Tony McCoy - Greatest Jockey
When Peter Scudamore became the first National Hunt jockey to ride 1,000 winners in his career, those ”in the know” said it would be a one-off, never to be repeated.
Now Anthony Patrick McCoy rides his 3,000th winner and I wonder what those sages are thinking now?
As TV pundit John McCririck said after McCoy passed this latest landmark, "I always call John Francome the greatest jockey but I have some doubt in my mind now!"
There is no doubt at all in my mind that AP McCoy is the greatest National Hunt jockey in the history of the sport.
He is also the most driven jockey in the weighing room, he has a ruthless streak on the track but away from the pressure cooker he is one of the nicest guys in racing.
He will try just as hard whether it is the Gold Cup at Cheltenham or a low grade maiden on a wet Wednesday afternoon at a gaff track.
Usually stony faced when riding, he has a great sense of humour away from the public gaze.
To put his achievement into some sort of perspective, let us take a look at the next four in the rankings:-
Richard Johnson 1,862
Richard Dunwoody 1,699
Peter Scudamore 1,678
Mick Fitzgerald 1,295
In any other era, Richard Johnson would be the top jockey in his own right, but against McCoy he is in the shadow of the great one.
He has been tearing up the record books throughout his career.
McCoys achievements are legendry, the landmarks of 500, 1,000 & 1,500 winners were all achieved in record time. He set a record of most winners in a season with 289 in 2001/2. (Incidentally the most winners in a season in either code)
He rode his first winner in 1994 and a year later he was Conditional Jockey of the year, the following year he was champion jockey – and has been ever since. Every season since, apart from his first, he has ridden in excess of 100 winners, in six of then 200 plus.
He has won every major National Hunt race, apart from the Grand National.
The other thing to bear in mind when considering his achievements is McCoy is 5’ 10” tall and his minimum weight is 10 stone 3 lbs.
Well McCoy is 35 this year and jump jockeys do not have careers as long as their flat counterparts, who frequently race until well into their 50’s.
Bookmakers are going 5/1 against him reaching 4,000 winners. He took five years to ride his first 1,000.
4,000 at 40 has a certain symmetry about it, doesn’t it?
Meanwhile let us just hail, and rightly applaud, THE greatest jockey.
Well done AP.