Tomorrow (February 19) could be your last chance to catch one of the world’s greatest sportsmen in action when Tony McCoy rides at Huntingdon.
The 19-times champion jump jockey makes the trip to the Cambridgeshire track following his sensational announcement to retire at the end of the season.
In the last five seasons McCoy has notched up a 35% strike-rate at the course and is set to partner one horse at the track tomorrow.
McCoy announced his retirement from a sport he has dominated for two decades live on Channel 4 Racing having ridden his 200th winner for the season on Mr Mole in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on February 7. It was the ninth time that he had ridden a double century in a season during his remarkable career which has seen him crowned champion jump jockey a record 19 consecutive times.
McCoy said: “This is without a doubt, the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I’ve been dreading this day, and if I’m honest, I still can’t quite imagine a life without racing. However, I know it’s the right time to end a career I’ve loved, every single day.
“Even when I’ve fallen and been injured, I’ve been desperate to get back and achieve my goals, achieve the dream I realised when I was a boy but I’m now ready to retire.
“I want to go out at top, I want to go out as champion jockey and it will be my 20th year if I can win the jockeys’ championship. I want to go out while I still enjoy riding and am still relatively at the top.”
There are just two and a half months of AP McCoy’s astonishing racing career left before he hangs up his boots for good at Sandown Park on April 25 and this is an amazing opportunity for racing fans to witness a sporting legend in action.
You can book tickets to Huntingdon racecourse for as little as £13.50 at http://huntingdon.thejockeyclub.co.uk/events-tickets/whats-on/Sidney-Banks-Day or pay on the gate.
AP McCoy Factfile
Full name: Anthony Peter McCoy
Born: Moneyglass, County Antrim, 4 May 1974.
First winner: Legal Steps at Tipperary, 26 March 1992 (aged 17)
3,000th career winner: Restless D’Artaix, Plumpton, 9 February 2009
4,000th career winner: Mountain Tunes, Towcester, 7 November 2013
19 Champion Jump Jockey titles
Height: 5ft 10.5in
Weight: 10st 5lbs
The most successful jump jockey of all time.
19 time Champion Jump Jockey. He is expected to win his 20th title at Sandown Park on Saturday 25th April.
Winner of the 2010 John Smith’s Grand National
Winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1997 and 2012
Winner of the Champion Hurdle in 1997, 2006 and 2010
He rode 289 winners in the 2001-02 season, a British horseracing record
Awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2003 Birthday Honours and an OBE in 2010.
Winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in 2010, the first time a jockey had been honoured in this way. Third in the 2014 Awards.
What he says: “Being champion jockey is by far the most important thing in the world to me – apart from my family. If I lost the jockeys’ championship I wouldn’t ride again. I’ve got no intention of losing it.”
Richard Johnson on AP McCoy: “What he’s achieved has been amazing. He has completely rewritten what we thought was achievable in a season, and a career. Whether it’s a Monday, a Saturday or a Festival, he’s hungry and consistent every day. He rarely makes mistakes - you would struggle to think of one. He is a machine who turns out winners. He seems to get it right all the time.”
Clare Balding, television presenter: “AP isn’t just the greatest jockey I have ever seen, he is the greatest sportsman I have ever come across. Bearing in mind he has been Champion Jockey for 19 consecutive years and Champion Conditional Jockey before that, he has never not been champion in his career. He has transcended the world of Jump racing and that, for me, is why he is an outstanding all round sportsmen. I feel very fortunate to have watched him throughout his career and that he chose racing. It’s hard to sum up how much admiration I have for him, he is an extraordinary human-being and amazingly kind. He is the Champion, has been from day one and will be until the day he finishes - he’ll be the best ever. It’s a privilege to know him.”