As he nears pulling the curtain down on an illustrious career with a 20th champion jockey title, Tony McCoy admits the drive that pushed him to the title every year has in some ways hastened his retirement.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, McCoy said: “In some ways there’s been times recently when I wished I hadn’t been champion jockey because I do think I could have kept on riding a little bit longer.
“I do think I could’ve got away with riding four or five days a week but the reality is if you want to be champion jockey it’s a full-time occupation, it’s every day, and that’s always been my way of life. It’s something I could never change."
The 40-year-old, who will hang up his whip later this month, added: “I’ve had the greatest way of life for the last 20-odd years that anyone could ever have.
“But I am looking forward to certain things: having breakfast every day and not standing on a weighing scales every day; not getting in the car some days for seven or eight hours regularly, a couple of times a week; not spending seven days a week literally travelling. Things like that, I’m not going to miss.
“But I’m not complaining, because I also wish I could do it for another 20 years, that’s for sure.”
But first there’s the not so small matter of two Grand Nationals coming up, starting with the Irish version at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday.
“I’m looking forward to it. Fairyhouse is a great track. I’ve been lucky enough to have good success there in the past and lucky enough to win the Irish National on Butler’s Cabin.
“Obviously the National is one of the highlights on the Irish jumping calendar. It’d be nice to win it.
“I’m not actually sure what I’m going to be riding in the race. JP McManus has got few in it – If In Doubt, Call It What You Will, Cantlow - so I really don’t know what I’ll be riding.”
McCoy definitely knows, however, what he’ll be on at Aintree – Jonjo O’Neill’s Shutthefrontdoor, and he remains very positive about his prospects, despite the horse not running since November.
He added: “I'm very happy with Shutthefrontdoor. There’s no doubt there’s a few horses in there that are every bit as well handicapped – such as the likes of The Druid’s Nephew who won at Cheltenham, Rocky Creek who won at Kempton. So hopefully Shutthefrontdoor’s got a good chance.”
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