Ernie Johnson (jockey)

Last updated

Ernie Johnson
Full nameErnest Johnson
Occupation Jockey
Born1948 (age 7273)
Sunderland, England
Major racing wins
British Classic Race wins:
Epsom Derby (1969)
1,000 Guineas (1978)
Racing awards
British flat racing Champion Apprentice (1967)

Ernest Johnson (born 1948) is an Epsom Derby winning British flat racing jockey.

Contents

Career

He began his apprenticeship with Captain Peter Hastings-Bass at Kingsclere. On that trainer's death in 1964, he transferred to Ian Balding. [1] His first win came on Balding's Abel at York on 18 May 1965 and his first big win came on Salvo in the 1966 Vaux Gold Tankard for Harry Wragg. In 1967, he won the Ebor on Ovaltine and the Cesarewitch on Boismoss, and ended the season as Champion Apprentice with 39 victories.

In 1968, he moved to Middleham, North Yorkshire where he rode for Sam Hall, although he still rode for many leading southern stables. That year he won 68 races, including a second Ebor on Alignment, the Free Handicap at Newmarket on Panpiper and the Portland Handicap on Gold Pollen. [2]

1969 brought Johnson his biggest career victory - a "faultless ride" [3] in The Derby on Blakeney - and his biggest seasonal haul to that date of 79. [2] In 1972, he became stable jockey to Barry Hills, for whom he almost won a second Derby on Rheingold, when he finished beaten by a short head by Lester Piggott on Roberto. [2] Although Roberto was a very good horse, Johnson himself believes that the combination of the Epsom track and the fact that Piggott was at the peak of his powers got him beat. [4] By September 1974, he had completed the feat of at least one winner at each racecourse in Britain. [3]

Shortly after Royal Ascot 1977, Johnson sustained shoulder injuries and a broken leg in an incident at Newmarket when his mount Courjet swerved, ran off the course and threw him against a post. [2] This caused him to miss the rest of the season. He bounced back the following season with his best ever end of season total of 86 and a second classic win on the Hills-trained Enstone Spark in the 1,000 Guineas. [3]

His arrangement with Hills ended with the arrival of American jockey Steve Cauthen at the stable in 1979. [3] Though he still rode some horses for the yard, Cauthen was very much the first choice jockey and by 1982 Johnson was riding more or less as a freelance. He had a spell riding for Clive Brittain during 1980-81 and also a number of winners for Michael Stoute. His seasonal totals of winners dropped away dramatically, - 61 in 1979, 49 in 1980, 29 in 1981, 46 in 1982, to 27 in 1983.

In the 1980 Epsom Oaks, Johnson rode The Dancer, on whom he had won a race at Newbury as a 2 year old, for Major Dick Hern. Hern's stable jockey, Willie Carson, also had the choice of Cheshire Oaks winner Shoot A Line and Musidora Stakes winner Bireme. He elected to ride Bireme, who won by 2 lengths from Vielle, with The Dancer in 3rd. Johnson made much of the running until two furlongs out and was possibly a shade unlucky - The Dancer was partially sighted in one eye and had to race along the inside rails, eventually getting herself boxed in. In 1982 he had what would be his final ride in the Epsom Derby, finishing last of the 18 runners on the rank outsider Florida Son.

By the mid-1980s, riding opportunities were becoming scarce, so he relocated to Ireland for a short while in 1984, to ride for Eddie O'Grady. When this failed to work out, he returned to England for a season, riding just 11 winners in 1985. This was followed by some time spent riding in Singapore. [3] He also rode winners in Kenya, India and Hong Kong during his career. [5] Back in England in the early 1990s, although he was one of only eight then active jockeys to have passed the 1,000 winner mark, rides were even harder to come by, and he picked up just eleven winners in four years, riding only 40 in his final 13 seasons as a jockey. [4] The last time he rode double figures in a season was 10 in 1988, while his last big race winner was the Martin Pipe-trained Tamarpour in the 1991 Northumberland Plate at Newcastle. Despite the lack of rides, Johnson did not feel bitter, saying in 1993, 'I'm just doing what I enjoy and happy going from day to day. At least I've won a Derby.' [4] He rode his last winner on Desert Sand at Ayr in September 1998 and his last race (besides one-off 'legends' races) in 2002. [6]

Related Research Articles

Steve Donoghue British jockey

Steve Donoghue was a leading English flat-race jockey in the 1910s and 1920s. He was Champion Jockey 10 times between 1914 and 1923 and was one of the most celebrated horse racing sportsmen after Fred Archer, arguably only Sir Gordon Richards eclipsing him.

Francis Buckle

Francis Buckle (1766–1832), also known as Frank Buckle and known to the British horse racing public as "The Governor", was an English jockey, who has been described as "the jockey non-pareil" of the opening quarter of the 19th century, and the man who "brought respectability to race-riding". He won at least 27 British Classic Races during his career, a record which would not be beaten for over 150 years.

Joseph Mercer, OBE is a retired English thoroughbred race horse jockey. He was active as a jockey from 1947 to 1985 and rode a total of 2,810 winners in Britain. Mercer's nickname was "Smokin' Joe".

Charlottown British-bred Thoroughbred racehorse

Charlottown was a Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a career which lasted from 1965 until 1967 he ran ten times and won seven reces. He is best known for winning the 1966 Derby.

Charles James William “Charlie” Smirke (1906–1993), was a British flat-race jockey. In a career that lasted from 1920 until 1959, he rode the winners of eleven British Classic Races. As a rider, he was known for his skill, strength and tactical intelligence, together with his self-confident and outspoken personality. Although he never won the Championship, he was regarded as one of the best jockeys of his era.

James Robinson (jockey)

James Robinson (1794–1873) was a British Jockey. In a riding career which lasted until 1852 he rode the winners of 24 British Classic Races. His six wins in The Derby set a record which was not surpassed until Lester Piggott won his seventh Derby in 1976. His record of nine wins in the 2000 Guineas remains unequaled. Robinson, who was often known as "Jem", retired from riding after an injury in 1852 and died in 1873.

Tom Cannon Sr.

Tom Cannon Sr. was a British flat racing jockey and trainer. He won 13 British classics as a jockey, becoming champion in 1872. As a trainer, he trained classic winners, as well as winners over jumps, including the 1888 Grand National. He was the father of four jockey sons, including the six-times champion, Morny Cannon, and the great-grandfather of eleven-times champion, Lester Piggott.

Joe Childs

Joseph Childs (1884–1958) was a French-born, British-based flat racing jockey. He won fifteen British Classics in a 35-year career, the last ten years of which were spent as jockey to King George V. He was known for riding a slow, waiting race, and also for having a short temper which regularly saw him at odds with his trainers and owners.

Bill Clift

William Clift (1762–1840), born Wentworth, South Yorkshire, was a British jockey. He won the first runnings of both the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas and was the first jockey to win all five of the British Classics.

Dennis Fitzpatrick

Dennis Fitzpatrick (1764–1806) was an Irish, five-times British Classic winning jockey. He was the first Irish professional jockey to ride in England and competed in some of the most notable match races of the 19th century versus fellow jockey Frank Buckle.

James "Jem" Chapple was a British Classic-winning jockey. A "first-class and thoroughly English jockey" he won the Derby-Oaks double in 1833, and a further Derby in 1838.

Simeon "Sim" Templeman (1805-1884) was a British classic-winning jockey. He won seven classic races in total, including the Epsom classic double twice.

Alfred Day was a British classic winning jockey. He won seven classics between 1849 and 1859, including the Derby on Andover, and was nicknamed "King Alfred" for his success.

Robert William Sherwood (1835-1894) was a British jockey and racehorse trainer who won The Derby in both capacities.

Ralph Bullock (jockey)

Ralph "Geordie" Bullock was a Derby-winning British jockey.

Frederick George Allsopp was a British Derby-winning jockey.

John Parsons was a British jockey and the youngest jockey ever to win The Derby, reportedly aged 16.

Tom French (jockey)

Thomas French (1844–1873), born in Liverpool, was a Derby winning English jockey.

Michael Beary was an Irish flat racing jockey, who won four British Classics and eight Irish Classics in a career that spanned from the 1910s to the 1950s. He was Irish Champion Jockey in 1920.

Fred Rickaby English flat racing jockey

Frederick Edward Rickaby was an English flat racing jockey, who won three fillies' Classics. He is usually referred to as Fred Rickaby Sr. to distinguish him from his son and grandson, both successful jockeys in their own right.

References

  1. Mortimer, Onslow & Willett 1978, p. 319.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Mortimer, Onslow & Willett 1978, p. 320.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Wright 1986, p. 155.
  4. 1 2 3 Edmondson, Richard (1 June 1993). "Where are they now? Ernie Johnson". The Independent . Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  5. Kay & Vamplew, p. 5.
  6. "Jockey Ernie Johnson Statistical Summary". Racing Post. Retrieved 3 May 2014.

Bibliography