Double blow for Richard Johnson as he suffers broken arm… and it’s now a race against time to be ready for March’s Cheltenham Festival
- Richard Johnson broke his right arm during a fall at Exeter on Tuesday
- The injury means Johnson is touch-and-go to make the Cheltenham Festival
- The man himself is however confident that he will be ready for March 10
Richard Johnson’s hold on the jump jockeys’ title looks to be over after he broke his right arm in a fall at Exeter on Tuesday.
The injury also leaves Johnson in a race to be fit for the Cheltenham Festival which begins on March 10.
Johnson sustained the injury when unseated from Philip Hobbs-trained West End Story in the Dare To Dream Novices’ Chase. But the damage looked to be done when Johnson was kicked by Fox Pro.
Richard Johnson, in action here at Ascot on Saturday, sustained a broken arm at Exeter
Hobbs said: ‘He has broken his right arm in between the elbow and the hand. He is going to have an operation, to have it plated, either tomorrow or Thursday.
‘He expects to be off for a month or so. He sounded very positive about Cheltenham.’
Four-time champion Johnson, 42, is only three winners behind Brian Hughes (114-111) but while he is sidelined, Hughes should be able to build an unassailable lead in the pursuit of his first championship, provided he too can avoid injury before the season ends on April 25.
Despite the injury, Johnson is in a positive mindset regarding his participation at Cheltenham
Third-placed Sam Twiston-Davies looks to be too far behind to challenge with 28 winners separating him and Hughes.
A treble at Newcastle on Monday for Hughes, 34, took him into his three-winner lead and statistics show that Hughes rode more winners than Johnson in the final four months of the campaign in the last three seasons.
If Hughes does lift the crown, he will become the first champion jump jockey operating on the northern circuit since Jonjo O’Neill in the 1979-80 season.