There are few superlatives that do AP McCoy justice for what he has achieved in the sport of racing, suffice to day he must surely be recognised as the greatest jump jockey of all-time in Britain. His announcement at the weekend that he has decided that it is time for him to retire come the end of the season, will leave a massive hole for the sport to fill, but reflects a determined man who does not want to drift into an also-ran in the sport he loves and respects.

Statistics and facts relating to his amazingly successful career in the sport simply flow off the page: 19-times champion jump jockey, which represents every year since his first year as a professional; more than 4,300 winners during his career; 200 winners already this season; first jockey to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2010.

As far as major racing wins are concerned, it would be easier to say what he hasn't achieved rather than what he has. The Grand National, Gold Cup, Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle, King George, Welsh Grand National, Scottish Grand National and Irish Grand National have all come his way during a glittering career in the saddle.

It still remains a bit of a mystery though how a jockey who rode quite so many winners, only managed to take the one the public are most aware of, the Grand National at Aintree, on one occasion. That it took him fifteen attempts to achieve the feat is all the more astounding, but for McCoy it was probably worth the wait when "Don't Push It" eventually brought him the accolade he wanted to complete his collection.

The 40-year-old could no doubt have kept pushing his body through its daily routine for a few more years yet, but as he told Channel 4 Racing the news of his decision to retire, after just riding his 200th winner of the season (on Mr Mole), he justified his decision with: "I want to go while I'm still enjoying racing and while I am still near the top."

He added, while clearly attempting to find the right words to express how he felt, now that his decision was out in the open: "This is without a doubt the hardest decision I've ever had to make.

I've been dreading this day."

McCoy still has a few months of racing left to look forward to, before he has to contemplate his next career move, but given that he has admitted that he "can't quite imagine a life without racing," few would bet against him not finding a role somewhere within the sport in the future.

It was typical of the great man to make the announcement while he was still actively involved in a day of racing at Newbury, showcasing just what the sport will be losing when his final race comes along.

It also gives race-goers an opportunity to ensure that they catch him in action before he does retire, to witness his supreme talent live while they still have a chance. Expect spectators to swell on a tide of emotion and backing for him at his remaining race meetings, up until the end of the season.