After nearly two decades at the top of the sport, 19-times Champion National Hunt jockey AP McCoy is to retire at the end of the season.
The popular jockey announced his plans this afternoon (Saturday 7 February) at Newbury after securing his 200th win of the season.
The milestone came aboard the Paul Nicholls-trained Mr Mole in the Betfair Price Rush Chase, and is the ninth time he’s secured a double century.
“This is the last time I’ll ride 200 winners as I’m going to be retiring at the end of the season,” he told Channel 4 Racing.
“I want to go out at the top, and as champion jockey. I want to go out while I still enjoy riding.”
It was a shock revelation, and a decision he said had been made following discussions with owner JP McManus and his long-standing agent Dave Roberts.
“I’m very lucky to have had a great way of life for the past 25 years,” he added.
“I’ve spoken to JP and Dave and 20 championships seemed a good number. Time waits for no man in sport and it’s not going to wait for me. I will really miss it. I love riding, I love the thrill of it and I’ll never find anything to replace that buzz but I’m aware in sport you can’t keep going forever.”
In 2010 he was the first jockey to win the BBC Sports Personality of the year award, and in 2013 he finished third in the SPOTY race.
“He’s brilliant, he’s a pleasure to have anything to do with and is a great ambassador for the sport. He’s such a legend and everyone will miss him,” said winning trainer Paul Nicholls.
For more on AP McCoy’s retirement, as well as full racing report from Newbury and exclusive comment from Richard Johnson, don’t miss the next issue of H&H magazine — out Thursday 12 February.