Treadwell just misses out on comeback winner as Czech shaded out by Honey Ryder
Grand National-winning jockey Liam Treadwell went mighty close to a fairytale return to the saddle after his first ride for over a year, Czech Her Out, narrowly went down in a driving finish to the bumper won by 3-1 joint-favourite Miss Honey Ryder.
Treadwell, 33, who won the Aintree spectacular aboard Mon Mome in 2009, hung up his riding boots 13 months ago and spent much of last year working as head lad for trainer Ed de Giles, until December.
He explained: “I was working for Ed and realised I still had the fire in my belly to get back in the saddle. A couple of months riding out for Olly Murphy and Michael Scudamore just made me lust to get back in the jockey groove.
“Returning to riding on a daily basis is a new chapter and new challenge for me as I have to prove myself all over again, but it’s something that I wanted to do and I remain mad about the game."
His first ride back, the Scudamore-trained Czech Her Out, belied her 40-1 SP with a fine effort to be beaten just a head, and Treadwell added: "It would have been great if Czech Her Out had won but I’m just glad to be back.”
Jackson pulps them
In December 2017 Samuel Jackson sprang a 100-1 shock on his rules debut at the Somerset course, and the seven-year-old was back in the winner's circle after grinding out a narrow victory over Rolling Dylan in the 3m4½f handicap chase.
On this occasion he was only a 4-1 chance, and his trainer Richard Mitford-Slade said: “He's as tough as they come and tends to do his best work off the bridle, but he really needs soft ground and that will probably be it for him this season.
“I suppose we'll have to look at all the long-distance chases for him next season, and the long-term aim might be the Welsh Grand National as it's usually pretty testing at Chepstow and he wants proper winter ground.”
Bloody but unshaken
Champion jockey Richard Johnson was very fortunate to escape serious injury just 24 hours before the Cheltenham Festival after taking a heavy fall from Sandy Boy at the fifth flight in the 3m handicap hurdle won by Motts Cross.
The rider was quickly attended to by medical staff, eventually getting back to his feet before walking away with a nasty gash on his forehead. That was stitched up before he left the course having given up his three remaining rides.
Johnson said: “I've taken a bit of a kicking and I’m a bit sore but other than that I'm fine. I’m not riding again this afternoon but I'll be fine for Cheltenham tomorrow and the rest of the week.”
Johnson’s bad luck turned out to be good news for Tom O’Brien as he turned super-sub aboard the Philip Hobbs-trained Smarty Wild, who completed a hat-trick with another clear-cut success in the 2m3f handicap hurdle.
Good week ahead?
Paul Nicholls warmed up for Cheltenham when saddling Scaramanga to victory and, with his team in flying form, is understandably very much hoping for a successful four days at the Festival.
Royal Act landed the 2m handicap chase for the second consecutive year and was registering his third victory in all here.
Thought for the day
Adam Wedge notched a career-first 50 winners in a season after Tierra Verde collected and is a rider very much on the up.
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