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Richard Johnson: We are excited about Garde La Victoire over fences

26 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Johnson: We are excited about Garde La Victoire over fences

In his exclusive column, the National Hunt jockey and Betway ambassador reflects on his weekend rides and looks ahead to future prospects

Last week

We were delighted with Wishfull Thinking who ran a cracker in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree yesterday – although take nothing away from the winner, Sound Investment.

We had to give him a bit of weight, but he travelled and jumped really well and looks like a typical Paul Nicholls improver.

Like I said last week, Wishfull Thinking was in very good form at home and you would never believe the age that he is. He just loves his racing and it is great that he has still got all that enthusiasm.

I would say that another crack at the Peterborough Chase, which he won last year, will be the target.

It was very sad to see what happened to Rajdhani Express, which was just one of those horrible accidents. The Waley-Cohens bred him and this will be a very difficult time for them, he was a very good horse.

Perform did well in the opener – he jumped well and settled and travelled nicely. We liked him last year and he had been showing us all of the right signs, but he was such a green horse.

He has lots of raw ability but, as he is so big, we are trying to bring him on slowly and educate him.

He is bound to improve for the run and it will probably be in 12 months’ time when he is novice chasing that you will see the best of him.

We were disappointed with Roalco De Farges at Cheltenham on Saturday. It was a lacklustre performance, but he can do that from time to time and he seemed fine after the race.

I would not write him off and his next outing could be in the Cross Country Chase at the Open meeting. He is quite a quirky horse and could be well suited to the demands of that race.

I was very pleased with Drumlee Sunset on Friday who did absolutely nothing wrong. Dan Skelton’s horse, Mister Miyagi, is clearly pretty smart and it was encouraging that they pulled a long way clear.

Our lad will get further in time, but he does not have to go up in trip just yet.

I was really impressed with John Ferguson’s Penglai Pavilion in the novices’ hurdle. He is probably the best flat horse jumping at the moment and he looked like the real deal.

On his flat ability he should rank very high this season and the Neptune at the Festival looks the obvious target.

This week

There is a bit of rain around this week and hopefully Uttoxeter gets some of it as one of our big hopes for the season, Garde La Victoire, is entered there on Friday.

We are excited to start him off over fences and would hope that he will develop into an Arkle contender.

He was a highly-rated hurdler last term and, from what we have seen at home, there is nothing to suggest that he will not be every bit as good over fences.

The Whateleys also have some wonderful old favourites and Menorah will try to win Saturday’s Charlie Hall Chase for the second year running.

You cannot knock him – he has been an amazing horse for the yard. I sat on him last week and he feels in really good order.


Another horse that I am really looking forward to riding this season is Wait For Me, who was very impressive on his debut at Ascot before running really well to finish third in the Champion Bumper at the Festival.

He is very exciting and I will be disappointed if he is not right up there with the best of the novice hurdlers.

Horse racing betting

READ: Richard Johnson: Wishfull Thinking still thinks he’s a four-year-old