AP McCoy's pain over death of jockey pal Richard Davis
Record-breaking jump jockey Tony McCoy has opened up about the devastation caused by the death of fellow jockey Richard Davis.
McCoy said the death of his friend in 1996 served as a sharp reminder of the dangers of the sport he loved so much.
Davis was just 26 when he died hours after falling from his mount, during what McCoy has described in his autobiography as "the most apparently mundane run-of-the-mill falls in the most apparently mundane, run-of-the-mill races".
McCoy himself was riding in the first race of the day at Southwell, the Fisherton Novices Handicap Chase, when his pal was injured.
"It was one of those races that ordinarily would be completely forgotten about the instant it was over: a low-grade race over two miles four-and-a-half furlongs, only six runners in front of a small crowd on a Friday afternoon in the wilds of Nottinghamshire," he said.
Davis fell at the first when the horse he was riding clipped the jump with his hind legs and plummeted forward in a cartwheel.
"I didn't see it myself, but apparently Richard hit the ground and the horse turned over and landed right on top of him and it was immediately obvious to everyone except the other five jockeys haring off up the course that Richard had been badly injured," continued McCoy.
Knocked unconscious, Davis came around and was even talking when he was taken to hospital.
However, it transpired he had suffered massive internal injuries, including a torn liver and damage to a major artery, and he died at the hospital a short time later.
McCoy, who is set to return to our screens this winter after signing a deal with Channel 4 Racing that will see him join the presentation team at many major race days, described the moment he heard his close friend had lost his life.
"When the news finally penetrated my emotional defences, I just froze," he said.
"It was like the world had caved in and all I could do was sit there at the traffic lights crying."
McCoy also speaks about some of his own injuries in his book, including one particularly painful fall while training.
With the lower half of his leg "pointing in a direction it shouldn't have been pointing", his trainer came to him lying on the ground and said: "So, what makes you think your leg is broken?"
He continued: "You know your trouble, McCoy? You're too soft." before getting back in his jeep and driving off.