A P McCoy or Richard Johnson - who is better?

A P McCoy or Richard Johnson - who is better?

A simple answer - AP McCoy.

Knighted in 2016, McCoy is generally accepted as the finest rider the sport has ever produced, as a result of producing a record 4,358 winners in his time. He was also Champion Jockey a record 20 consecutive times, every year in fact he was a professional rider.

The Northern Irishman recorded his first winner back in 1992 at age of 17, claiming his first Champion Jockey title three years later.

McCoy won almost every major race there is to win, with his most high-profile winners being in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, King George VI Chase, and the 2010 Grand National aboard Don't Push It.

He was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2010, becoming the first jockey to win the award, and in December 2013 he was named RTE Sports Person of the Year.

A simple answer, but perhaps not a simple explanation.


McCoy held an intense rivalry with Richard Johnson for the Jockeys Title for many years.

In fact, Dicky Johnson was runner-up in the Jockeys’ Championship as many as 16 times behind McCoy, before finally winning it for the first time the year after McCoy retired.

Now a three-time winner of the top accolade in Jumps' Racing, Johnson could of secured several more titles if it wasn’t for the exploits of McCoy.

With McCoy now no longer on the scene, it would be reasonable to suggest that Johnson has now picked up better rides.

However, while McCoy was known as the go-to man for any big occasion, that hasn’t really been the case for Johnson, who does not seem to pick up as many big rides, such as in the feature races at the Cheltenham Festival as the twenty-time Champion did.

Johnson’s winning rides have come in the lower graded day-to-day meetings in recent years, which helps explain the fact that the overall quality of his rides has marginally decreased, thus giving McCoy the backing of the best in the business.

The average Timeform master rating of Johnson’s rides during the McCoy era stood at 114.8, but has dropped slightly to 113.8.

While the quality hasn’t improved, if Johnson continues on his current path, he would overhaul McCoy’s total record winners in the next five seasons. But would this mean he is the better jockey?

Referring back to the original debate, McCoy would still get the verdict, as not only he came out on top in the Championship for all those years, but also of the quality of the horses he won on.

Some of McCoy's victors would not have prevailed without the great man on board, who got the absolute maximum out of every runner - not that Johnson does not.

But these came in the biggest races, with undoubtedly one his best performances in the saddle, coming aboard Wichita Lineman in the 2009 William Hill Trophy:

The greatest of all time.