Sunday 17 December 2017

Cheltenham 2015: Tony McCoy's Top 10 at the festival

Jockey Tony McCoy, aboard Synchronised in 2012
Jockey Tony McCoy, aboard Synchronised in 2012

With Tony McCoy to retire at the end of the season, The Herald looks at 10 of his best rides - in no particular order - at the Cheltenham Festival.

EDREDON BLEU (Queen Mother Champion Chase 2000)

One of the most memorable finishes of all time, when after what seemed like an eternity of waiting, the judge announced Edredon Bleu as the winner. While the crowd roared, McCoy had a brief look at his saddle cloth before standing up in the stirrups and waving his whip in realisation that he was the victor.

BLOWING WIND (County Hurdle 1998)

Martin Pipe's charge had won the Imperial Cup the Saturday before Cheltenham and every man and his dog seemed to have wagered on the horse completing the double, which was achieved in some style. McCoy, famous for his understated celebrations, actually did a Frankie Dettori-style dismount in the winner's enclosure.

BRAVE INCA (Champion Hurdle 2006)

If ever a horse was made for McCoy, it was the tough-as-teak Brave Inca. Although Macs Joy loomed up at the final flight, McCoy and Colm Murphy's inmate were in full flight. The partnership was never going to be denied as they powered up the hill.

MAKE A STAND (Champion Hurdle 1997)

Lightning fast over his hurdles, he and McCoy were a match made in heaven as they broke the track record. There was a worry Make A Stand would falter up the famous hill, but McCoy had saved a little extra for the punishing final furlong and bounded for home.

MR MULLIGAN (Gold Cup 1997)

Playing catch me if you can, McCoy had the measure of the opposition some way out, but One Man looked a threat at the second-last before failing to last out the trip. Apart from wandering around in the closing stages, Mr Mulligan answered his rider's every call to win by nine lengths from Barton Bank.

SYNCHRONISED (Gold Cup 2012)

Jonjo O'Neill's inmate made a lot of mistakes, but his jockey was in a typically uncompromising mood and went into overdrive two fences from home. Synchronised responded purposefully to end McCoy's long wait for a second Gold Cup winner.

WICHITA LINEMAN (William Hill Trophy 2009)

This was McCoy at his never-say-die best as he simply refused to accept defeat. His mount's stamina began to kick in as the pair stormed past the leg-weary Maljimar to score by a neck, to the roars of those who sent him off the 5-1 favourite.

LIBERMAN (Champion Bumper 2003)

Beaten on his debut for Martin Pipe at the course in November, he was produced cherry-ripe on the day but needed all McCoy's strength in the saddle to beat a subsequent RSA Chase and Hennessy winner in Trabolgan by half a length.

WELL CHIEF (Arkle Trophy 2004)

Beaten a head in the Triumph Hurdle 12 months earlier, Martin Pipe took full advantage of the five-year-old allowance which existed at the time. On the back of only one previous run over fences, he held off a future Gold Cup winner in Kicking King. It was unfortunate he was around in a golden era of two-mile chasers.

ALBERTAS RUN (Ryanair Chase 2011)

Winning at the Festival for a third time, McCoy seemed intent on making all but faced several challengers for the lead throughout. After seeing them off one by one he looked in control, despite several blunders, and he held off the late run of Kalahari King.

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