Timmy Murphy has paid tribute to owner David Johnson who died on Saturday after a long battle with cancer. Murphy was retained rider for Johnson with the pair enjoying a string of big-race successes, including the 2008 Grand National with Comply Or Die, a race the rider has pinpointed as a particular highlight.
“It was a sad day for racing and anyone close to him,” Murphy told At The Races.
“When Comply won the National, that was the pinnacle, but any winner I rode for David was special. He was very involved with his horses and knew the form inside out – it was a massive part of his life.
“He was a very, very competitive man in business, life and sport, but he was also a very good loser and I mean that in the best way – he took defeat very well. He was a great winner, he was a fabulous man.”
Murphy, who also rode the likes of Our Vic, Celestial Gold and Contraband for Johnson, took over as the owner’s first-choice rider after Tony McCoy teamed up with JP McManus.
The jockey admits he struggled in the role at first, but said Johnson’s faith helped him to adapt to the challenge.
“He had a massive influence on my life,” he added.
“When I first took the job, I struggled a bit trying to fill AP’s [McCoy] boots and tried to ride very much like him, but no-one can.
“I spoke to David a lot and he said: ‘Stop trying to ride like him. I employed you for the way you ride.’
“After that I always said I rode 7lb better when I put his colours on because he gave his jockeys confidence. He was a very easy man to ride for.”
Meanwhile, Al Kazeem confirmed his position as the poster horse for 2013 with a third consecutive Group One win in the space of six weeks in a dramatic renewal of the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday.
While it appeared the greatest racehorse of Roger Charlton’s career had once again managed to overcome the persistent front-runner Mukhadram, Al Kazeem nonetheless hung across and hampered the eventual third in the final stages to leave trainer William Haggas fuming.
It cost jockey James Doyle a five-day careless riding suspension (20-24 July), but the thought of partnering the likely favourite in October’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will have lessened the blow.
2.30 Go Jamesway
3.30 Outlaw Torn
4.00 Forrest Flyer
5.00 Normal Equilibrium
2.15 Port Hill
2.45 Well Mett
3.15 Emerald Rose
4.15 Drawn Free
4.45 Clarion Call
6.50 AJ Cook (nap)
7.20 The Dukkerer
7.50 Duke Of Yorkshire
8.20 Line Of Reason
6.00 Golden Compass
6.30 Grass Green
7.00 First Sargeant
8.30 Snow Powder
9.00 Silver Dixie
3:45 Newton Abbot