Tony McCoy became the first jump-jockey ever to have partnered 2,000 winners at Wincanton on Saturday.
The 29-year-old Irishman returned from a five-day suspension to start the day on 1,998, and he went on to produce a stylish four-timer, taking his career total to 2,002. In typical McCoy style, he was dismissive of his remarkable achievements.
“I take every day like I haven’t ridden a winner before, and when I go out to ride again on Monday, that is what will be in my mind,” he said. “I’d like to ride another 2,000. The first is history – it’s past, gone. It’s about riding the next 2,000.”
McCoy, who rode his first season over here as recently as 1994-5, passed Richard Dunwoody’s all-time record of 1,699 winners 17 months ago. His 2,000th winner was the Martin Pipe-trained Magical Bailiwick, and magical it was as the jockey characteristically enforced the power of mind over matter and carried the horse, who was not jumping with any fluency, home to victory.
The eight-times champion is a determined competitor, and a terrible loser, and it is well-known that he finds it hard to congratulate another winner. But it is precisely this that gives him the steely determination to face the fray and ride with the will to be champion every time he gets in the saddle.
He belittles his achievements, comparing himself to the all-time flat-racing greats such as Lester Piggott and Pat Eddery, who have both ridden 4,000 winners, but was pleased that he reached the 2,000 mark before Frankie Dettori. The two jockeys have been indulging in good-humoured rivalry over the summer.
McCoy would love to add a Grand National win to his total because it is the highest profile race in the world, but in the meantime, his hunger for victory never leaves him, and no matter what the race, no matter what horse he is riding, he goes out hoping for a good ride.
The jockey thanked his agent, Dave Roberts, and top trainer Martin Pipe, for their support and influence in creating this steeple-chasing legend.