Menorah: gave Richard Johnson a fantastic spin
PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Report: Sandown, Saturday
bet365 Oaksey Chase (Grade 2) 2m6½f, 5yo+
MENORAH gave Richard Johnson a memorable victory on the day he celebrated his maiden jockeys’ championship, defeating Valseur Lido in a tremendous scrap.
It was the 11-year-old’s third consecutive win in the race and he jumped fluently throughout before knuckling down to see off the Willie Mullins-trained favourite on the long run to home.
While the trainers’ title has grabbed the headlines in recent days, the finale of the jumps season gave Johnson a platform for his achievements in the saddle to be recognised, and he reminded everyone why he has romped to a first title.
Menorah was a hugely willing partner, jumping with great enthusiasm throughout, and the pair took up the running following the final railway fence down the back.
Valseur Lido and Bryan Cooper stalked the leader coming to the last, but wereleft a length down following a slight mistake, and despite their best efforts, Johnson and Menorah would not relinquish the advantage.
Johnson ‘a great ambassador’
Winning trainer Philip Hobbs said of Menorah: “He’s fresh and well and we’ve had this race in mind for ages. He needs things to go right and when it does he’s very good.”
On his longtime stable jockey, Hobbs added: “He is a great ambassador for racing let alone us. It’s good for him to have a winner when he is about to get the trophy.
“We have provided most of his winners but that is only 81 and he has had 235. He would have been champion jockey without us.”
Menorah’s heroics denied Willie Mullins first prize and an extra £18,000, and with Paul Nicholls filling third with Rocky Creek and fifth with Saphir Du Rheu, he only cut the gap to £44,308.
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