Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Racing will miss legendary AP McCoy

Tony McCoy could clock his 4,000th winner on home territory
Tony McCoy could clock his 4,000th winner on home territory

Mike Todd, the estimable fellow whose efforts as General Manager have helped make Down Royal a horseracing mecca, tells me his Best Dressed Lady competition at this weekend's Festival, with an all expenses paid trip to Dubai for the winner, will immediately add 600 to the gate.

Perhaps our football grounds should try it or, better still, engage the great Tony AP McCoy for a half time trot around the pitch. Thanks to those well dressed ladies and the prospect of fantastic racing featuring recognisable name horses, Down Royal is gearing up for record crowds this Friday and Saturday.

AP is the big catch on Friday, though, and it is not beyond the bounds he could clock his 4,000th winner on home territory. Regardless, there is a case for declaring the brilliant Moneyglass jockey this country's greatest ever sportsman in terms of the physical hurdles his body clears several times daily.

Asked to describe what it is like to win a jumps race, he famously replied: "If I told you it was like Christmas Day and your birthday and the first day of the summer holiday rolled into one, it still wouldn't get close."

The appetite, fitness and sheer determination to keep going is undiminished. But there are signs the finishing post is in sight. As his 40th birthday approaches, AP is branching out as a weekly Radio 5 pundit and author of a just published racing thriller, Taking The Fall.

To be able to say you saw AP on the final furlong will pack the Down Royal stands and rails. Whichever way you dress it up, when he dismounts for the last time, AP is going to miss racing... but not half as much as racing is going to miss him.

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