Brian Hughes has been confirmed as jump racing’s British champion jockey for the first time, taking the title from four-time winner Richard Johnson.
Hughes, 34, was successful in 141 races during the season that ended in March because of the coronavirus epidemic, while Johnson was runner-up with 122. Speaking of his pride, Hughes asserted; “It’s great to be officially called champion jockey as it’s something I’ve always dreamt of doing. Now the next dream is to try and hang on to the title for next season”.
Hughes then added..
“It is obviously a little disheartening that we haven’t been able to see out the season as we were all looking forward to that and there were some big race days to look forward to but present-day circumstances are out of all our hands and horse racing is no different with all things considered.”
Nothing has ever come easy to this County Armagh born man. He’s had to work hard every day of his life to get to where he is now, and it is well-documented that he once considered relinquishing his jockey licence for the reason that he was struggling for rides, but on the intellectual guidance of his father he remained there and kept his head down – the rest is history; Hughes added to the conversation; “My father said being a jockey was something that I was half good at and needed to stick at it, luckily I heeded his advice that time”.
There were countless racehorse trainers who assisted Hughes in finding his stride in Britain and in-due-course becoming a champion jockey – in no specific order, Alan Swinbank, John Wade, and Malcom Jefferson were the most influential in getting him noted by the wider audience; “There is so many people who assisted me to get in to being in such a favourable position that I am today, I’d be here all day mentioning them, as there is a lot of them, they all know who they are and I am very appreciative. I would also like to express my appreciation to the hard-working stable staff across the land, the physios, the valets, everyone who works on a racecourse – and, of course, my family” insisted Hughes.
“Horse racing is a team game, and I can’t emphasize enough how so many terrific people and amazing horses have played their part in me becoming champion jockey.”