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Ludlow: Johnson double helps keep McCoy at bay.

Byline: er: Will O'Hanlon

RICHARD JOHNSON, who has seen Tony McCoy make significant inroads on his lead in the jockeys' title race over the past week, responded with a timely 19-1 double on Dinofelis and What You Know.

McCoy has had a total of 11 winners since Saturday, including three hat-tricks, to close the gap on his great rival to a more manageable 14 wins, but Johnson can do no more than grab the chances that come his way and he will have been happy to have stemmed the McCoy tide in yesterday's head-to-head. Nonetheless, Ladbrokes opened a book on the title race yesterday making McCoy their 1-3 favourite, with Johnson at


Johnson had to be at his strongest to get Dinofelis home by three-quarters of a length from Karakum in the selling hurdle after the Mark Brisbourne-trained gelding had idled in front and looked far from enthusiastic on the run-in.

"He's a right little bugger and didn't really want to do it," said Brisbourne of the frustrating gelding who has spurned similar opportunities in the past and was gaining an overdue first success over jumps.

Johnson doubled up on What You Know in the conditions hurdle, driving the Debbie Hamer-trained gelding clear from the second-last to beat One More Stride by nine lengths.

What You Know was bouncing back to form after a poor effort at Bangor last time when conditions went wrong for him.

"The ground was just too soft for him there," said trainer's husband Paul Hamer.

Brisbourne had high hopes of completing his double with Murhill's Pride in the bumper, but this one - with McCoy in the plate - found Petite Margot from the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard much too strong. Petite Margot was giving Antony Evans his first winner since his recent return to action after missing a month with a broken finger.

Burning Truth, runner-up on five previous occasions this season, finally broke his duck over fences when running out the easy winner of the beginners' chase under Timmy Murphy, but the jockey jumped off the horse soon after passing the post, fearing he had broken down.

However, trainer Matt Sheppard was able to give a more upbeat report 15 minutes later, saying: "We were worried about his tendon, but he seemed much better as he was loaded on to the horsebox and, fingers crossed, he will be all right in the morning."

Do It On Dani, trained by Alison Thorpe and given a fine ride from the front by Seamus Durack, ran out a game winner of the three-mile handicap hurdle by a length and a half from Xellance.

"Alison will be gutted that she's missed the race because this is her pet at home," said Thorpe's travelling head groom Jane Jones. "Seamus knows the mare well and gave her a cracking ride."

Stewart Pike's Fashion House, ridden by Robert Thornton, won a match with Regal Vision to land the three-mile handicap chase, while Jonjo O'Neill's Red Wizard took the juvenile hurdle under Liam Cooper.

Star performance

Do It On Dani, who produced a career-best effort to see off Xellance in the three-mile handicap hurdle

Ride of the day

Seamus Durack on the above-mentioned Do It On Dani, who judged the pace just right on the mare, keeping enough in the tank to repel Xellance and Musally in the straight.

mResults and analysis start page 56
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 10, 2003
Previous Article:Huntingdon: Kelsall quick off the mark with Rufius.
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