Richard Johnson will rightly go down as one of the best National Hunt jockeys of all time. Horse racing enthusiasts were left stunned just a few months ago when Johnson announced his retirement from the sport with immediate effect.
The 44-year-old enjoyed a fabulous career, and it was never a surprise to see punters back him after reading up on the latest Betdaq horse racing tips ahead of a big meeting.
Johnson’s longevity was remarkable after nearly three decades in the saddle, and while his rivalry with AP McCoy was intense on the course, they were the best of the friends away from the track.
Tributes poured in from far and wide, lauding Johnson for his contributions to horse racing. And here, we have identified four numbers from Johnson’s incredible career.
Johnson conjured up many fabulous memories, and he made a lot of visits to the winners’ enclosure. Although it took him a couple of seasons to hit his stride, once Johnson was in full flow, he was a joy to watch.
From the 1996/97 season, Johnson regularly amassed over 100 wins a season, and in the 2015/16 campaign, he clocked up an astonishing 235 wins. Although his final season only produced a somewhat paltry (in comparison) 73 winners, Johnson was a terrific champion, and nothing fazed him.
Although he had quite a lot of lower grade wins, overall, Johnson was prolific as he ended his career with over 3,800 winners, with only McCoy managing more.
16 runner-up finishes in Jockey Championship
Although Johnson was a winning machine, and he churned out stellar performances season after season, he often found himself playing second fiddle to McCoy.
Indeed, in the prestigious Jump Jockeys Championship, McCoy had a vice-like grip on the title. The Ulsterman was crowned champion 20 times, and he was an unmovable force.
Despite Johnson’s best efforts, he was in McCoy’s shadow, and Johnson was the runner-up on 16 occasions. However, things swung in his favour when McCoy retired in 2015. Johnson was the new dominant force in the jump arena, and he won the title four seasons on the trot from 2016 to 2019.
McCoy also admitted after he retired how he learned so much from Johnson, and that was a testament to the type of jockey Johnson was.
2 Cheltenham Gold Cups
As we know by now, Johnson had a glittering career, and one that many jockeys dream of, but scarcely achieve. And Johnson certainly excelled at Cheltenham.
In 2000, Johnson lifted the Gold Cup on board Looks Like Trouble, in which he produced a winning time of 6 minutes 30.3 seconds, shaving 0.6 seconds off the previous best that had been set by the 100/1 longshot Norton’s Coin.
Johnson had to wait 18 years to lift the Gold Cup again. This time it was on board Native River, who was held in high regard for his strength and stamina, and he won by over four lengths.
Johnson had over 20,000 rides during his extraordinary career, which tells a tale of his longevity. What is even more telling, is that in the last five years of his career, he scooped more than £4million in prize money, and had close to 600 wins.