Richard Johnson: I’ve twisted my hip and I’m quite sore
The champion jockey rates his chances at Ascot on Saturday despite falling earlier in the week.
It was great to notch up three winners during the week including Western Ryder who did it very nicely at Chepstow.
He got rid of me on his first start over fences but was much better on Wednesday and he is a horse with a bright future.
The week ended in an unfortunate manner when Springtown Lake fell at the last at Wincanton.
I’ve twisted my hip and I’m quite sore so I’ve had to step down from my Friday rides at Ascot.
It’s unfortunate but that’s part of the job and hopefully some rest should mean I’m fine to ride this weekend where I’ve got great book of rides.
Haydock on Saturday
I’ll make sure to pack my snorkel and flippers for Haydock as it looks set to be extremely testing!
I kick off with Whatmore in the novices’ hurdle (12.10pm).
He's a nice horse who has won his last two races and he has as much experience as anything else in the race.
He will handle the ground and I think he’s got a good each-way chance.
Russe Blanc is my ride in the handicap chase (12.40pm).
He won the Classic Chase at Warwick last year on heavy ground and, if he can repeat that sort of form, he looks to be well-handicapped. I think he goes there with a decent chance.
I’m then on Seldom Inn in the Graduation Chase (1.15pm).
Sandy [Thomson] usually does really well with these staying chasers, but his form suggests he’s up against it with the likes of Clan Des Obeaux in there. Hopefully he can step up on what he’s done so far.
I ride Verni for Philip [Hobbs] in the handicap hurdle (1.50pm).
He is going the right way based on his excellent second in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham in March. They’ve been really happy with him at home over the summer and he has come back in great nick.
He ran well in this meeting a year ago behind Clyne in similarly testing conditions and we’re hopeful that he can run well in this very valuable handicap.
We are hopeful of a big run from Robbin’hannon in the stayers’ handicap hurdle (2.25pm).
He is unexposed having had just four runs over hurdles and we think he’ll love the going having won really well in similar conditions at Warwick earlier in the year.
He is a big, strong, chasing type who I’m sure will outrun his odds.
The big race of the day is the Betfair Chase (3.00pm) and the trip is going to take some getting on the ground.
Bristol De Mai will absolutely love it and, with Nigel’s [Twiston-Davies] horses running so well at the moment, he is the one I’d like to be on.
Defi Du Seuil at Ascot
While I’m at Haydock, Defi Du Seuil looks set to get his season underway in the 2.40 at Ascot on Saturday.
He did everything well last year and there is nothing to suggest that he can’t improve on that this year.
The trip shouldn’t be a problem and he looks a million dollars at home.
Uttoxeter on Sunday
In the novices’ hurdle (1.15pm) I ride Woolstone One, who won well for me at Ffos Las. She looks to go there with a decent chance.
I ride Pennywell for Warren [Greatrex] in the handicap hurdle (1.45pm). His horses are in great form, so hopefully she can keep the run going.
Krackatoa King won’t mind the soft ground in the handicap chase (2.15pm).
He ran a nice race behind one of David Pipe’s last time and I’m sure he’ll improve for that run.
I finish the day on Ice Cool Champs in the handicap hurdle (2.45pm).
He ran really well on his seasonal reappearance and I think the step up in trip should suit.