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MARLO MEETS: RICHARD JOHNSON

Marlo Meets returns for its first outing of the new year and it won't disappoint. We welcome the jockey with the second most wins in National Hunt Racing history, two time Cheltenham Gold cup winner and four time Champion Jockey, Richard Johnson.

Richard tells us about what it takes to become a jockey, how the pandemic has affected racing as well as some other secrets from his illustrious career.

1. How important is a crowd when you're racing, and has it been strange without one?

It's been surreal not having a crowd at the races. During a race you don't hear the crowd... even if your at Cheltenham or Aintree - but I think everyone has missed having crowds to cheer the horses back into the winners enclosure. It will be great to have the crowds back whenever we can - then it will feel like we're getting back to a bit of normality!

2. What’s your favourite thing to do when you have time away from racing?

I love being back home on the farm in Herefordshire. I don't get to spend a huge amount of time at home with the family so it's nice to be able to take them riding or watch them in sport matches.

3. As a jockey you must fantasise about the ultimate feast, what would be your perfect meal and what would you wash it down it with?

My perfect meal would be a prime Herefordshire fillet steak with béarnaise sauce and mashed potatoes! The steak has to be rare... followed by a chocolate fondant a bottle of red wine... whatever is recommended by Marlo!

4. What’s been the greatest cause for champagne in your life?

The greatest cause for Champagne in my life has been becoming champion jockey (and the birth of my children!).

5. Was there ever another career that appealed to you?

Growing up on a farm it was only ponies or farming. From a very young age I thought racing would be a much easier job than farming... now I'm undecided. Both my dad and grandad rode in races as well as being farmers! I think both of those careers have been bred into me.

6. What advice would you give to your younger self?

I'd definitely tell myself to enjoy the good days! I won the Gold cup in 2000 and I probably didn't appreciate it fully at the time. It took another 18 years to win my next Gold Cup. I'd also say to learn from the bad days because that's when you learn the most.

7. Finally, what are your future racing ambitions and is there one more special win you'd like to bag?

At the beginning of the season my ambition is always to be the Champion Jockey. The Grand National is the one major race I haven't managed to win so that would be on my wish list!

Marlo are delighted to announce that we now feature in the 'Top 50 UK Wine Blogs' - Find the full list here.

Main Image: Racing Post
Blog Image 1: GBI Racing
Blog Image 2: Liverpool Echo