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Richard Johnson's Blog - Winners & Schooling


11 April 2018

I’m back in the groove after my enforced break.   I hadn’t been skiing for 14 years and it was great fun to be on the slopes all day with the family and get plenty of fresh air and exercise.  I was lucky not to miss much racing because of this continuing wet weather.  It was nice to come back and have winners on my first two days back. 

Everyone’s looking forward to the Aintree meeting now.  I normally stay up near Liverpool on Friday night.  There’s always a great atmosphere on the track and in the town.  At the moment I don’t have a ride in the National itself.  That might change, but I don’t want to ride any old thing just for the sake of it.  There are heaps of other good races over the three days. 


Thinking about Chepstow winners who could run at Aintree, Gumball on Thursday needs better ground.  At the moment the going on the hurdles course is said to be good to soft, which would be all right in theory, but I’m wary of being too optimistic as Aintree always rides slower than it walks and there’s more rain about.  I schooled him on Monday and he felt well.  It helps that he’ll be running in the first race of the meeting, when the ground will be at its best, but he has to bounce back to the form that he showed at Chepstow.


Rock The Kasbah could run in the three mile chase on Saturday, but as you know he wouldn’t want very testing conditions. 


There’s also Western Ryder, who won a maiden hurdle at Chepstow.  Though he did that on heavy going we believe he’ll prefer better ground.  He ran pretty well at Cheltenham to be a staying-on sixth and we think that the step up to two and a half miles on Saturday will suit him.  He’s one of my best chances of the meeting.


I haven’t had a chance to look at the entries for Chepstow’s meeting on Saturday.  Venetia Williams has hit form with a bang with seven winners in two days.  Her horses should be followed now, especially as most of them are suited by heavy going.  She’ll be one of the few hoping the rain lasts a bit longer!

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