McCoy hungry for yet more success
Tony McCoy's main rival for the 2013/14 champion jockey title Jason Maguire got his campaign off to a great start yesterday – but the Ulsterman confirmed he has no intention of handing over the accolade any time soon.
McCoy was crowned champion jockey for the 18th successive time on Saturday but is not expected to ride for another fortnight as a result of a heavy fall at Cheltenham just over a week ago.
Maguire made a superb start to the new jumps season – which started the day after the previous one ended – by securing a 69-1 four-timer at Wetherby yesterday courtesy of Life And Soul, Muldoon's Picnic, Savant Bleu and Silver Eagle.
Maguire was McCoy's closest challenger last season, but was 41 winners behind the 38-year-old's tally of 185.
And McCoy's hunger for success is as strong as ever.
"It doesn't get any easier but hopefully I'll be back soon enough and the aim is to be champion jockey. It's not something you can ever take for granted," McCoy said.
"And to ride 4,000 winners as well. That's the target which has been on my mind pretty much since I reached the total of 3,000 – and I need another 125 wins to get there."
McCoy is currently recovering from chest and rib injuries, and is desperate to get back into action.
"I'll see how I feel and how I keep improving but I feel a lot better this week than I did last week," McCoy explained. "As long as I keep improving, then I'll be back soon enough. It'll be a couple of weeks, I would say.
"I had quite a heavy fall on my ribs and my chest and they were just worried about my chest getting infected.
"Once I realised I wasn't going to be riding at Punchestown, there was no rush."
McCoy was hospitalised for a week as a result of his injuries.
"My first priority was to get out of hospital as quickly as possible and get back riding.
"It was precautionary more than anything else. Falls are part of the job and, at my age, I should be getting used to them.
"My doctor suggested my best way of getting back quickly was to remain in hospital.
"But I'm improving rapidly now," he added.
Highlights for the perennial champion this year were Cheltenham Festival wins for At Fishers Cross, who has cemented a growing partnership between McCoy, his boss JP McManus and trainer Rebecca Curtis, and the Tom Mullins-trained Alderwood.
He also won the valuable Betfair Hurdle on My Tent Or Yours.
"I'm very lucky to ride for a great owner and trainer in JP McManus and Jonjo O'Neill, who are two people I get on with well."
Meanwhile, Nicky Henderson won his first trainers title since 1987 and his third in all.
Davy Russell retained his title as champion jump jockey in Ireland with his third century.
Russell has yet to pass the 126 he achieved when runner-up in the 2007-08 campaign behind Ruby Walsh, but his total of 103 was enough to claim the crown, although it was one less than last year's winning tally.
"I'm lucky enough to have come out on the right side of it," said Russell.
"It was nice to win on Sir Des Champs this week and nice to get back on him and win a Grade One on him – they're the important races.
"You try to ride as many winners at the start of the season and it's great now that I've ridden more than anybody else," added Russell.
Willie Mullins was again crowned Irish champion trainer.