VBET ambassador Brian Hughes has officially been named British champion jumps jockey of the 2019-20 season.
Brian finished the campaign with 141 winners – 19 victories clear of his nearest pursuer, Richard Johnson.
The Co Armagh-born 34-year-old becomes just the third UK champion jumps jockey since 1995.
Brian now follows in the esteemed footprints of four-time champion Johnson and Tony McCoy, who held the title for 20 consecutive seasons.
Brian told VBET:
“First and foremost, my thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“These are troubling times, and the well-being of everyone in the world is the most important thing right now.
“Horse racing and the jockeys’ championship are immaterial in the grand scheme of things.
“I thought we might have got to the end of March racing behind closed doors, and though things escalated very quickly, I was not surprised by the announcement to halt racing until the beginning of May.
“It’s a really worrying time, and I just hope it will all be over sooner rather than later.”
Commenting upon being crowned champion jockey, Hughes told VBET:
“It’s not how I wanted to win the jockeys’ championship, what with the season finishing early, but I’m so proud to have got here.
“It was a great shame that Richard (Johnson) got injured earlier in the season, but I guess that during that time we also missed a good chunk of the campaign because of the bad weather.
“I was hoping to get to the 150-winner mark, but that doesn’t matter at all now.
“The season has still been grand and it’s such a wonderful feeling to follow in the footsteps of Richard, AP McCoy and all of the other racing legends I’ve looked up to.
“That said, good horses make jockeys look good, and without the horses you are nothing.
“And without the support from brilliant trainers, great owners and my agent, Richard Hale, I would not be in this position.“I would also like to express my gratitude to the hard-working stable staff across the land, the physios, the valets, everyone who works on a racecourse – and, of course, my family.
“Racing is a team game, and I cannot stress enough how so many fantastic people and fantastic horses have played their part in me becoming champion jockey.
“The next step now is to try and do it all again.
“Thank you so much to everyone – stay safe.”
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