sport

McCoy crowned champion jockey

Tony McCoy has been crowned champion jockey for the 19th consecutive season.

A 48-hour spell right at the tail end of the season probably sums him up best as he partnered three winners at Taunton's evening meeting on Wednesday and then trekked up to Perth in Scotland on Thursday.

McCoy said: "I feel as good as ever. I'd like to win a few more jockeys' titles yet.

"It has been the most traumatic year of all personally, with my son Archie having a major operation before Cheltenham. It's been the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to me.

"Hopefully he will be OK, but we won't probably know for a while longer.

"But it has been a successful year riding, obviously. We've had some good horses and it has been great for the team.

"Jonjo (O'Neill) is getting closer and closer to the title. He's very ambitious and he's got a few decent chasers and it helps because they are the ones that win the decent prize money.

"It's not an easy thing for Jonjo to achieve, because Paul Nicholls is also ambitious.

"I never dreamed in my wildest dreams that I would win 19 jockeys' championships. It's a lot of winners, but I'd like plenty more titles than 19 to be honest, and I don't say that lightly.

"I honestly don't know how long I will go on for. When I was here last year I wasn't very healthy and obviously my tone sounded as though I wouldn't be riding for much longer.

"But I was injured, just out of hospital and probably shouldn't have been here. I am a lot healthier than I was at this time last year and consequently a lot happier.

"That's the key - if you are healthy, you are happy. But if you don't win it's all for nothing. That's the job, first of all you need to win.

"I'd love to retire as champion jockey, there's no doubt about that. I've always said I would do, but my next target will be Martin Pipe's record (4,180 winners) - that's just a personal target and a bit of fun, because he's one of the people I respect the most.

"I've always got the target of winning the jockeys' championship in my mind because you have to challenge yourself.

"I could sit back and enjoy winning 19 championships, but you have to come back next week and start the first day of the season and it's back to zero, because no-one really cares how many jockeys' championships I've won."

McCoy is targeting 200 winners next season, a tally he has achieved on seven previous occasions.

He added: "It's a lot of winners but it is not impossible. I will actually take it day by day or week by week.

"It's all about how I perform. I love riding, but I love to be successful at it.

"Hopefully I will know in my own mind when it is time to go - but I'll be around for a while yet."

Gavin Sheehan was crowned champion conditional, while the owners' title went to JP McManus, with the likes of Champion Hurdle winner Jezki, World Hurdle hero More Of That and dual Grade One winner My Tent Or Yours his headline performers.