Johnson to have surgery on broken arm

Champion British jumps jockey Richard Johnson is hoping for a quick recovery from a broken arm which threatens to rule him out of Cheltenham.

Johnson will have surgery on his right arm which he broke in a fall at Exeter on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT) but is positive he can get back for the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Trainer Philip Hobbs, for whom Johnson is stable jockey, confirmed the extent of the injury.

“He has broken his right arm in between the elbow and the hand,” Hobbs said.

“He is going to have an operation on it, to have it plated, either tomorrow or Thursday.

“He expects to be off for a month or so. He sounded very positive about Cheltenham.”

Johnson, champion jockey in each of the past four seasons since the retirement of Tony McCoy, trails Brian Hughes by three winners in their title battle.

This year’s Cheltenham Festival begins on March 10.

Johnson’s recovery may be on a tight timeline with the average absence from race-riding because of a broken arm almost nine weeks.

Hobbs’ top novice hurdler Thyme Hill is among Johnson’s big Festival hopes.

Major bookmakers immediately suspended betting on the title race when it was reported Johnson had suffered a potentially significant injury.