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No race is more important than life of my son: AP

By Ivan Little

Ulster-born champion jockey Tony McCoy has spoken emotionally about how his fears for his baby son in the wake of vital heart surgery five days ago made him realise that winning wasn't the most important thing in his life.

In a powerful radio interview yesterday, the 39-year-old record-breaking rider said his concerns for his son Archie had put everything including his ultra-successful horse racing career into perspective.

He was speaking between races at the Cheltenham Festival where he only decided to ride after doctors assured him that his son was making good progress.

The jockey and his wife Chantelle had maintained a vigil at Archie's bedside at the Portland Hospital next to Regent's Park in London where the operation was carried out on Friday.

Medics said the surgery was crucial after they diagnosed the baby with a narrowing of a bronchial tube which was hampering the flow of air to and from his lung.

The jockey's family back home in Moneyglass near Toomebridge in Co Antrim were kept in touch with developments and friends were also saying prayers for the baby, the McCoys' second child.

In the interview AP McCoy said he had never been as nervous as he had been over the last few days.

"I always thought that horse racing was an important part of my life but this has put it into perspective," he added.

Champion jockey McCoy said Cheltenham, one of the biggest events in the horse-racing calendar which attracts thousands of Irish punters, wasn't even on his mind in the days before the festival. But he said doctors are pleased with Archie's progress.

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