Tony McCoy thought knighthood news was "hoax"

Legendary jockey had to re-read email from Home Office and was still not sure

Tony McCoy thought knighthood news was "hoax"

Tony McCoy (Inpho)

Tony McCoy thought he was the target of a practical joke when he first found out he was to be awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.

The legendary jockey retired at the end of April after an extraordinary 23-year career which yielded over 4,000 winners and the Champion Jockey title on a perennial basis since 1995.

"It was a couple of weeks ago I got the news," McCoy told The Times of his receipt of news of his knighthood.

"I was just about to go into a charity event, in London, and quickly browsing through my emails - and there was this message from the Home Office. I read it again. And then I read it again. Even then, I was wondering whether it might be some kind of hoax.

"They had asked me to call this number, and I was wondering which practical joker would be on the line."

Other sportspeople on this year's Honours List include Belfast boxer and IBF Bantamweight champion Carl Frampton who receives an MBE, while motorsport great John Surtees is given a CBE, as have former footballers Denis Law and Francis Lee.

Two-time Tour de France cycling champion Chris Froome and snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan are awarded OBEs.