My Autobiography, by AP McCoy

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The Independent Culture

Two days to go to the Cheltenham Festival. AP McCoy is only third favourite to be leading jockey but whatever happens, the Northern Irishman looks certain to be jump racing's champion for the 18th consecutive year, and at 38 shows no signs of retiring.

Most riders would be happy to have obliterated every National Hunt record in sight, but McCoy is a perennial worryguts; writing of his first full season, when he won the conditional jockeys' title at 21, he says: "My overriding fear the whole time was fear of losing the title, not excitement at the prospect of winning it. That was to become a common theme for me."

And how; though he has won every major race at least once, quantity not quality is what drives McCoy: it is "much more important to me to be champion jockey than to win big races," he claims. His austere lifestyle – he neither drinks nor smokes – makes this updated version of his 2011 autobiography a sober read in every respect, a world away from the scandal-strewn accounts penned by other jockeys such as his fellow Irishman Timmy Murphy.

The only revelation is his unpleasant behaviour towards his wife, Chantelle, during their long, on-off courtship, when he admits to behaving like a grade-A shit and control freak. "Statistics are everything to me," he says as he targets 4,000 winners. He'll doubtless get there, but on this evidence you do worry for him when he finally has to retire.

Published in paperback by Orion, £9.99