It was an eventful day at Newbury with Champion jockey Tony McCoy not only clocking up his 200th winner of the season today (Saturday) on board Mr Mole, but as he came back into the winner’s spot he unexpectedly announced plans to retire from riding at the end of the jumps season.
The 19-time champion jockey revealed his intention to quit the saddle at the end of this season, as he came back in after crossing the finishing line.
He told television cameras: ” I have won 20 champion jockey titles, regularly clocking up 200 winners in a season. Until now I had only told JP McManus and my agent Dave Roberts. Even my wife, Channelle, did not know until Dave Roberts came to discuss it with me, and I had not told my parents, who wanted me to retire. It has been a great way of life,” he said.
The ups and downs of race-riding were clearly illustrated in the following race. Having safely clocked up his 200th winner of the current season, he went out to rider Goodwood Mirage for trainer Jonjo O’Neill, only to find himself firmly on the deck when the horse fell at the first fence.
Sussex trainer Gary Moore was another to see both sides of the coin at Newbury, with his stable star Sire De Grugy partnered by his usual rider, Jamie Moore, jumping badly in his long-awaited comeback in the Game Spirit Chase. The horse blundered four out but recovered and ran on to go second. He made another bad mistake unseating his rider at the next, three from home.
His trainer, who went on to saddle Violet Dancer ridden by his other son Josh, to win the Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle at 20-1, later reported that both horse and jockey were ‘fine’.
He said: “What an afternoon. I had three horses in then first race, which all ran badly, then Sire De Grugy got rid of Jamie, but Violet Dancer and Josh gave me my third win the Betfair Hurdle! Sire De Grugy is fine. He has trotted up sound and it was a one off.”
Jockey Josh Moore added: “I always thought Violet Dancer had a big handicap hurdle in him but he was probably a little fortunate today. I only popped out of the gate as quick as I did as it was a standing start and they left me alone in front and there was trouble in behind. It was so quiet up the straight I was worried for a moment that there had been a false start!”