Anthony Peter “A.P.” McCoy MBE is widely regarded as the greatest National Hunt jockey ever. He rode his first winner, “Legal Steps”, at Thurles on 26 March 1992 and he has never looked back.
He has broken numerous records including a record 74 winners in 2004. The following season he was champion jockey, a feat that he has repeated in each of the eighteen following seasons and will be crowned Champion for the 19th time at the end of this season.
McCoy beat Sir Gordon’s record of 269 winners in a season on Valfonic at Warwick on 2 April 2002, and he went on to end the campaign on 289 which also meant he had surpassed Richard Dunwoody’s record of all time jumps winners and was now the leading jumps rider of all time.
Winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase and King George VI Chase, McCoy had few targets left to chase, to ride 300 winners in a season and to win the Grand National, which he finally achieved in 2010 on Don’t Push It for trainer Jonjo O’Neill.
He is retained by the Irish millionaire and avid horse-owner, J.P. McManus, and normally rides for the ex-jockey turned trainer Jonjo O’Neill.
The 2012 Grand National was a very sad affair for McCoy who saw his Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Synchronised, euthanised after after sustaining a leg fracture incurred after he unseated the champion jockey and ran riderless before falling at the 11th fence.
He has since become the first jockey to hit the 4,000 winner mark and the aim of 5,000 is not beyond his capabilities having already bypassed 200 winners this season.
For the 2013 Grand National AP McCoy partnered the much fancied Colbert Station but was unseated at the Chair, and was out of the race. The 2014 renewal saw him finish 3rd on Double Seven for trainer Jonjo O’Neill.
McCoy recently shocked the racing world when he announced his retirement, although the jockey stated that he would continue to ride until the end of this season before hanging up his whip for good.
The 2015 Grand National was his last appearance at Aintree. The legend partnered Shutthefront (pre race favourite) for his last spin over the big fences. However, there was no fairytale end for the champ as he ultimately finished in fifth place behind Many Clouds (25-1), Saint Are (25-1), Monbeg Dude (40-1) and Alvarado (20-1). McCoy had looked well placed in the end stages, but Shutthefrontdoor faded at the elbow.
“I thought from the third-last fence I was running on empty,” McCoy said.
“I will miss riding horses and races like that. I thought for a long way he could win. It was my last National but was a very enjoyable one.”