Fairytale wins for Tony McCoy after shock retirement news
As fairytales go Tony McCoy couldn't have penned the script better himself. The spotlight was focussed on the 19-time champion jockey from the moment he walked into Leopardstown for Hennessy Gold Cup Day.
He exited after doing exactly what he'll be forever remembered for - excelling as a jockey.
McCoy rode two winners on the eight-race card in front of a crowd of 11,259 - up almost 2,000 from last year's fixture, undoubtedly swelled following McCoy's announcement on Saturday that he would be retiring later this year.
He took the Hennessy Gold Cup itself on Carlingford Lough for Waterford trainer John Kiely and owner JP McManus who has been McCoy's employer since 2004.
Read More: Unforgettable moments for racing legend
His father Peadar spoke of his pride as his son entered the Leopardstown Parade Ring to thunderous applause.
"I couldn't be prouder of him. He's more than earned his retirement and that's the truth.
"You can't fight fate and it was obviously meant to be," McCoy (40) said. "It's brilliant. It's what's meant to be. I have to be careful I don't get too emotional, it's not good for the image," he joked.
"I have been thinking about retiring for about five years," he said.
"I wanted to leave on my terms. I wanted people to ask me why I was retiring not when was I retiring. I wanted to feel like I was going out on a high."
McCoy's wife Chanelle said it was a day of "mixed emotions".
"It is sad to say goodbye to this world but it's a new chapter of his life. We're looking forward to having him home and in one piece."
On Saturday, Antrim man McCoy rode a double at Newbury, winning his 200th race in a single season for the ninth time in his career.
He announced he will soon be calling it a day immediately afterwards but said he hopes he will retire as a 20-time champion jockey in Britain.
"At the beginning of the season, after Jezki won at Punchestown, I was at home with JP and his son John and I mentioned that there was a possibility this could be my last year because I've been lucky enough to win 19 jockeys' championships and if I could win 20, it would be a great number," he said.
The British jump season will end at Sundown in April, while the Irish season continues until the following Saturday as the Punchestown Festival brings the curtain down.
Although admitting he hasn't got a retirement date in his head as of yet, Punchestown is a firm possibility.
McCoy told the Herald he is looking firmly ahead to Cheltenham and Aintree.
"I'm just taking it one day at a time but I'm going to miss it (racing) and maybe if I can squeeze it (Punchestown) in, I will."