Fiercely determined and successful jockey
Tony McCoy was born into a horse racing family on May 4, 1974. His father Peader bred Cheltenham Festival winner Thumbs Up.
After serving his apprenticeship with trainer Jim Bolger, young Anthony Peter McCoy moved to the yard of Toby Balding, and then the Martin Pipe stables. His first winner was on Legal Steps at Thurles on March 26, 1992. His first win in Britain was on September 7, 1994, at Exeter on Chickabiddy.
In 2001/02, he broke Sir Gordon Richards 55 year old record of 269 winners in a season. The same year, he broke his own record for the fastest 100 winners by five weeks. McCoy has subsequently taken Richard Dunwoody’s record for the fastest 1000 winners with nearly six years to spare. In August 2002, he also surpassed Dunwoody’s career total of 1,699 on Mighty Montefalco at Uttoxeter.
On January 17, 2004, Magical Bailiwick gave McCoy his 2,000th career winner in the Connaught Cup at Wincanton. He reacted by saying, ‘I’d like to ride another 2,000. The first is history; it’s past, gone. I appreciate that I am lucky. Hopefully, I’ll get lucky a few more times.’
McCoy’s success owes much to his singleminded determination and a strict diet and training regime. Of unusually large build for a jockey, McCoy’s food intake has been known to be limited to the licking of crisps. In between a hectic racing schedule, hours are spent in the gym and the steam room.
In 1997, McCoy won the Champion Hurdle on Make A Stand, as well as the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Mr Mulligan, at the Cheltenham Festival. His best performance was in 1998 when he rode five winners. While McCoy has yet to win the Aintree Grand National, an example of his dogged determination came in the 2001 race, when he managed to finish for the first time. McCoy remounted Blowing Wind after a fall at the nineteenth fence, coming third behind Red Marauder and Smarty.
For those interested in putting a bet on Tony McCoy, statistics show a winning average of one in every three races.
© Padraig Coyle