It used to be that AP McCoy was the greatest jockey to have never won the Aintree Grand National but he put paid to that title in 2010 when he won on Don’t Push It after 15 attempts. These days the honour goes to Richard Johnson, a fantastic rider in his own right, but one who has yet to claim the glory at Aintree.
Aside from McCoy, only Richard Johnson has secured more National Hunt winners, over 2,400 of them, more than any rider in the history of horse racing. But, despite this he has finished runner-up 13 times to McCoy in the top Jump Jockey Championship stakes and his best finish in the Grand National was on Whats Up Boys in 2002.
Despite this, he is a formidable jockey who has won all four championship races at Cheltenham during his career, including the 2000 Gold Cup on Looks Like Trouble and the Champion Hurdle three years later with Rooster Booster.
Unfortunately, his 2012 Grand National charge, Planet Of Sound a 40-1 outsider, finished in 12th place and that meant that Johnson had ridden in 16 Nationals without success, and no jockey in the 163-year history of the race has been to Aintree so frequently without reaching the winner’s enclosure.
On board Balthazar King in 2013, Johnson once again completed the race but could only guide his horse home in 15th place. Three back-to-back Cheltenham wins since then for the duo and once again they are set to line-up for the 2014 Crabbies Grand National and on the form of his life, this really could be the year that both Johnson & Hobbs finally win the Grand National.