McCoy joy after Irishman rides 4,000th winner

Thu Nov 7, 2013 1:59pm EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - With a stirring finish that epitomized his iron will, strength and ability to galvanize a tired horse, Tony McCoy, the most successful jump jockey of all time, rode his 4,000th winner on Thursday, a milestone unlikely to be matched.

Champion jockey for the last 18 seasons, the 39-year-old Irishman broke into a broad smile after driving 6-4 favorite Mountain Tunes to a narrow victory at Towcester racecourse in the English shires.

Aptly, the success came for trainer Jonjo O'Neill and owner JP McManus, with whom McCoy has enjoyed so much success in the Irishman's green and yellow striped silks.

"It's amazing, it couldn't have worked out any better for Jonjo, JP - the McManus's have been so good to me, it was always going to be hopefully that I was going to ride it in JP's colors," McCoy told At The Races television.

McManus was there to greet his jockey and told reporters: "What a man and what a ride. I think he was more pleased because when he came in he said it was a nice horse!"

Surrounded by weighing-room colleagues, McCoy was showered with champagne and joined in the winners' enclosure by his wife Chanelle and two young children, with five-year-old daughter Eve afforded the day off school.

McCoy's 4,000 winners have come from 16,152 rides - a strike rate of 24.8 percent - and his feat in reaching the landmark can be put in perspective with Richard Johnson, the next most successful jump jockey, on 2,567.

Johnson, 15-times a runner-up to McCoy in the jockeys' championship, was one of many to pay tribute.

"What he's achieved has been amazing," he said. "He has completely rewritten what we thought was achievable in a season, and a career.   Continued...

 
Tony McCoy is seen during the Cheltenham Festival horse racing meet in Gloucestershire, western England, March 15, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth