Wednesday 20 September 2017

'I still wonder if I did the right thing' - AP McCoy would love to make return at Cheltenham

A view of a message displayed after Tony McCoy won the Ryanair Chase on Uxizandre. Cheltenham Racing Festival 2015, Prestbury Park, Cheltenham, England. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
A view of a message displayed after Tony McCoy won the Ryanair Chase on Uxizandre. Cheltenham Racing Festival 2015, Prestbury Park, Cheltenham, England. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

AP McCoy has revealed just how much he misses life as a jockey in retirement and still wonders "if I did the right thing".

The 20-times champion hung up his saddle in April 2015, having ridden well over 4,000 winners and won virtually every big race on the jumps calendar, from the Cheltenham Gold Cup to the Grand National.

But he still wonders what might have been had he carried on.

He told the Daily Mail: "I'd love it to be starting again. I'd love to have it all ahead of me. I'd give it all back tomorrow.

"I'd give it all back, even now, if I could even just change my name and go back riding for another year or two without anyone knowing it was me. I'd love to do that. I think I'd be a lot better."

McCoy is involved in helping to manage the horses owned by his former boss, JP McManus, recently riding work on More Of That and Minella Rocco, who are both scheduled to run in this year's Gold Cup.

He said: "I have moments all the time when I wonder if I did the right thing. I schooled two horses at Jonjo O'Neill's yard, More of That and Minella Rocco. Both of them are running in the Cheltenham Gold Cup later this month. I'd have given my arm to be riding one of them in the Gold Cup.

"I jumped 10 fences on More of That and 10 fences on Minella Rocco. And I rode them thinking 'I could ride these in the Gold Cup'.

"And then Jonjo said 'I know you could ride them, too' and I thought 'That'd be nice'. It sucks you in.

"I was driving back from Jonjo's and I was thinking 'Oh God, I'd love to ride More of That in the Gold Cup'. But at the same time, I got a little buzz from riding him, too. I rode him over 10 fences and I was beaming afterwards. It was like someone had just given me a little shot of something.

"Very few sportspeople go out at the very top. It's a hard thing to do. It kills you. I was always stubborn enough to say this was my choice and this was what was going to happen.

"I would love to go out and ride More of That in the Gold Cup if I just thought no one would take any notice. But sadly, I can't. The only fellow that made a successful comeback was God, really."

He added: "There are a lot of moments when I think I retired too early. But I'm too stubborn to go back. I'd rather suffer and think I had a good time.

"Too stubborn to admit I might have made a mistake. It kills me that I retired but in a way I know it was the right thing."

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