By Simon Jackson.
Top jockey Ruby Walsh has praised the high standards set by 19-time champion jockey Tony McCoy who has revealed that he will retire from race-riding this season.
Walsh, the long-time No.1 jockey for champion trainer Paul Nicholls, is possibly best known for his association with dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kauto Star who he also combined with to win five King George VI Chases at Kempton Park.
He is currently first jockey to the powerful Willie Mullins stable in Ireland and is in the UK on Saturday where he has three rides at Ascot. Earlier this week Walsh spoke of the positive effect that Tony, or ‘AP’, McCoy has had on his colleagues.
“I’m glad he’s going out at the top and gets to do it on his terms. That doesn’t often happen to jump jockeys,” Walsh said on his Paddy Power blog.
“He has simply been the most amazing jockey, athlete, competitor and ambassador that racing will ever have. I can’t see anyone breaking the records he has set for a very, very long time if ever, but AP’s legacy is more than just numbers.
“For 20 years, he has been the top dog and set the standard we all had to try and get to. He improved every year as a rider and therefore he dragged the rest of us with him. In spite of his success – he never turned away anyone who sought his advice.
“AP changed the way jockeys conducted their lives and altered the way jockeys now prepare for race meetings.
“He was so analytical on form and tactics – you had to be as prepared as he was. He knew his strengths in a race but just as importantly knew your weaknesses.
“He knew the form of every horse, the ratings of every horse, what they were capable of running to, the flat ratings of novice hurdlers. He always had his homework done and proved that you could always prepare better.
“This background knowledge is common practice in the weigh room now. McCoy raised the bar for everyone.”
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