The multiple champion jockey confirmed yesterday that he will not be riding at the Punchestown festival and he has also said that, should he win the Aintree Grand National next month, he is likely to quit the saddle on the spot.
Fairyhouse general manager Peter Roe welcomed the news that the key Easter weekend meeting will be the great champion’s last in his home country.
“We’re delighted that AP McCoy is riding at Fairyhouse this year,” he said. “He’s the most amazing professional and of course he has won the Irish Grand National already back in 2007 on Butlers Cabin. We’re expecting a very large crowd to come and see the racing this Easter Weekend and with the great AP signing off here in Ireland I don’t think we’ll ever see another sportsman like him again!”
The Antrim native is well on the way to winning a 20th consecutive jockeys’ championship in England and he announced earlier this year that it will be his last season as a professional.
With Punchestown falling after the official close of the season across the water, where the Sandown meeting on April 25 marks the end of the 2014-2015 National Hunt campaign, McCoy said he will not be riding there this time around.
“I did have some thoughts about Punchestown, the following week, but I definitely won’t be riding there,” he said. “If I did that, I might just as well carry on and I won’t be doing that.”
He is likely to ride the Jonjo O’Neill trained and JP McManus-owned Shutthefrontdoor, winner of last year’s BoyleSports Irish Grand National, in the Aintree feature and it’s expected to be one of the shortest favourites in the history of the race with public support likely to pour onto McCoy’s final national mount.
Possible rides for McCoy in the Boylesports national include Cause of Causes (12/1) and If In Doubt (14/1), both owned by JP McManus and trained by Gordon Elliott and Philip Hobbs, respectively.
Over 30,000 racegoers are expected to pack into Fairyhouse over the course of the three-day Grand National festival, with Easter Monday generally attracting RTÉ television’s biggest racing audience of the year, with 328,000 viewers last year and a further 600,000 on At The Races.