By Richard Griffiths
Tony McCoy, 27, is the best jumps jockey there is. Since riding his first winner in September 1994, McCoy has smashed records. Now he has broken possibly Britain's greatest of them all: Sir Gordon Richards seasonal tally of 269 winners, achieved in 1947. After a week of frustration during which he edged toward the record at a snail's pace, McCoy passed the landmark with a three-win afternoon at Warwick on April 2.
No one thought Richards record would ever be topped, and certainly not by a jumps jockey. It may be hard to compare the merits of a flat jockey riding 269 winners 55 years ago and a modern-day jumps jockey surpassing that feat, but that should not decry what McCoy has done this season--he is over 150 winners clear of his nearest rival.
McCoy broke the record by riding over 930 horses in a season that stretches for 11 months. Richards flat season in 1947 lasted only eight months, but he had almost as many rides as McCoy.
McCoy has finished champion jockey for the last six seasons. He has been greatly helped by his position as number one rider to Martin Pipe, a trainer whose obsessive will to win comes closes to matching McCoy's.