Johnson partners Legal for O'Neill

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The Independent Online

Richard Johnson rides Legal Right for Jonjo O'Neill in the Thomas Pink Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday following the postponement of this weekend's meeting at Down Royal, Co Down.

Richard Johnson rides Legal Right for Jonjo O'Neill in the Thomas Pink Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday following the postponement of this weekend's meeting at Down Royal, Co Down.

Johnson had been booked to partner Looks Like Trouble, the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, in the James Nicholson Wine Merchant Champion Chase at the Ulster track, but that race will now take place on Saturday, 18 November. Ruby Walsh could renew his partnership with Florida Pearl, who tackles Looks Like Trouble in the Down Royal race.

Davoski definitely runs in Cheltenham's big race on Saturday. Venetia Williams, his trainer, said: "Davoski will run in the Thomas Pink and Norman Williamson will ride him if he's free."

Ad Hoc, ante-post favourite for the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury on 25 November, was among 62 declared for that race yesterday. The Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old, 4-1 market leader with Ladbrokes, fell at the final fence at Wincanton last Saturday when looking likely to make a winning seasonal debut.

Ad Hoc, at present on 9st 2lb in the Hennessy, will have to race off an 8lb higher mark in the Hennessy following his eyecatching Wincanton effort.

Willie Mullins is responsible for five of the eight Irish acceptors, headed by Florida Pearl, the top-weight on 12st. The next horse in the handicap is Whitbread Gold Cup winner Beau, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, on 10st 12lb.

Tiutchev, winner of the Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase at last season's Cheltenham Festival, heads 36 entries for the First National Gold Cup at Ascot on Saturday, 18 November. The seven-year-old, trained by Nicky Henderson, has 11st 10lb in the limited intermediate handicap chase over two miles three and a half furlongs.

Hopes are increasing that racing can take place at Newcastle and Uttoxeter later this week. Newcastle, where a meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, was raceable yesterday although the going is heavy. Uttoxeter was not raceable yesterday, but course officials are optimistic Saturday's fixture there can take place. But Sunday's meeting at Wetherby is "odds against''.

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