Conor Creamer picks out his three favourite AP McCoy rides of all time ahead of the jockey's retirement from the saddle on Saturday.
This Saturday marks the day that the greatest ever National Hunt jockey retires from the saddle. AP McCoy has amassed an incredible 20 jockey championships and over 4300 single race victories, he has been a sporting athlete like no other and one in which we will never see again. Many racing fans will have fond memories of a number of McCoy master class rides with the three below among a lot of lists.
Don’t Push It – 2011 Grand National
The Grand National was starting to become the race that eluded AP McCoy with a number of near-misses, most notably aboard Clan Royal in 2005. He endured much misfortune in that race with his saddle slipping early on before cruising to the lead on the second-circuit. As they approached Bechers for the final time McCoy looked in complete control, only to be carried out of contention by a loose horse. It was a performance that left AP McCoy devastated.
However such memories were eased in 2010 as McCoy gained his first National success aboard Don’t Push It - at the 15th time of asking. Trained by his good friend Jonjo O’Neill, the 10-year old never looked like losing under the infamous ‘McCoy Drive’ and came into the winners enclosure to a rapturous ovation. The victory will go down as one of his greatest with it meaning so much to not only him, but also the wider racing public.
Wichita Lineman – 2009 Cheltenham Festival
Wichita Lineman produced one of the most incredible performance under a vintage AP McCoy ride at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival in a 3-mile handicap chase.
The JP McManus-owned 8-year old clattered every other fence on his way around Prestbury Park that day and proved lucky to escape crashing falls on a handful of occasions. However, the great Champion jockey proved persistent in the plate and refused to give-in.
McCoy was hard at work for the final mile of the race and even issued a pair of reminders at the half-way point. He was some several lengths off the lead as the field turned for home and looked destined for defeat. Somehow the 5/1 favourite managed to produce a final two-furlong burst worthy of a great as the ‘McCoy Drive’ hit full force and lifted the horse to victory in the dying strides.
It sent the Cheltenham faithful into a complete frenzy and will long be remembered as one of the greatest Festival wins.
Mountain Tunes – 2013 Towcester
The media attention following AP McCoy in the build-up to his 4,000th winner was quite astonishing. The great man ensured the sport of horse racing was front page news thanks to the incredible milestone achieved on a Thursday afternoon at Towcester.
McCoy had travelled from Kempton to Exeter to Chepstow in search of that illusive 4,000th winner but to no avail. It finally came down to a November afternoon at Towcester and his last ride on the card aboard Mountain Tunes for Jonjo O’Neill and JP McManus, who were both in attendance.
Mountain Tunes proved to be a horse tailored for McCoy’s magic as he jumped awkwardly and never travelled with any zest. However, once the famous jockey was in full flow he managed, as he has done on many occasions before, to find a way to win despite his horse clattering the last.
The scenes that proceeded were ones of both relief and ecstasy as AP McCoy produced one of sport’s most historic achievements and cemented himself as the greatest jump jockey of all time.