Ashforth’s Angles: Joy for Johnson as Hereford returns

Richard Johnson: his local track is back open again on Thursday

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker ( Joy for Johnson as Hereford returns By David Ashforth 6:01PM 5 OCT 2016

IT'S HEREFORD the Awake! It's a joke, admittedly such a feeble one that it's necessary to point out that it is a joke. I heard a better one last week but it's not suitable for publication which is a pity because you'd probably have liked it. I know it made me laugh.

Before Hereford was asleep I used to think that, rather like Hereford itself, the racecourse was nothing special, apart from its enormous signs advertising toilets, but lots of people love it, especially now that it's been raised from the dormant.

Bookmaker bet365 are sponsoring the whole card, which isn't difficult for bet365 to do, as the wonder of the betting world made a pre-tax profit of £460 million in 2015-16 (bet365 with no shops, William Hill with 2,371 shops, pre-tax profit £244 million).

Stoke-on-Trent would be in a pickle without bet365, which employs almost 3,200 staff there, and who knows what would happen to Stoke City FC, which bet365 owns. Even that made a profit of £8.5 million. They wouldn't like to buy Doncaster Rovers would they?

I wonder if Denise Coates, bet365's joint chief-executive, driving force and owner of half the company's shares, will be at Hereford? If she is, it's probably worth pointing out that she's already married. Maybe she needs a driver. I've got a full licence.

Richard Johnson would probably like to ride a winner at Hereford's awakening as his very first winning ride was in a Hunter Chase there on Rusty Bridge, on April 30 1994.

His best chance looks to be on the in-form Charlie Longsdon's No No Mac in the feature Silver Salver Chase (4.15) .I suppose the winning owner will get a silver salver. Maybe the winning trainer and jockey will get one, too.

Johnson must have hundreds of salvers, decanters, ash trays, glass bowls and mementoes littering up his house. They must be a nightmare to clean. They're probably all kept in the attic, or on eBay. I expect he'd rather be given one of those nice chocolate oranges.

Johnson won't be getting anything for winning the bet365 Beginners' Chase (3.05) because he hasn't got a ride; not good enough, I suppose.

Jonathan Moore (3), who boasts a 24 per cent strike rate in Britain this season, has already established a fruitful partnership with Rebecca Curtis, who had a disappointing time last year but looks likely to do much better this season. Some of her horses should now be well handicapped.

Moore's mount, chase debutant Definite Outcome, could develop into a stable star, probably over further than today's two and a half miles.It will interesting to see how the seven-year-old jumps in a potentially illuminating event.

Later, after you've had dinner (I suggest something with lentils. They're lovely – and good for you), there's Lmntrix to look forward to at Chelmsford (8.25).

Horse racing is wonderfully educational. Without it, and Google, I wouldn't have known that Lmntrix is a dance group in the 2014 film Step Up:All In. Lmntrix were winners in that and Lmntrix might well win this, too.

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