Photo: Yuji Noda
Britain's greatest jump jockey achieved one of the greatest feats ever achieved in steeplechase racing on Thursday as AP McCoy completed an exceptional tally of 4,000 winners at Towcester Racecourse on Thursday afternoon, as Mountain Tunes powered home under a trademark McCoy drive.
Consistency and determination are two words that merely begin to describe the continued efforts and achievements of McCoy under the steeplechasing code in Britain, yet through many years of grinding away day in day out as he travels from pillar to post in far from ideal weather conditions, the achievements of McCoy cannot be understated in the slightest but we must be clear that this is not nearly the beginning, the end or the only reason for celebration of the greatest jockey that this country will ever see.
In his quest for his three thousandth winner back in 2009, McCoy trudged to a wet and windy Plumpton Racecourse for three rides, needing two to achieve that milestone. With one under his belt early on, McCoy came to the last aboard Miss Sarene - in the colours of his employer, JP McManus - with the record in his sights only to fall at the last hurdle. True to form, McCoy dusted himself down, got back on his next booked ride and completed the task in fabulous fashion. His four thousanth winner put right the Miss Sarene result, ensuring that his latest milestone would be in the colours of his long-term employer.
Sent off the 6/4 favourite in a field, Mountain Tunes looked to be struggling as the runners turned for home, but with a never-say-die drive that has become a trademark of the career of McCoy, Mountain Tunes began to respond to every urging of the Champion Jockey to strongly run home for a half length success.
"It was just amazing, it couldn't have worked out any better," said McCoy. "Racing people are fantastic, they are so pleased for me, and it was always hopefully going to be in JP's colours, Eve [daughter] thinks they belong to me! To do it for Jonjo and the McManus's is brilliant as they've been so good to me"
Four thousand winners, each of them a victory which advertises a different ability of McCoy, is just the start of the numbers game that journalists from around the world will begin to play as they file their copies to celebrate this monumental achievement. For McCoy, he will continue to find those winners and continue to keep ticking over but in the immediate future he will celebrate the fact that kept one promise - that to his daughter that he would achieve his four thousandth winner before her birthday.
As is true to tradition, the 18-times Champion Jockey achieved that on the last ride possible, with his daughter's birthday being celebrated tomorrow.