Richard Johnson says he wants to be back at Cheltenham after breaking his arm at Exeter on January 21.
And I think he’s got every chance of making it.
Richard’s had an operation and had the arm plated. What I don’t know is if the break is closer to his hand or his elbow.
Once the plate is screwed into place essentially the fracture is stable so it’s just a case of if and when Richard wants to risk it.
Two-and-a-half of three weeks is a minimum.
Now Paddy Power’s Googled it is trying to tell me it’s six to eight weeks – which would all-but certainly put him out of the Festival.
But you should never trust Google with this sort of stuff!
I had my fair share of injuries during my years in the saddle, and if I broke my lower arm 49 days before Cheltenham I’d be more than confident of making the Festival.
In fact I’d be absolutely certain I would be there.
You’d go in and look the doctor in the eye and he’ll say ‘look, your arm is broken. You can see on the x-ray’.
He’ll be explaining all that to you, but you’ve got to say back to him ‘what can you do to me to get me back on a horse in 19 days?’
The doc will say ‘we can do x and y, but there’s a risk.’
And that risk is if he falls again and falls on it the arm it could smash. That would probably mean three months out rather than six weeks out. That’s the risk you’re running.
Richard Johnson will be pushing it to the limit. No doubt.
He’s 42 and has ridden more winners than anybody bar AP McCoy.
Richard is a tough, hard individual. I’d say he’s ridden with fractures here and there that people wouldn’t even know about.
And I’m telling you he has a fair threshold for pain, and I can see him being back a lot quicker.