Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Another winning day for AP McCoy

AP McCoy weighs in at Catterick Bridge yesterday

In a sense it was apt that, on the day that Irish Independent readers voted AP McCoy their Sports Star of the Year, the insatiable work ethic that has propelled him to 18 successive champion jockey titles saw the man himself soldiering away at Catterick.

He wouldn't have it any other way. The Yorkshire garrison town venue is a bleak outpost that your average riding mortal wouldn't think twice about missing on a cold December afternoon.

McCoy, though, is different, and that undying willingness to go anywhere in search of any winner is what has propelled him into the pantheon of racing immortality.

Neither of his two winners yesterday – one of which was suitably named Forthefunofit – will ever figure on the big stage. However, each represented one more obscure opportunity of a victory in themselves, something that McCoy has never knowingly passed up.

The Moneyglass, Co Antrim-born phenomenon's incredible career has often gone underappreciated by the wider public, but he finally received something like the recognition he deserves by hitting the mind-boggling 4,000-winner mark aboard Mountain Tunes at Towcester last month.

He turns 40 next spring, but any notion that he might begin resting on his laurels is anathema. On Monday, after a fruitless trip to Navan on Sunday, a Ffos Las double brought him to the 150-winner mark in a campaign for a 17th time.

He is now over 4,030 winners into a scarcely conscionable quest for 5,000. To give his feats some context, only two jump jockeys in the history of the game have ridden more than 2,000 winners, with frequent championship runner-up Richard Johnson currently around the 2,500 mark.

The fact that McCoy has never not been champion since his first crown in 1996 tells its own story, and it is frightening to think that some of his most promising young colleagues were not even born 17 years ago.

He has a renowned fortitude which is something that McCoy believes will prolong his Peter Pan endurance.

"Now, my pain threshold is better than ever," he said of his injuries. "You get used to it. The more it has happened to me, the more I've been able to cope."

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