I’ve been riding a fair few ‘placed horses’ in recent weeks and last Saturday at Ascot was a particularly frustrating day. Whatmore gave me a lovely spin in the Sodexo Gold Cup and I was convinced we were going to win when we got to Regal Encore approaching the last. However, the old boy wasn’t for passing at his favourite track and just pulled out a bit more. It’s a shame Whatmore has gone up 4lbs for not winning, but he will have his day in the sun soon.
Philip (Hobbs) is starting to bring out some nice horses and Kalooki is definitely one of those. He was brilliant at Newbury in the Beginners Chase and has a bright future. He is one of those horses who makes all the cold early starts worthwhile.
Looking ahead to this weekend and I am at Wincanton on Saturday for four rides where the ground looks like being pretty close to good….
GETAWAY LUV – 1.15pm Wincanton
I schooled him on Friday and he seems in good nick. He ran well in two bumpers and just got a little stuck in the mud last time. Conditions should be perfect for him, he is just in at the deep end a little. Paul Nicholls’ Flic Ou Voyou comes here race fit and may take plenty of beating even under the penalties.
THE WHITE MOUSE – 1.50pm Wincanton
The fact The White Mouse only has 10st 1lbs in the saddle means that I won’t be having much dinner on Friday night! I’ve not actually ridden her before, and she has been off the track since clipping heels and coming down in last year’s Mares’ Final at Newbury. She had showed plenty of talent before that and with conditions in her favour, she will hopefully go well. Lucy Wadham has been amongst the winners recently and I’m hopeful of a bold showing.
BRANDON CASTLE – 3.00pm Wincanton (Elite Hurdle)
Only the six runners in the Elite Hurdle as Goshen bypasses the race because of the quickish ground. I ride Brandon Castle for Neil King who has been in great form throughout the summer, winning at Market Rasen a couple of times. He certainly won’t lack for fitness, it’s just whether he is up to landing a race like this. Alan King’s Sceau Royal has conditions in his favour and will be a tough nut to crack.
3.35pm Wincanton – Badger Beers Silver Trophy
No ride for me in the this, but I will be watching on with interest from the weighing room. Present Man has top weight but looks the one. He loves it around here and is looking to try and win this for a third time. The Nicholls team are in great form and it would be no surprise to see him win again.
EARTH COMPANY – 4.05pm Wincanton
My final ride of the day is Earth Company in the closing bumper having his first start for Philip. I’ve not actually sat on him and it will be interesting to see how he gets on. He has pleased everyone at home, and it is now about converting that homework to the racecourse. Fingers crossed.
Finally, I head to Sandown on Sunday for three rides. The ground is currently described as ‘soft’ and that will suit ADRIMEL, my mount in the maiden hurdle (1.50pm). He makes his hurdling debut and hasn’t been seen since finishing out the back in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. He’s an exciting prospect who will get further in time, but with the ground like it is he should be fine over this trip. He’s one I’m really looking forward to and may be my best chance of a winner this weekend.
Read Richard Johnson's thoughts on his weekend rides every week exclusively on the Tote blog.