Football Football
Horse Racing Horse Racing
Cricket Cricket
Basketball Basketball
Golf Golf

Richard Johnson: Garde La Victoire has a really exciting future over fences

02 Nov | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Johnson: Garde La Victoire has a really exciting future over fences

In his exclusive column, the National Hunt jockey and Betway ambassador also gives his thoughts on Stobart's extended support to jump racing

It would be wrong of me to start this week’s blog without making reference to the introduction of prize money for the National Hunt jockeys’ championship.

Stobart have had a long association with flat racing, so it’s nice that their sponsorship has stretched over to us jumping jockeys.

I have to say it did make a few of us chuckle that they waited for AP to retire before finally introducing prize money.

Let’s hope the added incentive doesn’t force him back out of retirement!

In all seriousness, it’s great that the top-five jockeys – hopefully I’ll be one of them – will all be rewarded as well as the top conditional and top northern rider.

The reward has been spread out nicely and we are all very grateful.

Looking back at the action over the last few days and I was delighted with Garde La Victoire at Uttoxeter on Friday in what looked an above average novice chase.

There are plenty of areas for improvement and he was pretty low at one or two, but overall he jumped really nicely and he was spot on over the last four once he got his eye in.

He’s got a really exciting future over fences and I suppose the obvious next target would be the Open meeting at Cheltenham as long as the ground is alright.

We’ll have to take stock at that point and see where we are with races like the Racing Post Arkle at the Festival itself firmly on the radar.

I must also put in a strong word for Onefitzall who was also hugely impressive a few hours earlier at Uttoxeter.

The Mick Fitzgerald Racing Club have a really smart one on their hands who could end up at the Festival in a Neptune or Albert Bartlett the way he is progressing.

He’s not flamboyant at home, but is slick on the racecourse and will step up again I’m sure.

The ground sadly went against Menorah in the Charlie Hall Chase on Saturday and even though it didn’t feel too bad when I walked the course before racing, it simply rode too soft for him.

He just seems to hate that type of sticky, holding ground and will be seen in a much better light back on his favoured sound surface.

Colin Tizzard has his string in great order and it was terrific to see Cue Card bounce back to his best.

Don’t forget he has won a Champion Bumper and a Ryanair Chase so will be a big player in all the big staying chases if back on song.

Kilcooney gave me a tremendous ride in the West Yorkshire Hurdle, routing Rock On Ruby by 13 lengths.

He was the middle part of a treble on the day for Charlie Longsdon who was quite rightly euphoric when I spoke to him.

As for Kilcooley, he just seems to love soft ground and when he gets his conditions he’s up there with the very best of the staying hurdlers.

Races like the Long Distance hurdle at Newbury and the Long Walk at Ascot look perfect targets for him.

Looking at this week’s action and I ride Dunraven Storm in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on Tuesday.

On paper he’s got plenty to do against the likes of Sire De Grugy, Vibrato Valtat and God’s Own.

However, unlike that trio, he’s got that all important run under his belt and, off a low weight, can run well.

I mentioned Duke Des Champs a few weeks ago as one I’m looking forward to riding when the rain comes.

Well, the rain has come and he takes his chance at Exeter on Tuesday, too, in the novices’ hurdle at 1.20pm.

I’m hopeful of a bold show.

Racing betting

READ: Richard Johnson: I think Menorah will run a massive race