richard johnson

Richard Johnson Jockey

Four-time Champion Jockey Richard Johnson has to go down as one of the greatest jump jockeys of all-time, with his no-nonsense style in the saddle a favourite for punters up and down the country. And he hasn’t finished yet.

His first winner came back in 1994 on Rusty Bridge at Hereford and he won the Champion Conditional Jockey title in the 1995/96 season, paving the way for a successful career in the game.

A first Cheltenham Festival winner was soon on the way when Anzum claimed the 1999 Stayers Hurdle for David Nicholson, a trainer who heavily supported Johnson before his retirement in December 1999. Johnson tasted success in other Championship races in the years to follow, winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2000 with Looks Like Trouble, the Champion Chase in 2002 with Flagship Uberalles before completing the quartet on Rooster Booster in the 2003 Champion Hurdle. He would also win Cheltenham Festival leading jockey in the 2002 season with two winners on countback.

Johnson is one of just two jockeys currently riding to have won all four Championship races at the Cheltenham Festival, the other being Barry Geraghty, who is retained by JP McManus.

Johnson is hugely prolific having won his 1000th race on Quedex at Stratford in 2003, becoming just the eighth rider to bag that many National Hunt winners. The 2000 mark followed six years later, at Newbury in December 2009, with the 3000th winner coming in January 2016 at Ludlow. However, for someone with so many winners, he still hadn’t claimed that elusive Champion Jockey title.

The legendary AP McCoy was the main reason and Johnson finished second on no less than 16 occasions before finally claiming the title in 2016 with 235 winners across the season. He has since won the title on a further three occasions and will be chasing a fifth crown in 2019/20.

Career Highlights

Looks Like Trouble – Noel Chance

Richard Johnson may have only ridden Looks Like Trouble on three occasions, but he landed his first Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2000 on him as well as the Down Royal Champion Chase later that year. The 1999 runaway RSA Chase winner seemed to relish the Prestbury Park test, running riot in what is now known as the Costwolds Chase in January 2000, booking his place in the blue riband event at The Festival. In the Gold Cup, he was given a patient ride from Johnson behind the leaders and despite blundering at the 10th fence, he challenged four out and took up the running at the last, being ridden clear to win by five lengths from Willie Mullins’ Florida Pearl.

Rooster Booster – Philip Hobbs

In what was one of the great Cheltenham performances, Richard Johnson guided Rooster Booster through a quality field to win the 2003 Champion Hurdle as he pleased by 11 lengths. Having won his previous four starts, the grey travelled ominously well in behind third favourite Intersky Falcon before being shaken up and quickening clear up the hill. That would be his final Grade 1 success, finishing second in another six top grade races.

Native River – Colin Tizzard

A supreme stayer, Native River delivered Colin Tizzard’s first Cheltenham Gold Cup under Richard Johnson in what was a terrific tussle with Might Bite all the way up the Cheltenham hill in 2018. The two pulled clear of the chasing pack with a lap to run, with Nico De Boinville seemingly travelling sweeter on his outside. Johnson was pushing away on Native River with three fences to jump but Might Bite couldn’t quite get past the Tizzard horse on the heavy ground, with the latter running on powerfully up the hill to win by over four lengths.

Richard Johnson horses to follow

La Bague Au Roi (8yo) – Warren Greatrex

A two-time Grade 1 winner over fences, La Bague Au Roi enjoyed a terrific 2018/19 campaign for Warren Greatrex and Richard Johnson. The mighty eight-year-old mare defeated RSA Chase winner Topofthegame in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton and added to that with a narrow success over Kaiser Black in the Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival. She would miss Cheltenham but returned at Aintree, finishing a narrow second behind Kalashnikov from the yard of Amy Murphy.

Brewin’upastorm (6yo) - Olly Murphy

This progressive six-year-old for Olly Murphy is definitely one to note for the 2019/20 campaign. Having finished fourth in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and second in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree, Brewin’upastorm is expected to go novice chasing next season. The long-term target could be the JLT Chase or RSA Chase at Cheltenham in 2020.

Scoop The Pot (9yo) – Philip Hobbs

While he may not be as classy as the horses mentioned above, Scoop The Pot could be a handicap winner waiting to happen for the Hobbs team. He has looked a tricky ride in the past but put together back-to-back chasing wins at the end of 2018 and seemed to be in need of the run on his seasonal reappearance. The McManus-owned horse could be a lively outsider in a Ladbrokes Trophy or Welsh Grand National in 2019.

Richard Johnson Race winnings and earnings

Richard Johnson’s staggering total career prize money tops £34 million, with over £9 million of that coming since the start of the 2015 season. He has managed to top 200 winners on two occasions in 2016 and 2019 but he won more than £2 million in a single season for the first time back in 2007.

Trainers involved with Richard Johnson

David ‘The Duke’ Nicholson was a key part of Richard Johnson’s early career, supplying him with many winners until his retirement in December 1999. Alan King took over and continued to use the services of Johnson. At this point, he was riding for the likes of Philip Hobbs and two-time Gold Cup winner Noel Chance.

In recent years, Johnson has continued to ride for Hobbs alongside the likes of Colin Tizzard, Harry Fry and Olly Murphy. Grand National and Gold Cup-winning trainer Gordon Elliott also utilises Johnson whenever he sends horses to the UK, often sending a string of Irish raiders to Perth throughout the season.