Support for McCoy set to be boosted by his own race ahead of BBC's annual vote

THE script says that the incomparable Tony McCoy, the greatest jump jockey of all time, should win the race that is being staged in his honour at Cheltenham today.

The first jockey to win the Sports Journalists Association's sportsman of the year accolade in the event's 60-year history, the Vote AP Gold Cup is intended to galvanise support for the 15-time champion ahead of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year poll later this month.

His mount, the Tom Taaffe-trained Finger Onthe Pulse, certainly commands respect. Anything is possible with McCoy, as he has shown over the years. His simple motivation is to be the best – and beat the young jockeys vying for supremacy.

But it would be no surprise if the prodigious 18-year-old Sam Twiston-Davies – one of the most impressive riding talents to emerge since McCoy's arrival in 1994 – completed a historic Cheltenham double on the front-running Little Josh.

The emphatic winner of last month's Paddy Power Gold Cup, Twiston-Davies would like nothing more than to beat his personal hero on jump racing's biggest stage.

Although only three horses have won both races in the same season, the last being Exotic Dancer in 2006, Twiston-Davies's exuberance is understandable.

"If you want to be the best, AP is still the man to beat," Twiston-Davies told the Yorkshire Post. "I'm very excited about the race – he's gone up 9lb after the Paddy Power.

"He jumps, he travels. My worry would be the ground. He likes it soft, but with the covers down all week, it might be a bit quick."

Twiston-Davies is only eligible to ride today because the Grade One Tingle Creek has been switched to Cheltenham due to Sandown's abandonment. He would, otherwise, have been suspended.

"Horses like Little Josh don't come around too often and I'd have hated to have given up the ride," he added.

"Winning the Paddy Power was unbelievable – I grew up watching McCoy win these races and it's great to get such opportunities when I'm still learning.

"To me, AP McCoy is the ideal role model. He's won everything in racing and he's the best jump jockey in history. How many riders get a race named after them when they're still competing?

"Look at his discipline to maintain his weight. He spends 12 hours a week sweating to lose 42lbs. And that's before he gets to a racecourse – if people knew what he went through.

"To ride upsides him is a real treat, just how he gets horses jumping for him. You try and sneak a glance over and watch him because he is the best around. To me, he's the closest thing in sport to perfection. Yes, I want to beat him today but it's more important that he wins the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award."

JUMP racing's latest ace appears to be Cue Card – and Colin Tizzard appears to have a winning hand as his precocious equine talent steps out of novice company for the first time in today's highly competitive International Hurdle.

Last season's shock Champion Bumper winner takes on the unbeaten Silviniaco Conti from the Paul Nicholls yard as well as recent Greatwood Hurdle winner Menorah.

"Everything is fine with him and we're excited about taking on the better horses," said Dorset-based Tizzard.