AP McCoy wrote himself another piece of horse racing history by becoming the first National Hunt rider to reach 4,000 winners.
The 18-time champion jockey has been breaking records virtually from his first season in the saddle, and he partnered Mountain Tunes to victory in the Weatherbys Novices' Hurdle at Towcester to reach the landmark.
McCoy was last early on, but his mount warmed to the task and moved into contention turning for home.
A sloppy leap at the second last put McCoy on the back foot, but he galvanised Mountain Tunes and a power-packed finish put his mount in front in the shadow of the post—much to the delight of a packed crowd at Towcester.
McCoy has pretty much picked up Mountain Tunes, thrown him over his shoulder and carried him over the line for his 4,000th win... #AP4000— Simon Caney (@simoncaney) November 7, 2013
Speaking to At The Races after the race, McCoy said:
It was just amazing, it couldn't have worked out any better. To do it for Jonjo and the McManus's is brilliant as they've been so good to me.
It was always hopefully going to be in JP's colours. Racing people are fantastic, they are so pleased for me.
I've had the same agent, Dave Roberts, from day one and his dad sadly passed away yesterday so I'd like to dedicate this to him.
To have Chanelle (wife), Eve and Archie (children) here is great and to do it in the McManus silks means a lot.
In a storied career, McCoy’s first winner came aboard Legal Steps at Thurles in 1992, while his first victory in England came on Chickabiddy at Exeter in 1994. He has since gone on to repeatedly rewrite the history books.
His first jockeys’ title came in the 1995/96 season, and he has gone on to win it every year since.
Now standing on 119 winners for the current campaign, per the Professional Jockeys Association, he is already a hot favourite to make it 19 titles on the bounce next year.
McCoy is an Arsenal fan, and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was quick to pay tribute to the rider.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "AP has shown great resilience to get to where he is. Everyone at the club is proud to know he's an Arsenal fan”— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) November 7, 2013
McCoy has dodged talk of retirement, and recently spoke about the next record he has in his sights.
He spent a large portion of his career as stable jockey to Martin Pipe, and it is the former master of Pond House Stables’ record of 4,182 wins that McCoy wants to eclipse.
Speaking to the Mail’s Peter Scudamore, an eight-time champion jockey himself, McCoy said: “I know I am getting closer but he has threatened to take out a trainer’s licence again if I get there.”
When asked by Scudamore about the prospect of retirement, McCoy said:
I hate the thought of it. There has always been a danger element to this sport, but I have always been able to accept the fact that I am going to get injured.
I want to be able to retire at the top and if I am going to do that, it will mean retiring when I am champion jockey. That won’t be easy.
But it won’t be when I ride 4,000 winners—that’s for sure. If I could get to 20 champion jockeys and ride another 200 winners, I could beat Martin Pipe’s record.
McCoy has pocketed virtually every big race in the book and famously landed the Grand National in 2010 aboard Don’t Push It, having failed in 14 previous attempts to win the great steeplechase.
Only three jockeys here have ridden over 4,000 winners—Sir Gordon Richards, Lester Piggott and Pat Eddery—and they all rode on the Flat where the demands on the body are far less.