Richard Johnson: looking forward to riding the bold-jumping Village VicPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Johnson looking forward to Village Vic ride
CHAMPION JOCKEY Richard Johnson has said that he would not be on another horse in Saturday's Caspian Caviar Gold Cup besides his mount and last year's winner Village Vic.
Village Vic has since carved out a niche in similar races around Cheltenham, both old course and new, and Johnson said on his Betway blog: "It’s always a pleasure to ride Village Vic at Cheltenham and hopefully he can win for the second year running.
"He ran really well off a big weight last month. It was nice to see he can run up to his best form from his mark. He’s a little bit higher this time, but I can’t see any reason why he won’t run another massive race."
The Alan Peterson-owned nine-year-old will race off 22lb higher than 12 months ago on Saturday, but Johnson does not think he has necessarily reached his peak. "He thrived on his racing last season and it was his seasonal reappearance last time. He’s developed into a high class horse and absolutely loves the course and the trip."
He also made light of the different conditions: "Although he handles soft ground very well, I think the decent conditions will be more of a help than a hindrance. It’s much harder to concede weight in very soft ground.
"Everyone knows his running style. He’s enthusiastic, he jumps and gallops. Let’s hope he gets into a nice rhythm again. I certainly wouldn’t swap him for anything else."
Johnson enjoys a fine book of rides across the Cheltenham card on Saturday, including The New One, who he will ride in the International Hurdle as a result of Ryan Hatch's injury on Friday.