Richard Johnson, set to be crowned champion jump jockey for the first time this season, is assured of a rousing reception from Perth racegoers on the first day of the three-day festival meeting on Wednesday.
Johnson, a 16-time runner-up to the legendary Sir Anthony McCoy, will receive the trophy from his great rival at Sandown Park’s jumps season finale on Saturday.
“I’m thrilled. I’ve waited 22 years for it and the dream will become a reality on Saturday,” said the 38-year-old Englishman.
Johnson rides Cheltenham Festival runner-up Fagan for Airdrie owner Ronnie Bartlett in the four-runner £18,000 Class 2 novices’ hurdle at 3.15pm with Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins saddling Nambour and Up For Review at the Scone track in his quest for the British trainers’ title.
Cotswolds raider Wicked Willy will be fancied to strike in the opener at 2.10pm and Presenting Rose looks each-way value for Glenrothes trainer Nick Alexander in the 2.40pm.
More Madness, the mount of Alexander’s son Kit, also rates an each-way shot for the Kinneston yard in the 4.25pm.
Johnson rides Ulster raider Topper Thornton in the Aberdeen Asset Management Handicap Chase at 3.50pm and the Philip Hobbs-trained Somerset challenger Banyu looks primed to strike under Johnson in the finale at 5.30pm.
Last year’s festival attracted over 10,500 visitors to the award-winning Scone Palace Park track.