Tony McCoy: could bring up the milestone in JP McManus's silksPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Tony McCoy heading to Towcester for milestone
TONY McCOY revealed hitting 4,000 jumps winners will be the proudest milestone of his extraordinary career and he heads to Towcester on Thursday one winner shy of the landmark.
Victory on Minella For Steak in a three mile handicap hurdle at Chepstow on Wednesday took McCoy to the brink and the way he has spaced his rides out so far this week it seems clear he is anxious to complete the 4,000 in the green and yellow hooped colours of his boss JP McManus.
The champion jockey has two rides at Towcester, on Church Field and Mountain Tune, both for the Jonjo O'Neill and JP McManus combination.
"I ride Church Field but it looks like the handicapper is slowing him down after he won a few times over the summer," said McCoy at Chepstow on Wednesday. "Mountain Tunes has his first run for Jonjo. He won a point-to-point in Ireland and should handle the ground."
On achieving the milestone, he added: "I am now one away and it would be great to get it out of the way for my own benefit as much as anybody else, as I seem to be taking my time.
"When it is done it will be as much a relief as an achievement, and it will be the first time in my life that I can honestly say I am proud of any landmark as I can assure everyone it has been a physical and mental fight along the way.
"I have been lucky, but it has also been hard work and I could not have got anywhere near such a score without the help of so many people."
McCoy's first ride on Wednesday, on El Macca, ended in defeat. His second, Mission Complete, was a non-runner, but he switched to O'Neill stablemate Minella For Steak in place of conditional jockey James Huxham.
Minella For Steak travelled into the race strongly on the home turn before leading in straight, having enough in reserve to thwart the final flight challenge of Heronshaw, leaving McCoy to return to warm applause from the above average mid-week crowd.
On dismounting, the champion smiled and said: "This horse really struggles with his breathing but he has now won his last two races on ground as bad as you can get. I am glad that Jonjo let me ride him and it's also brilliant for Derrick and Gay Smith, who have been good supporters of the yard.
"I feel a bit sorry for James, but he is half my age at 20 and he's got almost double the chance to ride more winners as he is just starting his career and I am at the other end of mine."
To mark Tony McCoy's achievement of riding 4,000 winners, the Racing Post will produce an eight-page celebratory supplement