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Champion jockeys and trainers named early

Brian Hughes has taken his first champion jump jockey title, the first northern-based rider to take the crown in 40 years.

With racing off owing to the coronavirus, the championships have been decided.

Brian (pictured, top) secured the title with 141 wins, ahead of defending champion Richard Johnson, whose season ended on 122.

“It has always been a dream to become champion jockey, so to have finally achieved it is fantastic,” said Brian, who took 110 of his victories in the 2019/20 season at northern courses.
“It is disappointing we haven’t been able to see out the season, but circumstances are out of our hands, and racing’s no different.”

He added he cannot thank the trainers, owners, stable staff and his family enough.

“Brian has been in terrific form all season and was really able to open up a gap,” said Richard.
“It is a huge moment for any rider to become champion jockey and I know all of us in the weighing room will look forward to formally congratulating Brian.” 

Jonjo O’Neill Jnr claimed the champion conditional title, with 61 winners, leaving him 20 clear of runner-up Ben Jones. David Maxwell and Millie Wonnacott took the respective mens’ and ladies’ champion amateur crowns.

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The champion trainer title went to Nicky Henderson. The six-time championship winner secured £2,533,862 in prize money, £192,550 ahead of 11-time champion Paul Nicholls.

“It’s a great pity we haven’t been able to see the season out and it looked like the race was going down to the wire again,” said Nicky, thanking his staff and adding the win is a testament to his owners and horses.

“But all of us know the situation is bigger than racing and something everyone in the country is having to deal with.”

The champion jumps owners’ prize went to JP McManus.

As H&H went to press, jump racing is suspended until July with no Flat racing before 1 May earliest. It is hoped Royal Ascot may go ahead behind closed doors, and the first four Classics of the season will be postponed.

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