Anthony McCoy

Anthony McCoy Sir Anthony McCoy, who was knighted in the 2016 New Years Honours list for services to horse racing, was hailed by Racing Post journalist Alistair Down as the ‘riding phenomenon of all time’. On his retirement, in April, 2015, McCoy had ridden a total of 4,358 winners, including ten on the Flat, in Britain and Ireland and won the Jump Jockeys’ Championship in twenty consecutive seasons.

Born in Moneyglass, County Antrim on May 4, 1974, McCoy rode his first winner on British soil, Chickabiddy, trained by Gordon Edwards, at Exeter in September, 1994. Indeed, as conditional jockey to Gerard ‘Toby’ Balding, McCoy rode 74 winners in his debut season, just one short of the 75 required to ride out his claim, but more than enough to run away with the Conditional Jockeys’ Championship. In 1995/96, he won the Jump Jockeys’ Championship for the first time, making him the youngest winner since Josh Gifford in 1962/63; over the next two decades, would break every conceivable record in National Hunt racing.

In 1997, McCoy entered into an arrangement with reigning champion trainer, Martin Pipe, which allowed him to ride any of his horses at his discretion. That same year, McCoy completed the Champion Hurdle – Cheltenham Gold Cup double on Make A Stand, trained by Pipe, and Mr. Mulligan, trained by Noel Chance. In 2001/02, he rode 289 winners, beating the previous record for the most winners in a season by any jockey, Flat or National Hunt, set by Sir Gordon Richards in 1947. In 2004, McCoy became stable jockey to Jonjo O’Neill, in return for a lucrative retainer – reputedly worth £1 million a season – from leading owner John Patrick ‘J.P.’ McManus. The association famously produced a Grand National winner, Don’t Push It, in 2010, and another Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Synchronised, in 2012.

 

The legendary AP McCoy

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Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus A decade-and-a-half after he bade farewell to major championship golf, at the age of 65, having missed the cut in the Open Championship on the Old Course at the spiritual home of golf, St. Andrews, in 2005, Jack Nicklaus remains the most successful major winner of all time. Although well past his prime, Nicklaus received a ten-minute standing ovation from the crowd, in recognition of his long, illustrious career, as he paused on the iconic Swilcan Bridge on the eighteenth fairway at St. Andrews.

All told, Nicklaus won 117 professional tournaments, including the Masters Tournament six times, the PGA Championship five times, the US Open four times and the Open Championship three times. His career total of 18 major championship victories is three ahead of his nearest rival, Tiger Woods, and seven ahead of anyone else in the history of professional golf.

Born in Columbus, Ohio on January 21, 1940, Nicklaus started playing golf at the age of ten and was US Amateur Champion twice, in 1959 and 1961, before announcing that he was turning professional. The following year he won his first major professional title, the US Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he defeated Arnold Palmer in an eighteen-hole playoff. Nicklaus’ nickname, ‘Golden Bear’, derived from his blonde locks and thickset frame, was apparently coined by Australian journalist Don Lawrence during the 1967 US Open.

By that stage of his career, Nicklaus had already become the youngest player to win all four major championships, couresty of a one-shot victory over Doug Sanders in the Open Championship at Muirfield in 1966, at the age of 26. Two decades later, at the age of 46, he won his final major championship, playing the back nine at Augusta in six-under-par, despite a bogey on the par-three twelfth hole, to win the 1986 Masters Tournament by a single shot; Nicklaus remains the oldest Masters winner in history.

Jack Nicklaus’ top 10 PGA Tour shots

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