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Richard Johnson Betway Blog: Warwick and Kelso 12 01 19

The champion jockey previews his weekend rides at Warwick and Kelso, including Tidal Flow in the Leamington Novices' Hurdle.

11 Jan | BY Richard Johnson | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Johnson Betway Blog: Warwick and Kelso 12 01 19

Another week with practically no rain. I’m off to Warwick on Saturday where the ground is going to be a lot quicker than normal. Let’s hope it’s nearer good-to-soft than good.

Warwick on Saturday

My first ride of the day is Lucy Wadham’s Movie Legend  in the 2m handicap chase (13:15).

This will be my first time sitting on him, but he’s been very consistent this season, winning at Fakenham and then being placed at Cheltenham, Wetherby and Ascot.

His last run behind Hell’s Kitchen was a good effort and the handicapper has dropped him a couple of pounds, so hopefully he can run well again.

We’re looking forward to Tidal Flow  in the Leamington Novices’ Hurdle (14:25), which has been won by some very good horses over the years.

He’s had a fantastic season so far and I was impressed with his attitude at Newbury last time.

It was a slowly run race which didn’t really suit him, but he stayed on well from two out and did it nicely. There were some nice horses behind him that day.

I schooled him on Wednesday and we were pleased with him. Philip Hobbs’ horses are in good form and this one looks like a novice that will hopefully be good enough for the big spring festivals.

He stays well and is an improving horse. He sticks his head down and tries which is all you can ask for. I also bred him so I really hope he wins!

Nicky Henderson’s Birchdale looks the one to beat. He was a good winner at Warwick last month in a race which has worked out well and is still unexposed.

The Classic Chase (15:00) is the big betting race of the day and I ride Ultragold  for Colin Tizzard.

He absolutely loves the National fences at Aintree, winning the last two Tophams, and he ran well in the Becher Chase last month.

I’ve never ridden him before, but he’s a very consistent horse and he looks a decent each-way price. There’s no reason to suggest he won’t run a good race, he’s pretty versatile with ground and trip.

It looks an open race. The ground isn’t going to be as testing as it normally is at this time of year, so it might not be as much of a slog. I’m sure they’ll go a strong gallop, though, so you’ll still need to stay.

I’m on Holly Bush Henry  in the Pertemps qualifier (15:35). With Blaklion in the race it keeps the weights down for these decent handicap hurdlers.

My ride ran in the Welsh Grand National last time, so this is a definite drop back in class. Phil Middleton does very well with his horses and he should have a fair each-way chance.

My final ride of the day is Honourmission  for Harry Whittington in the bumper (16:05).

He’s making his debut in this, so we’ll know more about him afterwards, but Harry does well with his bumper horses and hopefully this will be a nice start to his career.

Kelso on Sunday

I’m up to Scotland on Sunday for Kelso’s meeting and first up is Top Of The Charts for Warren Greatrex in the 2m6½f novices’ hurdle (12:30).

He’s been very disappointing in his two runs over hurdles so far. He’s talented at home but hasn’t produced it on the track. We’re trying cheekpieces and let’s hope he can run a better race in this.

Encore Champs goes for the 2m novices’ hurdle (13:00). He was disappointing at Ascot last time, but he’s a nice horse who has won a bumper and a novice hurdle.

It looks between him and Lord Yeats on ratings, we just have to hope he can put his Ascot run behind him.

I ride Prince Charmin’ for Tim Vaughan in the 2m handicap hurdle (13:35). He’s had a couple of spins on the Flat recently, but this will be his first start for the yard over hurdles.

Diamond King is a Cheltenham Festival winner, so he’ll be hard to beat, although we’re all getting a lot of weight off him.

My final ride of the day is Groundunderrepair for Warren in the handicap chase (15:10).

I schooled him on Friday morning and he made a nice start to his chasing career at Uttoxeter last month over too short a trip. 

The step up here will suit and I hope he goes there with a very strong chance.

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Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson

Four-time champion jump jockey who is second on the all-time list for most National Hunt winners in the UK.

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson

Four-time champion jump jockey who is second on the all-time list for most National Hunt winners in the UK.