How many winners did A.P. McCoy ride at the Cheltenham Festival?
In the sphere of National Hunt racing, it would be fair to say that Sir Anthony Peter McCoy, still known to his friends as ‘A.P.’, carried all before him. At the time of his retirement in April, 2015, he had ridden 4,348 winners under National Hunt rules and set a series of extraordinary records, some of which may never be broken. McCoy won the National Hunt Jockeys’ Championship in each of the 20 seasons he rode in Britain. In 2001/02, he racked up 289 winners, smashing the previous record for the number of winners in a single season, set by Sir Gordon Richards in 1947.
However, the Cheltenham Festival was perhaps the one instance when McCoy did not entirely rule the roost. Of the four main ‘championship’ races, he won the Champion Hurdle three times, the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice and the Queen Mother Champion Chase once. The Stayers’ Hurdle was a notable omission from his CV, but he did win the leading jockey award twice, in 1997 and 1998, while stable jockey to Martin Pipe. However, his career total of 31 Cheltenham Festival winners is only third in the all-time list, behind Rupert ‘Ruby’ Walsh, with 59 winners, and Barry Geraghty, with 43 winners. Of the jockeys still riding, only Davy Russell, with 25 winners, is really within hailing distance, so his position looks safe for a while yet.