Richard Johnson is already looking ahead to defending his title next year
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
SIR ANTHONY MCCOY has spoken of his delight as he prepares to present the Stobart Champion Jump Jockey prize to friend and former rival Richard Johnson at Sandown on Saturday.
While the trainers’ title is set to go all the way to the wire, Johnson has long since had the jockeys’ equivalent sewn up and will make it official this weekend.
Johnson has ridden 227 winners as he has marched to a first championship and McCoy paid tribute to his long-time rival, who filled the runner-up spot behind him on 16 occassions.
“I couldn’t be happier with who I’m presenting the trophy to at Sandown this weekend,” said McCoy, who retired last year.
“Richard is somebody who made me achieve what I achieved for so long and I think it’s thoroughly deserved for his hard work and dedication over the last 20 years. I couldn’t think of anybody more deserving than Richard.
“It takes a brave man to become a jockey and the credit is fully deserved and however good a jockey you think he is, he’s an even better person.”
A dream come true
Johnson cannot wait for Saturday and has spoken of his relief that the jockeys’ title is not as tight as the trainers’.
“I’m thrilled that I’m going to be crowned champion jockey,” he wrote in his Betway blog.
“I’ve always wanted to do it and it’s great that the dream will become a reality at Sandown on Saturday.
“Thank God the jockeys’ championship isn’t as close as the trainers’!”
Hungry to retain the crown
Having claimed his first title, Johnson is in no mood to relinquish his crown and has already set his sights on starting the next campaign with a bang.
“I’ve got a busy week this week but I’m obviously really looking forward to Sandown on Saturday,” he wrote. “It will be a great day.
“I’ve had a lot of support this season and it really couldn’t have gone much better.
“One thing I can guarantee is that I’ll be going all out to defend my title next term.
“It starts again at Towcester a week on Thursday. It’s a bit weird going from 200-odd winners straight back to zero but I can’t wait for it to kick off again.”
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