Horseracing: Jockey Chris Johnson breaks long-standing NZ record for most wins.

Chris Johnson has made New Zealand racing history, becoming the country's most successful jockey ever. 

Forty years after riding his first winner, Johnson has picked up his 2452nd race victory, edging ahead of previous recordholder David Walsh.

Johnson, nicknamed 'Magic Man', achieved the feat aboard five-year-old mare Sassenach.

He needed just one victory from his seven races at Awapuni in Palmerston North on Saturday and he did so in impressive fashion. 

After a slow start to the race, Sassenach was at the rear of the pack, before he began to hunt the field down, approaching the final turn. 

With 250m to go, Johnson drove his horse through the field and into the lead to claim New Zealand racing history.  

Johnson has had an up-and-down journey to reach the milestone, battling officialdom and personal demons, but the record is testament to his persistence, longevity and determination.

"It’s been a long road, but I’ve always said it will happen when it happens," Johnson tells NZ Racing Desk. "I’ve had a lot of support over the years, with so many people to thank.

"It took a while to get the one to equal the record and now I’ve finally got there.

"Racing has been good to me and I’ve been lucky to ride some very good horses along the way.

"I do love my horses, and my hat goes off to them for their courage and determination.

The 56-year-old has no plans to retire after breaking the record and hopes to set a mark tough to break.

"While I can still ride, I just hope to keep going."

Johnson's career began way back in the 1995/96 season, when he won his first premiership and recorded an amazing tally of 139 wins, a tally that still remains his best. 

Johnson was able to add a second premiership title with 112 wins in 2017/18.

He has gone on to establish himself as one of New Zealand's most talented riders, also winning several jumping features, including Grand National Hurdles (4200m) wins at Riccarton aboard Ampac in 1989, Woodbine Blue Chip in 1993 and Kid Colombus in 2011.

His record is all the more meritorious, after he took a break from riding for seven years from 1998, travelling overseas, before returning home to work on farms and in stables, and resumed riding in 2005.