Veteran New Zealand jockey Chris Johnson is planning to revive his jumps career in a bid to help him win another premiership.
He will ride Delacroix in the Wingatui Function Centre 2200 at Wingatui on Tuesday and then ride the eight-year- old in the open hurdles at Riverton on May 20.
“It’ll be a one-off ride to qualify him for highweights,” Johnson’s partner, Belinda Middlewood, told NZ Racing Desk.
“John and Karen Parsons wanted him to ride Delacroix in last year’s Grand National, but he wasn’t keen at that stage.”
Under the New Zealand Rules of Racing jockeys are eligible to ride in highweights if they have ridden in a steeplechase or hurdle race in the period from January 1 the previous year.
Johnson’s hasn’t competed in a jumps race for almost six years but his accomplishments include three Grand National Hurdle wins.
Delacroix beat just two home at the Riverton meeting in a flat race earlier in the month.
“He’s improved with the run and should go better on Tuesday,” Karen Parsons said. “He’ll be ready to go over fences at Riverton.”
Johnson has kicked home almost 2300 winners in New Zealand and the 54-year- old picked up his second New Zealand Jockeys’ Premiership last season, 21 years after he first won it in 1995-96.
Going into Tuesday’s Wingatui meeting he is sitting in third placing on the premiership with 81 wins, while Sam Collett has a clear lead on 106 ahead of her cousin, Alysha Collett, on 82.
“Being able to ride in highweights will give Chris a chance to get a few wins back on Sam Collett as she can’t ride in them,” John Tanahill, Johnson’s agent, said.
“He’s already missed out on possibly winning a few highweights.”
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