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AP McCoy bows out with no wins but loads of respect

RacingBy Sunday World
AP McCoy with his 20th, and final, Champion Jockey Trophy at Sandown
AP McCoy with his 20th, and final, Champion Jockey Trophy at Sandown

The greatest jump jockey of all time, AP McCoy retired from the sport today with two third place finishes in Sandown.

Tony McCoy finished third aboard Box Office on the final ride of his career in the bet365 Handicap Hurdle at Sandown. Despite the best efforts of the jockey the win was never really on the cards for the heavily backed favourite.

The crowds cheered McCoy from the moment he entered the paddock to mount the 5-2 favourite, applauding him the past the stands on the way to the start of the two-and-a-half-mile heat.

Another shout of approval heralded the start, with McCoy settling Box Office towards the rear in the early stages before he started to manoeuvre across the track as the race began in earnest.

However, despite travelling well three flights from home, the Jonjo O'Neill-trained runner found little under pressure and had to settle for a place behind Brother Tedd (9-1).

A tearful McCoy said: "It's amazing. I've been so lucky all my life. I'll never forget this day."

"It's been a very emotional day and thanks to everyone for coming," he said.

"It's fantastic, it's very special.

"I would like to thank all the racing public for coming here.

"It's a day I'll never forget."

Jonjo O'Neill joked: "The way he rode that, he'll never ride for me again!

"He's the greatest man in the game. He's good to work with, a true professional .

"What I can say does not justify how great he is.

"We will not see the like of him again."

Earlier in the day, McCoy had to settle for third aboard Mr Mole in the bet365 AP McCoy Celebration Chase, the penultimate ride of his illustrious career.

McCoy raced prominently on the Paul Nicholls-trained runner but the writing was on the wall as he began to push along at the third-last fence as eventual winner Special Tiara kicked for home.

While Mr Mole kept on at the one pace, McCoy could not reel back the 3-1 favourite, who ran out a six-length winner.

Former champion two-mile chaser Sprinter Sacre returned to something like his old self in second, with McCoy edged out for third place.

McCoy was given a thunderous reception upon his return from the track with Mr Mole and said: "This is all way beyond my expectations.

"I've had a great way of life for the last 25 years, and working with great people has made it that much more enjoyable."