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Friday 15 December 2017

A real fairytale finish in farewell fit for a legend

Tony McCoy (left) receives a kiss from wife Chanelle McCoy after winning the Ryanair Chase on Uxizandre during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse
Tony McCoy (left) receives a kiss from wife Chanelle McCoy after winning the Ryanair Chase on Uxizandre during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse
A giant screen can be seen as Tony McCoy celebrates winning the Ryanair Chase on Uxizandre during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse
Tony McCoy (left) celebrates winning the Ryanair Chase on Uxizandre alongside owner John P McManus (centre) Peadar McCoy (right) and Chanelle McCoy (back right), during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

The roars as AP McCoy stormed up the famous Cheltenham Hill towards the finishing post were deafening.

Onboard Uxizandre, the 60,000 in attendance wanted a fairytale finish for the champion jockey who is soon to retire.

Reliable as ever, McCoy delivered in resounding style and Cheltenham combusted in goodwill and enthusiasm for the Irishman just before 3pm yesterday.

Wife Chanelle McCoy was beaming as her husband entered the parade ring following his win in the Ryanair Steeple Chase.

It was the 19-time champion jockey’s first win at what will be his final Cheltenham race festival.

“He desperately wanted to ride a winner,” she said.

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Tony McCoy (left) celebrates winning the Ryanair Chase on Uxizandre alongside owner John P McManus (centre) Peadar McCoy (right) and Chanelle McCoy (back right), during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

“Not because he had anything to prove but he wanted to experience walking into the winner’s enclosure one more time.

“He was a bit melancholy when we were leaving the house this morning so he’s absolutely delighted.

“It is very emotional and a lovely sense of happiness to the whole thing. We’ll definitely be celebrating with the McManuses tonight.

“The pressure is off but it’s not over yet,” she added referring to today’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Chanelle was joined in the ring by her in sister-in-law, Kelly, and father-in-law, Peader.

“I am bursting with pride,” Kelly McCoy said. “Now he can enjoy it. I won’t be sorry to see him go, I think we will miss days like this but so many horrible things have happened to jockeys in the last few years that we’re happy he’s safe.”

All three were certain there would be plenty of celebrating and “happy faces” in the family’s pub The Tumbledown in Moneyglass last night.

“I think they may have a drink or two,” Kelly laughed.

There was thunderous applause as McCoy dismounted Uxizandre.

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A giant screen can be seen as Tony McCoy celebrates winning the Ryanair Chase on Uxizandre during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

“Cheltenham is all about winning,” McCoy said. “While I came this week with a few chances I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. You have to keep your head down and keep going.”

McCoy will hang up his boots in six weeks time,

his retirement should be softened however by the €2.3m profits he has accumulated at his firm AP Enterprises Ltd.

New accounts shows profits rocketed at his firm by €540,000 in the last year.

READ MORE: 'It's killing me not being there,' says Daithi O Se, despite charity win

Back at the race course, the stands were dotted with novelty leprechaun hats and tricolours as patriotic punters attended what was known as St Patricks’ Day Thursday.

Nicolas Marr from Rosegreen, Tipperary was having a last hooray as he celebrated his stag with a group of pals.

“There’s no better place for a stag,” his best man David Quirke said.

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