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I'm so relieved Tony has made it to Cheltenham in one piece -- Chanelle

GLAMOROUS Chanelle McCoy has revealed her relief that her jockey husband Tony McCoy has made it to this year's Cheltenham Festival "in one piece".

The award-winning jockey, named the Sports Personality of the Year in 2010, has been through the wars in recent months after a series of injuries.

And Galway native Chanelle opened up about how tough it has been for the couple.

"He came into the house after his last race before Cheltenham and just to see him walk in the door in one piece, I was so relieved," she said.

"We sat down together to have a cup of tea and I said 'thank God you've made it to Cheltenham injury free. I told him before his race 'don't be doing any of that humpty dumpty, just keep it steady."

The 16-time champion jump jockey has endured one injury after another but is now back in fighting form.

"He had problems with his ankle, he broke seven ribs, he punctured his lung and then had another injury as soon as he was back in the saddle.


"He has been in the wars and I was a bit concerned about how he's been feeling.

"But the last week he's been really feeling fit, it's the first time in months he's totally pain free."

She's now looking forward to a thrilling week ahead, welcoming in her family as well as her in-laws who all get ready in her house every morning.

This morning she explained how there was a queue for the hairdresser they had hired to ensure the ladies looked their best while Tony sweated out the last few pounds in the bath. And she has again turned to her favourite milliner, Loughrea's Mark T Burke, to make four unique headpieces for the week. "I was worried they wouldn't arrive in time and AP (Tony) was laughing saying 'isn't it well for you that's all you have to worry about' given all the stress and pressure he's under."

She has her fingers crossed that he'll win the first race of the opening day of the festival, aboard Darlan in the William Hill Supreme Novices Hurdle.

There's also huge excitement around the Stan James Champion Hurdle and the eagerly-awaited showdown between McCoy on Binocular and Ruby Walsh and the hot favourite Hurricane Fly.

"They're great friends but there's always friendly rivalry between them," Chanelle added.

Thousands of Irish punters headed to the Cotswold racetrack today to enjoy a flutter in the unseasonably warm weather.

Many punters were nursing sore heads this morning after getting into the festival spirit early at one of the many pubs around the picturesque Regency town.

Business was brisk in Irish haunts including O'Neills and the Retreat, with the town expecting to net a cool €50m in business from Race Week.