McCoy to face Cheltenham legends in charity football match
Racegoers at Cheltenham on Wednesday will see a host of legends from the worlds of rugby and football as well as racing if they head into town afterwards to watch AP McCoy's XI take on the Cheltenham Legends in a charity spectacular in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.
McCoy has enlisted 'ringers' Frannie Jeffers, Lee Hendrie, Darren Byfield and Conrad Logan to play alongside jockeys past and present, including himself, Sam Twiston-Davies, David Bass, Wayne Hutchinson, Alain Cawley and Jamie Bargary in a team which will have Harry Redknapp on the sidelines for advice and encouragement.
The Cheltenham Legends will be managed by ex-Robins boss John Ward, who can call on the likes of Grant McCann, a record transfer when he joined for £50,000 from West Ham in 2003, Mark Yates, five years at the helm at Whaddon Road, and former Burnley stalwart Michael Duff.
McCoy said on Friday: "I'm not exactly Andrea Pirlo but the event is for charity and I’m happy to do what I can. It’s a great idea - anything that benefits the Injured Jockeys Fund is a good idea.
"We have Franny Jeffers coming down, and Conrad Logan, who played in goal for Hibs, but it's a Champions League night so I'm still looking for some ringers. Apparently Jamie Bargary is a decent player."
The half-time entertainment is a penalty shootout sponsored and priced up by Paddy Power, featuring former rugby internationals Nicky Robinson and James Simpson-Daniel, co-owners of Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude and teammates locally at Gloucester, plus champion jockeys John Francome, Jonjo O'Neill and Peter Scudamore, and Olympic Gold medal winner Nick Skelton.
Cue Card's rider Paddy Brennan, dual Grand National winner Carl Llewellyn, and trainers Paul Nicholls and Fergal O'Brien are also taking part. Keeping goal is Wayne Shaw, the pie-eating ex-Sutton United player at the centre of a storm following his antics in a FA Cup tie against Arsenal this season.
The event, for which there will be 12 participants, works on a 'last man standing' basis, with players dropping out as soon as they miss a penalty.
Paddy Power make Robinson, who retired only last year, their 7-2 favourite, with Simpson-Daniel and Brennan next best at 5-1 and Francome at 6-1.
Jonjo O'Neill, who was 65 on Thursday and is not known to have had any great record in ball sports, has been made the 20-1 outsider.
The match is the brainchild of Chris Coley, business partner of Fergal O'Brien and a long-time owner in his own name and as organiser of the successful Yes No Wait Sorries syndicates, and jockey Alain Cawley, who is recently returned from the double dislocated shoulder he suffered at Kempton in the autumn.
Coley said: "One morning last year Alain and I dreamed up the idea on the gallops at Grange Hill [O'Brien's base]. Alain was on his way to Oaksey House in Lambourn and said that while he was there he would pop in for coffee at AP’s house and put the idea to his friend.
"Six months on we have a star-studded line-up and backing from Paddy Power for what should be a great evening for all sports lovers. We've sold 250 tickets in advance, which I hadn't expected to, and our initial hope of raising £10,000 for the Injured Jockeys Fund has been raised to perhaps between £15,000 and £20,000."
The match kicks off at 7.30pm at the LCI Rail Stadium, Cheltenham GL52 5NA and will be played under floodlights.
Tickets cost £10 (£5 for under-16s and concessions) and there are hospitality and sponsorship options via email@example.com.
Paddy Power Penalty Potshot
Paddy Power: 7-2 Nicky Robinson, 5 Paddy Brennan, James Simpson-Daniel, 6 John Francome, 8 Fergal O’Brien, Dan Skelton, 10 Martin Keighley, 12 Carl Llewellyn, Peter Scudamore, 16 Paul Nicholls, Nick Skelton, 20 Jonjo O’Neill