After nearly 4,350 winners, more than 1,000 falls, 20 straight jockey titles and countless broken bones, Tony McCoy will end his record-shattering career on the aptly named Box Office today.
There are sure to be emotional scenes at Sandown as British horse racing bids farewell to its greatest jumps jockey, who is dreading the moment he puts his silks away for the final time. , “I wish I could do it for another 20 years, that’s for sure,” McCoy said ahead of his final day in the saddle. , The 40-year-old is trying to prepare himself for the inevitable void that he will have to fill when he brings his astonishing career to an end with two rides at the Esher track in front of a sell-out 18,000 crowd., McCoy left the racing world stunned when announcing this would be his final season after steering Mr Mole to success at Newbury in February and the Paul Nicholls-trained chaser is poignantly one of his mounts on the final day of the National Hunt season. He will officially be crowned champion jockey for the 20th successive season before riding Mr Mole in the race named in his honour, the bet365 AP McCoy Celebration Chase. McCoy will then embark on his last ever ride aboard the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Box Office who, like Mr Mole, carries the colours of his retaining owner and close friend JP McManus., In a fitting tribute to the Ulsterman, the perennial champion jump jockey trophy will be decommissioned and presented to McCoy to keep permanently in acknowledgment of his 20 titles. The trophy was commissioned in 2007 and, as McCoy has held the coveted title since 1995-96, he is the only jockey to have ever lifted it., The legendary champion admits it is likely to be an emotional afternoon. “It’s never going to be easy and when the time comes, that’s what is going to be most difficult, living without that. It’s not something I ever wanted to do but I know it’s the right thing and I’m just going to try to enjoy what’s left of it,” said McCoy. “What I’m going to replace that kind of buzz and those kind of adrenalin rushes with, I don’t know. It’s irreplacable, so I just have to make the most of it when I do.”, While today will undoubtedly be tinged with sadness, not least for McCoy himself, there are some changes he will be able to make to his daily routine for the better. “I’ve had the greatest way of life for the last 20-odd years that anyone could ever have,” he said. “But I am looking forward to certain things: having breakfast every day and not standing on a weighing scales every day; not getting in the car some days for seven or eight hours regularly, a couple of times a week; not spending seven days a week literally travelling. Things like that, I’m not going to miss.”, Not one for reflecting during his brilliant career in the saddle due to his obsession with future success, from next week McCoy can now begin to look back at his incredible achievements, some of which may never be matched., The pinnacle of National Hunt racing is the Cheltenham Festival, a stage on which McCoy rode 31 winners, with Uxizandre his final success in last month’s Ryanair Chase., “There was a little bit of mixed emotions pulling up (on Uxizandre) as I had such a thrill riding a horse that was so exuberant and jumped so well, thinking that this isn’t going to happen any more,” he said. “I love riding horses that can go out like Uxizandre did and dominate a field the way he did. Those are things that are irreplaceable.”, Former champion jockey John Francome would not be surprised, however, if the lure of the racecourse proves too much for McCoy., “More than the amount of winners he’s had, it’s the fact that I’ve never watched him ride and thought he’s starting to lose his nerve or seen somebody more committed,” said Francome., “I can’t believe for a moment he won’t find it really difficult to adjust having been so committed to something for so long. It won’t surprise me if he comes back.”