Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Tony McCoy must settle for second place

Tony McCoy after victory in the Weatherbys Novices Hurdle at Towcester Racecourse, Northamptonshire.

A man so used to winning is going to have to settle for second place when the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award is presented next month.

Tony McCoy has been short-listed for the coveted prize but Andy Murray is a shoe-in after ending 77 years of hurt for British tennis by winning Wimbledon last July.

And it's ironic that McCoy is left to battle for the runners-up spot given that he won the award in 2010 on the back of a feat far less remarkable than his achievements this time around.

The Ulsterman eventually won the Grand National in 2010 – on Don't Push It – at the 15th time of asking, a wait that had seemed like an eternity given his complete dominance of National Hunt racing.

That dominance has continued apace, and earlier this month McCoy reached the unprecedented landmark of 4,000 winners.

To put that achievement in perspective, the previous record was 1,699 – held by fellow Ulsterman Richard Dunwoody – which McCoy broke over a decade ago.

Richard Johnson, perennial runner-up to McCoy in the jockey championship, is now the second highest of all time – almost 1,500 behind.

Any good jockey can win the Grand National – only one man has ridden 4,000 winners.

And McCoy is still at the very top of this toughest of games – closing in on an incredible 19th successive champion jockey title – at the grand old age of 39.

But McCoy can still be a winner for punters at the big BBC bash on December 15 – by backing him in the 'betting without Murray' category.

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