Sir Anthony McCoy in tribute to Royal racing support
Newly-minted equestrian knight Sir Anthony McCoy last night paid tribute to the Queen's support for horseracing - the sport of queens as well as kings.
"For horse racing, the Queen is a huge supporter," he said. "She is so into horse racing. The Queen is very good for the game. I have been lucky enough to spend some time with her.
"She is very passionate about it. Horse racing is very lucky to have her involved."
When Sir Anthony visits Buckingham Palace for the conferring of his knighthood, it will not be the first time the Moneyglass man has met his fellow racing fan Queen Elizabeth.
The champion jockey, who retired from horseracing earlier this year after an unparalleled career in the saddle, said: "Being knighted will not be the first time I meet the Queen. I have even been in the procession of carriages at Royal Ascot.
"I am extremely grateful for this recognition, which is a great honour and has made both myself and my family very proud.
"The team around me made it possible for me to achieve my goals, and the support from the public and racing community since my retirement has been overwhelming.
"A knighthood really tops off what's been a crazy and memorable year."
Sir Anthony becomes only the second jockey to have received a knighthood - Sir Gordon Richards was the first, in 1953.
Since he already holds an OBE and MBE, Sir Anthony is no stranger to Buckingham Palace itself.
The Antrim man said that despite his status he would still be answering to AP or Tony to friends - with one vital exception. "I will definitely be making an exception for my golf buddies - all of them retired jockeys," he said. "They will be calling me Sir Anthony - or they're not going to be getting any kind of response."