Belfast Telegraph

Tony McCoy a real class act as he saddles up again for donkey derby

By Claire McNeilly

As most bookmakers know, Tony McCoy hasn't ridden many donkeys over the years.

But that's about to change when the 20 times champion jockey saddles up for his last race during a special homecoming event in Moneyglass next Saturday.

'AP McCoy's Career Celebration' will stage the Tumbledown Bar Donkey Derby, where the racing legend will line up against Kilkenny hurler and All-Ireland winner Eoin Larkin.

Carl Frampton, the IBF Super-Bantamweight champ, will have to content himself with cheering them on from the parade ring, while pantomime queen May McFettridge will be in the commentary box.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, AP's younger brother Colm said the Belfast boxer's manager forbade him from taking the reins for the event at the Tumbledown Bar.

"We've got four donkeys for the race," he said.

"AP's going to ride one; I told him I needed him to make an eejit out of himself for charity and he said he would do it.

"Eoin is also taking part - but Carl's not allowed to ride a donkey in case he gets injured.

"He said he would love to but Barry (McGuigan, his manager) won't let him do it."

After the race, scheduled for 5.30pm, Frampton will, however, join the other two sportsmen for a Q&A session.

Colm said the homecoming would allow his famous brother to thank the community for their support during his phenomenal career, spanning two decades.

"When he won the 2010 Grand National Anthony himself thought it would be good to come home for the local community," the 35-year-old engineer said.

"We're not from a big horse racing part of the country but Anthony's success means people here are now really interested in it.

"So when he retired we thought it would be a good idea to bring him over to meet everyone when he finally had some free time, as well as to try and raise money for charity."

Father-of-two Colm said the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year was enjoying retirement.

"I can't believe how content he is," he said.

"Up until he retired we were worried about his state of mind but since it happened I don't think I've seen him happier.

"He's in good form, playing plenty of golf.

"He doesn't miss the travelling, he loves spending more time with his family - and being able to eat what he wants."

Creagh Concrete is the main sponsor of the event which kicks off at 2.30pm at the family-owned Tumbledown Bar in Moneyglass, and all proceeds will go to the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice.

The event will mark a remarkable career that boasts 4,358 wins including the Grand National, the Gold Cup, the Champion Chase, the Champion Hurdle and the King George.

During the Q&A, the racing ace will chat about 'Being AP', a fly-on-the wall film about his final year as a jockey, documenting his unrelenting desire to succeed and his reluctance to turn his back on the sport he dominated for over two decades.

  • AP McCoy's Career Celebration takes place on Saturday, September 26.

Belfast Telegraph


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