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banner Friday, 30 March, 2001, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson
Johnson on Looks Like Trouble in the 2000 Gold Cup
Date of birth: 21/7/77
Main trainers: Henry Daly, Philip Hobbs, Alan King
Festival wins: 3
Winners 1999-2000: 143

Life was just handsome for Richard Johnson when he brought home Anzum with a late run to win the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 1999.

His patience and ultimate tenacity saw him being honoured for the ride of the year.

A year later, he was tasting glory again aboard Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Looks Like Trouble after connections had 'jocked off' previous rider Norman Williamson.

Johnson was rapidly becoming a household name - and his Royal connection has kept him in the headlines, often making the front rather than back pages.

His relationship with so-called Royal rebel Zara Phillips, the daughter of Princess Anne, attracted the media spotlight.

And the coverage reached fever pitch early in 2001 when the pair were reported to have slugged it out in a street bust-up.

But they appear to gave made up, which may be just as well with Zara being patron of Cheltenham raceourse's 18-24 club for young racegoers, she looks sure to be among the Festival crowd.

Johnson is understood to have started riding at the age of five on a pony called Tasty.

Eighteen years later, he is likely to have a mouthwatering book of rides at the Festival.

In the 2000 Grand National, he appeared to be travelling well on the well-fancied Star Traveller, before he pulled up with just three fences to go.

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