Belfast Telegraph

AP McCoy races to Belfast to pick up Telegraph's top sports award

BY JACK BRENNAN

Champion rider AP McCoy dashed back to Northern Ireland to make it home in time for the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.

The record-breaking jump jockey was meant to be racing in Bangor in Wales yesterday, but the course was waterlogged so he made tracks for Belfast instead.

McCoy arrived after flying in from London's Heathrow airport, just a couple of hours prior to the annual awards ceremony yesterday evening.

He was glad he made the effort as he added yet another award to his bulging trophy cabinet.

He picked up the Belfast Telegraph's Sports Star of the Year prize.

The man from Moneyglass, who surpassed 4,000 career wins at the end of last year, said he was delighted to have won the top honour.

"I'm honoured to receive the award ahead of such distinguished athletes," he said. "It's great to be back in Northern Ireland for the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards and to catch up with family and friends."

The star-studded event, held at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Belfast, recognised the country's top amateur and professional sportsmen and women.

The ceremony, hosted by Jackie Fullerton, saw the 500 guests marvel at the array of sporting talent on show.

In a year jam-packed with local sportspeople achieving remarkable feats, the list of athletes in contention for the top prize was longer than ever.

Among them were boxer Carl Frampton, motorcyclists Michael Dunlop and Eugene Laverty, skier Kelly Gallagher, athletes Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth, plus Ulster rugby's Tommy Bowe and footballer Liam Boyce.

However, AP pipped all his rivals to the post yet again as he was crowned the Belfast Telegraph's Sports Star of the Year.

McCoy has had a remarkable and record-breaking 2013, surpassing the 4,000 career wins mark, a feat which is unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon – if ever.

Since turning professional in 1995, McCoy has won it all – the Grand National, the Gold Cup, the King George VI Chase; you name it, he's been first past the post. As well as reaching the 4,000 winners milestone, he somehow found time amid his relentless racing schedule to pen his first novel.

Taking The Fall charts the fortunes of Duncan Claymore, an up-and-coming jockey with the world at his feet.

The critically-acclaimed thriller has sold thousands of copies since it came out in November last year.

Away from the track, McCoy is a proud husband and father-of-two, and has been awarded an OBE as well as winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. McCoy can now add the prestigious Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year gong to his incredible sporting CV.

Among last night's other winners were boxer Carl Frampton, who won the Special Recognition award, and archery sensation Patrick Huston, who was named Young Player of the Year.

PROFILE

Tony 'AP' McCoy recorded his first winner in 1992 aged 17. On November 7, 2013, McCoy rode his 4,000th winner, riding Mountain Tunes to victory at Towcester. McCoy has been Champion Jockey every year he has been professional. In his first season riding in Britain as an apprentice, McCoy won the Conditional Jump Jockeys Title with a record 74 winners. McCoy claimed his first Champion Jockey title in 1995/6 and, as of 2012/2013, has won 18 consecutive titles.

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