For the last 18 years A.P. McCoy has dominated the racing world, in 2013 McCoy landed the Champion jockey title once again with a total of 185 wins at a strike rate of 22% from a total of 848 rides. Hot on his heels was Jason Maguire with 144 wins from 747 rides, Maguire finished second in season 2012/2013 but already this year it looks like he might have the jump on his rival.
Maguire powered home four winners at Wetherby to take an early lead in the champion jockeys table. McCoy who is currently out of action due to a fall at Cheltenham could only look on as his fellow Irishman racked up the winners. Already Maguire has notched up 15 wins with an impressive strike rate of 31%. Could this be the year that McCoy's grip on the champion jockey title slips? I wouldn't like to back against McCoy! His steely resolve and professionalism will no doubt close the gap on Maguire once the champion is back in the saddle.
It remains to be seen if Maguire has done enough already to fend off the inevitable challenge that will come from McCoy, but if Maguire is to wrestle the title away then he will need a helping hand from trainer Donald McCain. Since 2007 Jason had been the number one stable jockey for the McCain yard, the pairing has been incredibly successful and landed some of the biggest races in the United Kingdom, including the Grand National in 2011 with Ballabiggs. Donald has his sights set on champion trainers title and a fantastic start to the season has seen him emulate Jason's success with the pair both heading up their respectively leaderboards.
Donald McCain isn't the only trainer who holds Maguire's abilities in high esteem, Kim Bailey is also backing Jason to end McCoy's winning streak. “He's an incredibly dedicated jockey, he's very humble and he's determined to be champion jockey and I think he will be – he's got the ability,” said the Gold Cup-winning trainer speaking to ‘This Is Gloucester' recently. Adding “If AP unfortunately has a period of time out, and for his sake I hope he doesn't, and if he doesn't get back until late summer it's going to give Jason a huge start.”
Despite Maguire's early lead the bookies are still offering the shortest odds on McCoy, currently 1/4 with Paddy Power to retain his title. Maguire is priced up at 7/2 to break McCoy's strangle hold on the title. Can he do it?… I hope so. bet365