Richard Johnson: Western Ryder my best chance this weekend
The champion jockey previews all of his rides at both Chepstow on Saturday and Huntingdon on Sunday.
Off to Chepstow on Saturday
There's plenty of good action on Saturday (provided the weather is kind to us!) so I've opted to travel to Chepstow where I think I have the best chances of riding some winners.
My first ride of the afternoon is Mance Rayder for Philip Hobbs in the novices’ hurdle (1.00pm).
He somewhat fluffed his lines on his hurdling debut at Exeter early last month when I had to pull him up.
That was particularly frustrating as we know that he is a really nice horse and that wasn’t his true running.
But I'm really hopeful he can bounce back and he must have a good chance of reproducing his winning bumper form.
Next up, I am on another for Philip in Ice Cool Champs in the three-mile novices’ handicap chase (1.35pm).
He's a real nice, big, strong, staying type, as he showed when winning at Uttoxeter on heavy ground a few weeks back.
Conditions will again be in his favour here and he should go well again despite a 9lbs hike in the weights.
I schooled Lovenormoney , who takes his chance in the handicap hurdle (2.10pm) on Thursday, and he went nicely.
He is another one who will relish the conditions as he won on heavy ground at Uttoxeter a few starts back.
The Welsh Grand National Trial (2.45pm) looks sure to be a real slog and I ride Alfie Spinner for Kerry Lee, who has her team in good order.
He may be 12 years old now, but he has won around here before on really bad ground and that has to be a huge plus.
Let’s just hope the fire still burns brightly.
My penultimate ride of the day is another for Philip in a two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase (3.20pm), but this time in Trevor Hemmings’ colours.
Longtown is a typical stayer that the owner loves and he will be at home in these conditions, too.
He just got a bit tired at Exeter when I pulled him up last time and I’m hopeful of a better showing now.
Finally, I ride The Cannister Man for Sam Thomas in the bumper (3.50pm) and, if I am honest, I don’t know too much about him.
That said, the fact that he was second in a heavy-ground bumper shows that he will handle the conditions, so that has to be a huge plus.
Huntingdon on Sunday
I’m off to Huntingdon on Sunday where I’ve got a couple of nice rides to look forward to.
Western Ryder is back in action in the novices’ hurdle (12.55pm) and is arguably my best chance of the weekend.
He schooled well when I sat on him earlier in the week and got his act together well at Chepstow last time having fluffed his lines on debut.
This looks the ideal stepping stone for him on his way to bigger assignments and I’m really hopeful he can go well again.
Even though I have no ride in the Peterborough Chase (2.30pm), I am thrilled for the track that they have such a good turnout.
I suppose Top Notch looks the one to beat if he can reproduce his efforts from Ascot last time as that looks smart form.
My final ride of the weekend is Strike The Pose for James Ewart in the Listed mares’ bumper (3.00pm).
She looks a nice ride to have picked up as she won well on her debut.
This will require a step up though as she meets some good types here in Outofthisworld and Grageelagh Girl.