AP McCoy: His five greatest Cheltenham Festival rides

Are you ready to say goodbye to the great man?

This year's Cheltenham Festival will be the last opportunity to witness AP McCoy working his genius in the saddle at the greatest show on turf. Of the 30 winners he has celebrated at the festival, we have pin-pointed the top five. Sit back, take a trip down memory lane and enjoy...

"In the Winners' Enclosure after the JLT Novices' Chase in 2014 McCoy could barely dismount the horse such was the pain he was in and, like a warrior walking away from a successful battle, he staggered his way back to the weighing room, saddle in hand in complete agony."

5) - Taquin Du Seuil - 2014 JLT Novices' Chase


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This win doesn't have the visual razzmatazz as some of his others at the Cheltenham Festival, but the story behind this victory pretty much sums up McCoy's desire to succeed.

After suffering a nasty fall and kick on the Wednesday, McCoy was in obvious discomfort as he limped out of the weighing room on the Thursday to ride Taquin Du Seuil. 

Clearly nowhere near 100% fit, he still managed to perform at his best to overhaul long-time leader Uxizandre with a power packed ride. 

In the Winners' Enclosure he could barely dismount the horse such was the pain he was in and, like a warrior walking away from a successful battle, he staggered his way back to the weighing room, saddle in hand in complete agony. 

Speaking after the race, he said: "However sore I feel now, I would have felt a lot worse watching someone else win." 

Machine.


4) Edredon Bleu - 2000 Champion Chase


 


This finish still gets the goosebumps going. You rarely see at any level of horse racing a horse get headed in the final 100 yards then regain the lead, let alone in a championship race. 

Edreson Bleu jumped impeccably with McCoy from the front but his rival Direct Route was travelling by far the better as they approached the final two fences. Direct Route sprung into the lead in the final yards and looked set to power clear. However, McCoy had other ideas... 


3) Binocular - 2010 Champion Hurdle 


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It doesn't always have be guts and thunder with McCoy. He's more than capable of bringing the best out of the smooth-travelling class-acts as proven by his three wins in the Champion Hurdle. 

Binocular was at bit of an enigma after being beaten at the festival twice before and drifting out to 1000.0 in the antepost marlet on Betfair after some false rumours suggested he was going to be pulled out of the race two weeks before the big day. 

Trainer Nicky Henderson was actually bullish about his chance, feeling he was back to his best at home and McCoy delivered the goods on the big stage again, timing his challenge perfectly on the strong travelling winner. Poetry in motion. 


2) Synchronised - 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup 


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This was vintage McCoy to win his second success in Friday's showpiece following on from his win aboard Mr Mulligan in 1997. 

Synchronised was far from the classiest and rarely jumped a fence with any confidence but he was made of steel. McCoy restrained him at the back of the field in order to make sure his jumping kept him in the race. 

With favourite Kauto Star pulling up early and Long Run not running to his potential, the race turned into a bit of slog and one-by-one McCoy picked off his rivals. The Giant Bolster jumped the last in front but McCoy's timing was perfect as he ran down his target in the final 150 yards.


1) Wichita Lineman - 2010 Festival Handicap Chase


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This ride defied logic. Backers of this McCoy ridden 5/1 favourite would have been excused for tearing up their betting slips on numerous occasions.

The horse never travelled, never jumped a fence with any slickness and looked like he wanted to be anywhere else but Cheltenham. 

A serious error at the ninth fence would have been the trigger for many jockeys to pull up, but not the champ. He kept pushing. Kept plugging away and somehow got the horse in contention with three to jump. Saying that, he was still 10 lengths off the leader.

As always, McCoy refused to give in and he somehow mowed down the idling leader Maljimar in the dying stride to the utter amazement of the punting world. 

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