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Two-ton Richard Johnson on quest to succeed AP McCoy

By Frank Brownlow

Richard Johnson has reached another huge landmark - 200 winners - in his quest to succeed Ulster great AP McCoy as champion jockey.

Johnson, who has his first title virtually in the bag at the ripe old age of 38, was runner-up 16 times during McCoy's 20-in-a-row dominance of jump racing which ended with his retirement at the age of 40 last April.

The hugely popular Johnson hit his first ever double ton in a season on board Cheat The Cheater at Warwick yesterday.

He made it 201 on Little Miss Poet in the last race.

McCoy rode a record 4,358 winners in a glittering career and Johnson has already broken the 3,000 mark, the only other jockey ever to achieve the feat.

Johnson is now 86 winners clear of his nearest challenger Aidan Coleman with the season ending on April 23.

"To get 200 has been amazing, I'd be here all day trying to thank everyone who gave me rides," he said.

"The support I've had from racegoers has been amazing. I'm lucky I ride fancied horses on a daily basis.

"Champion jockey has always been my goal and it's taken me a long time to get there. Two hundred is an extra bonus, (but) the championship was always the number one ambition.

"People say I'm always smiling but after the season I've had, if I wasn't smiling I never would.

"It's a bit of a relief to get to 200 as I had a few days off at the beginning of the week and had a few seconds when I switched from Ludlow to Doncaster (on Wednesday)," Johnson explained.

"I must say a big thanks to Philip Hobbs and my agent Dave Roberts as Philip is very loyal even through injury and most trainers will tell you that Dave is the first on the phone in the morning and the last on the phone at night.

"The plan now is to ride as many winners as possible with a big two months coming up."

Johnson's previous best total was 186 in 2003-04. McCoy hit the double ton nine times and posted a record 289 winners in 2001/2.

Belfast Telegraph


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