John­son lets rip at Ro­torua on three win­ners

Cambridge Edition - - OUT & ABOUT - TIM RYAN

‘‘She trav­elled real nice the whole way’’ Chris John­son

Track con­di­tions were tough at Ro­torua on Sun­day where the tough got the re­wards.

Chris John­son ven­tured north from his Can­ter­bury base for the meet­ing in his premier­ship quest and he wasted no time in mak­ing an im­pres­sion.

John­son sits in sec­ond place on the premier­ship and be­gan the day with 81 wins, eight be­hind the leader Danielle John­son.

A tough re­silient com­peti­tor, the vet­eran rider made his pres­ence felt and topped his day with vic­tory aboard Let Her Rip in a de­layed Group III Ro­torua Stakes.

The premier­ship gap nar­rowed by one in the first race on the pro­gramme as the South Is­land’s lead­ing rider brought Good Vibes home for a 27-to-one up­set win.

Graeme Roger­son gave a hand, choos­ing John­son to ride Prodi­gal Son in the Craig Thom Me­mo­rial 1400 and the com­bi­na­tion scored a gutsy win to close the gap fur­ther.

But it was John­son’s third win that brought the great­est re­ward in the day’s $70,000 fea­ture.

The start of the race was de­layed sig­nif­i­cantly while St John per­son­nel at­tended an on­course pa­tron.

Jock­eys waited as the field pa­raded in the bird­cage for around 25 min­utes longer than an­tic­i­pated un­til a re­place­ment am­bu­lance be­came avail­able.

The de­lay didn’t bother the un­flap­pable John­son or the Shaun Ritchie-trained Let Her Rip.

‘‘She’s got a bit hot in the past,’’ Ritchie joked. ‘‘So maybe the de­lay worked in her favour.’’

John­son set­tled the daugh­ter of Rip Van Win­kle just off the pace be­fore work­ing his magic and the pair surged clear of out­sider New York Minute in sec­ond with favourite Un­derthe­moon­light fin­ish­ing on for third, the race run in 1:29.68 in the test­ing con­di­tions.

‘‘She trav­elled real nice the whole way,’’ John­son said.

Ritchie is likely to send the win­ner for a spell ‘‘un­less the boys [own­ers] want to have one crack at Bris­bane be­ing that it’s wet over there’’. The own­ers are the Aus­tralian based team that raced the Group I per­former Turn Me Loose from the sta­ble of Mur­ray Baker and An­drew Fors­man.

RACE IM­AGES

Can­ter­bury jockey Chris John­son rode three Ro­torua win­ners topped off by Let Her Rip’s win in the day’s fil­lies and mares fea­ture.

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