Champion NH Jockey Richard Johnson Retires

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Champion NH jockey Richard Johnson | Racingfotos.com

Richard Johnson, a four-time champion jockey over jumps, announced his retirement on Saturday. His final ride was a third-place finish aboard Brother Tedd (GB) (Kayf Tara {GB}) in the 5:25 at Newton Abbot. Johnson, who has over 3,800 winners, earned his first title in 2016 after 20-time champion jockey Sir AP McCoy retired. He retained his crown for three more seasons. Johnson was also runner-up to McCoy an additional 16 times in the jockeys' standings. Although he did not win the Grand National, he booted home two winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup-Looks Like Trouble (Ire) (Zaffaran) (2000) and Native River (Ire) (Indian River {Fr}) (2018). Johnson was awarded an OBE in 2019.

“After nearly 30 years in the saddle, the time has come for me to retire,” Johnson said in a statement. “I have been so extraordinarily lucky to have ridden so many wonderful horses, and for so many incredible trainers and owners. It was particularly important to me to finish on one for Philip and Sarah Hobbs who, like Henry Daly, have supported me for over 20 years. I'll never be able to articulate what their loyalty has meant to me.

“There are so many people to thank who have been part of my journey. Without 'the Duke' and Dinah Nicholson and their remarkable staff, I'd never have got that first leg up. Noel Chance, Peter Bowen and Milton Bradley, thank you for putting your trust in me when I was starting out. Those were the days that shaped my career, with so many people who remain lifelong friends.

“The truth is there are simply too many people to thank on an individual basis, but you know who you are and what you mean to me. To jockeys past and present who I've shared weighing room benches with up-and-down the country, to the valets who have looked after me, to the doctors who've patched me up and to the physios who've put me back together. Without Dave Roberts I'd have never ridden as many winners and without the help of physio Kate Davis in recent years I wouldn't physically have been able to. I salute you all.

“Thank you to the Tote and the ROA for sponsoring me. Thanks to all the fantastic racecourses and staff that put on this great show and to all the media who have been so supportive for so long. To all horseracing fans who we have missed so much this year on our racecourses. Thank you for every cheer, every shout of encouragement, it's given me enormous strength over the years. I am so very grateful to you all.

“To my wonderful family, thank you so much. Mum, Dad and my brother Nick who have always been by my side. Finally, to my wife Fiona and amazing children Willow, Caspar and Percy. Without you nothing would have been possible.”

McCoy paid tribute to Johnson on Twitter. He tweeted, “Sometimes those who challenge us the most teach us the best. You did both to me for over 20 years–I will be forever grateful to you, thanks buddy. When you go home tonight, look in the mirror you'll see what a champion looks like. Enjoy your retirement.”

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