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Record supplies McCoy milestone
Tony McCoy equalled Martin Pipe's career tally of 4,191 winners with a typically powerful ride to get On The Record home first at Uttoxeter.
The record-breaking jump jockey drove the evens favourite over the line first in the 32Red On The App Store Handicap Hurdle, but only after a tough tussle with Bangkok Pete. The 25-1 outsider pushed On the Record all the way and the race could have gone either way from the final flight.
However, McCoy got the Jonjo O'Neill-trained six-year-old, owned by his boss JP McManus, home by a neck much to the delight of his supporters.
"I made hard work of it. I was a bit conscious we went steady. Down the back I thought I'd better get him a bit closer because he's not a quick horse," McCoy told At The Races.
"Then he just started to wander about and have a look and was probably going to win over the last but decided to stop and it was only when a horse came by him that I got him going again in time thankfully. It's nice that he won.
"I've had a few steering jobs and I was hoping one would win and this horse was appropriately named. It's nice that it's one of Jonjo's and one of JP's.
"The thing with me and Mr Pipe is that it's just a personal thing. We've a lot of friends and there's been a lot of banter for a long time. I wouldn't be surprised if he went to Newmarket for a trainer's course. I hope I've driven him mad!"
On The Record was McCoy's second ride of the afternoon at the Staffordshire track after Zip Wire had failed to trouble the judge in the 32Red Casino Novices' Hurdle won by Nathans Pride. McCoy recorded his fastest-ever 50 last month at Worcester and the 1 9-times champion is pushing towards 300 winners this season having recorded 289 victories in 2001-2.
He has been targeting Pipe's all-time tally since chalking up his 4,000th winner at Towcester in November. The record-breaking rider was formerly Pipe's stable jockey but has been retained by McManus since 2004. Pipe was champion trainer 15 times until he handed over the reins to his son David in April 2006.
The latter tweeted: "Could there be a more appropriate way for @AP_McCoy to join my father in the 4191 club than success aboard On The Record?!"
McCoy could not overtake Pipe with his last ride at Uttoxeter as his mount Dashing Over faded out of contention behind Bumble Bay (12-1) in the £10 Free Bet At 32RedSport.com Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.
He then left the track by helicopter for Worcester's evening meeting, although his first mount Old Pals Act could only manage second in the Tonbrie Construction Handicap Chase. Further disappointment followed when My Nosy Rosy, after travelling well in the Green Lighting D-Lux Led Dimmable Downlights Mares' Maiden Hurdle, faded into third.
McCoy tried to make all on Crannaghmore Boy in the Lifeboats Saving Lives At Sea Selling Handicap Hurdle, but the writing was on the wall on the turn for home and he weakened out of contention.
Pipe believes his words inspired McCoy to home in on his career tally of winners. The Nicholshayne training great threw out a challenge when he retired. At that time, McCoy was some 1,500 down and it would have seemed by many to be a safe bet to bait him by suggesting he would never get to a total that was not even on the horizon.
But Pipe, knowing only too well that breaking records comes as second nature to the never-say-die Ulsterman, had a feeling his former stable jockey would be hooked into aiming at a target that would have looked out of reach to everyone else.
"Years ago when I retired I said he wouldn't beat me, which I hope spurred him on. I'm sure it did. We've had some great banter about it. He kept on texting me all the time and saying he was getting closer. It was marvellous this season that he had his fastest-ever 50," he told Press Association Sport.
"He had a bad tumble at Worcester just recently yet came back in the next race and rode a winner despite being in all that pain. Then he was back at Market Rasen a few days later and had a winner.
"He's an inspiration to all the jockeys and to everyone in racing. He's marvellous for our sport and it's just great we've got someone like him. All of us in racing are so proud of him for doing it."