Some of AP's great Festival triumphs
Tuesday, March 11, 1997
Tony McCoy made his big Cheltenham Festival breakthrough on Make A Stand, clinching the Champion Hurdle.
Just two days later he would make it a double of the Cheltenham Festival’s two most prestigious races when he steered Mr Mulligan to victory in the Gold Cup.
Make A Stand was trained by Martin Pipe, with whom McCoy formed a highly successful partnership.
McCoy went on to add a second Champion Hurdle to his tally when successful on Brave Inca in 2006.
Thursday, March 13, 1997
McCoy’s sole Gold Cup success to date came on board Mr Mulligan though he will be hoping to double that tally when he rides Denman in the race next Friday.
This wasn’t an expected victory, the Noel Chance trained Mr Mulligan being sent off at |20-1. The pre-race favourite Imperial Call pulled-up at the 18th fence.
McCoy was chased home by Barton Bank and Dorans Pride, while AP’s fellow Ulsterman Tony Dobbin rode Go Ballistic into fourth place. Another Ulsterman, Richard Dunwoody, finished sixth on the fancied One Man.
Tuesday, March 17, 1998
The opening day of the 1998 Cheltenham Festival signalled the start of McCoy’s most successful visit to the meeting, the man from Moneyglass in County Antrim setting a new record of five winners. McCoy had been top jockey at the previous year’s Festival and has ridden at least one winner at every subsequent Festival except 2005, when he went home empty handed.
McCoy’s friend and rival Ruby Walsh set a new record of seven winners at last year’s Festival, the Irishman taking his total to 24, three more than AP.
Wednesday, March 15, 2000
McCoy’s next major Cheltenham Festival victory came on Edredon Bleu in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Edredon Bleu was trained by Henrietta Knight and owned by Jim Lewis, the same duo who would go on to do a Gold Cup treble with Best Mate, Jim Culloty the man in the saddle.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
McCoy gave Wichita Lineman one of the all time great rides to win last year’s William Hill Trophy.
McCoy looked well beaten on trainer Jonjo O’Neill’s charge, owned by JP McManus, but went to work on the horse and came from well off the pace to snatch a dramatic victory.
Wichita Lineman sadly suffered a fatal fall in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse the following month when carrying top weight.
The one obvious omission on McCoy’s illustrious CV is the Aintree Grand National, but few would bet against the 35-year-old putting that right before he retires.