Brian Hughes crowned champion jump jockey for the first time

Brian Hughes crowned champion jump jockey for first time with 141 wins after season is brought to a standstill by coronavirus pandemic

  • Brian Hughes has become champion jump jockey after early end to the season
  • Hughes had earned 141 victories in 2019-20, leading Richard Johnson by 19 wins
  • The BHA made the decision to award titles based on standings from March 17

Brian Hughes has officially been crowned champion jump jockey for the first time.

The season should not have officially ended until April 25 but with the sport shut down until the end of the month and the BHA having stated that jump racing will not return until July at the earliest, the Professional Jockeys Association, National Trainers Federation and Racehorse Owner Association decided the 2019-20 titles should be awarded on the standings when the sport was shut down on March 17.

The other winners are Nicky Henderson (Trainer), Jonjo O’Neill jr (Conditional Jockey) and JP McManus (Owner).

Brian Hughes has officially been crowned champion jump jockey for the first time

Hughes, 34, whose 141 wins put him 19 wins in front of defending champion Richard Johnson, said: ‘It has always been a dream of mine to become Champion Jockey, so to have finally achieved it is fantastic.

‘It is obviously a little disappointing that we haven’t been able to see out the season as we were all looking forward to doing so and there were some big race days to look forward to, but current circumstances are out of all our hands.

‘I’ve had another great season with 141 winners and I cannot thank all the trainers, owners, stable staff and my family who have continued to support me and I hope everyone is staying safe at this time.

‘Like everyone else, I can’t wait to get back out there riding and will be doing everything I can to keep hold of the title next season.’

Former champion jump jockey Richard Johnson praised Hughes as decision was announced

Johnson has been champion for the last four seasons since inheriting the crown from Sir Anthony McCoy.

Johnson said: ‘Brian has been in terrific form all season and was really able to open up a gap between himself and the rest of us chasing him.

‘It is a huge moment for any rider to become champion jockey and I know that all of us in the weighing room will look forward to formally congratulating Brian when the presentation is made to him later in the year.’

O’Neill jr, 22, claimed the Conditional Jockeys crown with 61 wins, a tally which placed him 10th in the overall jockeys’ championship.

He finished the season 20 wins clear of second-placed Ben Jones.

Nicky Henderson is now a six-time champion trainer, earning £2.5m in prize money in 2020

It is the sixth time Henderson has been champion trainer. He secured £2,533,862 in prize money, – £192,550 ahead of 11-time champion Paul Nicholls.

Henderson’s big wins were headed by his eighth Champion Hurdle success at the Cheltenham Festival with Epatante.

Nicky Henderson said: ‘It’s a great pity that we haven’t been able to see the season out and it looked like the race was going down to the wire.

‘But all of us know that the current situation is bigger than racing and something that everyone in the country is having to deal with and face.’ The Champion Jumps Owners[]’ title is also decided by prize money.

The tally of McManus – £2,137,844 – was a huge £1,390,508 ahead of second-placed owners, Simon Munir & Isaac Souede.

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