By Simon Jackson.
Richard Johnson was crowned Stobart Champion Jump Jockey for the first time at Sandown Park on Saturday after finishing more than 100 winners clear of his nearest rival.
Johnson rode 235 winners, 105 more than runner-up Aidan Coleman (130), in the season that commenced on April 26 2015 and culminated on April 23 2016 at Bet365 Jump Finale Day at Sandown. Sam Twiston-Davies was third with 128 winners.
The 38-year-old Johnson boosted his total number of victories on Saturday when he scored on Menorah in the Grade 2 Bet365 Oaksey Chase for his long-time boss Philip Hobbs.
The jockey, who had previously finished second 15 times to the now retired Sir Anthony McCoy, was presented with the newly commissioned Champion Jump Jockey trophy by McCoy and Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of sponsors Stobart Group.
“I’m delighted to win my first Champion Jockey title,” Johnson said. “It is something I have been working towards for a long time and it gives me great satisfaction to have finally achieved it.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years, the reception I was given today at Sandown in front of my family and friends is a memory I’ll treasure for a long time.
“Having finally won the title and being the first person to receive this beautiful new trophy created by Asprey, I am certainly in no mood to give it up and will be doing everything I can to defend my title next year.”
Hobbs said: “Richard has been our stable jockey for over 15 years, he has always been fantastically reliable and is brilliant with the owners, giving great feedback.
“On top of that he is a very, very good jockey and is a great ambassador for our yard and racing as a whole. At long last he is Champion Jockey, it is the one thing he has wanted since he started riding and it is greatly deserved.”
Tinkler, added: “Richard Johnson is a thoroughly deserving winner of the Stobart Champion Jump Jockey title. His record speaks for itself having had over 100 more winners than his nearest rival. I would like to congratulate him on his outstanding success this year and clinching his first Stobart Jump Jockeys’ Championship.”
Johnson this year became only the second jockey alongside McCoy to ride 3000 winners in a tremendous career that is possibly highlighted by winning the 2000 Cheltenham Gold Cup on Looks Like Trouble.
Looks Like Trouble’s trainer, Noel Chance, said: “Richard was my first National Hunt jockey when I moved to England, joining us as a young conditional.
“Richard was aboard my first ever runner and winner in Britain in the Summer Plate at Market Rasen, and I used him from that point forward. He was the go to jockey for us, and when the ride on Looks Like Trouble in the Gold Cup was up for grabs, he was the man I wanted on board.
“He has a remarkable record in the saddle, but his achievements off the track, as a family man, outweigh what he has done on a racecourse. He is genuine and obliging and I am delighted to have him as my son-in-law.”
In other news Paul Nicholls won the trainer’s title for the 10th time after prevailing in a close finish with Willie Mullins.
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.