Always the bridesmaid and never the bride is how some people look at A.P. McCoy when it comes to the Aintree Grand National. If he rides again in April 2010, which no doubt he will, it will be his ninth attempt at a much-coveted win and one that absolutely nobody could ever begrudge him. He himself has said ‘I suppose some people may regard me as a failure unless I win a National – I might even do so myself’, to which Carl Llewllyn, a twice National winner added ‘And then he’ll consider himself a failure if he doesn’t win two Nationals’.
All joking aside, Tony ‘A.P’ McCoy of Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland is officially the best jump jockey of all time. And how does somebody achieve a title like that? On 27th of August 2002 when victory on Mighty Montefalco in a three-mile hurdle at Uttoxeter gave him his 1,700th winner, passing the three-year-old record total of Richard Dunwoody. But he did it at the young age of just 28 meaning that he has set a standard that is unlikely to ever be surpassed. His first victory came with ‘Legal Steps’, at Thurles in March 1992, and this initial success in Ireland led to him racing in England. Since getting his British licence, and winning his first race in Exeter in 1994, he has broken many records, including a record 74 winners in 2004. The following season he was a champion jockey, which he managed to replicate in the following 12 seasons, during which time he also became the fastest jockey to reach the 1000 winner mark.
It has been five years since he made the difficult decision to transfer to Jackdaws Castle, the state-of-the-art yard of trainer Jonjo O Neill and his landlord J.P. McManus, for whom he has continued to add to their list of victories. A.P McCoy has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase and King George VI Chase McCoy and has very few ambitions to achieve – except to ride 300 winners in a season and to win the Grand National.
He is on form at the moment which is evidenced by the fact that he won the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Witchita Lineman for JP back in March 2009, so who will he ride for the 2010 Grand National? It’s too early to tell yet as the list of entrants hasn’t been announced but there are some terrific Jonjo O’Neill horses to pick from and no doubt we’ll see A.P. in the famous gold and green hoops of Mr McManus when April 10th 2010 rolls around!