Revisiting Sir Anthony McCoy’s remarkable career
Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at his glittering career.
Just Champion – 20 times
In any sport, to be crowned the best is what drives the real champions on and McCoy was top jockey 20 times in a row. To put that into perspective, that is a title for every year he rode as a professional, beginning in the 1994-95 season.
In April 2002, McCoy overtook Sir Gordon Richards’ record seasonal tally of 269 wins on Valfonic at Warwick, an achievement that helped him gain third place in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year voting. Speaking recently, McCoy – who was knighted in 2016 – said: “Breaking Sir Gordon Richards’ record will always be my greatest achievement, nothing is even close.” McCoy’s total that season was an amazing 289 winners.
McCoy’s Grand National victory aboard Don’t Push It in 2010 not only ended his 15-year wait for victory in the world’s greatest steeplechase, but also saw him transcend the boundaries of the sport and become the first jockey to win the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year. It meant even more that he did it in the green and gold colours of his great friend and supporter, JP McManus.
McCoy landed the rare Cheltenham Gold Cup/Champion Hurdle double on Mr Mulligan and Make A Stand in 1997 and the King George VI Chase on Best Mate in 2002. Binocular, Brave Inca and the ill-fated Synchronised also added championship laurels at the biggest meeting of all. Edredon Bleu’s win in the 2000 Queen Mother Champion Chase was hailed as one of the great finishes of all, as McCoy’s mount edged the gallant Direct Route.
Other notable landmarks included the overtaking of Richard Dunwoody’s all-time record total of 1,699 winners on Mighty Montefalco at Uttoxeter on August 27, 2002, to become the winning-most jump jockey in British history. He completed a career total of 1,000 winners in December 1999 and it had taken just over five years, which was more than five years quicker than the previous best. His 1,500th came just two years later.
Box Office farewell
Fittingly his farewell came on a horse called Box Office. The only thing the script got wrong that afternoon on April 25, 2015 at Sandown is that the Jonjo O’Neill-trained gelding did not win. Simply put, winning is was what McCoy did best – 4,348 times over jumps in Britain and Ireland to be exact, plus another 10 on the Flat.