CHAMPION Jockey Richard Johnson had a quick chat about racing with the Queen as she presented him with an OBE.

Johnson, 41, has ridden more than 3,500 winners during a 25-year career in the saddle which has also seen him finish title runner-up to AP McCoy 16 times.

Johnson, originally from Madley, gained his first success at Hereford on Rusty Bridge back in 1994.

After collecting his honour at Buckingham Palace, he said: "She asked me how the championship is going and obviously Cheltenham is just around the corner.

"She is very engaging and obviously it was a privilege for me that she presented the award.

"Obviously she does not do all of these ceremonies, so to get here and discover she was doing this one left me feeling that I could not be more pleased."

Johnson, from Pembridge, was proudly watched by his wife Fiona and children Willow, 10, Casper, seven, and five-year-old Percy, Johnson added: "It has been a fantastic day and just a big honour to receive the award."

Johnson's successes include two Cheltenham Gold Cups, a Champion Chase and a Champion Hurdle.

The Herefordshire jockey is on course for his fourth championship and is leading the current standings with 177 winners since May last year.

This season Johnson has had 836 rides leaving a strike rate of 21 per cent.

His nearest challenger is Harry Skelton on 144 winners while in third place is Brian Hughes with 128 winners.

The Championship runs from May 5 until April 27.

He added: "There are two more months left of the season. Cheltenham is just around the corner. It has gone really well again and fingers crossed we can hopefully get the fourth championship as well."

After taking his first win at his home course Johnson has become a regular winner at Hereford Racecourse.

The racecourse is holding their Cotswold Hereford Ladies Day on Saturday (March 9) just days before the Cheltenham Festival.

The race meeting is one of the main events of the year for Hereford Racecourse attracting a large crowd.

There are seven races with the first one taking place at 1.40pm and the last going off at 5.10pm.

A pre-booked general admission ticket is priced at £19 with tickets on the gate at £22.

Old Market Hereford are sponsoring a best-dressed competition for a chance to win £500 in shopping vouchers, plus food and cinema vouchers.