Bergkamp and Henry doubtful for McCoy's XI but AP still aiming high
Sir Anthony McCoy's dream of signing Arsenal greats such as Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry to play for his XI against the Cheltenham Town Legends on April 18 is long odds-against materialising, but organiser Chris Coley is confident he can build upon the success of last year's inaugural charity football match, when £25,000 was raised for the Injured Jockey Fund.
The match, which will be played under floodlights at Cheltenham's Whaddon Road Stadium on the first evening of the track's two-day April fixture, was a huge success last year with racegoers joining racing professionals for an enjoyable evening.
The jockeys lost 3-2, but conditional Jamie Bargary was man of the match, and his two goals included a spectacular diving header laid on by former Aston Villa star Julian Joachim.
On that occasion McCoy secured another Arsenal great in Charlie George to run the dugout, along with John McGovern and Rod Thomas, while Lee Hendrie and Francis Jeffers were among the ringers on the pitch. John Francome, Jonjo O'Neill and Paul Nicholls all took part in a charity shootout.
McCoy is aiming even higher this year and tweeted a dream team of Pat Jennings, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Lee Dixon, Liam Brady, Patrick Vieira, Ray Parlour, Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright and Thierry Henry, with Paul Merson, Francis Jeffers and himself ("obviously") on the bench.
The event has backing this year from Stonegate Homes of Dorking, who are long-time sponsors of Jamie Moore and more recently took on Hector Crouch. They celebrated a five-year deal with Dorking Wanderers by sponsoring at Lingfield in November, and director Jerry Hinds is heavily involved in horses trained by Gary Moore.
Coley said: "We presented £25,000 to the Injured Jockeys Fund last year and with a sponsor this time it will be a poor show if I can't improve upon that.
"It will essentially be the same format as last year. I'm sure Jamie Bargary will be first on the team sheet after last year's effort, and 'AP' is already working on boosting the team with some ex-footballer pals again."
Coley, whose Yes No Wait Sorries colours were carried to Grade 1 success by Poetic Rhythm in the Challow Hurdle, added: "The timing is perfect on that first evening of the Cheltenham April fixture as everyone will be around. We might even have a nice runner there ourselves in the mares' bumper as Grageelagh Girl is just being saved for better ground. We think she's nice."
A wide variety of hospitality and advertising packages are available through Coley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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