Richard Johnson: Welsh National could suit Looksnowtlikebrian
The champions jockey reflects on his weekend rides at Ascot and Carlisle and looks ahead to a busy afternoon at Exeter on Tuesday.
Ascot on Saturday
I had three rides at Ascot on Saturday and Sternrubin ran okay in the novices’ handicap chase. I’m not sure he quite got home, his best form is over two miles.
You’ll see the best of him back over two miles on some slightly softer ground. The winner was impressive and it rode like a good race.
Kings Lad ran a nice race in the Sodexo Gold Cup, but the track was probably a little quick for him. His best performance was the time before at Chepstow and I think he’ll be better on a slightly stiffer course.
He’s 11, so veterans’ races with a bit of cut in the ground on a stiff track will be perfect for him.
Ben Buie ran really well on debut in what was a warmly contested bumper. Warren Greatrex really likes Emitom who won, so you’d like to think it will be decent form.
It was a slowly run race and I’m sure Ben Buie would be better suited to a faster pace. I’d definitely be keen to ride him next time.
Carlisle on Sunday
There were a few non-runners at Carlisle because they didn’t get as much rain as was forecast.
We were very pleased with Jammin Masters in the novices’ handicap chase. It was his first start of the season, and his first over fences, so he did well to finish second after jumping nicely.
It was a strongly run race with plenty of decent horses in it. The winner had some good form over hurdles last year.
Jammin Masters will be suited by a bit further in time and some softer ground.
Looksnowtlikebrian is a bit of a character and didn’t jump the first two or three very well, but he then got into a nice rhythm. The further I went the better I travelled.
We know he likes soft ground and he’s definitely an improving horse.
It shows again that when yards are back in form they’re worth following. Tim Vaughan's horses are in very good heart at the moment, they’re really thriving.
A stamina test on soft ground is what he needs, so the Welsh National could really suit him if he sneaks in at the bottom of the weights.
He’s improving, he’s only had six chase starts but has won four of them. The handicapper will probably be a bit harder on him after Sunday, but hopefully he can cope with the rise and keep improving.
Petticoat Tails ran well, although I was a little disappointed she didn’t find more three out. She’ll definitely improve for the run and will step up in trip at some point as well.
We definitely haven’t seen the best of her yet. She either wants further or more testing ground. She’s a mare that stays very well and will improve throughout the winter.
Charlie Hall Chase
It was a shame that Definitly Red didn’t get the credit and exposure he deserved for winning the Charlie Hall Chase, the winner should always be the most important part of any race.
Bryony Frost did very well to recover from the mistake Black Corton made, but that shouldn’t overshadow the performance of the winner.
Definitly Red is a very tough horse and it was great for Danny Cook to get a big Saturday winner, and for Yorkshire to win the race.
Black Corton ran well after the error and showed that he’s in good heart. He’s definitely up to that grade of race now after improving so much last season.
Enable an absolute superstar
Enable is quite simply a brilliant filly and John Gosden has trained her amazingly this year. To win two Arcs and a Breeders’ Cup Turf is an incredible achievement.
Saturday was also a great day for Frankie Dettori.
A few years ago people were wondering if he’d retire, but he’s been riding out of his skin and there really is no better jockey on the big stage.
Let’s hope we can beat the Aussies
The Melbourne Cup is a fantastic race, it’s captured the Australian people for years but it captures the whole world now.
It would be great if one of our horses could win it, we do well with stayers in this country so we have lots who can have a go.
I’d love to see Magic Circle win it for Ian Williams who I’ve ridden for plenty in the past, and I’d like to wish him all the very best.
Ozzie going for Haldon Gold Cup
It’s a big day at Exeter on Tuesday where I ride Ozzie The Oscar for Philip Hobbs in the Haldon Gold Cup (2.05pm).
We were very pleased with his run in the Welsh Champion Hurdle and he should go there with a live chance.
They’ve had a bit of rain, so the ground is safe and he improved last season for going over fences.
I’m also looking forward to ride Crooks Peak in the novices’ hurdle (1.35pm).
He was a bit disappointing on his hurdling debut at Newton Abbot last month, but that will have taken the freshness out of him.
If he can return to the form from Cheltenham last year, then he will go close.
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