Tuesday 16 January 2018

Legend Tony McCoy enjoys his first day in the stands


Former champion jockey Tony McCoy and his wife Chanelle at the day's races
Former champion jockey Tony McCoy and his wife Chanelle at the day's races

Newly-retired Tony McCoy was enjoying his first day as a punter at the Punchestown festival yesterday.

McCoy, who rode a record- breaking 4,348 winners before retiring last weekend, is enjoying his new-found freedom now that he no longer has to fear the weigh room.

"I had my dinner there, it was lovely. It's the first time I've ever eaten properly at the races, so that was very nice," he said.

"It feels quite strange, I've never been into gambling, so it's something I'm going to have to get used to," he told the Herald.

"Obviously, I would have liked to stay on and ridden at Punchestown, but the season in England ended on Saturday and it would have been difficult to start another season and not carry on to the end.

"The lads got me champagne but I don't drink, so it is very different to racing. But I'm sure I love the racing community and will remain part of it," he added.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was also attending the first day of the popular racing festival.

"I might have a flutter before the evening's out," Kenny said.


"National Hunt racing is an essential part of the Irish personality. Days like this are great for everyone - providing you win."

The RTE set, including Marty Morrissey, Miriam O'Callaghan, Kevin Bakhurst and Michael Lyster, were also enjoying a flutter.

Miriam said she "rarely goes to the races" and was looking forward to "placing a few little bets".

She was her ever-stylish self in an all-white ensemble accentuated with a navy blue hat.

"I'm presenting Prime Time tonight, I might wear the hat to see if I could start another choker-gate," she laughed.

The RTE stalwart revealed she has "had a good run" on her RTE Radio 1 show since her now-iconic interview with Leo Varadakar.

"People talk about how success begets success but we have found since that Leo interview in January that we're on a bit of a roll," she said.

"People who want to come out and say things go: 'Ok I'll do Miriam', so happy days."

Meanwhile, deputy director general of RTE Kevin Bakhurst said the "door would always be open" to broadcaster Hector O hEochagain, who engaged in a rant against the broadcaster on the Saturday Night Show last weekend.

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