'AP stands for always perfect': Martin Pipe pays tribute to Tony McCoy


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The Independent Online

Up to 5,000 racegoers made the most of the free admission which is granted at Towcester, the only course to provide that concession, and watched history being made in the autumn sunshine as Tony McCoy celebrated his 4,000th win. "There's been a great buzz here today," said Robert Bellamy, clerk of the course.

The champion's champagne had been on ice since Monday and McCoy's wife, Chanelle, revealed that plans for a celebration at her husband's pub in Marlborough had had to be put on hold. "We've been trying to book a DJ but it was difficult, not knowing what night to book," she said, adding that McCoy's daughter Eve will reap the rewards when she holds her own party today to celebrate her sixth birthday. "Daddy promised Eve an extra present when he got his 4,000th winner," she said.

The world of racing paid homage to the 39-year-old Northern Irishman. Richard Johnson, the jump jockey next on the winner list behind McCoy on a remote 2,567, said: "He doesn't relent at all. He's as keen now as he was when he first came over from Ireland. What he has achieved in the last 15 to 20 years is incredible. He has changed riding, especially in the National Hunt field, and moved it forward."

Martin Pipe, the trainer with whom McCoy forged a prolific partnership, said: "I'm sure he rode over 1,000 winners for me. It's absolutely amazing. AP is just absolutely phenomenal. Always Perfect – his two initials. He's absolutely incredible.

"Not only is he a great friend, he's a brilliant jockey and a brilliant role model for the young jockeys to follow."

Effusive tributes also came from outside racing, notably from those sportsmen intimately connected with horses either through ownership or flutters: footballers.

McCoy is a lifelong Arsenal fan and he received a special commendation from a more erudite source, Gunners manager Arsène Wenger: "He has been at the top of his sport for a very long time – as long as I have been manager of Arsenal Football Club – and that shows fantastic consistency. He has come through a lot of injuries, and has shown great resilience to get to where he is."