Tony McCoy avoids brush with fate before Grand National
Jockeys, by nature, are superstitious — particularly when about to take part in the biggest event in the racing calendar.
So when local artist Alan Quigley was asked to paint by Tony ‘AP’ McCoy, he wasn't too surprised when last year's Grand National champion and BBC Sports Personality of the Year, asked him to hold on to two portraits of the jockey, featuring winning horse Don't Push It, until after the race.
Quigley, who painted the last portrait of snooker legend Alex Higgins before his death, met McCoy at the Galway Races and got chatting about his art work.
McCoy asked him if he would be interested in doing some paintings for him and emailed him a batch of photographs that the artist could work from.
Two portraits done in oil — one of McCoy's mother and another of his wife Chanelle and young daughter Eve — were dispatched to the champion jockey. But Quigley was then asked to hold on to two other oil canvasses, one of McCoy and Don't Push It at the 2010 Grand National and the other, a close up of McCoy's mud-splattered face.
Quigley said: “McCoy said he liked the paintings but asked me to hold on to them for a bit.
“I guess like most jockeys, he's pretty superstitious and doesn't want to jinx his chances of winning a second time.”
Quigley, who was also commissioned to paint for celebrity chef Rick Stein, and whose painting now hangs in one of Stein's famous seafood restaurants, said he would watch this year's Grand National with mixed emotions.
“I'd love to see McCoy do it again,” he said. “But last year, I watched the Grand National with Alex Higgins and it won't be the same without him.”
Quigley returned to his old style of painting for the jockey, but his modern work is now on display at the Eakin Gallery in Belfast.