‘Sir AP’ races to new title after retiring from saddle

AP McCoy's reaction after winning the 2010 Grand National
AP McCoy's reaction after winning the 2010 Grand National
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TONY McCoy hailed it an “unbelievable privilege and honour” after receiving a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year Honours list in recognition of his services to horseracing.

The 41-year-old, the first jockey to be awarded the honour since Sir Gordon Richards in 1953, officially retired at the end of April when he brought the curtain down on a spectacular 23-year National Hunt career.

“It is an unbelievable privilege and honour to receive a knighthood in the New Year Honours List. I certainly wasn’t expecting it,” he said.

“I consider myself lucky to have had a job I loved, every single day. The team around me made it possible for me to achieve my goals and the support from the public and racing community since my retirement has been overwhelming. A knighthood really tops off what’s been a crazy and memorable year”.

McCoy – now Sir AP - counted 31 Cheltenham Festival winners, as well as two Gold Cups and one famous Grand National success aboard Don’t Push It in 2010, among his big-race haul.

McCoy, who rode 4,358 winners in total, was also crowned champion jockey for 20 consecutive seasons, with the trophy decommissioned and awarded to him permanently at the end of the last campaign.

McCoy set countless records during his riding career, most notably posting an incredible 289 winners in the 2001-2 season - a feat which surpassed Sir Gordon Richards’ long-standing record of 269 victories.

The Ulsterman secured another piece of history in 2010 when he became the first jockey to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year following his success aboard Don’t Push It in the Grand National. It was his 15th attempt at winning the race.

He won the Lifetime Achievement award at this month’s Sports Personality of the Year ceremony in Belfast. McCoy was appointed MBE in 2003 and OBE in the 2010 Birthday Honours list.