Richard Johnson (blue) paid tribute to his great friend and rivalPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Johnson pays tribute
to 'great man' McCoy
RICHARD JOHNSON paid tribute to his old rival and friend Tony McCoy the day after the 20-time champion jockey bowed out the sport on Saturday, saying he believed McCoy's retirement tour "showed exactly how great a man he is".
Reflecting on Saturday's events, Johnson, who is now favourite to win his first jockeys' championship, said: "It's hard to explain what it was like. It was a strange, eerie feeling.
"People say it's easier to be nice if you're a winner but there's more to it than that. For the last two months AP showed exactly how great a man he is and he was just the same on Saturday, despite the world and his wife wanting a piece of him. Even the stewards and clerk of the scales were trying to get some time with him and asking him to sign things."
The man who did the signing spent Sunday with family and friends, including Johnson, and reflected on the day his curtain came down.
"It was very difficult to take it all in," he told At The Races. "The great racing public came out in force and I was thrilled by it all. I don't think I have ever cried before because of the sheer emotion of what a day was like.
"When I looked around yesterday and saw so many people, as difficult as it was, I thought I'd made the right decision because maybe if I had carried on and not been as good as I once was those people might not have come out."
McCoy also revealed to William Hill his breakfast routine had also taken a welcome turn for the better, adding: "I had sausages, bacon, eggs and mushrooms. It was very nice and something I could get used to."
Sandown clerk of the course Andrew Cooper, reflecting on his course being the venue for McCoy's farewell, said: "It was a thrill to be connected with the racecourse on Saturday and to see it buzzing. I had never seen anything like it before.
"AP very kindly signed the peg at pitch one in the changing room where he had been sitting. I'm not sure we're allowed to retire a peg, so I presume Richard Johnson, who has been sitting next to AP, will now move one place along. I'll just have to make sure that at some point in the future some eager maintenance man does not come along and paint over AP's signature."