Tony McCoy – Cheltenham Festival Legend
Tony McCoy is the most successful jockey in the history of the Cheltenham Festival, with fifteen wins at Festival races and two Cheltenham Festival Top Jockey titles. McCoy is also one of the undisputed masters of National Hunt racing on both sides of the Irish Sea, winning every major race in the sport bar the Grand National.
The Ulster-born Tony McCoy began his career in horseracing in Ireland at an early age, riding his first winner in 1992 at the age of 18. Success in Ireland led to a move across the Irish Sea and Tony McCoy earned his English racing license in 1994.
Tony McCoy made a strong impression in his very first season in English National Hunt racing. The determined jockey won 74 winning horses in his first season. The following season he racked up 253 victories in all races, setting a new National Hunt record. Unsurprisingly this achievement earned him the Champion Jockey title for that year, and he has not conceded it to another jockey since.
Two seasons into his English National hunt career, Tony McCoy won his first Cheltenham Festival Top Jockey title, riding three winners at the 1997 Cheltenham Festival. In that year Tony McCoy achieved a rare Cheltenham Festival double with wins in both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Champion Hurdle on Mr Mulligan and Make a Stand.
In 1998 Tony McCoy, Cheltenham Festival legend, achieved his second Top Jockey title when he won a triumphant five races, although he failed to clinch the Cheltenham Gold Cup. In the next two years his record breaking continued, as he amassed wins by the hundred, breaking Sir Gordon Richard’s record for winners in a season in 2002 with a remarkable haul of 289 wins in both National Hunt and Flat racing.
Tony McCoy’s successes on the race track did not come without cost. The jockey is known for his unrelenting riding style that sees him push horses to their limits, and has suffered severe injuries on a number of occasions. McCoy even claims that he has broken nearly every bone in his body during his career.
Having won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase in his glittering career, Tony McCoy is an undisputed Cheltenham Festival legend. It remains to be seen whether he will fulfill his final ambition of winning the Grand National at Aintree.