11/07/2013 4:01PM

British steeplechase rider McCoy wins 4,000th race


Tony McCoy, the champion steeplechase jockey in Britain 18 times, became the first rider in that sport to win 4,000 races with a victory in a novice hurdle at Towcester, England, on Thursday.

McCoy began Thursday needing one win for the milestone. After finishing fifth with his first mount of the day, McCoy reached 4,000 when Mountain Tunes, the 6-4 favorite, won a novices’ hurdle over 2 5/8 miles.

McCoy, best known to racing fans by his initials A.P., began riding in 1990, initially on the flat, and had his first winner over jumps in April 1994. McCoy, known as an aggressive rider capable of coaxing maximum effort from a mount, won the Grand National in 2010 on Don’t Push It.

McCoy, 39, has won two runnings of the Cheltenham Gold Cup – with Mr Mulligan in 1997 and Synchronised in 2012. He has won 29 career races at the prestigious Cheltenham festival, held each March.

Of his 4,000 winners, McCoy has won 3,974 races in Britain and 126 in Ireland, according to the Racing Post. McCoy reached his 1,000th winner in November 1999; his 2,000 winner in November 2003; and his 3,000 winner in February 2009.

McCoy won nine races on the flat before switching to jump racing. He has been the leading steeplechase rider in Britain each year since the 1995-96 season.

The veteran shows no signs of slowing down. The British bookmaker Coral was offering 6-1 on Thursday that McCoy will ride 5,000 winners in his career.

– Steve Andersen