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High praise for retiring Epsom Derby and Arc champion jockey Johnny Murtagh

Jockey Johnny Murtagh riding 2000 Arc winner Sinndar

AP McCoy last night described Johnny Murtagh as one of the best jockeys he has ever seen, following the triple Epsom Derby winner's announcement that he is retiring from the saddle to concentrate on training.

Crowned Irish champion jockey on five occasions, the 43-year-old is widely regarded as one of the greatest riders of the modern era and partnered numerous big-race winners in all corners of the globe.

"Best wishes 2 @JohnnyMurtagh in his retirement, top bloke, one of the best jockeys I've ever seen & has already proven himself a top trainer," tweeted Ulster great McCoy, last month named Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year.

Murtagh bows out after an incredible 2013 in which his triumphs included Novellist's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes success and four Royal Ascot wins.

In a 26-year career the Meath native won three Derbys, four Irish Derbys and five Gold Cups, including two on the great Yeats.

"I went for a run the other day and during it I started to think about the amount of effort that I have to put in and I just don't think I have the time to give to being a jockey any more," said Murtagh, who started training last year in Kildare.

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