By Simon Jackson.
Tony McCoy has said that he will never forget the reception given at Sandown where he was awarded his 20th jockeys’ championship title on the day he retired from race-riding.
The 40-year-old has set the standard throughout his sublime career that includes becoming the first jockey to ride 3,000 and then 4,000 winners. A brace of Cheltenham Gold Cup winners and a Grand National were amongst those victories. But the champion believes his greatest achievement was in the 2001/02 season when he rode 289 winners to surpass Sir Gordon Richards’ long-standing British record of 269 winners.
McCoy finished third on both of his rides – Mr Mole and Box Office – at Sandown on Saturday where he was presented with his 20th jockeys’ title by former Arsenal striker Ian Wright.
“I feel like I’ve lived the dream, I couldn’t have wished to have done more with my life,” McCoy said. “I like sports, all of them, but I wouldn’t change being a jump jockey for any of those. The adrenaline rush, the people you meet and the whole sport in general – I’ve been so blessed. I just wish I could go back and do it all again.
“I didn’t anticipate this reception. Thanks to Sandown for accommodating me and making the day as special as it was, I’ve been touched by it all. I’ve lived a privileged way of life and I’ll miss what I did. I wanted to get out whilst I was still performing and whilst I was still Champion Jockey.
“There were tears on the way back from riding Box Office, I was trying to keep them in. It was an emotional day and something I’ll never forget. I never expected the people to come out and support me like they did, I’m feeling very honoured and very privileged.
“This has been one of the hardest days of my life, but I needed it to be difficult otherwise it would have meant I was not as good as I was.”
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