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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Richard Johnson celebrates 3,500th winner in Britain and Ireland at Warwick

Richard Johnson: landed his 3,500th winner at Warwick on Tuesday
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Richard Johnson partnered his 3,500th jumps winner in Britain and Ireland when He's A Goer scored at Warwick on Tuesday.

Johnson was runner-up to Sir Anthony McCoy for the champion jockey title for 16 consecutive years before taking the championship for the last three seasons, and is second behind McCoy in the jumps jockey list, now 848 wins adrift of his former great rival.

After winning division two of the 2m novice hurdle on the Tom Lacey-trained He's A Goer, Johnson said: "“It’s nice to do it here at Warwick and I’m very lucky to have got to this landmark.

"Thanks to the Racing Post for telling me as I knew I was over the 3,000 mark but didn’t realise that I’d got there! Four thousand is still a long way away but hopefully we can look forward to plenty more winners in the future.

"The main aim is to be champion as many times as possible, it's a day-in, day-out sort of thing, but you have to take each day as it comes. I had a good month last month, and Phillip [Hobbs] is in good form."

In his phenomenal 24-year career in the saddle, Johnson has enjoyed Cheltenham Gold Cup wins aboard Looks Like Trouble and Native River earlier this year.

The rider's other notable Cheltenham Festival wins include Anzum (Stayers' Hurdle 1999), Flagship Uberalles (Champion Chase 2002) and Rooster Booster (Champion Hurdle 2003).

Richard Johnson and He's A Goer win at Warwick
Johnson has ridden in 20 Grand Nationals, a joint-record amount of rides shared with McCoy, but has never landed the race. He went closest when runner-up in the famous chase with What's Up Boys (2002) and Balthazar King (2014).

Tuesday's landmark success was Johnson's 78th winner of the season. He is best priced at 1-2 to retain his champion jockeys' crown for a fourth year but faces competition from the pacesetting Harry Skelton and the north's leading rider Brian Hughes.

Asked last week if jockeys were still as hungry to win the title as they were years ago, Johnson replied: "I think jumps and Flat are a bit different. Being champion jockey is the best thing that I can achieve. I'm very pleased with how things are going, I just want to ride as many winners as I can.

Connections of He's A Goer celebrate with Richard Johnson

"I rode 200 winners in a season once, so it would be good to do that again, but then there's the first 100 to get out of the way first! It's a long way off."

He added: "It's great to have Dave Roberts as my agent, he was with AP so he knows what it takes. Winning the title is not something you just start thinking about at Christmas, it's a 12-month thing."

Reflecting on his arch rival McCoy being out of the picture, the 41-year-old said: "Obviously it's a bonus! We rode together for a long time, he rode so many winners and was – and is – a great friend.

"The shoe is on the other foot now as I have the younger lads chasing me, like Harry Skelton, Brian Hughes, Aidan Coleman, Noel Fehily and Sam Twiston-Davies.

"A lot of jockeys are hungry to be champion, there's a massive interest in it and lots would love to be champion. You need the firepower with the horses and the trainers." 

Richard Johnson landmark winners

First winner Rusty Bridge, Hereford 30/4/1994

1,000th win Rift Valley, Exeter 27/3/2003

2,000th win Magnetic Pole, Leicester 29/11/2009

3,000th win Duke Des Champs, Ascot 23/1/2016

Top ten jump jockeys in GB & Ireland

4,348 Sir Anthony McCoy (1994-2015), UK: 4,204 Ire: 144

3,500 Richard Johnson (1994- ) 3,482 18

2,714 Ruby Walsh (1995- ) 772 1942

1,874 Richard Dunwoody (1983-99) 1,699 175

1,845 Barry Geraghty (1997- ) 611 1,234

1,692 Peter Scudamore (1978-96) 1,682 10

1,589 Paul Carberry (1992-2015) 239 1,350

1,349 Davy Russell (1999- ) 114 1,235

1,311 Mick Fitzgerald (1988-2008) 1,296 15

1,311 Noel Fehily (1998- ) 1,296 15

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In his phenomenal career in the saddle Johnson has enjoyed two Cheltenham Gold Cup victories

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