Champion Co Antrim jockey Tony McCoy makes history at Towcester with 4,000 career wins
Jockey secures record-breaking career wins, writes John Mulgrew
Champion jockey Tony McCoy has secured a historic 4,000 career jump wins almost 20 years after registering his first British winner.
The Moneyglass man finally completed his record-breaking success at Towcester on Thursday after a nail-biting week heading up to the magical number.
AP was out of luck with the first of his two rides, but his third, Mountain Tunes in the Weatherbys Novices' Hurdle landed him the milestone.
McCoy - who has been crowned champion jockey 18 times - achieved the unprecedented landmark in the colours of owner JP McManus, to whom he has held a retainer for the last nine years.
He had made no secret of his desire to secure his 4,000th winner in the green and gold silks of McManus.
McCoy had hoped of reaching 4,000 earlier this week at the track where the Co Antrim man landed his first British winner almost 20 years ago.
He secured the first win back in September 7, 1994, on the Gordon Edwards-trained Chickabiddy.
He had headed into Tuesday's Exeter meet needing just two wins to reach the target, after a double at Kempton courtesy of Captain Cutter and Foundation Man left him on 3,998 winners over jumps.
Then, on Wednesday the 18-times champion was due to ride Mission Complete - an apt horse for a historic milestone.
But trainer Jonjo O'Neill took that one out on account of the testing ground.
He then replaced James Huxham riding Minella For Steak to victory - leaving him short of the 4,000 mark.
On Monday, McCoy as 11-10 favourite Foundation Man claimed victory in the Weatherbys Bank Foreign Exchange Handicap Chase on Monday.
Meanwhile, last month as he edged increasingly closer to landing the astonishing achievement of 4,000 career wins - he sailed past 100 season race victories in the process.
He completed his century with victory at Carlisle - managing a five-timer at the meet.
A video tribute to McCoy after his 3,000 career wins. Source: At The Races
Among his 4,000 strong list of wins, McCoy finally took the Grand National in 2010 on joint favourite Don't Push It, during his 15th attempt.
As a result of the victory he was named Sports Personality of the Year only months later.
McCoy's legendary status as a jump jockey was furthered galvanised in 2011, after being awarded an OBE.
He passed his first major career milestone of 1,000 victories in only five years of racing thanks to his win on Majadou at Cheltenham in 1999.
During his long career the champion jump jockey also suffered a raft of injuries.
That included a broken ankle, arm and wrist as well as vertebra in his back after a heavy fall at Warwick in 2008.
Only this year McCoy was taken to hospital for examination on a chest injury after a fall at Cheltenham.
Earlier this week the 39-year-old also refused to rule out a crack at 5,000 winners – even though he would be in his mid 40s if he were to achieve the amazing feat.
But on Thursday, he made history on the back of Mountain Tunes - making his debut under Rules in the two-mile-five-furlong contest.
Ridden patiently in the early stages, the four-year-old made headway to close on the leaders heading down the back straight.
But, the game appeared to be up as his rider looked hard at work at the top of the home straight.
Panama Petrus and Kris Spin looked to have the race between them jumping the second-last, but McCoy had not given up on Mountain Tunes back in third.
Kris Spin shook off Panama Petrus, but a galvanised Mountain Tunes closed jumping the final obstacle and a thrilling tussle ensued up the hill.
In his inimitable style, McCoy threw everything at the market leader and with the packed grandstands roaring him on, Mountain Tunes claimed victory by half a length.