Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Tony McCoy faces greatest challenge yet in Sam Twiston-Davies

Telegraph Sport: where the debate gets started

Champion again: Tony McCoy at Sandown on Saturday
Champion again: Tony McCoy at Sandown on Saturday

Tony McCoy is about to face the sternest challenge to his dominance of jump racing.

And ironically that hurdle comes with McCoy turning 40 tomorrow and embarking on the quest to win an incredible 20th successive champion jockey title.

Sam Twiston-Davies is the new kid on the block looking to de-throne the king of the jockeys – and the 21-year-old will have the firepower to shoot for the top.

Richard Johnson has been runner-up to the prolific Ulsterman an amazing 15 times in the title race.

But Twiston-Davies poses a far bigger threat – as new stable jockey to Paul Nicholls, champion trainer in eight of the last nine years.

McCoy – winner of the Punchestown Champion Hurdle yesterday on Jezki – has never faced a challenge as strong as this before, with Nicholls' horses shared between several jockeys over the years.

The Moneyglass man, though, is fired up for it.

"He's got to get by Richard Johnson first. Anyone who beats Richard is going to be champion," said McCoy.

"Sam has done well. He was always one of those I thought would progress.

"Even riding for Paul Nicholls, though, he has a lot still to do. I reckon if I ride more (winners) than Richard, I'll stay happy."

McCoy still has enough in the tank to win that coveted 20th successive title.

But he has often said that he will hang up his saddle when no longer champion.

And if ever there was a reason for the great man to contemplate calling it a day after being crowned champion next April, that reason is Sam Twiston-Davies.

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