Cheltenham 2015: AP McCoy claims first win of final Festival

AP McCoy got the win he wanted at his final Cheltenham Festival on Thursday in the grade one Ryanair Chase

The Tipster
By The Tipster

AP McCoy has got the win he wanted at the Cheltenham Festival – and the race named in his honour is still to come.

The 19-time Champion jockey is retiring this season and was desperate to hear the Cheltenham crowd roar him to victory one last time.

But he confessed he didn’t expect that win to come on 16/1 shot Uxizandre in the grade one Ryanair Chase.

Cheltenham betting 2015: Enhanced odds

Silviniaco Conti to win the Gold Cup – 16/1

AP McCoy to win any race on Friday – 7/1

And wife Chanelle admitted her husband – despite more than 4,000 career wins – wanted to experience the unique feeling of a Festival success more than anything else.

“I was actually thinking I wouldn’t mind riding the horse in next year’s Champion Chase before I suddenly remembered that I was retiring,” said McCoy, who is favourite on Ned Buntline for Friday’s concluding race, the Grand Annual, which is this year named after him.

“I would love to say it’s a relief but I actually got such a thrill riding him.”

Meanwhile, trainer Warren Greatrex was left fighting back the tears after stable star Cole Harden produced a fantastic display of front running to win the showpiece Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

The 14/1 shot was a talented bumper performer and was proving a useful novice hurdler last season.

But he disappointed at the Cleeve Hurdle, with Greatrex deciding he needed a breathing operation to be at his best for the Festival.

“I’d like to think I’m quite a cool customer but it’s all gone wrong and it turns out that I’m crying like a girl,” said Greatrex.

“We’ve just won the World Hurdle and I can’t believe it. The wind operation’s worked hasn’t it? I’m never short of words but I’m shocked right now.”

Nicky Henderson finally landed his first Festival winner this year, putting aside yesterday’s disappointment with Sprinter Sacre to score the Pertemps Final with Call The Cops.

“It’s taken a couple of days, but we’re very pleased,” said Henderson, who has now won a record 52 races at the Festival.

“We’ve hit the bar a few times but the stable is still running well.”

Willie Mullins claimed his sixth race of the Festival as last year’s Supreme Novices’ winner Vautour produced a stunning display of jumping to win the JLT Novices’ Chase – in what was arguably the best performance of the week so far.

It was another victory for the combination of trainer Mullins, jockey Ruby Walsh and owner Rich Ricci but it was the manner of his 15 length win that left all watching stunned.

“I thought leaving here last year we had a very special horse and in fairness to Willie he had his eye on one target and he’s nailed him for it,” said Walsh.
“He has it all, I’m taken by him. It’ll be some summer dreaming about this fella.”

Meanwhile, British trainers now lead their Irish counterparts 11-9 in the battle for the Prestbury Cup, with a packed seven race card – including the Gold Cup – to conclude the meeting on Friday.

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