Tony McCoy's 4,000th win: AP should stand for Absolutely Phenomenal
AP McCoy, never beaten. AP McCoy, never bettered. AP McCoy, never will we see his like again.
What a man. What a jockey. What a competitor.
AP stands for Anthony Peter. It may as well be Absolutely Phenomenal because that's what this bloke is.
Truly a sporting institution, I'm proud to say the 39-year-old was born and bred in our wee country.
For such a small place, we sure can rear them, these icons of turf, track, baize and roads like George Best, Pat Jennings, Jack Kyle, Mike Gibson, Willie John McBride, Dame Mary Peters, Alex Higgins and Joey Dunlop... all legendary figures putting Northern Ireland on the map.
More recently, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy have provided major joy on the the world's fairways and greens. But yesterday, November 7, 2013, belonged to the magical man from Moneyglass.
Yesterday delivered a landmark occasion as he came home, first past the post on board a galloping horse for the 4,000th victory of his remarkable career. I repeat: FOUR THOUSAND victories.
He really has won more races than some of us have had hot dinners!
Ironic that, because McCoy is always watching what he can eat in order to make the weight and be in peak condition for his job.
To give you an indication of just what a startling achievement this is, McCoy's 4,000 is almost 1,500 more than Richard Johnson, who is second on the winners list.
Richard Dunwoody, another brilliant Ulster jockey, had 1,874 before he retired while Peter Scudamore, considered by many to be the best over jumps until AP came along, ended up with 1,692.
McCoy has won the big races like the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but his bread and butter since first winning way back in 1992 has always been the smaller meetings at the courses only seasoned punters have heard of.
It was fitting then that number 4,000 came in the 3.10 at Towcester, as his beaming wife Chanelle watched in the stand, with daughter Eve by her side and baby son Archie in her arms.
It was a gripping race which told you everything about the character of McCoy. A few furlongs from home he looked out of contention but, like the expert horseman he is, he guided Mountain Tunes to a famous victory through sheer will, determination and the desire which has served him so well for the past two decades. That's AP McCoy.
Never beaten, never bettered, never will we see his like again.
Remember, he operates on a daily basis in a sport where an ambulance follows the competitors around. It's a highly dangerous occupation where you are just one heavy fall away from serious injury or worse.
McCoy's been in hospital many times and broken just about every bone in his body, but he always recovers and gets back on the saddle. And keeps winning and winning and winning.
He's been champion jockey 18 times and counting. Sure, he's ridden good horses to get him there, but he's had difficult mounts too and still come up trumps.
We could argue all day about who deserves the title of Northern Ireland's greatest sports star, but one thing is certain: McCoy merits being in the debate alongside Bestie, Joey, Mary and our other superheroes.
His strength of body and mind, the punishing schedule he undertakes, his astonishing longevity, breathtaking talent and those successes – all 4,000 of them – suggest that Tony should top the illustrious list.
And you know what, he's a genuinely good guy as well!
AP McCoy, never beaten, never bettered, never will we see his like again.