AP McCoy – The Greatest of all Time?

Hi Guys!

So as this post goes live, the 11th of October it is actually my Dad’s Birthday. And as my Dad is one of my top supporters and is subscribed to my blog and will receive his weekly email, what better way to honour him and his special day than to do a post all about his favourite ever, all time jockey. Mr Anthony McCoy. I think we can all agree that he broke all sorts of records and will go down in history as one of the greatest. Even if you don’t follow horse racing you know the name AP McCoy. But I thought it would be super interesting to get into the nitty gritty and look at the facts and figures behind the great man and really investigate his career. I love these sorts of posts and find them so interesting to research and write up and the response I had from my followers in regards to my Ryan Moore post were incredible so I will hopefully be making this into a series where I look at jockeys and trainers and really investigate their story and their career.

Disclaimer: The facts, figures and stats are all from different sources online and I have simply compiled them altogether into one post, I have tried to use multiple sources to ensure all facts are as accurate as possible. I apologise if anything is incorrect. Please feel free to tweet me anything that may be incorrect so I can change it. At the time of writing this post 10/10/20 all of the figures are accurate according to my online sources used. So with that being said… Let’s jump right into it.

Sir Anthony Peter McCoy was born on May 4th 1974 in Moneyglass, County Antrim, making him currently 46 years old. He rode his first winner at just 17 years old on March 26th 1992 for Jim Bolger on a horse called Legal Steps at Thurles Racecourse in Ireland. Initially AP was an apprentice for Jim and whilst riding out for him one morning he suffered a really horrible fall and ended up with a broken leg. By the time he recovered he had continued to grow taller and decided at this point that it was best to become a jump jockey.

It was then in 1994 AP moved across the Irish Sea and began riding in England. It didn’t take long for AP to have his first winner on English soil. On September 7th 1994 he won at Exeter for Gordon Edwards on Chickabiddy. In his first full season in the UK he was a conditional jockey for Toby Balding which ended with him winning the Conditional Jump Jockey’s Title in 1995 before becoming the Champion Jockey for the first time in 1996.

After his very successful start in the UK, AP attracted the attention of the leading trainer Martin Pipe and an upcoming current leading trainer Paul Nicholls. In 1997 he joined forces with Martin Pipe which proved to be a very strong partnership which dominated National Hunt Racing.

By the new millennium AP McCoy had set a new National Hunt record for winners in a season with 253, he equalled the record of five winners at the 1998 Cheltenham Festival and he also became the fastest jockey to reach 100 winners in a season in 2001. He went on to beat Gordon Richards record for the total number of winners ridden in a season which was held since 1947. McCoy has always said this is his biggest achievement, despite all of his success after this. On December 11th 1999 AP rode his 1000th winner Majadou at Cheltenham.

He broke the record on Valfonic at Warwick on April 2nd 2002 and then went on to set a new record of 289 winners in a season. On August 27th 2002, he rode Might Montefalco at Uttoxeter to victory which meant he had surpassed Richard Dunwoody’s all time jumps record and became the leading jumps jockey.

AP joined forces with JP McManus in 2004 after reportedly being offered a £1 million a year retainer.

On January 17th 2004 AP rode his 2000th winner Magical Bailiwick at Wincanton. On October 3rd 2006, he then won his 2500th winner Kanpai at Huntingdon. He then reached 3000 winners just 3 years later when winning on Restless D’Artaix for Nicky Henderson on February 9th 2009.

At this point, AP McCoy had won pretty much every race he could win, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Chase, King George VI Chase and so much more, he still hadn’t won the Grand National. He had finished 3rd three times, in 2001 and 2002 on Martin Pipe’s Blowing Wind and in 2005 on Jonjo O’Neill’s joint favourite Clan Royal who was still traveling well until he was hampered by a loose horse. Finally, on his 15th attempt Anthony Peter McCoy won the Grand National on April 10th 2010 on Jonjo O’Neill’s horse Don’t Push It owned by J.P McManus.

After winning the Grand National, AP was named the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year and therefore became the first jockey to win the award.

On November 7th 2013, AP had his 4000th career win on Jonjo O’Neill’s Mountain Tunes at Towcester. On December 16th of the same year AP reached the 150 winners landmark after riding a double at Ffos Las. This was the 18th time out of the 20 season he had been riding in Britain that he surpassed 150 winners. He was then crowned Champion Jockey for the 19th consecutive time, extending his record even further.

The next year on June 10th 2014, AP recorded his fastest ever half century of winners after winning on Bob Keown for Rebecca Curtis at Worcester. He reached 50 winners in just 44 days. That same season on July 19th 2014, AP reached a huge milestone by surpassing 4191 winners which his friend and mentor Martin Pipe achieved before retirement in 2006. He then broke his own record for the fastest century of winners in a season, his 100th winner coming on Arabic History at Newton Abbot on August 21st just 116 days into the season, beating his previous record of 130.

AP McCoy then announced live on Channel 4 that he would be retiring at the end of the 2014-2015 National Hunt Season after winning the Game Spirit Chase on Mr Mole which was his 200th win of the season. His last professional ride would be the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April 2015.

In the 2016 New Year Honours, Anthony Peter McCoy was knighted for his services to horse racing.

So, onto the important facts and figures.

Firstly, the big wins in AP McCoy’s career. The list is a pretty long one, so bare with me.

Firstly his Cheltenham Festival winners:

  • Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle x 3
  • Arkle Challenge Trophy x 3
  • Byrne Group Plate x 1
  • Cathcart Challenge Cup x 2
  • Champion Bumper x 1
  • Champion Hurdle x 3
  • Cheltenham Gold Cup x 2
  • County Hurdle x 2
  • Festival Trophy Handicap Chase x 1
  • JLT Novices’ Chase x 2
  • Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase x 1
  • Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase x 3
  • Pertemps Final x 1
  • Queen Mother Champion Chase x 1
  • RSA Chase x 1
  • Ryanair Chase x 3
  • Supreme Novices’ Hurdle x 1

Next up is his major nationals:

  • English Grand National x 1
  • Irish Grand National x 1
  • Midlands Grand National x 1
  • Scottish Grand National x 1
  • Welsh Grand National x 1

The list is endless so I haven’t included absolutely every big win AP has won, but there is just a little insight.

Sir Anthony Peter McCoy to this day, holds the record for the most wins with a massive 4358, including 4348 jumps and 10 flat. The closest to him is Richard Johnson, who currently, at the time of writing this has 3745 wins. AP rode 17630 horses to get his 4358 wins meaning he won 24.72% of his rides.

Interestingly, AP McCoy won most of his rides for Jonjo O’Neill with 808. Secondly is Martin Pipe with 694. Thirdly is Nicky Henderson with 197. Again these stats were found only on one source so I’m hoping they are as accurate as possible.

As far as my research took me, I found that AP has also rode a winner at every racecourse in the UK apart from Epsom Downs and Goodwood. Don’t quote me on this as I could only find it on one source!

Now, like with Ryan Moore, I searched high and low to find accurately how much prize money AP McCoy won and after a lot of research I found that he made £39,299,843 in total.

Overall I think everyone knows Sir AP McCoy is one of the best jockeys of all time and certainly the best I have ever seen in my life time. Personally I don’t see someone over taking the records he has set in a very long time – if ever.

Before I finish I wanted to include a photo I have found. AP McCoy basically broke every bone in his body whilst riding and still came through it to continue.

What do you think? Is AP McCoy the best of all time? Also, who else would you like me to research into? Please let me know via Twitter! On another note, I was lucky enough to interview AP McCoy back in March at the Cheltenham Festival and you can read that right here if you haven’t already: https://zoelouisesmithx.com/2020/03/11/an-interview-with-20-time-champion-jockey-ap-mccoy/

This one was a tough one to write up as I have read different figures on different pages so I didn’t know what was 100% accurate, so it took a lot of different sources stating the same things before I wrote it. If anything is incorrect then please do let me know via Twitter.

See you in the next post!

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