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Tony McCoy, crowned champion jockey in Britain for the 18th time, needs 125 winners to reach his target

Updated: Saturday, 27 Apr 2013 14:27 | Comments

Tony McCoy is champion jockey for the 18th time
Tony McCoy is champion jockey for the 18th time

Tony McCoy indicated his next target will be to reach 4,000 winners as he picked up his 18th consecutive championship as the National Hunt season came to a close at Sandown.

The 38-year-old still looked a little delicate with his season ending rather prematurely after a fall at Cheltenham's penultimate meeting, which saw him hospitalised with broken ribs.

Highlights for the perennial champion this year were Festival wins for At Fishers Cross, who has cemented a growing partnership between McCoy, his boss JP McManus and trainer Rebecca Curtis, and the Tom Mullins-trained Alderwood.

He also won the valuable Betfair Hurdle on My Tent Or Yours but was hit hard by the death of Darlan at Doncaster.

McCoy, who has broken virtually every record in the sport, said: "I'm very lucky to ride for a great owner and trainer in JP McManus and Jonjo O'Neill, who are two people I get on with well.

"My first target was to get out of hospital as quickly as possible and get back riding.

"I want to make 4,000 winners, I think I've got 125 to go, and then hopefully win another jockeys' championship.

"I got a very heavy fall, bruised my chest and was I very sore. I won't be back riding for at least two or three weeks."

A National Hunt trainers' title for Nicky Henderson, his first since 1987 and his third in all, was a fitting way to end a season which has seen untold stars emerge from the Seven Barrows yard in Lambourn.

Henderson has always trained classy horses rather than a huge string, but his strength in depth this season has been greater than ever.

Led by the dominant Sprinter Sacre, who won at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown, the likes of Arkle winner Simonsig, Gold Cup victor Bobs Worth, dual King George hero Long Run and youngsters like My Tent Or Yours and Captain Conan could ensure the Henderson dominance continues for a good while yet.

A notoriously nervous onlooker, Henderson repeatedly stated this season it was not much fun watching his stunning array of thoroughbreds, a string that swept him to victory from Paul Nicholls, who in contrast had a generally quiet campaign.

Henderson, who collected his trophy from Paralympic gold medallist David Weir, said: "There are two important teams who have made this happen. The team at home, and the owners.

"There have been ups and downs, but you can't forget the good days.

"The owners are friends, and hopefully they have had a lot of fun along the way."

Donald McCain actually finished the season with more winners than anyone but in prize-money terms he was back in sixth. McCoy picked up the champion owner prize for McManus.

The race to be champion conditional went right down to the wire between Lucy Alexander, Brendan Powell Jnr, Henry Brooke and Micheal Nolan but Alexander became the first female to lift the prize.

Alexander's hopes looked to have been scuppered when she broke her collar bone in January but she finished the season with a real flourish.

It will have been a proud moment for he father, trainer Nick Alexander, who provided her with a large proportion of her winners.

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