Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 21 April 2018

Breaking: Tony McCoy announces that he will retire at the end of the season

Jockey Tony McCoy
Jockey Tony McCoy

Tony McCoy today announced he is to retire from racing at the end of the season.

Just minutes after Mr Mole gave McCoy his 200th winner of the season as Sire De Grugy unseated three out in an incident-packed Betfair Price Rush Chase at Newbury. the champion jockey told Channel 4 Racing of his intention to stop riding.

Not seen since following up his Champion Chase success at Sandown last April, the Gary Moore-trained Sire De Grugy was sent off at odds-on but made a bad mistake four from home before parting company with Jamie Moore at the next.

That left a simple task for Mr Mole, who will test his credentials at the top level in the two-mile championship next month.

All that was overshadowed, however, when McCoy revealed his retirement plan.

"It's going to be the last time I ride 200 winners," he said.

"Having spoken to Dave (Roberts, agent) and JP McManus, I am going to be retiring at the end of the season."

McCoy said: "I want to go out at the top, I want to go out as champion jockey and it will be my 20th year if I can win the jockeys' championship.

"I want to go out while I still enjoy riding and am still relatively at the top."

His wife Chanelle said: "It's a decision he's battled with very much, some days he's at peace with it and some days he's sad. It will be great for him to go out on a high and hopefully we will get him out in one piece."

She went on: "It's a very big decision and a decision like that he has to live with, so he has to make it himself.

"He knew my preference for him to retire at the end of the season, but I never pushed him. He's very much his own man and he makes up his own mind."

Richard Johnson has long had to play second-fiddle to McCoy in the jockeys' championship, and he said: "It wasn't the biggest shock in the world I suppose, but it's more set in concrete now.

"There'll be a few people relieved and will have a few more chances, but it's a great loss to lose him from the weighing room.

"We all know we'll get to that point sometime. It will be an even bigger shock after Sandown (end of the season) I suppose, but I'm sure we'll still see him around the racecourse and his achievements will live on for a long time."

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls said: "It's a pleasure to have had anything to do with him and it was a peach of a ride he gave Mr Mole.

"He's been a great ambassador for the sport and no one can say enough about him.

"It doesn't surprise me totally as one day you have to make a decision. He's probably decided that's the right one, and everyone knows where they are. Everyone will miss him riding as he's been such a legend, but you can't go on forever.

"He's still riding as well as he's ever ridden and it's probably the right time to go out.

"Toby Balding once told me to use him as claimer, that he was the best he ever had. I always remember those words.

"We didn't have enough horses to keep him at the time and he went and rode all those winners for Martin Pipe. He's just been fantastic.

"He's a great guy to deal with and a brilliant jockey."

Tony McCoy facts and figures

:: McCoy started working with horses at the age of 13, working full-time from leaving school at 15. His weight rocketed after some time off with a broken leg following a fall whilst employed at Jim Bolger's and this was the deciding factor which drove McCoy from Flat to jumps racing.


: :: McCoy's riding injuries have included: broken middle and lower vertebrae, both shoulder blades, both collarbones, ribs, ankle, cheekbones, wrist, ankle and leg plus a dislocated thumb and chipped teeth.


:: It took McCoy 15 attempts before sealing an elusive first victory in the Grand National aboard the gambled-on Don't Push It in 2010. Bookmakers recorded a loss of around #50million on the race.


:: McCoy has been the retained jockey for owner JP McManus for 10 years.


:: In 2003 McCoy was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours and an OBE in 2010.


:: He became BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2010, beating Phil Taylor and Jessica Ennis-Hill to the coveted trophy. It was the first time a jockey had been awarded the honour.


:: His first novel, 'Taking the Fall' was published in November 2013 by Orion. Its central character is Duncan Claymore, a super-talented conditional jockey who is nonetheless struggling.


:: AP spends 2 - 2.5 hours, six days a week sweating in the bath or sauna (equivalent of 1.3 years of his life). On average AP sweats 2-4Ib per session.


:: McCoy was crowned champion conditional jockey at 21 after riding 74 winners in the 1994/1995 season, when attached to the yard of trainer Toby Balding.


:: McCoy has been crowned champion jockey 19 times.


:: McCoy was 17 when riding his first winner, Legal Steps, to victory for Jim Bolger at Thurles in 1992.


:: McCoy rode his first winner in England aboard the Gordon Edwards-trained Chickabiddy at Exeter on September 7, 1994.


:: McCoy has won two Cheltenham Gold Cups, the first aboard Mr Mulligan in 1997 and the second on Synchronised in 2012.


:: McCoy's riding weight can get as low as 10st 3lb, although he feels his natural body weight is around 12st.

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