Sunday 19 November 2017

'He's more than earned his retirement, that's for sure'

Tony McCoy and his Mother Claire after he announced his retirement from the saddle. Photo: Healy Racing
Tony McCoy and his Mother Claire after he announced his retirement from the saddle. Photo: Healy Racing
Jockey Tony McCoy after winning the Hennessy Gold Cup on Carlingford Lough
Tony McCoy drives Carlingford Lough to victory in the Hennessy yesterday
Sort It Out, with Tony McCoy up, on their way to winning the Paddy Power 'Number 1 For Live Streaming' Handicap Hurdle
Tony McCoy riding Carlingford Lough return after winning The Hennessey Gold Cup at Leopardstown racecourse on February 08, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Tony McCoy riding Carlingford Lough return after winning The Hennessey Gold Cup at Leopardstown
Tony McCoy celebrates with his wife Chanelle after he who his first victory with Carlingford Lough in the Hennessy Gold Cup just a day after he announced his impending retirement in a thrilling race for the Leopardstown showpiece. Picture by Fergal Phillips.
Tony McCoy celebrates with his wife Chanelle after he who his first victory with Carlingford Lough in the Hennessy Gold Cup just a day after he announced his impending retirement in a thrilling race for the Leopardstown showpiece. Picture by Fergal Phillips.
Sire De Grugy ridden by Jamie Moore (R)
Tony McCoy is retiring from horse racing
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Peadar McCoy's eyes were filled with pride as his son, the 19-time British Champion National Hunt Jockey AP McCoy, entered the Leopardstown parade ring to thunderous applause.

"He's more than earned the retirement," Peadar said brushing away a solitary tear. "That's for sure."

Just 24 hours after Anthony Patrick McCoy announced his retirement from the racing world, he rode to victory on Carlingford Lough in the Hennessey Gold Cup.

The win marks the last time McCoy would compete in the Grade 1 race and the first time he would win it.

"It's a pity he didn't retire yesterday," Ted Walsh, trainer of the second horse home Foxrock, quipped.

But McCoy felt he was destined to take the cup. "You can't fight fate and it was obviously meant to be," he said. "It's what's meant to be.

"I have to be careful I don't get too emotional, it's not good for the image."

The Antrim native announced he was retiring following his 200th win of the season on Mr Mole in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on Saturday afternoon.

"I have been thinking about retiring for about five years," he told the Irish Independent.

"I wanted to leave on my terms. I wanted people to ask me why I was retiring, not when was I retiring."

Having watched her husband make 4,314 trips to the winner's enclosure, Chanelle McCoy admitted it was a day of "high and mixed emotions".

"It is sad because this world has been so good to us but there are also feelings of relief," she said.

"When you see your husband go to work and there are two ambulances following him it is a bit concerning.

"With two kids, we want to get him out in one piece.

"It will be great for him to be master of his own diary. He'll have time to recover, play some golf and enjoy a few leisurely brunches for a change."

It was a day of double celebration for McCoy who also won the Paddy Power Live Streaming Handicap Hurdle on Sort it Out.

Key players in the racing world were quick to commend his illustrious career.

"AP is a model of consistency," trainer Willie Mullins said. "He is a great role model and a fantastic jockey. He is an iron man and an inspiration."

Fellow jockey Ruby Walsh said it was an "honour and a privilege to have ridden with him" adding: "He is a wonderful ambassador for racing."

The Gold Cup attracted several well known faces with Ian Renton, CEO of Cheltenham, broadcaster Ivan Yates, Ken Doherty and model Rozanna Purcell all crowding into the stands.

Attendance was up on last year with 11,259 passing through the turnstiles compared to 9,624 in 2014.

Bookmakers were up taking €1,193,073 compared to last year's total of €1,096,500.

The tote also increased by €64,289. "It has been a truly remarkable season, one we'll never forget," Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown said.

Irish Independent

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