McCoy salutes racing public
Published 20/12/2010 | 13:25
Tony McCoy has thanked the whole of the racing industry after being crowned the 2010 Sports Personality of the Year winner on Sunday.
There had been a concerted effort over the past few weeks to bring McCoy's bid to the forefront of public consciousness, but any doubters need not have worried as the 15-times champion jockey tabled over 40% of the vote.
McCoy, a loyal Arsenal supporter, stated the award is one of the highlights of his illustrious career, especially as Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas was on stage to present the trophy.
"It was very humbling to be even nominated for such a prestigious award and winning it is something I never thought possible," he said.
"I'd like to thank all my colleagues and everyone in racing who obviously spent quite a lot of time and money voting for me. I'm very appreciative of it and I'm a very lucky person.
"To get over 40% of the vote is staggering. Obviously there has been a big push in racing for the last few weeks and for that I'll always be grateful. A fair few people must have had their phones on speed dial.
"I should think I'll be getting a few requests to pay their phone bills at the end of the month!
"It was an unbelievable feeling to be in a room full of amazing sportspeople who I look up to and watch all the time.
"This award is right up there. The Grand National was obviously the greatest day of my career and I always said breaking Sir Gordon Richards' record was my greatest achievement as it was there for 55 years and set by someone who was champion jockey 26 times. But this is up there.
"Without riding for the people I have I wouldn't be able to achieve what I have. From the late Billy Rock to being able to be lucky enough to work for Jim Bolger.
"Then to come and work for Toby Balding who was a great mentor and then to join the amazing Martin Pipe who was 15-times champion trainer. The year I set my record I rode 159 winners for him which is unheard of.
"In more recent times I've worked for Jonjo O'Neill and JP and Noreen McManus, I'm very privileged.
"I'm obviously very proud of what I've achieved and I set out every year to be champion jockey - that's the main aim.
"But I'm lucky as I work with an amazing bunch of people and a great bunch of lads.
"I've supported Arsenal as a kid because of the likes of Liam Brady and Pat Jennings, who were Irish.
"To have Cesc on the stage when I got the trophy was very special. In my speech I apologised to him for being one of the idiots who shouts at him whenever I'm there and it's not going well.
"It's nice to get to meet the captain of the club I support."
Surprisingly there is still something left for McCoy to achieve, with a race not too far away still missing from his CV.
He said: "I'd like to win a Welsh National. I've been lucky enough to win the other Nationals but I've not ridden in too many at Chepstow, to be fair.
"I'm usually at Kempton or in Ireland but it would be nice to win it."
But with racing currently in the grip of the big freeze, McCoy is now becoming restless at the lack of activity.
"The first few days it was quite nice because I'd had quite a few falls and I was quite sore but now it's depressing as we've missed so many good races," he told At The Races
"You hope it gets better for Boxing Day but looking outside it's hard to be even hopeful about that.
"Racing is what we love doing, so the sooner we get back the better."