Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Back home in Moneyglass, Tony McCoy's mother could hardly bear to watch the historic 4,000th race

Sister-in-law Triona, mum Claire and sister Roisin watch the closing seconds of Tony McCoy's 4,000th race
Roisin, sister of AP McCoy, celebrates after he claimed the 4,000th victory of his career after winning at Towcester on Thursday. The 18-time champion reached the unprecedented milestone on Mountain Tunes in the 15:10 GMT race.
Triona (sister in Law) , Claire (mother) and Roisin (sister) of AP McCoy celebrate after he claimed the 4,000th victory of his career after winning at Towcester on Thursday. The 18-time champion reached the unprecedented milestone on Mountain Tunes in the 15:10 GMT race.

Tony McCoy's ecstatic mother and sister hugged each other in their Moneyglass home as they watched the star jockey romp into sporting history on TV.

In a living room festooned with pictures of the 39-year-old racing legend, his mother Claire admitted she was a bundle of nerves every time he rides.

For the most of both races he took part in yesterday, Claire stood outside the family home with her head in her hands. Only when Tony was crossing the finish line did she come into the room.

"I just can't bear to watch," she said. "I feel like I want to run away I'm so nervous.

"I watched the first time he won in Thurles in 1992 on a horse called Legal Steps but it is all a blur to me, it was very surreal. Anthony doesn't get nervous at all, or if he does he doesn't show it."

After Tony's triumph his proud mother exclaimed: "I'm ready to pass out.

"That was an unbelievable win but I'm just relieved it's over. It is great to see him so happy. We will be celebrating tonight."

The women cooed over Tony's wife Chanelle and the couple's children, Eva and Archie, when the TV camera cut to them for their post-race reactions.

Meanwhile, congratulatory phone calls and texts began flooding in to the family home, and sister Roisin passed out flutes of pink bubbly to everyone who had gathered. Just before yesterday's historic race, Roisin (below) revealed how Tony came to be so successful in the saddle.

"Our father, who was always into ponies and breeding horses, would have taken Anthony with him to different breeders, trainers and dealers from when he was very young.

"When he was about 12 years old he got a job mucking out stables.

"Then when he was 16 he left home to go and live with a trainer in Connemara, in the wilds of Ireland, for four years.

"It was tough on him and we didn't want him to leave home, but it provided a great foundation for his career," she said.

Claire added: "He has such willpower. He doesn't touch alcohol as he doesn't like the taste of it, but he has a great appetite, so he has to be careful what he eats.

"GAA commentator Joe Brolly once remarked on the fact that instead of devouring a bag of crisps he licks the flavour off them then throws them away. He said it was true discipline and dedication."

Speaking about the new novel McCoy has just released, his mother joked that her son wasn't "too fond of the old reading and writing" when he was younger. Pointing to the garden, she said: "I remember standing right there arguing with him about school as he missed quite a bit. All he was interested in was the horses."

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