Richard Johnson: Samburu Shujaa will go to Cheltenham
The champion jockey reflects on his weekend rides at Chepstow and Fontwell, and discusses Samburu Shujaa's chances in the Pertemps at the Festival.
Chepstow on Saturday
It was great to see Samburu Shujaa land the prize in the handicap hurdle and book his place at Cheltenham in the process.
He had won over course and distance before and it was good to see him confirm that promise.
He will come on for that run again and will now head to Cheltenham for the Pertemps. He should like the track and hopefully goes there with a decent chance.
Elsewhere on Saturday, I think we can put a line through Melchior King’s run.
He’s another who came into the race having won over course and distance but he was just too keen throughout.
I wouldn’t be worried about his performance and think he will prove much better next time.
Mcnamaras Band finished third but the front two look like nice novices.
It was good to get him round after a stumble last time out and it won’t take long for him to be winning again.
Jammin Masters jumped and travelled well throughout his contest but was no match in the end for Chef Des Obeaux.
In hindsight, he may have been better taking the lead because I am not sure the small field helped him.
His two best performances have come in bigger fields and I think he is better suited to that.
Sunday at Fontwell
I thought Fight Commander ran really well when beaten into second by Kings Monarch.
They were all very well spread out in the end and I think we may have just bumped into a smart sort.
My horse finished 16 lengths ahead of the third so I think it was a really good performance and he will have learned a lot.
Zafar finished third in my only other ride on Sunday.
He was up against older horses and struggled a bit in the sticky ground.
I was really happy with how he finished off the race and he’ll now go for the Fred Winter where he will have a good each-way chance.
Looking ahead to Cheltenham
I said in Friday’s column that it’s impossible to wrap horses in cotton wool and unfortunately Arkle favourite Le Richebourg is the latest to miss the Festival.
It’s obviously disappointing for connections but ultimately these things happen and the horse comes first.
Lalor will now be well fancied and there’s no reason to believe he won’t go well.
He seemed in really good form during his racecourse gallop at Exeter on Saturday and I am really excited to get back on him at the Festival.
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