Thursday 29 September 2016

Johnson continues 'champion' quest with 3,000th jumps winner

Published 13/01/2016 | 02:30

Richard Johnson (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Richard Johnson (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

England's champion-elect Richard Johnson secured his 3,000th career success under National Hunt rules on Garde La Victoire at Ludlow.

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Having reached the same total for winners over jumps and on the Flat at the track seven days ago, the 38-year-old secured the latest landmark achievement with victory aboard the seven-year-old for his boss Philip Hobbs.

While Garde La Victoire has work to do to match the likes of winning owner Diana Whateley's star chasers Menorah, Captain Chris and Wishfull Thinking, the 1/6 favourite did what was required to make it three from three over fences with a five-length win over Doctor Harper.

The landmark took Johnson's tally for the campaign to 176 as he continues to maintain his lead in his bid to be champion jockey for the first time after being runner-up 15 times to Tony McCoy.

Afterwards, Johnson described the milestone as "amazing" and thanked his supporters. "The support I've had from the world and his wife has been amazing and a massive thanks go to Philip Hobbs and my agent Dave Roberts, who runs my life for me, while Philip and Henry Daly have been my two longest serving trainers and have been with me through thick and thin.

"The Whateleys have been fantastic, but all the owners have been very supportive. There are owners that when I started out were at David Nicholson's and are now at Philip's.

"My family have been very supportive, from mum and dad to my wife and three children. They (wife and children) are very understanding and they don't see me much, but they are the ones who let me do what I love doing.

"The three stand-out horses though are Rooster Booster, Looks Like Trouble and Anzum."

Meanwhile, Jason Maguire admits he has a "great opportunity" as racing manager for owners Paul and Clare Rooney as he continues to weigh up prospects of a return to the saddle.

Maguire has been sidelined since undergoing surgery on a back problem last April, with his efforts to get back in competitive action still being hindered. The Meath native says he expects to make a final decision on his future in the spring.

"I've got to make a decision in the next couple of months and I will be speaking to my specialist in the next six weeks," he said.

"I am back riding out and was riding out at Kim Bailey's this morning. It has been stop-start and the problem is I get pain down my legs and it gives me shocks in my right foot which goes dead and numb."

Irish Independent

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