Tony McCoy: has two rides at Sandown on his final day as a jockeyPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Mighty McCoy seeks last
wins as end draws near
WE thought the day would never come, and the man himself still cannot quite believe it, but Saturday marks the end of the magnificent, unrivalled career of 20-time champion jump jockey Tony McCoy.
Since the shock announcement came from racing's greatest winning machine in February that he would be retiring at the end of this season, the countdown to this day has been in place.
Racing fans have been able to enjoy an extra couple of weeks with McCoy, 40, after Shutthefrontdoor could only manage fifth in the Crabbie's Grand National but after Saturday there will be no more.
A win at Aintree from the Jonjo O'Neill-trained and JP McManus-owned Shutthefrontdoor would have brought a premature end to McCoy's career, but the trainer, owner and jockey combination that has been so very successful over the years will come together for a final time with Box Office in the 2m4f bet365 Handicap Hurdle (4.35).
While Box Office may be McCoy's final ride of a quite remarkable career that has yielded 4,348 wins, 20 consecutive jockeys' championships and victories in nearly all of the major jumps races, his mount on Mr Mole in the Grade 1 bet365 AP McCoy Celebration Chase (3.15) is the most eagerly anticipated.
Three champions will combine with Mr Mole - trainer Paul Nicholls sending out JP McManus's seven-year-old - and McCoy will be keen for one final hurrah on the horse he steered to victory in the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase before revealing this season would be his last in the saddle.
It will be no easy task for Mr Mole with the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Special Tiara, Somersby and God's Own in opposition at Sandown.
Nicholls said: "It'd be nice to win for AP. Mr Mole was in really good form before the Champion Chase and Sandown will suit him better.
"If it had been softer at Cheltenham I think it would've suited him, but he didn't run his race. He's in good form now and is nice and fresh."
Sandown is expecting a capacity crowd of 18,000 for the final day of the jump season - a monumental ‘I was there' occasion for racing fans - while Channel 4 coverage of the action has been extended until after Box Office has run to capture McCoy's final moment.
The journey that began with Legal Steps winning in 1992 ends for McCoy at Sandown on Saturday and there will be masses hoping for at least one more bit of magic from the champion before he calls it a day.
Do not miss our special 32-page Tony McCoy tribute pullout only in Monday's Racing Post