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Johnson sides with Village Vic at Cheltenham

RICHARD JOHNSON has chosen to ride Village Vic in Saturday’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

The runaway jockeys’ title leader had the option of partnering Philip Hobbs-trained stablemate Champagne West, who is priced two points shorter in the betting at 8-1 with Ladbrokes and William Hill.

Hobbs said: “Dave Roberts [Johnson’s agent] informed me that Richard wanted to ride Village Vic on Saturday and that is what will happen. Champagne West will now be partnered by Tom O’Brien.

“They are both very good horses and we hope they go there with very good chances.”

Village Vic has race fitness on his side, having won both starts – at Musselburgh and Wetherby – this season, while Champagne West, who has won twice at the track over fences, is set to return after a 315-day layoff.

Stan James reacted by cutting Village Vic into 8-1 (from 10) for the Grade 3 handicap chase.

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