A Born Winner - A.P. McCoy

by - Friday, July 05, 2013

Anthony Peter McCoy, known to most as simply Tony or just A. P., is a man from Moneyglass, Northern Ireland who has become one of the most successful jockeys in the history of the sport. He recorded his first victory at just 17 years old and continues to ride today, at 39, with no plans of stopping anytime soon. McCoy’s most prominent wins include the 2010 Grand National, the 1997 and 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup and the 2002 King George VI chase.

Early Career

Many riders work very hard to achieve the kind of talent that A. P. McCoy has but are never able to achieve it. McCoy started as an apprentice under Jim Bolger as a young man, and even then, his special talent was evident. In 1992, at age 17, McCoy rode Legal Steps, a Bolger-trained horse, to victory. In 1994, he won his first race in England. In 1995, he won the Conditional Jump Jockeys Title. In 1996, he went professional, became a champion jockey for the first time and has remained a champion jockey every year since.

The Journey to 4,000 Victories

In 2006, A. P. McCoy became the first jump jockey to win 2,500 times. He then won his 3,000th in 2009 at Plumpton aboard Restless D’Artaix. As of March 2013, McCoy had compiled 3,863 wins and has promised not to retire until he reaches 4,000. To put this accomplishment into perspective, consider that Richard Dunwoody retired and set the record with 1,699 victories before A. P. came along.

The Grand National

Despite of all of his great successes, a coveted win at the legendary Grand National eluded him. It was not for a lack of trying; in fact, he had run the race 14 years in a row, had come in third on several occasions and had even entered the race on the favoured horse. In 2010, A. P. finally won the Grand National, and he did so riding in J. P. McManus colours and on the Jonjo O’Neill-trained horse, Don’t Push It. Heading into the 2012 event, McCoy along with horse Synchronised were favoured, but in one of the saddest moments of McCoy’s career, Synchronised fell and broke its leg.

2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year

A. P. McCoy is a born winner who delivered on his potential. It wasn’t, however, until the Grand National win that he truly earned the recognition that he deserved. The Grand National is one of those horse racing events that draws the attention of people who wouldn’t otherwise watch the sport. With that Grand National win, people knew all that he had accomplished, and that led to him receiving the BBC Sports Personality of the Year by one of the most decisive vote totals in the award’s history.

The Hall of Fame

In 2011, McCoy was awarded the Belfast Telegraph Sports Award and entered into the Hall of Fame. He had long ago cemented his place; the Grand National victory was just a rite of passage. The 4,000th victory is not yet had, but at this point, it seems little more than a formality.

A.P. McCoy is an inspirational sports figure, never in the headlines for the wrong reasons, he goes about his job with the dedication of a man possessed and with the desire to only be the best. Through the highs and lows of his career he has remained steadfast in his goal to be the world's greatest jockey and many would argue that he already is.

… writte by Paul Warrander - a leading contributor on some of the internet's leading business and sports websites.

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