National Hunt jockey Richard Johnson has had plenty of success throughout his career, a two-time champion rider who has ridden plenty of winners at Cheltenham and he became only the eighth National Hunt jockey to ride 1000 career winners in Britain in 2003.
However, success in the Grand National has eluded the jockey. He will attempt to change that on April 6 when he jumps aboard the Phillip Hobbs trained Rock the Kasbah.
He has been given a leg up in the Grand National 20 times without a victory. He has run second twice, on What’s Up Boys in 2002 and Balthazar King in 2014.
His mounts have failed to finish the race 14 times.
His first mount in the Grand National came in 1997 aboard Celtic Abbey and it did not go well.
Richard Johnson: My Grand National Story
“Unfortunately, I only got half way around and got unseated from the chair,” Johnson said. “So it’s a big disappointment. Until then I had lovely position in sixth or seventh and I thought I was doing everything right.”
“Somehow het got a little bit tight. He made a slight mistake and shot me in the air,” Johnson added.
He nearly got off the duck in 2014 aboard Balthazar King, who had run 15th the year before.
“Jumping the last I thought, right let’s go get the winner but I got the reality from the last fence to the elbow that he was not stopping in front and I have not got anything left.”
Johnson Has First Grand National Mount Since 2016
With no mounts in the last two years, Johnson is looking forward to this year’s race more than ever.
“Not being in the race the last two years has been disappointing,” Johnson added. “But again, I want to be on the right horse. And Rock the Kasbah through last season we sort of felt he was that type of horse and after his win at Cheltenham he put himself right in that picture.”
Rock the Kasbah is currently listed at odds of 17.0 at Betway in Ante Post wagering for the Grand National.
He won the BetVictor Handicap Chase (G3) on Nov. 17 and was sixth in the CF Roberts 25 Years of Sponsorship Handicap Chase (G3) in his most recent outing on Dec. 14.
After a two-year hiatus from the Grand National, look for Johnson to make an impact on this year’s Grand National.