02/07/2015 3:53PM

Jump jockey McCoy to retire at end of season


A P McCoy, the champion jump racing jockey in Britain for the last 19 years, announced on Saturday that he is retiring at the end of the current steeplechase season in late April.

McCoy, the winningest rider in the history of jump racing, made the surprise announcement after riding his 200th winner of the season at Newbury Racecourse, west of London. McCoy, 40, has won more than 4,000 races in his career, and is the leading jump rider in England this year.

“It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to retire when I was champion jockey,” he said. “I thought 20 championships is a good number. Time waits for no man in sports, and it wasn’t going to wait for me.”

McCoy said he reached his decision in the last week after conferring with his agent, Dave Roberts, and horse owner J.P. McManus, with whom McCoy has been closely allied in recent years. McCoy won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2012 on the McManus-owned Synchronised.

“Having spoken to Dave, I decided the right thing to do was to retire at the end of the season, but to announce it before," MCoy said. "We thought to ride 200 winners was a good achievement, and that would be a good time to announce it.

“I will miss it. I will never find anything that will replace the buzz. I am aware of it, but in sport, you cannot keep on forever.”

A native of Northern Ireland, McCoy began his career in flat racing in that country, but switched to jump racing in the mid-1990s. He won his first championship in 1995-96. Among his career highlights are a first win in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Mr. Mulligan in 1997 and the Grand National on Don’t Push It in 2010 for McManus and trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

McCoy’s final months of riding will include such major British race meetings at the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival on March 10-13, and the Grand National weekend at Aintree on April 9-11.