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Richard Johnson Betway Blog: Wincanton and Plumpton

04 Jan | BY Richard Johnson | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Johnson Betway Blog: Wincanton and Plumpton

The champion jockey previews a weekend at Wincanton and Plumpton, and reflects on his New Year's Day win.

After what was a very busy Christmas and new year period it’s a slightly calmer, less high profile weekend, although the racing is still very competitive.

Philip Hobbs has a number of runners at Wincanton so I’m heading there on Saturday.

Wincanton on Saturday

It’s going to be a busy day on Saturday with six rides and first up is Unsafe Conduct {ODDS:363006976:SP} in the opening handicap hurdle (12:30).

He won back in May and didn’t run too badly at Warwick in November. This is a very competitive race, and he has to carry top weight, but he should have a good chance if repeating the form of his Newton Abbot win.

I’m on Dancingatdunraven {ODDS:363006990:SP} for Philip in the novices’ hurdle (13:35). He won an Irish point-to-point last March and has been doing everything nicely at home.

It’s difficult to assess these young horses, so we’ll find out more about him after the race.

Paul Nicholls’ Kapcorse looks the danger after bolting up over fences at Newbury last month. If he can transfer his chase form to hurdles, he’ll be hard to beat.

Molineaux {ODDS:363007008:7/2} had some good form over hurdles last season, winning a couple of times and running well behind some talented horses.

He goes for the novices’ handicap chase (14:05) and should have a decent chance in an open-looking race.

He was unlucky last time at Exeter when badly hampered and unseating Sean Bowen.

Dark Episode {ODDS:363007025:7/1} got off the mark in a conditional jockeys’ novices’ hurdle at Leicester last month and runs in the class 3 handicap hurdle (14:40).

He’s inexperienced, but is still open to improvement and has done very little wrong so far in his short career. He’ll enjoy the decent ground and hopefully there is more to come. He’s definitely one for the future.

I’m on Sizing Platinum {ODDS:363007029:11/2} in the 2m4f handicap chase (15:15) who I have ridden on his last two starts. He was an excellent second for Robbie Power at the Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr in April and also ran well to be runner-up at Newton Abbot in May.

He disappointed at Cartmel in July on his last start but hopefully he can bounce back to his earlier form. Off top weight he’ll need to be at the top of his game, though.

My last ride of the day is Le Ligerien {ODDS:363007069:SP} in the maiden hurdle (15:50). He ran well at Taunton last time when only beaten a couple of lengths. If he can reproduce that effort, he’ll go there with a decent chance.

It’s hard to pinpoint one horse on Saturday. They all have chances but it’s very competitive.

Everyone will enjoy the Veterans’ Final at Sandown

I’ve said it plenty of times before but the Veterans’ Series is an absolutely fantastic initiative. The crowd loves to see these old horses battle it out and this year’s should be another thrilling race.

Pete The Feat is 15 years young and will be trying to win it for the second time after chasing home Buywise last year. He loves it round there and hopefully he’ll run well again.

Plumpton on Sunday

Big Meadow is my only ride at Plumpton in the Sussex National (14:40).

I was on him two starts back at Exeter where he ran a nice race. He stays forever and with such dry conditions over the last 10 days or so, the ground isn’t going to be overly testing which might not be in his favour.

He unseated at the first at Exeter on New Year’s Day, so he must go there with an each-way chance if he’s none the worse for that mishap.

Glory And Fortune

It was nice to have a winner on New Year’s Day with Glory And Fortune in the Listed bumper.

He was impressive and looks a bright prospect. It was a very good performance on his debut, not many horses can go and win a Listed bumper first time out which must bode well for the future.

He’s a horse for next season, though, and I doubt you’ll see much of him over the next few months.

Visit Betway’s horse racing page.


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

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