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Tony McCoy: Martin Pipe so proud of totally dedicated, incredible jockey

When Tony McCoy smashed through the 4,000-winner mark yesterday, it confirmed the prolific Ulsterman's place among the world's greatest ever sportsmen.

The 39-year-old has thrived in this toughest of sports for two decades, winning all the big races and wearing the champion jockey's crown for an amazing 18 successive seasons, with nothing to suggest that run is about to end.

The Moneyglass man broke the previous jumps record of 1,699 winners – held by fellow Ulsterman Richard Dunwoody – 11 years ago.

Since then his march has been relentless, riding winners and shrugging off injuries that would have sidelined most other jockeys.

McCoy has broken most of the bones in his body and regularly has his facial features re-arranged in the name of his sport.

As champions go, McCoy is as unassuming as you'll find.

McCoy's next milestone will be that of trainer Martin Pipe, who has 4,182 winners to his name.

The now-retired Pipe is McCoy's former employer, the pair at a time enjoying one of sport's most prolific partnerships.

And McCoy, who will turn 40 at the start of next season, has refused to completely rule out the 5,000 winner mark, which would take him until his mid 40s to achieve.

Speaking yesterday Pipe said: "I'm sure he rode over 1,000 winners for me. It's absolutely amazing.

"AP is just absolutely phenomenal. Always Perfect, his two initials.

"He's absolutely incredible. Not only is he a great friend, he's a brilliant jockey and a brilliant role model for the young jockeys to follow. He's totally dedicated to the sport and gives every horse, whatever grade it's in be it a seller or a Gold Cup, the same ride – he's so determined to succeed. He's unparalleled in the history of racing.

"He's such a lovely person with it. He was voted Sports Personality of the Year and quite rightly so. He's done a lot for our sport and we're all very proud of him and very proud of what he has achieved.

"He has beaten my record. I only had 3,929 jumps winners, so congratulations to him. I had Flat winners as well to make it a bit higher (4,182).

Jonjo O'Neill, the trainer of McCoy's 4,000th winner, Mountain Tunes, said the Ulsterman was a "fantastic man and a fantastic jockey".

O'Neill added: "Old horses, young horses, monkeys. You name it, he can win on it, that's the fantastic thing about him, it doesn't matter what it is he just wants to ride winners.

"I'm just very lucky to be in the position where I get to use him most of the time. He gives great feedback to owners. We're blessed to be around him.

"I can't finds words to describe the fella. I'm just so pleased to have him."

Belfast Telegraph