintree, as I’ve already got some nice rides to look forward to.
It’s always a great meeting and is really relaxed compared with Cheltenham. Everyone is up for a fun time and us jockeys really enjoy the three days.
The racing is top quality and they put up some really good prize money. It looks as if plenty of the good horses from both England and Ireland are going to be running so it should be a cracking meeting.
Obviously the Grand National is the race everyone looks forward to and it looks as wide-open as usual with a number of runners having a chance.
At this stage I don’t know if I’ll have a ride, but I’ve been speaking with my agent Dave Roberts and we’re looking at some options.
Gumball is entered in the Grade One Juvenile Hurdle on Thursday and the plan is to run unless the ground gets really testing.
He’s been a little disappointing on his last couple of starts, but we would definitely see a better horse on better ground.
Village Vic will run in the Topham on the Friday and Western Ryder in the Betway Mersey Novices Hurdle on Saturday.
They both go there with chances especially if we get some better ground.
I’m really looking forward to riding Cedar Valley in the mares’ bumper on Thursday.
She did it nicely on her debut at Taunton and is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Southwell on Tuesday
Away from Aintree, I ride Pineapple Rush for Philip on Tuesday at Southwell (4.05pm).
It looks a pretty decent mares’ novice hurlde, but she won well at Sedgefield last time and should go there with a solid chance.