Richard Johnson: I've got some really exciting rides at Aintree
The champion jockey says he is looking forward to the Grand National Festival with bookings on La Bague Au Roi, Lalor, Brewin'upastorm and Rock The Kasbah.
It was a fairly low key weekend with Aintree this week, but it was nice to get a winner at Ascot on Sunday.
A journalist told me afterwards that I hadn’t ridden a winner there for over 800 days, so it was nice to get that monkey off my back. I hadn’t realised it was that long!
En Meme Temps had been very consistent without getting his head in front.
He had plenty of experience for a maiden hurdle and the step up in trip suited him well. He really battled and hopefully he can move on to bigger and better things.
Zafar ran okay but he just wasn’t quick enough on the ground. He definitely wants further and you’ll see him running over the next few months.
He’s still a maiden but is a good horse for novice hurdling over two and a half miles this summer.
Uttoxeter on Saturday
I didn’t manage to ride a winner on Saturday, but The Milan Girl ran well in the mares’ bumper. She was quite green and stayed on well, only to get collared in the last furlong.
It was a good first run, she’ll benefit from the experience and you’d think she would be good enough to win a bumper.
He’s A Goer got a bit stuck in the ground.
He jumped three out really well and I thought I had every chance. They did a good job with the ground, but it was definitely on the slower side. He’s one who prefers better ground and he’ll be out over the next few months.
The Boss’s Dream ran okay, although he was flat out the whole way. He struggled to keep up with them when they turned in and might just need more of a test.
Friday Fontwell double
Philip Hobbs' horses are in great form and I was delighted for him and everyone at the yard to get the 100 winners up. Last season was disappointing and it’s amazing how different one season can be to another.
Le Ligerien was entitled to win as he did. He was a little bit sticky with his jumping but he should keep going over the summer on better ground.
I’m glad to have a few nice horses to ride over the summer, as this is the time of year when you start thinking about getting winners on the board in May when we start back from zero.
We tried chasing with Victarion but he didn’t really take to fences as well as we hoped. It was nice to see him get his first win of his career and hopefully he’ll get some confidence from that.
All eyes on Aintree
I’ll go up to Aintree on Thursday morning and then come home on Thursday night. My wife Fiona will go up with me on Friday and we always go to the Alder Hey Hospital that morning.
It’s something us jockeys do every year and it really puts things into perspective. They do some incredible work for very ill children.
I’ve got some really exciting rides during the week.
It’s looking like La Bague Au Roi will run on Friday in the Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase. I won it three years ago with Native River and it would be lovely to do it again.
She has really matured this season and is unbeaten over fences. I schooled her last Friday and she seemed very well. She should go there with a great chance.
I hope to ride Lossiemouth for Tom Lacey in the bumper on Friday. He has won his last two and I liked him when we won at Carlisle back in February.
Rock The Kasbah is obviously the big one for me on Saturday. I’ll probably sit on him on Wednesday morning. The yard form is a big positive and fingers crossed he goes there in top form.
Brewin’upastorm came out of Cheltenham really well and two and a half miles round Aintree should be perfect. It will be a good race, but he ran really well at Cheltenham and Aintree might suit him even better.
Kayley Woollacott and the team are very happy with Lalor who will go for the novice chase on Saturday. None of us can explain why he didn’t perform at Cheltenham, but we know he loves Aintree.
We’re keeping everything crossed that he can find his old form. He has always been a spring horse, so we just have to hope he’s back on track.
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