Today Richard ‘Dicky’ Johnson will be crowned Jockey of the year, collecting a not to be sniffed at £15,000. After sixteen years of coming second to Sir Anthony McCoy, who will present the newly designed trophy Johnson is said to be thrilled at winning the only trophy he has never won before. He is the only active jockey to have ridden 3000 winners, but win today or not he has already won the Jockey Championship. Today he’s riding Sausalito Sunrise in the 4.10 at Sandown, the Bet365 Gold Cup Chase (Handicap) Grade 3. Early prices today are 20/1 with Ladbrokes. Trained by David Pipe, yesterday he was race favourite but today the odds have changed in favour of the Paul Nicholls trained Southfield Theatre, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, with odds at 7/1 with William Hill.
With the trainers Championship also in play today, Nicholls has his last years winner Just a Par, also running in the Gold Cup, ridden by Harry Cobden, he will be hoping to hang on to the trophy from last year. You may see one of the horses blinkered up, which is something Nicholls does at the last minute, he did this last year with Just a Par, he went on to win. Odds at BET365 are 20/1.
Willie Mullins is close on his tail, with two runners also in this race. Sir Des Champs with early prices of 25/1 with Ladbrokes, ridden by David Mullins and Measureofmydreams with odds of 12/1 with skybet ridden by B Cooper, with odds coming in at 12/1 this morning with Skybet.
Not to be written off is Bishops Road, with odds at 20/1 at Ladbrokes and a not so great previous few races, you’d think it wouldn’t be in contention, but the training has gone exceptionally well and word from the stables is watch this space. Kerry Lee is the trainer and today Jamie Moore will be riding, good odds for an each way punt.
All in all this is set to be a fantastic end to the National Hunt Season, with 20 runners and riders on the course, a winner's pot of £84,405 over 3 miles, 4 furlongs and 166 yards! The going is good to soft in places and word from the track is if it rains Mullins horses have a good chance of winning but if it doesn’t and the track stays the same, then Nicholls may retain his championship Trainer title for the tenth year. They both have runners in all the other races today but the Gold cup is the top earning prize and with Nicholls £100k ahead going into the event, he may take some beating . Good luck to them both.