Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

McCoy on course to being one of our greatest

The visit of top jockey Tony McCoy to his own turf at Down Royal this week has been a historic sporting occasion.

He was last here five years ago, so it was no surprise that he was given a rapturous reception by his home crowd as he rode yet another winner on his way to a 19th jockeys' championship title and 4,000 victories.

People here often say rightly that we punch above our weight in producing sports stars, and AP McCoy is no exception.

He is a modest man who allows his racing prowess to speak for him, and in closing in on a record number of victories he has shown enormous skill and courage in one of the most dangerous sports imaginable.

Tony McCoy has broken almost every bone in his body, but time and again he has taken to the saddle and shown to the world what it takes to be a true champion.

It takes a good jockey to win thousands of races and numerous championship titles, but it takes a truly exceptional athlete to produce a track record as glittering as McCoy's.

In his number of victories and the manner in which has achieved them, Tony McCoy is truly unique.

Some people believe that he is the greatest sports person ever to have come from this province, but that kind of remark starts debates all over the country, depending on each individual's favourite sport and sports person.

The range in such a comparatively small place as Northern Ireland is truly impressive. In rugby we have had Jack Kyle and Willie John McBride, in football George Best, in athletics Mary Peters, in boxing Rinty Monaghan, John Caldwell, Freddie Gilroy and latterly Barry McGuigan, with Carl Frampton now following in their wake.

Such views will always be subjective, but for many race-goers the obvious choice is Tony McCoy.

He is now only a few races away from a remarkable series of achievements which will surely secure his reputation as one of our greatest champions of all time.

Well done AP.

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