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Richard Johnson on course for first champion jump jockey title

Richard Johnson on course for first champion jump jockey title
richard-johnson-on-course-for-first-champion-jump-jockey-title
Halfway through the April-to-April jump http://www.officialcoltsnflstore.com/pat-mcafee-jersey_c-382.html racing season - but with the 'core' six month-period that climaxes at the festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree ahead - the most hotly anticipated storyline of the campaign seems to be shaping up neatly. Richard Johnson, runner-up to AP McCoy in 16 of the record 20 championships he won before retirement in April, holds a lead of almost McCoy-esque proportions as he seeks an elusive first champion jockey title. And it's no exaggeration to say that there is a universal belief within racing that, if justice is ever to be served, the 38-year-old simply must win the accolade. It is a view held even among the fiercest of his rival jockeys. "Obviously most of them are about 15 years younger than me," said Johnson said, a smile spreading across his face, as he spoke to BBC Sport at the first fixture of the main part of the jumps season at Cheltenham. "So they know they'll have plenty of time in the future. "But, yes, I'm feeling massively the goodwill from them, from owners, from trainers and from the general public via social media, every day I go racing. "I've had a great time riding - for 22 years in all - and it's nice to now hopefully get a chance to do the best I can and, if I could manage to get that title, it would mean everything to me. Johnson, from a family in rural Herefordshire Mike James Womens Jersey that has for generations mixed agriculture and racing in a way typical of jumping's grassroots, is by some way the second most successful jump jockey of all time. So far, he has more than 2,900 successes to his name, including victory in the 2000 Cheltenham Gold Cup on Looks Like Trouble and the Champion Hurdle of 2003 on Rooster Booster, plus a Conditional Jockeys' title (for National Hunt apprentices), achieved under the tutelage of master-trainer David Nicholson. How different the record books would look now if Northern Ireland-born McCoy, 41, who rode his first winner in Britain a few months after Johnson had partnered his initial success as a young amateur rider, had pursued alternative employment. For most of us, being forced to live for such a long time in the shadow of an opponent, however towering, would lead to fury and resentment but, famously, the perennial runner-up to McCoy has never grumbled. Was he really that philosophical? Johnson insists he was. "OK, you're frustrated and you're always http://www.patriotsnflofficialonline.com/Ryan-Allen-Jersey determined to try to beat him, and everything else, but at the end of the day I can only do my best," he said. "I'd have been upset if I hadn't given every inch, but I did; unfortunately I never managed to ride as many winners as him. "And he was a gentleman to work with, even if rather frustrating to ride against."

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