Tony McCoy erased any fears he had of leaving his final Cheltenham Festival without a winner to his name when masterminding a bold front-running success aboard Uxizandre in the Ryanair Chase.
The 19-time champion jockey showed his intention as soon at the tapes lifted, sending the 18-1 shot straight into an unchallenged lead in the two-mile-five-furlong contest.
“I would love to say it’s a relief, but I actually got such a thrill riding him. I was actually thinking I wouldn’t mind riding the horse in next year’s Champion Chase,” he said.
“He ran away with me for a mile-and-a-half and I thought he would never keep it up, but I was quite happy coming down the hill, he kept looking at the television camera on his inside and I thought he had saved a bit for himself.”
“It’s nice. Cheltenham is about winning isn’t?
“The thrill this horse gave me, I’ll miss riding horses like this, the ones that run away with you and jump like stags. It has to happen at some point. It’s a bit sad, but we will worry about it this time next year.”
He added: “It’s going to affect me more next year than this year, because I am still riding. This time next year I am going to miss it – I am missing it already and I haven’t stopped yet.
“He stuck at it well and it’s days like this I am going to miss.”
McCoy’s wife Chanelle said the victory would mean everything to her proud husband.
“When he got up and was heading into day three he wanted one more time to ride a winner at Cheltenham, to soak up the atmosphere and not finish his career without one more winner,” she said.
“He wanted that feeling one more time. He’s not the most animated at the best of times, but this will absolutely mean the world to him.”
McManus, to whom McCoy has enjoyed such a fantastic association as retained jockey, said: “It’s great to be at Cheltenham and have a man like AP at your side. What can I say, I am just so happy and pleased that he has had a winner at his last Cheltenham. That we provided it makes it even better.”