Injury doesn’t dampen the ambition of McCoy

A SEEMINGLY indestructible AP McCoy has set his sights on riding a record-breaking 300 winners this season – even though he is on the injury sidelines.

Jockey Bryan Cooper.

The 19-time champion jockey was speaking at Newton Abbot yesterday after having the “huge honour” of unveiling a bronze bust of himself.

He has ridden more winners (264) at the Devon track than any other racecourse in a career which has already yielded more than 4,000 victories.

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Even though McCoy does not intend to resume riding until early next week after a first flight fall at Worcester on Thursday, the 40-year-old has his sights set on eclipsing the record 289 winners that he rode in 2001-02.

He’s already on the 164-winner mark and said: “It’s very hard, in other words it means there can be only 65 days where you don’t ride a winner, and that’s a lot. Nothing’s impossible, I have ridden 300 in a calendar year from January 1 to January 1, so we’ll see. I’m still a bit sore but, hopefully, I’ll be better in the next day or so, and I’ll be back riding soon. Hopefully, it will be Monday or Tuesday.”

McCoy also witnessed his Cheltenham Festival winner Taquin Du Seuil, a possible 2015 Gold Cup contender, lose out to the Sam Twiston-Davies-ridden Wonderful Charm in the feature Intermediate Chase.

It was a confidence boosting win for Twiston-Davies, 21, in his new role as stable jockey to champion trainer Paul Nicholls – this is probably the most pressurised job in jump racing.

Meanwhile, Bryan Cooper returns to the saddle tomorrow – seven months after suffering career-threatening leg injuries at the Cheltenham Festival.

He partners the Dessie Hughes-trained Guitar Pete in the Dunraven Arms Hotel Hurdle at Limerick. Ironically his three opponents include Clarcam – the horse that he was riding in the Fred Winter Hurdle when calamity struck.

“It’s been a long time off and I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things,” said Cooper. “It was a bad break, but I was very well looked after and they got it sorted out pretty quickly and I’ve never had any setbacks since the word go.

“I’m just going to pick and choose for the next few weeks. The ground is still quick and a lot of the winter horses won’t be out for a few weeks. My boss, Michael O’Leary, and my other boss, Dessie Hughes, have been good and have said there is no panic.

“They don’t want me rushing things.”