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Tony McCoy in JP McManus silks

Tony McCoy: believes he could have ridden 5,000 winners

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

McCoy: Richard Johnson deserves to be champion

TONY MCCOY said on Friday he hopes Richard Johnson can be the one to fill his shoes as champion jockey when he retires at the end of this season as he paid tribute to his great friend and rival.

McCoy has been champion jockey for 19 successive seasons with Johnson finishing runner-up 15 times. McCoy is on course to secure his 20th championship in the spring and once again Johnson sits second in the table, albeit closely pursued by Tom Scudamore and Sam Twiston-Davies.

Asked about next season's jockeys' championship, McCoy said: "I would like Richard Johnson to be champion jockey. He made me achieve a lot of the things I achieved."

Among those achievements is McCoy becoming the winning-most jump jockey of all time with over 4,000 victories and the champion jockey believes he could have made it to 5,000 wins if he had decided not to retire.

"I genuinely think I could have [ridden 5,000 winners] but I have this fear of going on too long," McCoy said.

"I think if I was to carry on I could be champion jockey again. When I'm on a horse I don't think I'm retiring. Whether it's for the good or the bad I won't be un-retiring."

McCoy's comments came at a press conference organised to discuss his rides at the Cheltenham Festival during which he said it would be "very unlikely" he would retire straight after the meeting.

McCoy, who nominated Jezki in the Stan James Champion Hurdle as the ride he was most looking forward to, said: " I'm going to try to enjoy Cheltenham more than I've ever done before. I don't want to think about when [the retirement date] will be until after Aintree."

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