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Richard Johnson's Blog - Fakenham And Cheltenham Previews


22 February 2018

Melekhov’s win in the bumper made the long journey to Fakenham worthwhile last Friday.  There’s no way of getting there quickly from Herefordshire, my neck of the woods.  It’s a four and a half hour journey whichever way you go. 

Market Rasen is further still in terms of miles, but it was great to ride a winner for my Mum there on Sunday on The Last Bridge.  He’s the only horse she has in training now, and he’s particularly well named, as he’s the last in a line that my family has had going back to a mare called Bridge Ash.  All those we’ve had have “bridge” in their names.  My very first winner was on that mare’s first foal, Rusty Bridge, back in 1994! 

I was at Wetherby on Tuesday, but didn’t have a ride in that race where the leader fell at the last, brought down the next one, and left another well clear.  That one stopped and let the horse who would ordinarily have finished fourth win.  I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in quite such an unusual finish.   It goes to show how suddenly things can change when horses pull themselves up or tire at the end of a race, even more so in heavy going.  That’s all part of the glorious uncertainty of racing.  

I’m doing a couple of Cheltenham previews next week – one at Hereford on Thursday and then Chepstow’s on Friday the 2nd.   By then almost everything that’s going to run at the Festival will have had their last run.  I have to admit I don’t know as much about the Irish horses but there are plenty trained here that I will know about.  Native River is obviously the one I’m really looking forward to, especially after his fine comeback at Newbury.

First things first, and Dave Roberts has got me four rides for four different trainers at Huntingdon on Thursday.  Sadly it doesn’t look like I’ll be riding at Chepstow on Saturday, the plan is to go up to Newcastle to try for some more winners there.

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