Richard Johnson: Let's hope Beer Goggles does Richard justice
The champion jockey pays tribute to trainer Richard Woollacott, before looking ahead to his weekend rides.
Richard Woollacott and Beer Goggles
I was incredibly sad to hear the news about Richard. It was an awful shock and he is a huge loss to racing.
I will remember him for always having a big smile on his face at the races and he loved what he did.
He was a trainer that was really starting to make a name for himself and the performance of Beer Goggles at Newbury showed that.
He was over the moon that day – it was the biggest winner of his training career.
He bought the horse and managed to get him from quite a low grade into a Grade Two winner which is an incredibly impressive feat.
It’s going to be a very sad day on Saturday at Cheltenham without him there.
Obviously my thoughts are with his family and hopefully Beer Goggles can run well in his memory.
He runs in the Cleeve Hurdle (3.35pm) and is more than worth his place in the line-up.
It looks to be a very competitive race with Finian’s Oscar the interesting one having reverted back to hurdles.
Beer Goggles is very straightforward and I can’t see why he won’t handle the track.
He has been in great form since his win at Newbury and I don’t see any reason why he can’t put up a similar performance.
Looking back on the week
Wood Pigeon did the job nicely at Fakenham on Monday.
He handled the conditions really well and Olly Murphy has his horses in great form at the moment. Long may that continue.
He’s done a fantastic job since leaving Gordon Elliott’s yard and his four-timer at Fakenham shows he’s following on from him very well.
I see that he has It’s O Kay entered in the mares’ bumper (4.20pm) at Doncaster on Saturday. Davy Russell rides her and she is one to keep a close eye on over the weekend.
Stoney Mountain also got the job done at Warwick on Thursday.
Henry Daly’s horses are running really well and Stoney Mountain is sure to improve once he gets over an obstacle.
The rest of my rides on Saturday at Cheltenham
I have a nice book of rides for Trials Day at Cheltenham and things are beginning to pick up with the Festival only a few weeks away.
My first of the day is Elixir De Nutz in the Triumph Hurdle Trial (12.40pm). He won a bumper in France and has impressed us with his work at home.
It’s obviously a pretty hot race with the likes of Apple's Shakira in there.
She has been very impressive in her two starts so far but Philip Hobbs wouldn’t run him here unless he thought he was up to it.
Saturday will tell us a lot more about him but he is definitely one to look out for as the season goes on.
I’m on War Sound in the novices’ handicap chase (1.15pm).
He ran a good race last time at Newbury over a trip that was probably on the short side for him.
He steps up to two and a half miles which should suit him and hopefully it can bring about a bit of an improvement.
In the novices’ hurdle (3.00pm) I’ll be on Fairmount for Martin Keighley.
He was an impressive winner at Ffos Las last time but will need to improve again here.
He’ll handle the soft ground and hopefully can put up a solid performance.
Bristol De Mai is very much the one to beat based on his performance at Haydock and he will get ground much more to his liking on Saturday.
He was a bit disappointing in the King George, but the ground was drying out and I’m not sure it really played to his strengths. I think he will take an awful lot of beating.
Tea For Two is the other one I thought had a chance. He’s a Grade One winner and he could be the main danger.
Sunday at Fontwell
My only ride on Sunday is Mahlervous in the handicap hurdle (3.00pm).
Warren Greatrex’s horses are in great form at the moment and I schooled Mahlervous on Friday morning. He felt really well.
The ground will be very testing at Fontwell, but he should be fine with that and looks to have solid claims.