Brian Hughes crowned champion jumps jockey for the first 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," says Northern Irishman

Monday 6 April 2020 22:59, UK

NEWCASTLE, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 30: Jockey Brian Hughes during the Fighting Fifth Race Meeting at Gosforth Park Race Course on November 30, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images)
Image: Brian Hughes is the first northern-based champion jumps jockey since Jonjo O'Neill, 40 years ago

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

The 34-year-old Northern Irishman was leading Richard Johnson by 19 winners on 141 victories before the season was brought to an unscheduled end on March 17, when the British Horseracing Authority announced the suspension of racing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The campaign had been set to conclude on April 25 at Sandown and a presentation will now be made at some point when racing resumes.

WETHERBY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31:  Jockey Brian Hughes riding Intense Tango competes in the olbg.com Mares' Hurdle Race (Class 1) on October 31, 2015 in Wetherby, England.  (Photo by Daniel Smith/Getty Images)
Image: Hughes won 141 races during the season that ended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic

Hughes told Great British Racing: "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, and racing's no different.

"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.

NEWCASTLE, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 30: Jockey Brian Hughes during the Fighting Fifth Race Meeting at Gosforth Park Race Course on November 30, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England (Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images)
Image: Brian Hughes is the first northern-based champion jumps jockey since Jonjo O'Neill, 40 years ago

"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."

More on this story

Hughes also lands the northern jockey title, which is awarded to the jockey with the most wins at courses north of Market Rasen during the championship period, having secured 110 of his overall 141 wins at northern tracks.

Nicky Henderson claimed his sixth champion trainer title, with his total of £2,533,862 in prize-money seeing him finish £192,550 clear of 11-times winner Paul Nicholls.

Henderson had 118 winners, with four Cheltenham Festival winners highlighted by Champion Hurdle victor Epatante.