Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Tony McCoy's Gold Cup gamble

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

Tony McCoy kisses his son Archie
Tony McCoy kisses his son Archie

Sitting in his hotel room, a few hours before collecting the 2013 Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year prize at our annual awards in January, I asked Tony McCoy if he were to win just one more race in his life, which one would it be?

Answer: The Cheltenham Gold Cup. No hesitation.

The 18 time champion jockey – soon to be 19 – has savoured success in steeplechasing's blue riband event twice, in 1997 on board Mr Mulligan and in 2012 when he powered Synchronised home.

Cheltenham has not been kind to McCoy this year. He may have won yesterday on Taquin Du Seuil, riding through the pain barrier after a fall on Wednesday, but in the Champion Hurdle and World Hurdle this week he trailed in behind the victorious horses, which he had first option to ride but turned down for other mounts.

Even the greats can make wrong choices.

For today's Gold Cup AP has made another big call, deciding to ride Triolo D'Alene, having switched from Teaforthree.

His new horse won't be favourite, though with McCoy in the saddle a mule would stand half a chance.

The 39-year-old Moneyglass man has had plenty on his mind lately with his seven month old son Archie undergoing cardiac surgery last week.

McCoy would clearly love Gold Cup glory today, but I reckon he'll appreciate a big hug from his little boy tonight even more. I hope this outstanding sportsman gets to enjoy both.

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