Neil King has snapped up Richard Johnson for the ride on Lil Rockerfeller in the JLT Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.
The champion jockey replaces Lil Rockerfeller’s regular partner Trevor Whelan, who is serving a 16-day suspension.
“Trevor (Whelan) is devastated and so are we as a team that he can’t ride him. He knows him better than anybody,” King told At The Races.
“It’s a great shame, but hopefully Richard Johnson will be a good stand-in.”
King is praying for rain to aid the Grade One prospects of Lil Rockerfeller, who put up a particularly good effort when second to Yanworth in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot on his latest start.
“Hopefully we’ll get a little more rain, the softer the ground the better for our horse. Now that he is more fully mature, three miles is better for him,” said the Wiltshire trainer.
“He’s in great form and is a horse that thrives on his racing. At home we try to keep him sweet and happy.”