Belfast Telegraph

After 25 lean years, Tony McCoy is looking forward to getting stuffed this Christmas like the rest of us

By Claire McNeilly

Tony McCoy is planning to do something that is, for him, highly unusual this Christmas - eat.

The last time the Northern Ireland racing legend tucked into turkey and the trimmings, mobile phones were the size of bricks, the internet hadn't arrived and the music world was mourning the loss of Freddie Mercury.

But this year the 20-times champion jockey can finally enjoy a Christmas Day family feast, something that hasn't happened since 1991.

For nearly a quarter-of-a-century the recently-retired McCoy has restricted himself to just 597 calories on a day when the rest of us gluttons are consuming something like 6,000.

With Boxing Day the busiest day in the racing calendar, the ultra-competitive AP had to make do with three thinly sliced pieces of turkey breast, one spoonful of cabbage, three Brussels sprouts and a small splash of gravy.

Instead of mulled wine, the Moneyglass man would toast the occasion with a small glass of lemonade, to keep his weight down to 10st 10lbs.

Those frugal days are now behind the 41-year-old, who brought the curtain down in April on a staggering national hunt career - 4,357 wins, which included the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Grand National, King George VI Chase and the Champion Hurdle.

Tony's wife Chanelle (39) said there will be no restrictions this year as the couple sit around the table with children Eve (8), two-year-old Archie and other family and friends.

"It will certainly be a big change, because he didn't eat before," said Chanelle. "This year we are going to have lots of family and friends over to our home and he can really enjoy it all.

"It's simple things like that - going out, or sitting down as a family at the dinner table now. He can be more involved in family events, which is fantastic for us."

Chanelle also told the Irish Daily Mail that life at their Berkshire home was less stressful since she no longer had to worry about Tony - who sustained over 700 falls and broke over 40 bones - coming a cropper on a horse.

"There's certainly relief about that, and the kids adore him being around a lot more; our daughter Eve has certainly noticed it," she said.

"He's not rushing off either, so we have more quality time; he has breakfast with us in the mornings and doesn't have to fly home from a holiday after just two days."

McCoy gave the family a scare last week when he was involved in a car crash near Swindon.

The Ulsterman emerged unscathed from the M4 pile-up but his £60,000 Porsche Panamera was written off.

Meanwhile, the documentary film Being AP, which follows his final season and which had its UK premiere in London on Monday, will be in cinemas across Britain and the Republic from tomorrow and on DVD next week.

Belfast Telegraph


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