By Andrew Atkinson
Richard Johnson OBE announced his retirement at Newton Abbot on Saturday – with a tearful farewell to the sport in which he was crowned champion NH jockey four times in a glittering career.
Johnson’s Cheltenham Gold Cup wins on Looks Like Trouble (2000) and Native River (2018) stand out in a career that came to a sudden end after finishing third on Brother Tedd at Newton Abbot.
“After nearly 30 years in the saddle, the time has come for me to retire.
“I have been so extraordinarily lucky to have ridden so many wonderful horses, and for so many incredible trainers and owners.
“It was particularly important to me to finish on one for Philip and Sarah Hobbs who, like Henry Daly, have supported me for over 20 years. I’ll never be able to articulate what their loyalty has meant to me.
“There are so many people to thank who have been part of my journey. Without ‘the Duke’ and Dinah Nicholson and their remarkable staff, I’d never have got that first leg up.
“Noel Chance, Peter Bowen and Milton Bradley, thank you for putting your trust in me when I was starting out. Those were the days that shaped my career, with so many people who remain lifelong friends.
“The truth is there are simply too many people to thank on an individual basis, but you know who you are and what you mean to me. To jockeys past and present who I’ve shared weighing room benches with up-and-down the country, to the valets who have looked after me, to the doctors who’ve patched me up and to the physios who’ve put me back together.
“Without Dave Roberts I’d have never ridden as many winners and without the help of physio Kate Davis in recent years I wouldn’t physically have been able to. I salute you all,” said Johnson, 43, who rode over 3,500 winners.
Image courtesy of Newbury Racecourse Twitter