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Brian Hughes has been officially crowned Britain’s champion jockey for the first time following the close of the 2019/2020 jumps season.

The 34-year-old was leading defending titleholder Richard Johnson by 19 winners on 141 victories when the season was brought to an unscheduled end on March 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It has always been a dream of mine to become champion jockey, so to have finally achieved it is fantastic,” Hughes told Great British Racing.

“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.

“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.”

Four-time champion Johnson, whose battle with Hughes took a turn when he broke his arm in January, had nothing but praise for Hughes.

“Brian is a deserved champion this year,” he said.

“He deserves all the accolades.”

Nicky Henderson took his sixth trainers’ title with 118 winners including four at the Cheltenham Festival held the week before racing shut down.

The Flat calendar is currently suspended until at least May 1 while jumps will not return before July 1.

 
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