I have been lucky to work in many sports in my career but today I rejoice with the rest of racing and beyond at the incredible success of AP McCoy in reaching the eyewatering 4,000 winner mark.
He’s no ordinary champion. I have never met a man with more determination, let alone skill and as an ambassador for his beloved County Antrim and his sport, McCoy quite simply has no peer.
Lets not forget this is a man who broke his leg riding before he even set foot on these shores at the start of an incredible era in 1994 and has had more bumps bruises and breaks than many of have had National winners.
I still pinch myself thinking how he has won some of his races. Wichita Lineman’s win at Cheltenham in 2009 rewrote the superlatives book for me, while I was Racecourse Presenter at Market Rasen on their biggest day that same year where somehow AP got No Strings Attached up on the line to beat a stablemate in the prestigious Summer Plate, prompting a trainer to advise the jockey of the runner up to ‘call 999 and report a burglary’.
A year later, of course, he finally got the Grand National monkey off his back, but work with McCoy, as I have been fortunate to, and you realise the decency of the man.
Just last month I interviewed him about the fundraiser in Limerick for stricken colleague John Thomas Macnamara- he spoke with the warmth of a man to whom people matter as well as horses, and the respect he has from colleagues, racing professionals and the ordinary racegoer is like no other.
He has, quite simply taken Jump Racing to a whole new level- and how lucky I feel I have been to see much of it, and like everyone else I hope there’s a lot more to come yet.
Mike ‘Keep your halo straight’ Vince