THE announcement was a shock, coming as it did just before the Grand National, one of the few big races he had yet to win, but it’s typical of the man that Richard Johnson should mark his retirement after riding for Philip Hobbs at Newton Abbot, ensuring the focus was on the trainer to whom Johnson felt his closest alliance.

Almost a third of Johnson’s career total of 3,800 British winners were gained on runners trained by Philip Hobbs, including one memorable one on board Brother Tedd, who won the race in which Johnson’s friend and rival Tony McCoy bowed out at Sandown in April 2015.