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Herefordshire jockey Richard Johnson's Grand National disappointment goes on
HEREFORDSHIRE jockey Richard Johnson has set a new record at the Grand National — the most rides without success.
The 34-year-old finished 12th aboard Planet Of Sound in Saturday’s incident-packed 165th Grand National at Aintree.
“He ran really well but just didn't get four-and-a-half miles,” said Johnson.
Johnson took second place on What's Up Boys in 2002, when he looked like the winner until Bindaree swept past on the run to the line.
But Johnson has now ridden a record 16 times without success.
He could end his career as the most successful rider never to win the National.
Johnson’s outstanding career total of nearly 2,400 wins is well ahead of jockeys such as Richard Dunwoody and Peter Scudamore, all of whom won the Champion title at least three times.
Michael Scudamore rode Oxo to the Grand National crown in 1959 but son Peter Scudamore failed to win it despite 13 consecutive rides between 1981 and 1993.
Peter’s son, Tom Scudamore, partnered Junior in this year’s National but fell at the second fence.
“It was brief unfortunately,” said Tom. “We just clipped the second one and it was all over. He has been checked by the vet and we are both safe and sound.''
Venetia Williams-trained Mon Mome, the 100-1 outsider whose 2009 success shocked the racing world, couldn’t repeat his Aintree heroics. Jockey Aidan Coleman pulled up Mon Mome before the 22nd fence.
“He’s older now and I just couldn't get him going so we got a bit far behind,” said Coleman.
“To be fair to the old boy he gave me a fantastic spin, he knows his way round here.
“He’s been such a fantastic servant and he looked after me. It was just that his younger rivals have more legs than him.”
l AINTREE Racecourse managing director Julian Thick said he was saddened after two horses were put down after falling at the Grand National. Grey outsider Neptune Collonges pipped Sunnyhillboy in a nose-to-nose to finish. But favourite Synchronised, who won last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, and According To Pete were both put down after falls.
Thick, who hails from Ledbury, said: “We are desperately sad at these two accidents and our sympathies are with the connections of both horses.
“When a horse gets hurt everyone is deeply upset. Safety is the first priority for the organisers of the Grand National and we make every effort to ensure that everyone involved in the event is able to participate safely.
“Since last year we have made further significant changes to the course and there have been four races run over the course without serious incident since then.
“We will, as always, be looking at all aspects of this year’s race to see how we can improve safety further.”
The National is described as the world’s greatest steeplechase and is worth a record £970,000 in prize money.
BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght, from Ross-on-Wye, said it had been a ‘black day for the Grand National and for horse racing’.
“Nobody should underestimate it — this is very serious for everyone in the racing industry,” he said.
“A dark cloud hangs over the Grand National. Its future is in a certain amount of doubt.”