AP McCoy retires: what next for the record-breaking jockey?
After more than 4,300 winners and 20 champion jockey titles, McCoy ends with a third-placed finish
Record-breaking jump jockey AP McCoy ran his final race on Saturday, bringing the curtain down on an illustrious career spanning three decades during which he rode more than 4,300 winners and was champion jockey 20 times.
Although his career ended with two third-places rather than a fairytale win, he was still the centre of attention at a packed Sandown Park.
"His two third-placed finishes, on Mr Mole and Box Office, were not the stuff of which legends were built, but this was all about saluting a man bowing out after two decades at the top," says the BBC, which notes that McCoy's 1,040 consecutive weeks as top-ranked jockey eclipse the feats of other sporting titans like Roger Federer (302 weeks) and Tiger Woods (545 weeks).
Fellow jockeys had formed a guard of honour as he entered the parade ring to collect the champion jockey's trophy for a 20th and final time. The 18,000 sell-out crowd was just as effusive, bursting into a rendition of 'for he's a jolly good fellow' as McCoy accepted the trophy.
"Never a truer word has been sung," writes Andy Dunn in the Daily Mirror. "McCoy, perhaps unlike no other sportsman, has struck a chord in the consciousness of the common man, woman and child.
"Rarely has someone so extraordinary been so ordinary. No pretensions, no airs, no graces, no showboating, no arrogance, no flashiness, no bravado. Just humble brilliance.
It has been a "long goodbye" for McCoy, says The Times. The jockey, who was named Sports Personality of the Year winner in 2010, after winning the Grand National for the first time, announced his retirement in February. He absence next season will leave a void in the sport, although it does at least mean a different name on the champion jockey trophy for the first time in 21 years.
"Whatever happens in the future... no one will match the achievements of McCoy, who has dominated his sport like no other," says the paper.
What now for McCoy? asks The Guardian. "The 20-times champion jump jockey has never needed prompting to show his support for those of his colleagues suffering from serious injury and it was like him to raise the subject once more as he made his farewells at Sandown on Saturday."
McCoy, who broke 40 bones during his career is vice-president of the Injured Jockeys Fund and is likely to work to raise awareness of the organisation's work. "There is always more that racegoers can do to remember those who were unable to walk away from the sport in one piece," says the paper.
Writing in the Times ahead of his final races, McCoy admitted he had no long-term plans for the future, but said he would visit two badly-injured jockeys, Robbie and JT McNamara, in Ireland next week.
"I've given very little thought to it, other than I will definitely not be coming out of retirement," he said. "I'm going to take some time out and won't be rushing into anything. I’d like to carry on doing something that still involves horses, although I've no aspirations to become a trainer."