Johnny Burke: 'If I had that job again now I'd ride a lot more winners - I was too young'

Lewis Porteous talks to a jockey on an upward trajectory after an overdue Grade 1 success

Johnny Burke is all smiles before racing at Hereford on Thursday
Johnny Burke is all smiles before racing at Hereford on ThursdayCredit: Edward Whitaker

There might not have been a sackful of winners waiting for Johnny Burke to dive into over the festive period but there are no complaints about a Christmas haul that centred on quality over quantity.  

His main present arrived two days early when Crambo landed the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on December 23. Boxing Day then provided a surprise first winner for champion trainer Paul Nicholls aboard Tahmuras at Aintree, and four days later classy mare Queens Gamble ended the rider's year on a high with a Listed win at Taunton.

Burke has come a long way from the 18-year-old sensation who was thrust into the spotlight with just 22 winners to his name when handed one of the biggest jobs in Irish racing at the time as retained rider to high-profile owners Ann and Alan Potts. Two years later that bubble burst and by the time he arrived in Britain in 2018 it was off the back of a run of serious injuries and with a career to rebuild. 

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Published on 6 January 2024inThe Big Read

Last updated 18:07, 6 January 2024