Richard Johnson has become the first man to be crowned jump racing’s champion jockey after the AP McCoy era, ending a 20-year wait for the title.
Johnson, 38, rode Menorah to victory in the Oaksey Chase at Sandown, his 235th win of the season. Closest rival Aidan Coleman is more than 100 behind.
Johnson was given a guard of honour by his fellow jockeys on his way to being handed the champion’s trophy by McCoy.
“It’s always been my dream,” said Johnson. “There’s no feeling like it.”
“I’ve waited 20 years for this day and I’m going to enjoy it.”
- Read more: Champion at last – Johnson, the 16-time runner-up
McCoy was champion jockey for 20 years in a row from 1996 to 2015.
He retired at this meeting last year with 231 winners for the season.
Johnson admitted McCoy’s retirement brought a “pressure” to win the title, but his tally of 235 winners is the highest since McCoy rode 258 in 2003.
‘He’s always been a champion’ – what they said
AP McCoy: “We sat together for 20 years. It’s a big day and I know I wouldn’t have achieved what I did without him driving me on up and down the country. For me, he has always been a champion. He thoroughly deserves it.”
Trainer David Pipe: “Day in, day out he will give 110% and that’s what’s called a champion jockey.”
Jockey Aidan Coleman: “He’s been an unbelievable ambassador for countless years. He’s getting his rewards and deserves it. Unfortunately for us other lads, I think he will be getting a few more.”