“I dream up things and then I convince myself that they’re possible” – AP McCoy, known to most racegoers simply as ‘AP’ – the initials of his name Anthony Peter – was born in County Antrim, Northern Ireland in May 1974
He won his first race on the flat as an apprentice for trainer Jim Bolger in March 1992 at the age of 17. But a shattered leg kept him out of action for some time and he switched to jumps riding with his weight and height increasing.
Here are some of the significant numbers that sum up the scale of McCoy’s achievements and explain why he will go down in horse racing history forever.
- 20 consecutive champion jockey titles.
- 253 winners in the 1997-98 season, beating the previous record tally of jumps wins in a season of 221 held by Peter Scudamore.
- 289 winners in the 2001-02 season, a British horse racing record and surpassing Sir Gordon Richards’ previous record of 269 winners on the Flat.
- Became the most successful jump jockey of all time when surpassing Richard Dunwoody’s tally of 1,699 winners in August 2002.
- Rode his 4,000th winner on Mountain Tunes at Towcester on November 7, 2013.
- Record-breaking 4,357 winners as of April 22 (including nine on the Flat)
- First win: March 26, 1992 – Legal Steps at Thurles.
- He has won almost every major race, including 2 Cheltenham Gold Cups, 3 Champion Hurdles and the Grand National in 2010 at his 15th attempt.
- Awarded an MBE in the 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honors and an OBE in 2010.
- Voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2010, the first time an individual from racing had been recognized in this way