Champion jockey among equestrians recognised in New Year Honours

Top jockey Richard Johnson has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list.

The three-time champion jump jockey has ridden more than 3,500 winners in his career – his first was aboard Rusty Bridge at Hereford in 1994 and his most recent came aboard I’m A Game Changer at Newbury on the day of the announcement.

He has also won two Cheltenham Gold Cups, a Champion Chase and a Champion Hurdle among numerous other major victories and has received the honour for services to horseracing.

“An amazing day so proud to have been awarded an OBE in the New Years Honours,” said Richard.

“Thank you for all the messages I really don’t know what to say. But thank you to very one that has helped me achieve so much and made it so enjoyable.”

In his Betfair blog, the leading jockey added he is “so lucky” to have earned the accolade by doing a job he loves.

“It’s something I’ll treasure forever,” he said, thanking the whole racing community, his parents and wife, Fiona.

“My parents put me on this path and together they have all helped me stay on it. It’s a busy routine and one that takes a lot of time, effort and dedication.

“The good days are great and they have always been very supportive and patient. Along with many other people along the way, they have helped me live my dream.”

Nick Rust, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, added he is “delighted” that Richard’s contribution to the sport “over a remarkable career” has been recognised in this way.

“Through his durability, fortitude, determination, humility and supreme horsemanship, Richard Johnson represents all of the best values of British jump racing,” he said.

“We look forward to seeing what else Richard can go on to achieve at the very top of his profession for years to come.”

A number of other stalwarts of the equestrian world were also recognised.

The Crown Equerry, Colonel Toby Browne — who runs the Royal Mews — was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) and Richard Wilson Jewson, who owns event horses with his wife, Sarah, and is also chairman of Burghley Horse Trials, was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO).

Raye Wilkinson was honoured with an MBE for services to young people and elderly staff in the racing community.

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