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Richard Johnson blog: Cheltenham Festival Wednesday rides

The champion jockey previews every race from the second day of the Festival, including the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle and Betway Champion Chase.

12 Mar | BY Richard Johnson | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Johnson blog: Cheltenham Festival Wednesday rides

Hopefully the weather isn’t going to be as bad as they say it could be on day two and we can get the racing on.

The forecast doesn’t look great, with high winds in the area, but we’ve known them to be wrong in the past and let’s hope that’s the case on Wednesday.

I had a great start to the meeting on Tuesday when Thomas Darby ran a cracker to finish second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

It was a really good effort and we were thrilled with him.

Unfortunately Lalor didn’t run as well in the Arkle. He was never really travelling and I’m sure he’ll be checked out at home.

Although the ground was softer than ideal, I don’t think that was the reason.

The main thing is that he seemed fine after the race and hopefully we can get him back for Aintree.


My big ride on day two is Brewin’upastorm  in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. I suppose it’s a very topical name given the weather forecast.

He was running a massive race here on Trial’s Day when coming down at the last. I didn’t feel I was beaten at the time, I hadn’t asked him for everything.

When horses are tired and fall they often take a long time to get back up, but he was straight up and cantering away which was a good sign. It was obviously frustrating, but hopefully he will have learnt from it and won’t do it again.

I sat on him last week where we jumped six hurdles.

He schooled nicely and feels really well, so fingers crossed he goes there with a great chance.

The race will be run to suit him and the ground shouldn’t be a worry.

I suppose the fact that Olly Murphy’s two ran so well in the Supreme yesterday can only be a bonus for him.

It’s not going to be easy with the likes of Champ and Battleoverdoyen in there. Champ obviously beat him in the Challow and he has lots of experience, although that was a very slowly run race.

Battleoverdoyen looks the best of the Irish and he must be another with a decent chance, but my horse has improved with every run this season and I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet.


I ride Drinks Interval  in the RSA Chase, and realistically it’s going to be very hard for her against Santini, Delta Work and Topofthegame.

She actually isn’t a million miles away on ratings. She’s got lots of experience and a very good attitude, but the ground isn’t ideal for her.

Santini looks the obvious one. I wouldn’t be worried about his shoe coming off the other day.

I can hurt my toe one day and a couple of days later it will be better. These things normally sort themselves out pretty quickly.


I don’t have a ride in this, but it looks wide open as always.

You’re going to need to find a horse that handles soft ground. Maybe Ballyandy  could go well at a big price.


The big race of the day is the Betway Champion Chase, where I can’t see Altior  being beaten. He’s the banker of the whole meeting.

He’s a great horse, and Min will probably chase him home again like last year.

Politologue could be the one to get third as he’s got form over further, and you’ll need to stay in this.


Tiger Roll is simply the best horse in the race.

He’s an absolute phenomenon who has won at three Cheltenham Festivals, as well as a Grand National.

He’s an amazing horse that has done more than you could ever believe. He’s got to be the one in this.

After Altior he’s the banker of the meeting for me.


Again, you need to find horses that can cope with conditions.

The Fred Winter is a hard race, and I suppose because Joseph O’Brien has got such a good team of juveniles you have to respect his runners.


My final ride of the day is Thyme Hill  in the bumper for Philip Hobbs. He ran really well to finish second round here in November.

He should be fine on the ground and he stays very well, so let’s hope he can run a decent race at what will be a big price.

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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.