RICHARD Johnson became only the third jockey in history to ride 200 winners in a season when scoring on Cheat The Cheater at Warwick in February and he made it 222 wins for the campaign when Draytonian landed the £10,000 Listers Audi Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at the course on Monday, writes David Hucker.
This win took Johnson past Peter Scudamore’s tally of 221 set in 1988/89, a mark that stood until Sir Anthony McCoy started re-writing the record books, posting 253 wins nine years later and topping that with 289 in the 2001/02 season.
Robbie Dunne was keen to make the running on joint top-weight Robin of Locksley and they set a good pace until down the back straight before fading to finish fifth.
Meanwhile, Johnson had been making steady progress on Draytonian who led at the last flight and stayed on well to repel the challenge of Clayton, ridden by Joshua Moore.
Placed in all four of his starts to date, Bacchanel was sent off the 15-8 favourite to make a winning debut over hurdles for Johnson in the opening Apollobet Best Odds Guaranteed Maiden Hurdle, but a couple of indifferent jumps didn’t help his chances and he could finish only third behind 11-1 shot Beggars Cross.
Taken to the front by Will Kennedy turning out of the back straight, Beggars Cross was well in command when making a mess of the last flight, but still had enough in hand to comfortably beat Wicked Willy who had been prominent throughout.
Next up was Free £10 Bet Novices’ Handicap Chase, in which Cheat The Cheater was a non-runner, leaving eight to face the starter.
Johnson was on board Broome Lane, who was reluctant to line up and, although jumping off with the others, never really threatened to land a blow, finishing a weary fourth behind Maybe Plenty, who put in an exhibition round of jumping for claiming jockey Ciaran Gethings.
Just five started out in the £10,000 Apollobet Cash Back If You Finish 2nd Handicap Chase, a race for horses that had run in at least four chases, but not won any race during the last year. It went to Beeves, one of the large string of horses owned by Paul and Clare Rooney, who took the race by the scruff of the neck approaching the penultimate fence and had enough in hand to see off the running-on favourite Dawson City.
There was a competitive looking field for the Apollobet Cashback Specials Handicap Hurdle over three miles and a furlong and so it proved, with three horses coming to jump the last flight together. Top-weight Atlantic Gold had led from the off, but he had Mustmeetalady challenging on his inside and duel Exeter winner You Say What on his outer.
It was Mustmeetalady and Noel Fehily who came away from the hurdle the quickest to score by a length and post a double on the afternoon for trainer Jonjo O’Neill, successful earlier with Beggars Cross.
After several failures over longer distances, Modeligo returned to the minimum trip of two miles, over which he was twice successful last summer, in the Apollobet Masters Golf Handicap Chase. Ridden by Charlie Poste, he was clear of his three rivals turning for home and easily held Too Scoops at bay on the run-in.
The concluding National Hunt Flat Race was divided into two and Azzerti, trained by Alan King, went off favourite to step up on his debut fourth at Kempton in the first division. He had every chance, but faded to finish fourth, with the race going to former Irish point-to-point winner Aintree My Dream, who was given an enterprising ride by Robbie Dunne to bring up the 95th winner of the season in Great Britain and Ireland for trainer Dan Skelton.
Nightfly, runner-up here on her debut in February, was the form choice in the second, but she came out second best again, as Crank Em Up made all the running to give jockey Fehily a double on the afternoon. Make a note of third-placed Longtown, who ran well on his debut and looks a chaser in the making.
On Saturday, the admirably consistent Thomas Crapper, who had finished in the first three on 18 occasions, including when runner-up at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, scored his first win over fences for Great Alne trainer Robin Dickin.
Ridden by Charlie Poste, he led at the last fence and stayed on well to take Newbury’s Betfred “Goals Galore Extra” Handicap Chase over two and a half miles.