Towcester racecourse witnessed a landmark day in racing as AP McCoy achieved the unprecedented milestone of 4,000 jump race winners on November 7, 2013.
The Northamptonshire racecourse, which has sponsorship support from HAYGAIN hay steamers, experienced huge crowds and saw the world’s media descend to see if this would be the day AP McCoy would notch up his 4000th career win.
The excitement grew as everyone hoped they would get to see AP reach this amazing landmark.
Media connections surrounded AP McCoy, JP McManus and Jonjo O’Neill as they talked tactics prior to the third race of the day, but wasn’t to be though as AP was ridden into fifth position.
There was tension in the air in the JP McManus box as his team along with AP McCoy’s family sat down to squeeze some lunch in before the fifth race and final opportunity for AP to win his 4000th race.
McCoy had further pressure added to the occasion as his daughter Eve’s birthday party was planned for the following day and this would have been cancelled if the family were to follow AP to Southwell instead in the hope they would experience his 4000th win with him.
So once again the stage was set and the parade ring was filled with worldwide media and this time it would be Mountain Tunes that would hopefully bring AP his 4000th winner.
Upon mounting in the parade ring Mountain Tunes was obviously feeling the huge atmosphere! In true AP style the win didn’t come easy, with a mistake two out he looked beaten but somehow he managed to will his ride forward. A bump with the Venetia Williams trained horse over the last seemed to spur AP’s horse on further and with every one willing him on the course and probably round the world he managed to ride his horse to victory winning by just a head.
It was a fitting win in the colours of JP McManus and Jonjo O’Neill as they have been allies for the past decade!
JP McManus said: “That was very nice [to win in my colours]. I was away last week and I was hoping I was going to be here to see it. Anyway it was very nice that he waited to ride one of mine and I’m chuffed that he did, and I’m sure it won’t stop here.”
“He’s riding better than ever and enjoying it more than ever,” said O’Neill, “why would he even think of retiring?”
The atmosphere was electric as AP entered the parade ring, his wife Chanelle and daughter Eve were obviously delighted as they talked to media. After posing for a few pictures AP was encouraged to ‘do the vital thing’ to seal the race win and weigh in!
Said Chanelle: “It was typical AP style! Never have sights like this been experienced at Towcester. The race presentations were somewhat delayed as pictures were taken to record this momentous occasion.
“The 4000th win – was a massive relief! He really made me scream for it, I really thought he was beat. I was just afraid he’d fall off and injure himself so close to achieving something amazing.
When Chanelle was asked if he was likely to take Friday off – she replied: “I doubt it, you know what he’s like, he’s a total professional!”
AP said: “It’s amazing and it couldn’t have happened any better. It was fantastic to have Jonjo, JP, Chanelle, Eve and Archie Peadar here. I am lucky, I love my job. As do all sportsmen who get to do what they love for a living!
“It’s important for me as a jockey to set myself targets and the next target is hopefully to end the season as champion jockey, which it is at the beginning of every season.
“If I’m still in one piece to get to Martin (Pipe’s) record (of 4,182) that would be a special achievement because he’s a fantastic man and a great friend. We’ve had a bit of banter about it, so hopefully at some point I will be able to maybe get close to his record, if not beat it.”
JP McManus went on to delight the crowds further as he offered to buy everyone on the race course a drink!
HAYGAIN’s area manager Rebecca Mann who works closely with the organising team at Towcester said “It was an amazing atmosphere and a real treat for us to witness. We’ve been part of Towcester for a number of years now and it is always great talking to trainers and congratulating all the winning connections but today was very special and a personal highlight for sure!”
“The team at Towcester did an exceptional job ensuring the day ran smoothly, huge congratulations to AP from all of us at HAYGAIN and we look forward to seeing him at many more meetings to come.”