Victory in the Bague for jockey Johnson

La Bague Au Roi stretches clear at Leopardstown under champion jockey Richard Johnson.
La Bague Au Roi stretches clear at Leopardstown under champion jockey Richard Johnson.
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THE mare La Bague Au Roi made every yard of the running to land a second Grade One in the Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown.

One of only a handful of British challengers to run at the Dublin Racing Festival, Warren Greatrex’s mare was dropping back three furlongs in trip after winning the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton over Christmas.

Champion jockey Richard Johnson duly set out to make it a stamina test and was allowed to do his own thing at the head of affairs, with La Bague Au Roi jumping soundly in the main, but turning into the straight all of the runners still had a chance.

With Gordon Elliott pulling Delta Work out due to the quick ground, his hopes rested on Hardline and he looked completely out of it at one stage before staying on strongly.

It was the outsider Kaiser Black who travelled supremely well and emerged as the main danger, but La Bague Au Roi galloped on powerfully to win by a length and a quarter. “She’s just a pleasure to ride and gives everything,” enthused Johnson.

“She’s really improved in the last two years. We think a flat track is ideal and she’ll probably miss Cheltenham – Aintree could be next.”

Today’s National Hunt meeting at Carlisle is the latest weather casualty.