Richard Johnson: Glad common sense has prevailed with BHA
The champion jockey is pleased that he can enjoy his break as planned at the end of April, and previews his Thursday at Cheltenham.
I was glad to hear that the BHA changed their decision about scheduling a fixture at Ayr during the upcoming six-day break.
The original decision frustrated me and plenty of other jockeys as a number had flights and other things booked, with the break having been in the calendar for so long.
We all had plans during the time off so it seemed a bit short-sighted of them to put a meeting on during that gap.
I’m happy they changed it and it should be a better outcome for Ayr as they will now have a meeting on Bank Holiday Monday, so should get plenty of people through the gate.
I think common sense has prevailed and hopefully the PJA, BHA and Trainers’ Association can continue to work together because that will make it easier for everybody.
I’m obviously talking from a jockey’s perspective, but if you could have two weeks off every six months that would be a perfect scenario for both body and mind.
Obviously it’s very hard to find a gap in the middle of the season which suits everyone, while with the wet winter and spring we’ve had trainers have got plenty of good ground horses ready to run.
There’s no perfect situation, but if we can all work together then I’m sure we can find a way that works and suits everybody
Cheltenham on Thursday
It’s Ladies Day at Cheltenham on Thursday as all seven races are for mares, and I begin the afternoon with Dame Rose in the opening novices’ hurdle (2.05pm).
She was perhaps a bit disappointing at the Festival in the Supreme Novices’, but we know she’s up to this class having won a Listed race at Newbury in December.
I’d like to think she’s got a strong chance in what looks a pretty competitive race.
Next, I'm on Henry Daly’s Tara Mist in the 2m5f handicap chase (2.40pm).
I schooled her the other day and she felt great. This will be the last run of her career before she heads off to stud.
It would be lovely for her to go out on a high. She’s been a fantastic mare, so fingers crossed she can finish her career in style.
My next ride is Copper Kay for Philip Hobbs in the handicap hurdle (3.15pm), who reverts back to hurdles having fallen over fences last time.
She hasn’t quite taken to fences yet, but she’s very classy and if she can bounce back to her best form she would have a good chance.
Neil King’s horses are in good form, and I ride Cubswin in the juvenile handicap hurdle (4.25pm).
She’s been running solidly so far this year and hopefully she can continue that on Thursday.
The Nipper is another who has had a really good season and I’m on her in the 2m handicap chase (5.00pm).
Warren Greatrex has had a fantastic season and he continued that with a strong Aintree.
The Nipper is very versatile and goes on all types of ground, so I’d like to think she’ll go well in another competitive-looking race.
My final ride of the day is Queen’s Magic in the bumper (5.35pm) for Neil Mulholland.
She won very well on her English debut at Plumpton in February and if she can run up to that sort of form again she’d have a good chance.
It’s obviously the final meeting at Cheltenham on Thursday and it’s the place that gave me my best day of the season with Native River back in March.
I’m already looking forward to being back there next season.
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