Richard Johnson: Weather could hurt my chances at Wincanton
The champion jockey looks ahead to a snow-hit week of racing in the run up to Cheltenham, as well as reflecting on his rides at Newcastle and Southwell.
It’s looking like we could be in for a frustrating week if the weather reports are anything to go by.
We are lucky that most trainers have all-weather gallops now, meaning we can still school the horses which is especially important with all eyes on the Cheltenham Festival.
Hopefully we don’t get too much snow and racing goes ahead without much disruption.
Newcastle on Saturday
It was obviously incredibly frustrating what happened with Back To The Thatch. He was running a really nice race and got into a lovely rhythm.
I am confident he was going to run a big race and I’m pretty sure, given the way he was travelling, the trip wouldn’t have been a problem.
He’s just a six-year-old so he has plenty of time on his side. I’m confident he is one who will continue to improve as he gains more experience.
He’ll get an entry for the Midlands National at Uttoxeter later in the year, which is a race you’d think would suit him.
He loves soft ground so if conditions were in his favour, the race would look a strong possibility.
He’s an exciting young chaser and I’d like to think we’ve got plenty of days to look forward to with him.
The fact the race only had three runners didn’t really suit Cadeyrn in the closing novices’ hurdle.
He wants more of a test and I’m sure he’ll be much better when he jumps a fence.
He’s a lovely big horse who should make a good staying chaser next season.
Southwell on Sunday
Battalion is fine after his fall, which is the main thing.
He got quite tired on the very sticky ground and didn’t quite see the trip out.
I believe the plan will now be to revert back to the flat with him.
Sunday’s race was to see if Cheltenham was a realistic target and I think he’ll need some more experience over hurdles before we look towards bigger races.
Hurricane Rita ran a nice race in the handicap hurdle but I expect she ran into an improving horse of Sophie Leech’s.
She was a long way clear of the third horse though, so I wouldn’t give up hope with her yet.
Adonis Hurdle at Kempton
I was very impressed with Redicean in the Adonis at Kempton on Saturday.
He looks a really smart sort with all the tools needed to run a big race in the Triumph at Cheltenham.
Looking further ahead
Westend Story has an entry on Wednesday at Wincanton. He’s been in good form since his win last time.
It’s nice to see him entered and he’d be one to look forward to if the poor weather stays away.
The entries for the handicaps at Cheltenham came out a few days ago and Philip Hobbs has plenty of nice horses entered which is good to see.
Rock The Kasbah and Louis' Vac Pouch are just a couple of those to look to look forward to.
The former is entered in the 3m handicap chase on the opening day. He will really appreciate the better spring ground.
Louis’ Van Pouch hasn’t run since beating Beer Goggles at Aintree in November, which looks pretty strong form.
He’s been trained with the Pertemps in mind since and he is one we are hoping goes there with a great chance.