TRAINER Jonjo O’Neill led the tributes yesterday after AP McCoy became the first jump jockey to rack up 4,000 wins.
Champion Jockey for a record 18 years in a row, McCoy achieved another horse racing first with victory on Mountain Tunes, his second ride of the day at Towcester.
Fittingly the landmark triumph came on a horse trained by O’Neill and owned by JP McManus, two of the 39-year-old’s closest allies and friends in the sport.
“It’s just amazing. He’s a fantastic man and a fantastic jockey,” said O’Neill, at the Northamptonshire track to witness the milestone.
“Old horses, young horses, monkeys – you name it, he can win on it. That’s the fantastic thing about him – it doesn’t matter what it is he just wants to ride winners.”
McManus, also on hand to see McCoy snatch victory by half a length, added: “What a man and what a ride. That ride sums him up. I remember when he first came to the UK. Little did we think that day that he’d ride 4,000 winners but full marks to him, he’s dedicated to the game and he’s a pleasure to have around.”
Northern Irishman McCoy returned the compliments to O’Neill and McManus.
“It couldn’t have worked out any better,” he said. “To do it for Jonjo and the McManuses is brilliant as they’ve been so good to me.”
McCoy, whose closest challenger, Richard Johnson, has 2,567 wins, also dismissed talk of retirement.
“I’ve ridden 4,000 winners. I’ll try to ride a few more,” he added. “I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved and being able to last. I’m lucky and proud to have done it.”