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AP preparing for final bow

Published 24/04/2015

Tony McCoy
Tony McCoy

Tony McCoy is trying to prepare himself for the inevitable void that he will have to fill when he brings his astonishing career to an end with two rides at Sandown on Saturday.

McCoy left the racing world stunned when announcing that this would be his final season in the saddle after steering Mr Mole to success at Newbury in February and the Paul Nicholls-trained chaser is poignantly one of his mounts on the final day of the National Hunt campaign.

He will officially be crowned champion jockey for the 20th successive season before riding Mr Mole in the race named in his honour, the bet365 AP McCoy Celebration Chase.

McCoy's last ever ride will be aboard the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Box Office who, like Mr Mole, carries the colours of his retaining owner and close friend JP McManus.

The legendary champion admits it is likely to be an emotional afternoon at the Esher venue.

"It's never going to be easy and when the time comes, that's what is going to be most difficult, living without that. It's not something I ever wanted to do but I know it's the right thing and I'm just going to try to enjoy what's left of it," said McCoy.

"It's tough as I really enjoy what I do. What I'm going to replace that kind of buzz and those kind of adrenalin rushes with, I don't know. It's irreplacable, so I just have to make the most of it when I do."

While Saturday will undoubtedly be tinged with sadness, not least for McCoy himself, there are some changes he will be able to make to his daily routine for the better.

"I've had the greatest way of life for the last 20-odd years that anyone could ever have," he told RTE.

"But I am looking forward to certain things: having breakfast every day and not standing on a weighing scales every day; not getting in the car some days for seven or eight hours regularly, a couple of times a week; not spending seven days a week literally travelling. Things like that, I'm not going to miss.

"But I'm not complaining, because I also wish I could do it for another 20 years, that's for sure."

Not one for reflecting during his brilliant career in the saddle due to his obsession with future success, from next week McCoy can now begin to look back at his incredible achievements, some of which may never be matched.

The pinnacle of National Hunt racing is the Cheltenham Festival, a stage on which McCoy rode 31 winners, with Uxizandre his final success in last month's Ryanair Chase on a day McCoy will never forget.

"There was a little bit of mixed emotions pulling up (on Uxizandre) as I had such a thrill riding a horse that was so exuberant and jumped so well, thinking that this isn't going to happen any more," he said.

"I love riding horses that can go out like Uxizandre did and dominate a field the way he did. Those are things that are irreplaceable.

"Life's over as far as Cheltenham's concerned . It's not a pleasant thought but you've just got to get on with it.

"It's all right, I'm happy enough. I'd have liked a few more (Cheltenham winners). It's a fantastic meeting, fantastic people, great horses - it's where the best of it happens."

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