Richard Johnson: Westend Story is why I'm going to Wetherby
The champion jockey explains why he's so pleased to be in Yorkshire and also reveals the rest of his rides on a busy weekend.
There’s some decent racing this weekend and Philip Hobbs is sending Westend Story to Wetherby on Saturday so I’m making my way up there for six rides.
Wetherby on Saturday
My first ride of the day is Noble Robin in the novices’ hurdle (12.30pm) for Jonjo O’Neill and JP McManus.
He handled the conditions well at Ffos Las last time and looked like he had a bit in hand.
The ground will be testing tomorrow and that should suit him well. He looks like a nice type and should go there with a strong chance.
I then ride Hogan’s Height for Jamie Snowden in the novices’ chase (1.05pm).
His win at Ludlow was a career-best performance and if he can reproduce that sort of form, he’d have a decent chance.
Evan Williams’ De Dollar Man looks like the one we all have to beat, but my horse is an improving sort and let’s hope he can continue doing so.
In the handicap hurdle (1.40pm) I ride Coroberee for Tony Coyle.
He ran consistently for Dan Skelton before switching stables and he has won on the Flat.
He’s got some form on soft ground, so he should handle the conditions and, in what looks an open race, hopefully he can be competitive off his mark.
I ride Westend Story in the handicap hurdle (2.50pm) and he should come on bags for his seasonal reappearance at Carlisle.
He just got a bit tired towards the end of that race and like a lot of Philip’s horses, he seems to be coming back into form.
He’s the reason I’m going to Wetherby and he’s been showing encouraging signs at home that he is back to his best.
The form of the Carlisle race has worked out well and I think he’s got a very strong chance.
My next ride is Newberry New in the handicap chase (3.25pm) and he’s another who should appreciate the testing conditions.
He won well at Uttoxeter in similar conditions. I’d be hopeful that he can continue his winning ways.
My final ride of the day is So Lonely in the bumper (3.55pm).
He ran put in a good performance at Newbury last time in what was a fairly competitive race and he should come on again from that.
That looks the strongest piece of form in the race and if he can reproduce that he must have strong claims.
Classic Chase at Warwick
I’m obviously at Wetherby, so don’t get the chance to ride Missed Approach in the Classic Chase at Warwick (3.35pm).
I was on him at Newbury where he finished sixth behind Total Recall, which I thought was a good run.
The handicapper has actually dropped him six pounds for that and even though he is carrying top-weight, he must have an outstanding chance.
He jumps and stays and should have no problem with the trip, having finished second in the four miler at Cheltenham last year.
If he can pick up from where he left off at Newbury he must go close. He’s the class horse in the race and is the one I’d want to be on.
Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton
As usual, the Lanzarote Hurdle looks very competitive with a number closely matched on ratings.
The one I think might be a tad overpriced is Wishfull Dreaming, who is making his first start for Olly Murphy having moved from Philip.
Olly has made a fantastic start to his career and this is a horse we have always thought goes well fresh.
Kempton should really suit him and he looks decent value at .
Native River is on track for the Denman Chase at Newbury next month after a racecourse gallop somewhere soon.
I haven’t seen him yet but I’m told he is well in himself at home and all plans are being geared towards another tilt at the Gold Cup.
A number of horses in the Gold Cup market have underperformed so far this year and if Native River can run to the form that he showed last March then he must have a fantastic chance.
Defi Du Seuil
Philip’s horses are coming back to form and Defi Du Seuil looked fantastic when I saw him on Wednesday morning.
He’s a really exciting horse to look forward to and hopefully when he does run he’ll put that Ascot race well behind him.
His next run will give us a better idea of whether he’s Champion Hurdle class or one for a handicap.
It won’t be long before we see him next, and his options are wide open.