Racing: Legend McCoy decides to retire

Tony McCoy.
Tony McCoy.
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Tony McCoy stunned the racing world on Saturday 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.”

Anibale Fly, ridden by Barry Geraghty (centre) on the way to winning the Coral Handicap Hurdle at Punchestown back in April 2016. PIC: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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