Monday, 10 July 2017

Festival favourite Richard Johnson and Warren Greatrex announce riding partnership

Champion jockey Richard Johnson will become first choice jockey for Festival winning trainer Warren Greatrex.

Johnson, who also on hand for Phillip Hobbs, has rode 22 winners at the Cheltenham Festival but will have a wider book of rides for the rest of the NH season.

Greatrex’s sole Cheltenham Festival success when Cole Harden landed the World Hurdle in 2015, but the Lambourn based trainer has also saddled pattern winning Dolatulo and One Track Mind.

"I've come to an arrangement with Richard that he is going to have first call on anything he can ride when he's not riding for Philip Hobbs," Greatrex told the Racing Post.

"It's huge for the yard for Richard to agree to this, his record speaks for itself.

“There might be owners who want to keep Gavin (Sheehan) on, which is fine, but to have Richard available can only be a good thing.

“He's not going to be around forever, but things weren't quite working and I needed to do something about it. I think this will help everybody.

Richard Johnson enjoyed successes aboard Flying Tiger and Triumph glory with the prolific Defi Du Seuil on Gold Cup day, whilst Greatrex failed to saddle a winner.

But the trainer’s Festival fleet is strengthened by the likes of champion bumper fifth Western Ryder, mares novice hurdle seventh La Bague Au Roi, and Cheltenham runner-up Missed Approach.

Gavin Sheehan was formerly retained by Greatrex, but the two-time Grade One winning trainer insists the pair will still work with each other.

"There are going to be plenty of rides for Gavin, who will have the opportunity to spread his wings and ride out for other people.

“It can be hard for young lads when things aren't going as well as they'd like, but the experienced lads know to deal with it.

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