Belfast Telegraph

I'd love him to have just one more win, says AP's mum

By Joanne Sweeney

Just one more win - that's the fervent wish of AP McCoy's mother for the champion jockey's last ever Cheltenham Festival.

Punters will be strongly backing the Co Antrim legend as he aims to win his third Gold Cup race on Friday, most likely on JP McManus' Carlingford Lough.

AP, or Anthony as his Co Antrim family calls him, has made it clear that a Gold Cup win is the one race he wants under his belt before he retires next month.

There's not a ticket to be had for the festival's final when all racing fans will be willing the Antrim man on in the Gold Cup.

His victories in 1997 and in 2012 rate as some of the top highlights of the jockey's illustrious career.

His mother Claire has told how she wants her son to taste victory again - while praying for him getting through the festival safe and sound.

As she revealed that she will be staying at home this Cheltenham as the rest of the family support AP, she added that after her son's retirement, Cheltenham will never be quite the same for the McCoy family.

"As one of the girls said to me, 'Mummy, anything can happen at Cheltenham' so we would love him to have a winner, at least one race. I don't mind which," Mrs McCoy told the Belfast Telegraph from her Moneyglass home.

"I just want him to get through it and not be hurt.

"We all love the racing and Cheltenham, I suppose all the more so because of Anthony, but I think it won't be the same again for us without him racing.

"But everybody wants a piece of him and one of the girls who was over last week to see him told me that she couldn't get near him.

"Jokingly, he said to me recently, 'I wish I could keep my mouth shut' as their heads are near fried with it all."

Mrs McCoy said that she had mixed feelings when her son finally announced his retirement.

"Although I have been nervous of his racing over the years, his career has given great things to all of us. We are all going to miss it."

She recalled the atmosphere when she was present for her son winning the Irish Hennessey Gold Cup at Leopardstown recently.

"With a bit of persuasion I went along and I was glad I did because I could not believe the reception that he got.

"It was unreal, it was absolutely unbelievable when he came into the parade room.

"Then when he was interviewed, you could have heard a pin drop.

"That took me quite by surprise, imagine that after 20 years, I didn't realise just how much loved he was.

"I've never been in an atmosphere like that before and it's been a wonderful time for every one of us as a family."

While the McCoy matriarch will not be at Cheltenham, AP will be supported by his father Peader and some of his friends.

They will be joined by AP's four sisters -Annemarie McCormack, Roisin Shivers, Jane Murray, Kelly McCoy and brother Colm - and well as his granddaughter Annie Shivers (19) for the first time to watch her famous uncle in action.

Mrs McCoy said that she will join the family for her son's last competitive race at Sandown next month but was happy to watch Cheltenham on the television.

Belfast Telegraph

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