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Richard Johnson Blog - An Impressive Chasing Debut For La Bague Au Roi


09 November 2018

It has been another busy week for me, with winners most days. I had a couple of falls at a wet and windy Chepstow on Wednesday but thankfully no harm was done to me on the horses.

In the first at Chepstow my ride Ebony Gale was having his first start over hurdles and he unfortunately fell at the first hurdle. We brought down Alan King’s co-favourite Harambe, so I probably wasn’t too popular with some of the punters, but that’s racing. Hopefully Ebony Gale won’t be put off by the experience, he was quickly up on his feet and galloping away. My next ride Whin Park took a tired tumble at the last. Not the best start to my day.

I came away with one good winner though, Awake at Midnight (pictured) took the 2 mile novices’ chase. You don’t get too many 16 runner novice chases so this was a tough test for all of the inexperienced runners. My horse is bred to get further, being by Midnight Legend and related to Planet of Sound. He found it all happening a bit fast for him in the early stages but he really got going in the second half of the race. This will have been a good education for him.

I won again on Looksnowtlikebrian at Carlisle last weekend for Tim Vaughan. This 7 year old is improving and he’s a real stayer who likes soft ground. The owners would love to see him line up in the Coral Welsh Grand National, and he’s certainly going the right way. Currently rated in the mid 130s, he could squeeze into the bottom of the weights for the Welsh National this year, another win in the meantime would help.

On Thursday La Bague Au Roi made her chasing debut in the KKA-Highpoint Beginners' Chase at Newbury, and she was very good. She’s rated 150 over hurdles after a great season last year when the high point was a Grade 2 win. Warren Greatrex was hopeful she would make a good chaser, she’s a big mare who has taken time to grow into her frame and she looks the part.

She jumped really well against good horses including the Colin Tizzard trained favourite Lostintranslation. It couldn’t really have gone any better, particularly as this was a good race and she was taking on the boys too. I imagine she can pick up a few novice chases now, she’d certainly scare some potential rivals off as trainers are wary of taking on a good novice. Warren is taking about the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton at Christmas as a potential target.

Two of my biggest suppliers of rides, Philip Hobbs and Tim Vaughan, have really hit form recently. I rode a Hobbs trained double at Exeter on Tuesday and Ozzie The Oscar was only ½ length from taking the big one of the day, The Haldon Gold Cup. He ran really well in defeat. As well as Looksnowtlikebrian for Tim Vaughan I also won on Tight Call at Hereford. He was impressive in his maiden hurdle win.  

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