On a wet, windy and bleak day at Southwell on Sunday, a good crowd gathered to come and watch AP McCoy, the 19-time champion jockey who was at the track for five fancied rides.
McCoy has ridden over 4,300 winners in his career, but in the past couple of weeks since he announced his retirement at Newbury in front of the Channel 4 cameras, he has probably signed a similar amount of autographs, and despite the sodden racecards and running ink, Sunday was no different.
As he left the weighing room at ten to two before his opening ride of the day, he was met by a large crowd of people after his autograph or a picture with the great man.
After his first ride Paddy Mulligan travelled well, but he got tired quickly and McCoy pulled him up on the home turn. He re-emerged from the warmth of the weighing room prior to his mount in the 3.00, former high class Flat horse Zip Top, again for trainer John Ferguson.
In the all black colours of Bloomfields, McCoy seemed to be losing the battle approaching the second last as Burtons Well went for home, but Burtons Well took a slithering fall and left McCoy’s mount clear to score by an eased down 19 lengths.
It didn’t take long for him to double up, winning the feature race on the card with Spookydooky for trainer Jonjo O’Neill.
This progressive hurdler had been impressive at Doncaster on his previous start and could now be on the way to Aintree for the Grand National meeting in April and looks a nice type for the Piranha Partnership.
McCoy’s final two rides came aboard favourites in the final two races of the day, and despite looking like he would win turning for home on both Mr Lando and Amirr, he ended the day with a couple of second place finishes as his mounts were both headed late on.
There is still a few potential chances that AP McCoy might ride at Southwell again before he hangs up his saddle, with three jumps meetings in March and one in April at the track before the end of the jumps season, but one thing is for sure, he will leave a gaping hole in the weighing room he has dominated for so many years.