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Johnson a late replacement on Coneygree as Menorah is ruled out

Coneygree: will be the ride of Richard Johnson
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Coneygree will be ridden by Richard Johnson when he bids to return from injury with victory in a Betfair Chase to be run on ground that on Friday was eased to heavy but is not, according to Haydock, deep.

Prolonged spells of rain and sleet were the dominant theme on day one of the Betfair Chase meeting, and although more is expected, officials last night ruled out the need for an inspection for today's valuable card.

The change in underfoot conditions did lead to Menorah being scratched from Haydock's jump season highlight.

As a direct result Johnson switches to Coneygree, who had been Aidan Coleman's intended mount.

"Richard will ride," said trainer Mark Bradstock's wife Sara.

"Coneygree loves that sort of ground, the softer the better, but it does make it a little bit more of a test having been off the track for so long, and I suppose he is not alone in that none of them have galloped on anything like this.

"Usually you've had a week of it so you can get used to it on the gallops – ours is literally only just soft enough to canter on. We've been on the all-weather all through the autumn."

Haydock clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright said: "It's the beginning of the season on fresh ground, which is not that worn.
"We're forecast another 3-4mm of rain and sleet on top of the approximately 25mm we've had since 7am yesterday, and while it will clearly be attritional, it's not deep ground."

Yesterday's fixture began on going described as soft, heavy in places, which jockeys were in general agreement with, but it was changed after the fifth race.

Fresh ground will be provided for today's Betfair Price Rush Hurdle with the contest run on the Flat course, using the inner home straight.

It's the beginning of the season on fresh ground, which is not that worn

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