Privileged to see jockey Dickie Johnson at Newton Abbot since start of career
- Credit: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK
The announcement made by Richard (Dickie) Johnson on Easter Saturday at Newton Abbot that he was retiring was a complete shock.
Philip Hobbs came up to a few minutes before entering the parade ring for the sixth race.
His last ride at Newton Abbot was Brother Tedd, owned by Scrase Farm and trained by Phillip Hobbs.
This came as a real shock to all those weighing room colleagues and all other officials and racecourse staff.
All I could do was congratulate Richard and give him a bottle of Champagne and a promise that we would invite him back to Newton Abbot later on in the year.
Dickie, as he was affectionately called, has been riding for almost 30 years, therefore I have been privileged to see him at Newton Abbot since the start of his career.
Dickie is a very polite, unassuming individual who is willing to give an opinion fairly and without malice.
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I don't think I have ever had a crossed word, and that shows the type of person he is. He was very approachable.
Newton Abbot risked its reputation when we were trialling the new padded hurdles, and some senior jockeys were very scathing.
However, Dickie was not one of those and has always been helpful especially if it help horse welfare.
Dickie had injuries like all other jockeys but he had one at Newton Abbot which was on August 27, 2002, when he broke his right leg on a horse called Lincoln Place. It was the second break on the same leg in ten months.
Some winners at Newton Abbot for Richard Johnson which stand out include the Lord Mildmay Memorial Listed Race in 2005 that he won on Tomango; the Lord Mildmay Memorial Listed Race in 2013 when he won on The Disengager and he won five consecutive meetings on a horse called Mantusis.
We had a Newton Abbot syndicate horse trained by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Richard Johnson on Kayf Willow and it won on his last run for the syndicate.