Tony McCoy winner crowns special day
On a day that racing was the real winner, it was fitting that Tony McCoy and leading owner JP McManus visited the winner's enclosure at Limerick, where a special fundraising meeting proved a huge success.
A big crowd descended on the Patrickswell circuit as trainers, jockeys, owners and racegoers looked to support the fixture, with money being raised for the Jockeys Emergency Fund and to support the rehabilitation of JT McNamara and Jonjo Bright after their life-changing injuries.
McManus – who supplied McNamara with many big winners down the years – saw his colours carried to victory by the Ronnie O'Leary-trained One Fine Morning (5/1), which took the Bar One Racing Britain v Ireland Riders Challenge Handicap Chase under Alain Cawley.
"It is a wonderful day and wonderful to be here. People are in great form and everyone's in a giving mood. I'm sure we'll see the benefits of it," said McManus.
"Everyone has played their part at some level.
"A lot of people have put a lot of work into the day and there are thousands of people who wouldn't normally be here on a Monday, who have made the effort to be here.
"JT is not here, but he's not forgotten. There was so much goodwill towards this day."
One Fine Morning's win formed part of a five-race jump jockeys' challenge between riders based in Britain and those in Ireland, with the UK-based riders winning by 131 points to 103.
McCoy, a good friend of McNamara, was at his brilliant best in the Paddy Power Supporting JT & Jonjo Britain v Ireland Riders Challenge Handicap Hurdle as he and 11/4 favourite Jansboy edged out Barry Geraghty and Friendly Society by a short-head.
The Ulsterman said: "Obviously this day is for a great cause and it feels special to be able to ride a winner on a day like today because it's going to the two lads – Jonjo and John Thomas.
"It's all going to charity and while financially we're (the jockeys) not getting anything out of it, it feels special to be able to ride a winner here.
"To be part of the day is fantastic. Fair play to Limerick and Horse Racing Ireland and all the lads who organised it – it just shows how close the racing community is."
Richard Johnson and Nick Scholfield also rode winners for the British team.
Johnson struck aboard the Willie Mullins-trained Devils Bride (4/11 favourite) in the 'Rite Of Passage' Britain v Ireland Riders Challenge Maiden Hurdle, while Scholfield guided 5/1 favourite Mrs Mac Veale to victory in the ITBA & AOIR Britain v Ireland Riders Challenge Mares Handicap Hurdle.
Wildcatted was a 16/1 winner of the "Hurricane Fly" & IRTA Britain v Ireland Riders Challenge Handicap Hurdle under Brian O'Connell.
The most eagerly-anticipated event of the afternoon was the Betfair Cash Out Flat & National Hunt Champion Jockeys Handicap.
With National Hunt stars like McCoy, Johnson and Ruby Walsh riding alongside Flat legends such as Pat Smullen, Kieren Fallon and Johnny Murtagh, in total the participating jockeys had ridden over 22,000 winners and had won upwards of 80 titles between them.
The 'champion of champions' was Murtagh as he won aboard 2/1 favourite Goal, with Walsh second on Flying Light.