Richard Johnson: Ozzie The Oscar is one to be excited about
The champion jockey reviews his Welsh Champion Hurdle ride and reveals which horse he thinks will be in the winner's enclosure at some point this season.
Ffos Las on Saturday
I was really happy with Ozzie The Oscar's run in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las on Saturday.
He did really well over fences last year and it’s encouraging to see him running better in the race than last year, despite being off a higher mark.
It was a very pleasing run for his first appearance of the season, so he’s one to be excited about as the season progresses.
The winner (Silver Streak) looks to be improving with every run and this is his second victory in a competitive handicap, following his win in the Swinton Hurdle last season.
Evan Williams’ horses are running well at the moment and he looks an exciting horse for the yard.
My other ride on the card was Ninth Wave in the closing bumper who put in a good performance considering it was his first time at a racecourse.
The race looked very competitive, with a number of potentially smart newcomers, so it was an encouraging run and he’ll be winning races soon enough once he gets some more experience under his belt.
I’m not sure if we’ll stay in bumpers or go hurdling with him, but I’d be pretty confident he’ll be in the winners’ enclosure at some point this season.
Kempton on Sunday
Leapaway has enjoyed a fantastic summer, but unfortunately he couldn’t quite cap it off with another victory on Sunday.
Phillip Hobbs has done fantastically with him, to win five races back-to-back is very impressive.
He’ll get a nice long break over the winter now and we’ll look to have another spring campaign with him.
I thought Baron Du Plessis ran a nice race in the handicap chase for Ian Williams.
He travelled and jumped well for the most part, even though it was his first run of the season.
The horse hasn’t managed to get his head in front yet, but if he keeps running like he did on Sunday that win shouldn’t be too far away.
The week ahead
Plans for the next few days are slightly up in the air because of the prolonged period of dry weather, with another dry week forecast.
The fast ground is likely to mean we are unfortunately going to get plenty of small fields, which is totally understandable given the point of the season.
Once we get the rain, we should see some of the slightly better horses coming out, but at the moment it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game.
There is still lots of racing on though, which should keep me busy.
Sternrubin will look to get off the mark over fences at Exeter on Tuesday (4.20pm).
He ran well on a couple of occasions last year which should leave him in good stead for this year.
The race should give him a good chance of opening his account over fences.
What a fantastic achievement it was for Gordon Elliott and his team as well Robbie Power to win the American Grand National with Jury Duty.
To take a horse all the way over there and then to win the race is an incredible training performance.
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