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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 19:28 GMT 20:28 UK
The real McCoy shows his class
BBC Sport's Cornelius Lysaght

Tony McCoy's achievement of riding 1,700 winners is enormous and is recognition of the extraordinary dominance he has over his particular sphere.

What makes it even more amazing is that he has only been riding in Britain since 1994 and still is only 28 years old.

It took Richard Dunwoody 16 years and over 9,300 mounts to amass 1,699 before he retired when he was 34.

McCoy has needed just half that time and about 3,000 fewer rides.

McCoy dominates the sport in his way that no other sportsman or woman in Britain dominates theirs.

As well as being a brilliant jockey, he is also a great ambassador for his sport and has done more for the sport than anyone else.

Tony McCoy in reflective mood after his 1,700th win
McCoy reflects on his success

He is the greatest and has the most extrordinary resilience and determination which he transfers to the horses he rides.

Jump racing is one of the most dangerous sports that exist and all sorts of drama and injury lurk around the corner.

McCoy has been fortunate to avoid serious injury, especially in the light of his friend and rival Richard Johnson's broken leg at the weekend.

Critics might also say that he rides the best horses trained by the likes of Martin Pipe and Jonjo O'Neill.

However he has the ability to transmit a certain "je ne sais quoi" to the horse.

McCoy is an extremely resolute character and just drives himself on and on.

He loves winning and hates losing and he is equally happy with victory at Hereford or Hexham or Cheltenham.

When he finished second at Uttoxeter in the race after he broke Dunwoody's record, he wanted to see what he had done wrong.

He still wants to find ways to improve himself, which is terrifying for his rivals. For his followers it is hard to imagine how he can do better.

As for his next move, he cannot set any more records until he retires. Dunwoody suggests that that could be when he passes 3,000 winners - so that means another 1,300 winners to go.

Richard Dunwoody is now the second winning-most jockey
Dunwoody was one of McCoy's heroes

He will keep battling on because he wants to set a total that will be spoken about in hushed tones in the future.

When people look back on the history of the sport, McCoy's name will be right up there with the likes of Dunwoody and John Francome.

But although numerically he is the greatest jump jockey ever, he lacks the recognition he deserves.

There is a feeling within racing that he is frustrated he has not made the final stage of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year where other people are better known.

He is far too polite to express frustration about his relative anonymity outside the sport but I'm sure he is.

He is not a household name but among followers of the sport he is revered as the Real McCoy.

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BBC Sport's Cornelius Lysaght
"He is extraordinarily hungry"

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