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David Johnson, who died on Saturday, had a "massive influence" on Timmy Murphy's life

Updated: Sunday, 07 Jul 2013 10:39 | Comments

Timmy Murphy carried Johnson's colours to victory in the 2008 Grand National on Comply Or Die.
Timmy Murphy carried Johnson's colours to victory in the 2008 Grand National on Comply Or Die.

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."

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