Belfast Telegraph

Mum’s death shook my world, says AP McCoy as he reflects on regrets and dreams

By Ivan Little

Champion jockey AP McCoy has said he'll never get over the death of his mother Claire.

The record-breaking Co Antrim horseracing legend has described the passing of his 73-year-old mum on Boxing Day last year as the saddest time of his life.

The man from Moneyglass near Toomebridge said Mrs McCoy's death shook his world, adding: "I miss her calling me in the evenings to fill me in on all the gossip."

In a question and answer session with an English magazine earlier this week, McCoy, who carried his mother's coffin at her funeral, revealed that he wants to be buried from the same church. He said he planned to have a traditional Catholic service at Our Lady of Lourdes church in Moneyglass followed by a two-day wake.

McCoy, who retired three years ago, said that another major regret in his life was missing his sister Kelly growing up.

He added: "I left home at 15 when she was five and I've always felt guilty about not being around.

"We have three sisters and a brother but they are older. I see Kelly a lot now so I'm making up for it at 43."

McCoy disclosed that the poet Seamus Heaney who was from Bellaghy, not far from Moneyglass, gave him a framed print of his poem The Forge in 2002 after AP beat Sir Gordon Richards' record for the most winners in a season.

McCoy said the Nobel Prize winner signed the print, which he has in his kitchen, with the message: "Keep Forging Ahead."

The poem explores Heaney's memories of blacksmith Barney Devlin's forge in Castledawson.

McCoy was asked which figure from history he would most like to buy a pie and a pint, and he replied Michael Collins.

He said: "He fought for Irish independence in the 20th century. He shaped a lot of Ireland's history. I'd like to hear how he got his strength."

AP also disclosed that he was intrigued by the life of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. "I've never drunk alcohol or done drugs," he said. "But he fascinates me. At one point he was making $60m a day."

Asked what lost treasured item he wished he could have back again, McCoy said: "A full set of healthy bones. I have metal plates in my back, my right arm, my right wrist and my left leg.

"But I would miss being a bit crocked because all those injuries are my battle scars. I enjoyed winning them."

He said if he could get away with any crime he would steal a helicopter, which would "save weeks of his life by not being stuck in traffic".

McCoy said his pet hate was dirty shoes. "I keep a cleaning kit in my car boot," he added.

He said the greatest temptations he wished he could resist were chocolate biscuits, and he added: "I plan to have two with a cup of tea but eat the whole packet."

He said he would start a fantasy 24 hours with a fry-up "which I could never enjoy when racing".

He said he'd then play golf with Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at Adare Manor in Limerick before heading off to Barbados with his wife Chanelle and their children Eve (10) and Archie (4).

Next, he would ride the winner in the Cheltenham Gold Cup before eating dinner in Scott's restaurant in Mayfair, London and watching Arsenal winning the Champions League final.

He said he would round off his fantasy day by watching TV series Peaky Blinders at his home in Lambourn, Berkshire.

McCoy said that if he could be the Invisible Man for a day he would follow drug smugglers as they took a big shipment into America to see how they did it and to find out who in power "was in on it".

McCoy said he still didn't know what was going to replace racing in his life. "There's nothing quite like riding a winner in front of 80,000 people," he added.

He said that the philosophy that underpinned his life was to live life to the full and not to look back "so you never have any regrets".

He said that he wanted to be remembered as a good person who made the best of his life and achieved something. Asked what piece of wisdom he would pass on to a child he said: "Tomorrow is promised to no one. So have a vision and go for it."

Belfast Telegraph

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