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Tony McCoy win: Richard Johnson joins in appreciation for his old adversary

Frank Brownlow

As Tony McCoy was celebrating his 4,000th winner, spare a thought for Richard Johnson.

In any other era, Johnson – perhaps best known as former boyfriend of Zara Phillips, the Queen's granddaughter – would have been champion jockey many times over.

Instead, he has been the perennial runner-up to McCoy in the race to be champion jockey.

Johnson hit the 2,000 winners mark in December 2009 – but by that stage, McCoy already had well over 3,000 in the bag.

Johnson is the only other rider to have ridden more than 2,500 jumps winners and 14-times runner-up to McCoy in the jockeys' championship.

"It's an amazing achievement. What he'd already done was phenomenal," he commented.

"He doesn't relent at all. He's as keen now as he was when he first came over from Ireland. What he has achieved in the last 15 to 20 years is incredible.

"He has changed riding, especially in the National Hunt field, and moved it forward.

"It's been a pleasure to ride with him and you'd struggle to find a nicer person to work with, either, on a day-to-day basis. He's as hungry as he's ever been, but he's a gentleman as well.

"He's got time for the youngsters coming through as much as anybody else, which is a great trait. He's been fantastic for the sport and I don't think he'll be going anywhere for a while yet.

"We all want to win every race and he's just as keen as anyone, even after all the success he's had. For me his hunger is as great now as it's ever been.

"He's very fair and doesn't expect special treatment off anyone."

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Tony McCoy's winner tuned up in the Mournes

AP should stand for Absolutely Phenomenal

Tony McCoy is tipped to stay at the top for years

Martin Pipe so proud of totally dedicated, incredible jockey

Even the bookies raise a glass in AP's honour

Richard Johnson joins in appreciation for his old adversary

Peadar 'felt like crying' after seeing son Tony reach milestone

  McCoy makes history at Towcester with 4,000 career wins

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