By Simon Jackson.
Multiple champion jockey Tony McCoy has admitted that he may feel a little emotional at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, which will be his last following news of his retirement.
The 19-time champion jockey announced that he will retire later this season after riding his 200th winner of the campaign and has since revealed that he will ride Carlingford Lough in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 13.
McCoy landed the Hennessy Gold Cup in Ireland on Carlinglingford Lough the day after announcing his retirement and anticipates a big run from the nine-year-old.
“My final Cheltenham Festival as a jockey is now [less than] three weeks away and I couldn’t be happier that Carlingford Lough will be my ride in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup,” McCoy said.
“So long as trainer John Kiely and [owner] JP McManus are happy with his condition then I will be aboard him on March 13th, and I have Mr Mole to look forward to in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and Jezki, as he defends his crown, in the Stan James Champion Hurdle.
“Cheltenham this year will probably be a little emotional for me but hopefully I will enjoy it more than I ever have as it will be the last time I will be riding there.
“The Festival is very special and I got an amazing reaction over in Ireland on Hennessy day when winning on Carlingford Lough.
“That was every emotional for me and Cheltenham will be very much the same – it will be my last time so I am going to try and enjoy it as I will never be there as a jockey again.
“Carlingford Lough gave me a great feel winning the Irish Hennessy and I am very much looking forward to riding him in the Gold Cup, if he lines up. Gold Cup day is probably the most important day of the whole jumping year and I am hoping he has got a live chance.
“People might look back to last year and point out he was only sixth in the RSA but he never really got into a rhythm and we saw more of what he was capable of when he won the Grade 1 at Punchestown.
“John Kiely has the horse in great shape and he is definitely going there with a chance.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.