Magnificent McCoy To Go Out At The Top

Magnificent McCoy To Go Out At The Top



Life expectancy has increased from about 50 to 80 in the last century, massively changing our society. Nearly everything about that has been good, but one downside is that the likelihood of a relatively comfortable old age, (compared to a 100 years ago,) has made us an incredibly risk averse society by comparison. That’s only human nature – if you expect something to kill you by the time you’re 50 (and if it doesn’t and you get to be old its likely to be a really hard existence) – you’re likely to want to live your young adult life to the full, without worrying too much about the risks.

That almost inevitable risk aversion in modern society means there are fewer heroes, as many people feel they’ve got much more to lose by taking big risks. That just makes the daily risk taken by jump jockeys all the more heroic. For many of us, that bravery is an integral part of why we love jumps racing more than other sports where participants are just as skillful, but need to be rather less courageous.

Anyone who rides regularly over obstacles has to be brave, not just to do it, but to keep doing it after suffering the inevitable injuries. Even amongst the tough and brave there will always be the occasional person who takes those qualities to a completely different level, and in racing that person is Tony McCoy.

Of all the iron man stories, for me the most awe inspiring concerns a fall at Warwick in January 2008 that left McCoy with two shattered vertebrae in his back and another with 2 fractures. That meant no chance of riding at the Festival 8 weeks later.

Unless of course you decide to subject yourself to cryotherapy – sitting in a chamber at minus 145 degrees. Allegedly even McCoy found that painful.

One of the most amazing things about McCoy is his appetite for winning on moderate and bad horses. Once in their 30s most of the top jockeys become much more selective about what horses they ride and give themselves days off to recharge their batteries. That ought to enhance their longevity, but McCoy doesn’t need that. 0-90 handicap on a Monday? Same complete and total effort as in the Gold Cup. The drive he has is astonishing.

There’s been much debate about his best ride, and realistically he’s best placed to call it, as he knows just how any particular horse was acting during a race. A couple of years ago he picked out Wichita Lineman in the open 3m handicap chase at the Festival, and the recent poll in the Racing Post suggests that’s right.

Looking at top class races, I’d add his Aintree Hurdle win on Pridwell. Pridwell was one of only two horses to beat Istabraq in his pomp, (both were over 2½m on bad ground which stretched the champion’s suspect stamina.) The other was the great Limestone Lad who beat Istabraq fair and square but, talented horse though he was, Pridwell had no business beating Istabraq even at the trip. McCoy somehow got the, often reluctant, Pridwell up by a neck under a huge drive.

McCoy used to get a lot of stick for not smiling and being talkative. Of course it’s great when someone is interviewed and they’re upbeat and full of interesting views. But geniuses are geniuses naturally and us lesser mortals need to try and accept that. Some are flawed, George Best style, and don’t fully utilise their God given talents. By contrast, others are so focused that in those sorts of interviews their mind is often in a different place – in McCoy’s case, absorbed in how to win the very next race he’s riding in.

Better to remember how modest and humble he is. Inevitably deflecting praise to the horse or the trainer when the difference between winning and losing was his ride. He represents the jockeys, good and not so good and is always willing to devote his time for good causes – illustrating that being brilliant at your job is no reason not to be a role model in your wider life too.

Appropriately enough, the 4,000th winner wasn’t on the likes of My Tent Or Yours, Jezki or At Fishers Cross. It was at Towcester in a novices’ hurdle. Mountain Tunes will be a name for racing quiz goers to remember and this point winner looked a nice enough long term prospect when winning on his rules debut. He had looked much less of a short term prospect, bucking and kicking in the paddock and green in the race. Coming to 2 out he looked beaten, but, on script, McCoy produced a typically power packed finish to get him up by ½l close home.

McCoy will be 40 in May and has said he wants to go out at the top, (and that he couldn’t see himself continuing to ride if someone else was champion.) He’s set himself his old boss Martin Pipe’s tally of 4,182 winners as his next target. I think it might well be his final one. He’ll be champion for the 19th time this season and if he’s champion again for a 20th time next season he’ll beat Pipe’s landmark of 4,182.

Ladbrokes originally priced up the total McCoy career winners with less than 4,500 at 7/2, which was crazy. There is no way McCoy will want to carry on once his powers are in decline and he probably wouldn’t get to 4,500 by the end of the 2015/16 season. The 7/2 is long gone but 7/4 is still good value as my guess is he’ll retire at or close to the end of next season. The 5/6 Paddy Power are offering on him to retire before the end of the 2018/19 season should be about 1/10.

There aren’t many heroes around these days, and we’ll miss him all too soon, so lets all raise a glass tonight to AP.

Genius. Iron Man. Hero.

AP McCoy Specials

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Cheltenham Countdown

Welcome to our exclusive betting blog focusing on the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

For the third year running, we welcomed National Hunt expert Matt Tombs to blog all things Cheltenham through the winter. The highlight was Jezki's Champion Hurdle win, which was a vindication of a long-term plot and went some way to ensuring another Festival in profit. Click through to view the archive of 2012 and 2013.

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2014 Results:

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Western Boy - Supreme Novices - 1pt 20/1 - U/P

Zamdy Man - Supreme Novices - 1pt 33/1 - N/R

Ted Veale - Arkle - 1pt e/w 25/1 NRNB - U/P

Felix Yonger - Arkle - 1pt 16/1 - N/R

Jezki - Champion Hurdle - 1pt 12/1 - WON

Cockney Sparrow - Mares Hurdle - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Foxrock - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 9/2 - U/P

Gullinbursti - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 33/1 NRNB - N/R

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Rathvinden - Neptune Novices - 1pt e/w 16/1 - 3rd

Corrin Wood - RSA Chase - 1pt 14/1 - U/P

Ifandbutwhynot - Coral Cup - 1pt 28/1 - U/P

Arvika Ligeonniere - Champion Chase - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Balthazar King - Cross Country - 1pt 33/1 - WON

Modus - Champion Bumper - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

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Mozoltov - JLT Novices Chase - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Champagne Fever - JLT Novices Chase - 1pt 7/1 - N/R

Benefficient - Ryanair Chase - 1pt 9/2 - U/P

Baily Green - Ryanair Chase - 1pt e/w 20/1 NRNB - N/R

Salubrious - World Hurdle - 1pt e/w 25/1 - U/P

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Captain Cutter - Albert Bartlett - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Arctic Fire - County Hurdle - 1pt 16/1 - 2nd

The Giant Bolster - Gold Cup - 1pt 16/1 - 3rd

Dynaste - Gold Cup - 1pt 25/1 NRNB - N/R

Certain Flight - Foxhunter Chase - 1pt 20/1 NRNB - U/P

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Gigginstown - Top Owner - 1pt 7/1 - WON

Good Ground - Official Going - 1pt 10/1 - LOST

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Advised Bets:

Sizing Gold - Aon Novice Handicap Chase - 1pt 7/1 - U/P

On The Fringe - Champion Hunters Chase - 1pt 7/4 - WON

At Fishers Cross - World Series Hurdle - 1pt 5/1 - 3rd

Balder Succes - Ryanair Novice Chase - 1pt 11/4 - 3rd

Art Of Logistics - Three.ie Handicap Chase - 1pt 12/1 - 2nd

Lyreen Legend - Punchestown Gold Cup - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Shanahan's Turn - Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle - 1pt e/w 33/1 - U/P

Mozoltov - Boylesports.com Champion Chase - 1pt 9/1 - U/P

Western Boy - Champion Novice Hurdle - 1pt e/w 10/1 - U/P

Mullaghanoe River - Irish National - 1pt 18/1 - U/P

Mozoltov - Powers Gold Cup - 1pt 11/2 - U/P

Quito De La Roque - Grand National - 1pt 40/1 - U/P

Salubrious - Liverpool Hurdle - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Ted Veale - Maghull Chase - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Saint Are - Aintree Handicap Chase - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Ballynagour - Melling Chase - 1pt 7/1 - 3rd

King Of The Picts - Top Novices Hurdle - 1pt 33/1 - 3rd

Themanfrom Minella - Sefton Novices Hurdle - 1pt 50/1 - U/P

Giorgio Quercus - Topham Chase - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Dynaste - Betfred Bowl - 1pt 15/8 - 2nd

Turn Over Sivola - Red Rum Chase - 1pt 8/1 - 2nd

Uxizandre - Manifesto Novices Chase - 1pt 9/2 - WON

Mossey Joe - Aintree Fox Hunters - 1pt 13/8 - 3rd

Baby Shine - Reynoldstown Chase - 1pt 7/1 - U/P

Grumeti - Kingwell Hurdle - 1pt 5/1 - U/P

Bog Warrior - Red Mills Chase - 1pt 9/4 - U/P

Lord Windermere - Irish Hennessy - 1pt 12/1 - U/P

Vautour - Deloitte Novice - 1pt 2/1 - WON

Tammys Hill - Hunters Chase - 1pt e/w 5/1 - WON

Vendor - Betfair Hurdle - 1pt 12/1 - U/P

Boston Bob - Cleeve Hurdle - 1pt 5/1 - U/P

The Giant Bolster - Argento Chase - 1pt 7/1 - WON

Unioniste - Sky Bet Chase - 1pt 9/2 - 3rd

Hidden Cyclone - Clarence House Chase - 1pt 7/2 - 2nd

Captain Chris - WH Chase - 1pt 2/1 - WON

The Liquidator - Tolworth Hurdle - 1pt 5/2 - U/P

Lord Windermere - Lexus Chase - 1pt 12/1 - U/P

Hey Big Spender - Welsh National - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Shantou Magic - Challow Hurdle - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Morning Assembly - Topaz Novice Chase - 1pt 9/4 - 2nd

Cue Card - King George - 1pt 7/2 - 2nd

My Tent Or Yours - Christmas Hurdle - 1pt 5/4 - WON

Defy Logic - Racing Post Novice Chase - 1pt 6/1 - WON

Salubrious - Long Walk Hurdle - 1pt 9/1 - 2nd

Totalize - The Ladbroke - 1pt 9/1 - U/P

Ma Filleule - December Gold Cup - 1pt 20/1 - U/P

Prince De Beauchene - Hennessy Gold Cup - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Grumeti - Fighting Fifth - 1pt e/w 10/1 - 3rd @ 9/1

Sizing Rio - Drinmore - 1pt 5/2 - U/P @ 3/1

Jezki - Hatton's Grace - 1pt Evens - WON

Roi Du Mee - Betfair Chase - 1pt e/w 20/1 - U/P

Ballynagour - Paddy Power Gold Cup - 1pt 8/1 - U/P

Gift Of Dgab - Paddy Power Gold Cup - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Cash And Go - Greatwood Hurdle - 1pt 13/2 - U/P

Cotton Mill - Elite Hurdle - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Cue Card - Haldon Gold Cup - 2pts 11/8 - U/P

Benefficient - Charlie Hall Chase - 1pt 9/1 - U/P

Sizing Europe - JNwine Champion Chase - 1pt 3/1 - 2nd