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CHELTENHAM Racecourse will unveil a statue of 20-time champion jumps jockey Sir A P McCoy on the first day of The Festival on March 14.
The life size bronze of the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey who retired in 2015 will be situated on the Best Mate Plaza near the north entrance of the racecourse.
McCoy rode a record 4,358 winners in a sensational career that included 31 victories at The Festival and incorporated wins in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Mr Mulligan (1997) and Synchronised (2012).
McCoy is the most successful national hunt jockey of all time and was champion for every season he rode, from 1995/96 to 2014/15. The statue was crafted by Dublin-based sculptor Paul Ferriter and passionate Arsenal fan McCoy is pleased with the result.
“I last saw Paul’s work about seven weeks’ ago, just before it was about to get bronzed and it look very, very good,” McCoy said. “I took some videos and showed them to friends who agreed that Paul has really captured my likeness.
“Some of my friends were wondering whether the statue was going to be the old or new me – the 10 stone one or the 12 stone one! Paul has done really well in sculpturing me as a jockey and it was a very enjoyable working with him.
“His dedication to getting it right was really outstanding, from measuring me to videoing me and when I was standing for him.
“I thought most people got a statue when they were dead! I guess it will give the birds somewhere to sit.”
Ian Renton, regional director, Cheltenham & the south west, the Jockey Club, added: “The achievements of Sir A P McCoy are truly outstanding and we are proud to recognise them with this permanent tribute at the home of jump racing.
“Paul’s work is absolutely outstanding and it will be a great prelude to The Festival when the statue is unveiled to the public before racing on Champion [Hurdle] Day.”
Ferriter, who has created statues of other jockeys and horses, set out to craft a statue of the champion that captured his character.
“In terms of the piece, what I really wanted to try and capture was the kind of intensity that AP has, his total dedication,” said Ferriter.
“I have basically produced the classic A P pose – standing with his arms folded and the whip under his arm, with an intense look on his face. It is a pre-race pose, lost in maybe that pre-race anxiety and always looking to the future.”
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