New landmark on McCoy's mind

  • Last Updated: February 3 2013, 13:49 GMT

Perennial champion jump jockey Tony McCoy has set himself an immediate target of reaching 4,000 career winners before he even begins to contemplate a life away from the saddle.

Tony McCoy: Features in 'A Different Breed'

McCoy, who turns 39 this year, has been crowned champion for the last 17 seasons and now stands less than 200 winners shy of the 4,000 mark with his 18th title already on the horizon.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live Sport as part of a special programme entitled 'A Different Breed: The Life of a Jump Jockey', McCoy admitted even considering retirement was a "horrible thought".

He said: "I get asked that question (how long he can go on for) quite a lot. I get asked it a lot more since I won the Grand National. When I won the National it came up in conversation quite a bit.

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"I'm very aware that time is the enemy of every sportsperson and I have been very lucky that I have been champion jockey since the first year I was riding. I was champion conditional the first year and have been champion jockey every year since.

"As I said, I do like to set myself targets and goals, and at the moment that (4,000) is the goal. Who knows what happens after that but I am fully aware that I don't want to carry on too long and have people thinking I'm not as good as I was or I shouldn't be riding any more or past my best

"I haven't got that far yet (in thinking about his post-racing career). Obviously I'd like to stay in racing as it's been good to me, it's a great way of life, a great sport and there's great people in racing. But what, whether it be a trainer, I'm not sure.

"I've been riding for the best part of 20 years and if you want to be successful you have to give it 100% commitment - it has to be an obsession.

"That's the way sport is - you have to be obsessed with it. Whether I can put myself through that, of wanting to be obsessed with something as much as I have been riding, I don't know whether that would be fair to put anyone through the obsession of wanting to do that.

"Then you have to have the ambition, I always said I thought I'd be more interested in training Flat horses but then you have to take on Aidan O'Brien, John Gosden, Richard Hannon, whoever it may be and if you don't want to take them on you shouldn't be doing it.

"Whether it would be for me or not, I don't know, it's not something I've really thought about. Whether I would be ready to jump out of the fire, I'm not sure I'd be able to do that.

"I've always thought if I'm thinking about doing things other than riding then maybe I shouldn't be riding.

"At the same time I'm aware that mentally I'll have to do something. I can't not work, I can't just sit in the house all day and look at what's gone on in the past.

"I'll have to get something that would hopefully motivate me and I'll find interesting but there's never going to be anything to replace the adrenalin of the life you have as a jockey.

"But if I can get something to keep me sane, I'll be fairly happy. It's the day I'm looking forward to least. I am dreading the day I won't be able to ride any more.

"I hope that I can retire at the top of my profession and in one piece, injury free, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't dread it. It's a great way of life, it's something that I love doing but I'm aware I can't keep doing it forever. It's a horrible thought."

'A Different Breed: The Life of a Jump Jockey' will be broadcast on BBC 5 Live Sport with Mark Pougatch on Tuesday from 1930.

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