November has been an amazing month for me, probably the best that I can remember. I’ve travelled many miles and have ridden a lot of nice horses, which has been fantastic. I just hope it continues throughout the season.
I finished off the month with three winners on Hennessy day at Newbury — two for Philip Hobbs [Royal Regatta and Bertie Boru], who is also enjoying a great season so far.
Royal Regatta jumped really well and hopefully he’ll improve fromthe experience.
I also had the ride on Medinas in the Long Distance hurdle — he ran well for Alan King. It was nice to ride a winner for Alan again, as I had a lot of rides for him at the start of my career.
More Of That [the 4-7 favourite trained by Jonjo O’Neill] was a bit disappointing finishing third, he just didn’t seem the horse he was at the end of last season.
It was a very competitive renewal of the Hennessy. The winner Many Clouds has been a very solid horse of the past 12 months and ran well. He looks as though he could improve again. It was great for Oliver Sherwood and for Leighton Aspell, who is a nice fellow, and especially for owner Trevor Hemmings, who is a great supporter.
The runner-up Houblon Des Obeaux put in an amazing run under top weight to come second at 50-1.
I was disappointed with my ride, Fingal Bay, though. I was very keen on his chances and although he travelled well and jumped nicely he suddenly stopped, which is never a good sign. We pulled up and discovered he’d burst a blood vessel, which explained it.
On the plus side at least that is something that can be sorted and there’s no reason why it should have any effect on him in the future.
It seems a while ago but Menorah ran really well at Haydock in the Betfair Chase [22 November], in ground that wasn’t ideal. Although he was outstayed and beaten two lengths by Silviniaco Conti, we were very pleased with him and he’s a real hope for the King George now.
Paul Nicholls’ horses have come back into form now. He’s had some big winners in the past couple of weeks — Al Ferof ran well after a long lay-off to win the Amlin Chase, too.
An intriguing Tingle
The Tingle Creek is this Saturday (6 December) and it could be an interesting race. Last year’s winner Sire De Grugy is off injured and Sprinter Sacre has also been ruled out, after trainer Nicky Henderson said he’s not yet ready for a run following his heart condition last year.
The race is looking like an open contest all of a sudden. It will be interesting what comes through.
At the moment [on Monday 1 December] I’m not sure if I’ll have a ride, but I’m on Dunraven Storm in the novices’ chase. He’s run well the past two occasions out [winning at Cheltenham and Exeter] so I’m looking forward to riding him.
McCoy in good order
AP is back, and in typical style returned with a winner. He seems in good order and it’s nice to have him in the weighing room again. His seat is nearest the door, and when he was off I was upgraded to that. I’m glad he has returned so I’m not the nearest on the way out!
The news that jockeys will now be compensated for late non-runners has also been welcomed in the weighing room.
Next year jockeys will receive 40% of their riding fee for any non-runner declared after 9am on the day of a race [which equates to £64.60 for jump jockeys].
It is especially important for the jockeys who travel long distances day after day for just one ride. If a horse is a non-runner at the last minute then they are left out of pocket through no fault of their own.
It can be a long way for nothing, which is extremely frustrating. It’s like a call out fee for a plumber
or electrician — regardless of whether there’s a job to do in the end, at you get paid for the time
of going there.
Ref: H&H Thursday 4 December, 2014
Read more columns from Richard:
New H&H columnist Richard Johnson reflects on his successful Cheltenham Open, and looks ahead to the rest of the season…
All you need to know about Richard Johnson, Horse & Hound’s new racing columnist
Horse & Hound's new racing columnist is celebrating a fantastic start to the new season with two big winners