To celebrate the legendary AP McCoy riding his 4000th winner at Towcester we have decided to take a closer look at the Champion Jockey. Almost every punter you speak to has a favourite McCoy moment so we thought why not compile a list of what we think are his ten best winning rides.
McCoy has made a career out of winning and he appears to be showing no signs of slowing down as he continues to rack up the winners on a daily basis. It is a measure of the man that this was a difficult task to narrow it down to just ten but we have done our very best to pick out the highlights of his riding career to-date.
Number 10 - Adare Prince @ Huntingdon in 2008
Our first stop on the McCoy countdown sees us head back to January of 2008 when the Champion Jockey produced a stunning ride on board Adare Prince at Huntingdon. The horse was returning after a year off the track and turning for home he looked to have no chance of getting up for the win. McCoy had other ideas though as he closed down a five length deficit after the final fence to to claim an unlikely success.
Number 9 - Albertas Run @ Cheltenham in 2011
Albertas Run returned to the Cheltenham Festival in 2011 as the defending Ryanair Chase champion, but after a poor season he was by no means the favourite to repeat that success. However, McCoy gave the horse a thrilling front running ride to ensure that he won the race for a second time in-a-row, holding off all challengers. It was a thoroughly game performance from Albertas Run who kept giving more everytime he was asked too by AP with the horse winning his third Festival race.
Number 8 - Brave Inca @ Cheltenham in 2006
Brave Inca was a notoriously lazy horse in his hay day but in AP McCoy he had the perfect jockey for the task. The Colm Murphy trained horse won the Champion Hurdle at the Festival back in 2006 and McCoy must take plenty of the credit. The Champ was niggling at the horse on and off throughout the early stages of the race but Brave Inca sill managed to give himself every chance turning for home. He saw off Hardy Eustace and Macs Joy up the hill to record a famous win for connections and McCoy was instrumental in the success.
Number 7 - Hennessy @ Sandwon in 2009
The Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown is always a nice race to win and thanks to McCoy in 2009, Hennessy managed to do just that. The horse looked well off the pace coming off of the back straight with McCoy working hard just to keep Hennessy in a decent position. As always though, McCoy gave the horse a thrilling drive to close down the winner in the shadow of the line for a remarkable victory.
Number 6 - Dont Push It @ Aintree in 2010
McCoy finally managed to win the Grand National at his 15th attempt in 2010 when Dont Push It secured a famous victory. The ride itself was relatively straightforward considering it was a National but nevertheless McCoy was on top form as always. The Champ looked confident a long way from home and the horse duly delivered to the delight of the crowd and racing community as a whole.
Number 5 - Drill Sergeant @ Haydock in 2010
Drill Sergeant may not be the most well known winner on our countdown but he is fully deserving of his place. McCoy popped the horse out in front but as they approached the paddock bend at Haydock the horse all but pulled himself up, veering towards the side of the track. That saw Drill Sergeant go from first to last in the blink of an eye but McCoy was clearly not ready to give up just yet. AP managed to get the horse back to the main body of the field and under a strong drive they managed to claim a remarkable win, from an almost impossible position.
Number 4 - Pridwell @ Aintree in 1998
Pridwell was a top class horse in his own right but his success in the 1998 Martell Hurdle was a stunning one and a career highlight. In desperate ground in Liverpool, McCoy gave the Martin Pipe in-mate a power packed ride to overcome the great Istabraq by a head. Pridwell was always travelling well but still had plenty to do against Istabraq who had won his last ten races on the bounce. McCoy forced the horse up after the last to record what remains to this day a stunning performance from the jockey.
Number 3 - Synchronised @ Cheltenham in 2012
Synchronised went into the 2012 Gold Cup at Cheltenham as no more than an each-way contender who had a good season for Jonjo O'Neill and AP McCoy. For large parts of the race, Synchronised looked slightly outpaced with McCoy constantly cajoling the horse to maintain his position in the field. McCoy managed to achieve that with his typical strength before unleashing the horse after the last to storm past Long Run and The Giant Bolster. In the end, Synchronised won a touch cosily that day with McCoy rightly taking some of the plaudits for his perfectly timed ride.
Number 2 - Edredon Bleu @ Cheltenam in 2000
McCoy has only won the Queen Mother Champion Chase once during his career so far but what a success it was. Back in 2000, it was a stellar period for two mile chasers with Edredon Bleu, Direct Route and Flagship Uberalles all well backed for the Champion Chase. McCoy immediately took Edredon Bleu to the front with the horse jumping well for connections, but his market rivals were still lurking dangerously. Direct Route managed to head Edredon Belue after the last and looked the winner for all money at that stage. McCoy and Edredon Bleu didn't give in though and gave one last effort to close down the winner on the line to win by a shoulder. Remarkable performance.
Number 1 - Wichita Lineman @ Cheltenham in 2009
It will be no surprise to many to see that Wichita Lineman in 2009 is our choice for the best ride of AP McCoy's career. The Jonjo O'Neill trained horse started the William Hill Trophy at the Festival as the favourite but his backers were quickly worried with the horse racing lazily. A number of errors followed from the horse with McCoy constantly at work just to maintain his place in mid-field. Wichita Lineman made another mistake three out which on the face of it, looked to have ended his already slim chances of winning the race. McCoy had other ideas though as he continued to get to work on the horse with Wichita Lineman finally obliging his jockey. The pair of them finished like a steam train to nab Maljimar on the line to record one of the most remarkable winners in the history of the sport and to our minds, the very best of McCoy's career (so far).
One that didn't make our list..............
Family Business @ Southwell in 2002
This one will perhaps go down as the most bizarre winner of McCoy's career and it took place at Southwell back in 2002. McCoy was on Family Business in a Novices' Chase but despite being favourite, his chances looked gone when the jockey parted company with the horse during the early stages. The race then descended into a farce as every other horse in the field either fell, or refused to jump. McCoy re-mounted (re-mounting was within the rules at the time) Family Business and proceeded to jump round unchallenged to claim a remarkable victory as the only finisher of the race.
Check out the video of Family Business winning at Southwell in 2002