Richard Johnson Keeping Spirits Up With Racing Cancelled

Richard Johnson

Four time champion jockey Richard Johnson has stated that "Nobody really knows what is ahead of us" when it comes to the racing industry with the amid speculation that has taken over the sport after the cancelling of racing due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Johnson will not retain his champion jockeys title this season with the spread of Covid-19 stopping all racing in Britain and not allowing him to make up the deficit on this seasons winner of the title Brian Hughes.

However, the rider has not really thought about that with much bigger things going on in the world and overall he was just pleased that the Cheltenham festival was good to go ahead but does understand that the ban on racing is what is needed at this time.

On TalkSport he said: “It’s a frustrating time for us all – none of us is sure what to expect or knows what is around the corner.

“It was strange yesterday to race behind closed doors, but then the news broke that yesterday would be the last day completely.”

Racing, whilst Cheltenham was going ahead, came under scrutiny with the mass gatherings going against what the world was trying to do but Johnson believes that the sport did the right thing by letting the four day meeting at Prestbury Park play out.

“The situation was progressing on a daily basis,” he said.

“Last week we were finding out more about it, the Government and the BHA were taking different steps along the way – and now we’ve reached the point where we’ve stopped racing.

“It’s disappointing, obviously – because we all want to keep racing – but at the same time, the health of the country takes priority.“Hopefully it won’t be too long – but that’s the trouble, nobody really knows what is ahead of us.

“Last week we enjoyed Cheltenham. Unfortunately I didn’t have much success there, but it was great to have the Festival – it went smoothly, but things have moved up a gear since then.

“It was reasonably normal. The public were trying to enjoy their day out, and it was a great event, as it is every year.

“Hand sanitisers were everywhere, and there was lots of advice – we were updated daily by the course doctors to take precautionary measures.

“It was great to get Cheltenham on. But things have changed over the last few days, and things have changed all the time.”

Johnson is planning on keeping as busy as possible within the restrictions the government have put out and although not being able to race on the track he will still be able to ride his horses out in training.

“All the horses still have to be ridden out – depending on owners if they want to give theirs a period of rest now – but they still have to be kept going,” he said.

“Jockeys have to keep going too. I have about 20 horses at home, so we’ve been busy this morning.

“I’ll have plenty to keep me busy. But nearly everyone in racing is self-employed, so we just have to hope like the rest of the country that things improve and we can get back to normality as quickly as possible.

“Racing behind closed doors was slightly eerie – but when you are actually in the race it didn’t feel very different. If we have to go back to that, it’s something we would be happy with, but we’ll all be led by the advice of the Government.“I’ve a young family and an older mother and father, so I just want everyone to stay safe and get through this outbreak.”

(Credit TalkSport and At The Races)