Wednesday 21 August 2019

'I was eating even when I wasn't hungry' - AP McCoy struggling with retirement

AP McCoy has been struggling to fill the void after retiring from race riding
AP McCoy has been struggling to fill the void after retiring from race riding

Mark O'Regan

Champion jockey AP McCoy has revealed he went "off the rails" gorging on a feast of food following his retirement eight months ago.

At 5ft 10in, he was one of the tallest jockeys around.

During his chequered career he regularly had to skip evening meals - and often suck ice cubes for breakfast - in a fierce and ongoing battle to control his weight.

On a more indulgent morning his breakfast consisted of a cup of tea, with two sugars, and maybe a piece of toast.

He also spent between two and two-and-a-half hours in a sauna six days a week to ensure he was the correct weight for riding.

That equates to almost two years of his life.

"I did go off the rails when I retired and I was eating even when I wasn't hungry.

"But in the last two weeks I've started to get into a routine and I'm more careful about what I put in my mouth.

"I don't drink alcohol - but it's nice to be able to eat.

"There's no routine, no discipline. It's just different; I don't have the same purpose anymore.

"I always had something to drive me; something to target. It's not there anymore so it's a bit different."

The 41-year-old never made any secret of the fact that he was dreading retirement after 20 years as a top jockey.

And one of our all-time great sportsmen also admitted he is still "struggling to fill the void" after retiring in April, just days before his 41st birthday.

He ended his career with 20 successive Champion Jockey titles to his name as well as over 4000 race wins.

Knowing that he will never again experience the feeling of romping home to victory has been "difficult to take."

Speaking to, he said his mission now is to try and find something that's going to "in some way make me happy."

"Racing was something that I was lucky to be quite successful at, and I'm never going to be that successful ever again," he said.

"It's difficult to get my head around that.

"It's over, and it happens to every sportsperson.

"I'm no different to any of the rest of them.

"I'm a stubborn person so I just get on with it. I always have done, so now it's no different.

"Is it easier than I thought it would be? No, but I've just got to get on with it and move forward."

He was speaking at the premiere of 'Being AP' at Dublin’s Lighthouse Cinema.

The documentary chronicles McCoy's 20th consecutive season as Champion Jockey, which was also his last.

The movie, which has been garlanded with rave reviews, has already been shown at the Toronto Film Festival.

It reveals some of the extraordinary risks he took every day of his working life - and offers a unique insight into the mind of a driven man.

McCoy says he's a reluctant movie star and initially was against the idea of appearing on the silver screen.

But he decided to go ahead with the project "for the sake of my kids."

"A friend talked me into it. He thought it would be a nice thing for my boy, Archie, to look back at.

"That was the main reason agreed to do it."

Online Editors

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport