No place like home for national hunt legend McCoy
Legendary jockey AP McCoy has spoken of his love for Northern Ireland and how much he misses home.
The Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, who retired in April, was in Belfast on Sunday night to pick up a lifetime achievement award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards. During his career, the 20 times champion jockey rode more than 4,300 winners.
In an interview for the Northern Irish Connections magazine - published with today's Belfast Telegraph - AP paid tribute to his family and the people of Northern Ireland, and revealed how much he misses his birthplace of Moneyglass in Co Antrim.
"I'm never going to live at home again," said AP. "I miss the people I grew up with and my family most of all. I like going home.
"I thought when I retired I might come home again but now I've children and family in England."
AP lives with his wife Chanelle and children, eight-year-old Eve and two-year-old Archie, on an 80-acre estate in Berkshire. Chanelle has recently opened a fashion store, Mojo & McCoy near their home in Hungerford.
He said: "I'm very proud of where I'm from. I'm very proud to be Irish. It's where I grew up and I have great memories there. I use to love going to Portstewart and Portrush when I was younger. I hope to get back in the next few weeks to play golf."
AP praised how much Northern Ireland has changed since he left Moneyglass at the age of 15 to pursue a career in horse racing.
He said: "It looks from the outside that people are much more comfortable about going there. It's really developed as a country and people there should be proud of that. I'm very proud of the togetherness which seems to have come out of the place."
AP revealed that his mother Claire teased him about how his children aren't really Northern Irish.
"Apparently they're plastic paddies," he joked. "My mother always says that and they'd even say that themselves!"
Since his retirement, AP has been working as an analyst for Channel 4 Racing during the winter jumps season and has published a new autobiography.
A film documentary about the end of his career, Being AP, was premiered last month.