Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 26 November 2015

Tony McCoy on track to achieve the impossible

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

By Frank Brownlow

Published 15/08/2014

What a feeling: Tony McCoy after winning Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival in 1997 on Martin Pipe-trained Make A Stand
What a feeling: Tony McCoy after winning Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival in 1997 on Martin Pipe-trained Make A Stand

While we have been rightly marvelling at Rory McIlroy's fourth Major triumph, another stunning Northern Ireland sporting glory bid has remained under the radar. Ulster jockey Tony McCoy rode his 90th winner of the season at unfashionable Newton Abbot this week.

Nothing remarkable in that – bread and butter winners at racing's outposts are the cornerstone of modest McCoy's success story.

But if McCoy can reach a century of winners by the turn of the month, he will be on target to achieve a feat regarded by many as impossible.

No jockey has ever ridden 300 winners in a season. McCoy – no surprise there – has gone closest with 289 way back in the 2001/2 campaign.

The 40-year-old, with an amazing 20th successive champion jockey title already virtually in the bag even though the season runs until April, has admitted that to have any chance of hitting the magical 300 mark he needs to rack up his fastest ever century of winners.

The deadline for that is September 4, which seems plenty of time for 10 winners, but this is the quietest time of the jumps season which builds to a climax at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

McCoy will also need an incredible amount of luck in avoiding injury in this most dangerous and unforgiving of sports.

McCoy reaches some landmarks due to his longevity in the saddle – the 300 mark stands apart.

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