McCoy to retire from racing

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Published: Saturday 7th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Tony McCoy stunned the racing world today as he announced he is to retire from racing at the end of the season.

Just minutes after Mr Mole gave McCoy his 200th winner of the season as Sire De Grugy unseated three out in an incident-packed Betfair Price Rush Chase at Newbury, the champion jockey told Channel 4 Racing of his intention to stop riding.

Not seen since following up his Champion Chase success at Sandown last April, the Gary Moore-trained Sire De Grugy was sent off at odds-on but made a bad mistake four from home before parting company with Jamie Moore at the next.

That left a simple task for Mr Mole, who will test his credentials at the top level in the two-mile championship next month.

All that was overshadowed, however, when 40-year-old McCoy revealed his retirement plan.

“It’s going to be the last time I ride 200 winners,” he said.

“Having spoken to Dave (Roberts, agent) and JP McManus (retaining owner), I am going to be retiring at the end of the season.”

McCoy, who is 79 wins ahead of nearest rival Richard Johnson this season, continued: “I want to go out at the top, I want to go out as champion jockey and it will be my 20th year if I can win the jockeys’ championship.

“I want to go out while I still enjoy riding and am still relatively at the top.

“Dave Roberts and JP McManus were the only ones who knew, I got Dave to my house and Chanelle (McCoy’s wife) didn’t even know what the conversation was going to be about.

“We decided that the right thing to do was to retire at the end of the season, but to announce it before the end of the season.

“We thought that to ride 200 winners was a good achievement and a good time to announce it.

“Dave and JP thought it would be a good idea to announce before I just give up.

“It will be business as usual until the end of the season and I will let myself enjoy it more.”

Mrs McCoy said: “It’s a decision he’s battled with very much, some days he’s at peace with it and some days he’s sad. It will be great for him to go out on a high and hopefully we will get him out in one piece.”

She went on: “It’s a very big decision and a decision like that he has to live with, so he has to make it himself.

“He knew my preference for him to retire at the end of the season, but I never pushed him. He’s very much his own man and he makes up his own mind.”

Winner of virtually every big prize there is in racing, including the Grand National, Gold Cup, Champion Chase and Champion Hurdle, McCoy said that “time waits for no man in sport”.

He said: “I have been very lucky to have a great way of life for the last 25 years.

“It was something that was always in the back of my mind, I wanted to retire while I was champion jockey and I thought 20 championships was a good number. Time waits for no man in sport. It’s not going to wait for me.

“I think all of the decisions in my life I have made myself, I’m lucky that I’ve had really good people to bounce things off.

“I think to become a jockey was the best decision I made. I’ve had a great way of life.

“My mum and dad have no idea, I think they wanted me to retire so I thought they’d get more satisfaction hearing about it on the television.

“I love riding and the thrill of it, it’s what has challenged me for the last 25 years so I will miss it.

“I’ll never find anything that will replace that buzz, but I’m aware in sport that you can’t go on forever.

“There’s so many people to thank – my mum and dad, the late Billy Rock, the late Toby Balding and his wife, Jim Bolger, JP and Noreen (McManus) have been fantastic.

“All the horses, the stable lads, all the ambulance drivers and the doctors that have picked me up so many times over the years.

“The lads in the weighing room who have been great colleagues, the lads that have driven me around the country and the valets that have looked after me every day.

“There’s so many people for me to thank, and obviously Dave Roberts who has been with me from the day I’ve been here. A lot of people have made it possible.”

Frank Berry, racing manager to McManus, said: “You have to be very proud of him, he’s been a great man to work with and we’ve had a great time together. It’s always sad when it comes, but that’s part of it and I hope now he stays in one piece and goes out at the top.

“He didn’t say much about it, he’d be making up his own mind – I’m sure him and the boss had discussions and it’s always difficult when things are going well. He’s been fantastic and it will have been a tough decision.

“He’s been having a fantastic season and it’s always difficult when things are going well. Like everything, things come to an end.

“He has been a great ambassador for us and the sport of racing, he’s very kind to people.

“You couldn’t say enough good things about him.”

Asked about a possible replacement in the role of number one to McManus, Berry said: “It’s only landed on us this week, everything is up in the air.”

Published: Saturday 7th February 2015 by The News Editor

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