Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Back Tony McCoy for 20th title

Champion again: Tony McCoy at Sandown on Saturday

Tony McCoy, crowned champion jump jockey for a record 19th successive time at Sandown on Saturday, will be back chasing win number 20 next season.

The 39-year-old is looking forward to enjoying further success with trainer Jonjo O'Neill and champions owner JP McManus after confirming he has no immediate plans to retire.

McCoy said: "I feel as good as ever. I'd like to win a few more jockeys' titles yet. It has been the most traumatic year of all personally, with my son Archie having a major operation before Cheltenham.

"It's been the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to me. Hopefully he will be okay, but we won't probably know for a while longer.

"But it has been a successful year riding, obviously. I never dreamed in my wildest dreams that I would win 19 jockeys' championships.

"It's a lot of winners, but I'd like plenty more titles than 19 to be honest, and I don't say that lightly.

"I honestly don't know how long I will go on for. When I was here at Sandown last year I wasn't very healthy and obviously my tone sounded as though I wouldn't be riding for much longer.

"But I was injured, just out of hospital and probably shouldn't have been here. I am a lot healthier than I was at this time last year and consequently a lot happier.

"That's the key – if you are healthy, you are happy. But if you don't win it's all for nothing. That's the job, first of all you need to win. I'd love to retire as champion jockey, there's no doubt about that.

"I've always said I would do, but my next target will be Martin Pipe's record (4,180 winners) – that's just a personal target and a bit of fun, because he's one of the people I respect the most.

"I've always got the target of winning the jockeys' championship in my mind because you have to challenge yourself.

"I could sit back and enjoy winning 19 championships, but you have to come back next week and start the first day of the season and it's back to zero, because no one really cares how many jockeys' championships I've won."

McCoy is targeting 200 winners next season, a tally he has achieved on seven previous occasions.

He added: "It's a lot of winners but it is not impossible. I will actually take it day by day or week by week. It's all about how I perform. I love riding, but I love to be successful at it.

"Hopefully I will know in my own mind when it is time to go – but I'll be around for a while yet."

McCoy also believes Jonjo O'Neill is getting "closer and closer" to becoming champion trainer following a highly-successful season for the Jackdaws Castle duo.

McCoy said O'Neill was putting together a strong team of horses to challenge new champion Paul Nicholls and former title holder Nicky Henderson. And he feels the likes of Gold Cup contenders Taquin Du Seuil and Holywell, along with Irish Grand National winner Shutthefrontdoor, can provide O'Neill with the firepower to upset the established order.

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