HEREFORD Racecourse Executive Director Rebecca Davies has praised Champion Jockey Richard Johnson as she prepares for Irish Raceday taking place on Tuesday.

"Last week’s Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup was possibly one of the all time great renewals of the race with an epic dual from start to finish between Native River and Might Bite," she said.

"Under an inspired and courageous ride from Champion Jockey Richard Johnson, Native River led for most of the race and critically at the most important part, passing the finishing post in front.

"There can be few more popular winners of Jump racing’s blue riband than the respected racing / farming combination of Dorset trainer Colin Tizzard and Hereford born and bred jockey Richard Johnson.

"The trainer and jockey both happen to be farmers at heart, but racing has propelled them to success at the highest level and it is not through good luck or fine fortune. Both are shining examples and role models to those starting out, having spent many years honing their skills to become the best in their trade.

"A third Jockey Championship awaits Richard Johnson this season, and in true style of a Champion he spent Gold Cup night drinking orange juice with a MacDonald’s as he was riding at Uttoxeter the next day. Whether the Gold Cup or a Maiden Hurdle, he puts the same amount of effort in regardless of the occasion and it is that sheer dedication that sets him apart from his peers and makes him such an exceptional talent.

"Johnson is rooted within the Herefordshire farming community and we are thrilled next week to be welcoming the Merry Millers, a stalwart band of Herefordshire fund raisers from the agricultural and farming community, to our Irish Raceday on Tuesday, March 27.

"They are one of the largest farmer-orientated charities in the area raising over £10,000 each year, donating to charities within the County. They are taking over the Rusty Bridge restaurant, ironically named after Johnson’s first ever winner; bred by his Grandfather Ivor and trained by his mother Sue, and over 160 guests will enjoy a VIP day including lunch an auction, as well as a talk through the racecard by Richard Johnson himself!

"The fixture is the final one this season and there will be plenty to get you in the mood with Irish Dancing from Hereford based insteps Dance Academy, live Irish music and other entertainment relevant of the Emerald Isle.

"The day also concludes the 2017/2018 Verzon House Leading Trainer & Rider Championship, the latter in the bag already for the Champion Jockey. He’s pretty good all round you know."