Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 24 March 2018

Pain just part of the job for McCoy

Tony McCoy at Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham. David Davies/PA Wire
Tony McCoy at Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham. David Davies/PA Wire

After over a quarter of a century in the saddle and 18 consecutive champion jockey titles, Tony McCoy insists his ability to cope with pain is getting easier - and will probably drive him on in a quest for 5,000 career winners.

The 39-year-old McCoy was reminded once more of his ability to transcend his sport when he followed up his 2010 win by being voted in third place for this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

And a hunger to build further on his history-making 4,000th winner at Towcester last month was evident having flown in to attend the ceremony direct from Navan, where he had numbered no winners and one fall earlier that same day.

For all his success McCoy is no stranger to setbacks - at the start of this season he suffered injuries that left him in intensive care for five days - but he is adamant the breaks and bruises get no worse with age.

McCoy said: "When I broke my leg when I was 18 I thought I was going to die. It was the most painful thing that has ever happened to me.

"Now I think my pain threshold is better than it has ever been, and I actually think that I can cope with it better. As with everything in life, it gets better the more you get used to it.

"I've said it a few times but I never think I'm going to get injured anyway. That doesn't sound very intelligent because I get injured quite a lot, but I think I'm always going to be okay."

His unquenchable thirst to set new benchmarks is plain to see in the enthusiasm he showed for his historic win at Towcester, and the delight he takes from continuing to prove wrong those who doubt his ability to continue.

"I just think the way that horse happened to win at Towcester was quite dramatic, and if I could have planned my 4,000th winner I couldn't have done it any better," said McCoy.

"I wanted to ride it for Jonjo O'Neill and JP McManus, and my wife and new-born son were there, and the horse didn't really look like winning till quite late on so I was quite lucky with it."

And despite his beloved Arsenal's humbling 6-3 defeat at Manchester City on the day before the BBC awards show, McCoy revealed he had been bullish enough to rib Sir Alex Ferguson who presented him with his third-place award.

McCoy added: "I've known him for a long time and we always have a bit of banter. I told him it was the right time for him to get out (of Manchester United) because Arsenal are winning the Premier League. He laughed and told me it's not over yet."

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