Gold Cup glory for retiring McCoy on Carlingford Lough

Jockey Tony McCoy enters the parade ring aboard Carlingford Lough after winning the Hennessy Gold Cup  at Leopardstown. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Jockey Tony McCoy enters the parade ring aboard Carlingford Lough after winning the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

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A little over 24 hours after Tony McCoy stunned the racing world in announcing he would retire at the end of the season, the irrepressible Ulsterman roared to a fairytale success in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

McCoy had already ridden his first winner since his bombshell when Sort It Out scored at the Dublin track in the famous silks of his boss JP McManus, but that was to prove simply a taster for what was to come in the Irish equivalent of the Gold Cup.

Again in the green and gold of McManus and this time for trainer John Kiely, McCoy produced 4-1 chance Carlingford Lough to perfection to get the better of a battle with Foxrock by three-quarters of a length.

McCoy said: “You can’t fight fate and it was obviously meant to be the way things happened.

“Fair play to John Kiely. Every day I’ve been on this horse he’s produced the goods.

“JP’s family are here and my family are here. It’s brilliant. It’s what’s meant to be.

“It’s amazing the people here at Leopardstown today. I have to be careful I don’t get too emotional, it’s not good for the image.”

Carlingford Lough was halved in price for the Betfred Gold Cup at Cheltenham next month, and McCoy said: “I might just get to steer him around on Gold Cup day at Cheltenham, which is probably the most important day of the whole jumping year and, on today’s performance, he’s got a live chance.”

Reflecting on his decision to retire, McCoy, who was afforded a hero’s welcome on his return to the winner’s enclosure, said: “At the beginning of the season, after Jezki won at Punchestown, I was at home with JP and his son John and I mentioned that there was a possibility this could be my last year because I’ve been lucky enough to win 19 jockeys’ championships and if I could win 20, it would be a great number.

“My wife Chanelle had no idea what was happening and I asked my agent Dave Roberts, who has been looking after me for 20 years, to come down on Monday night. I had the conversation with him - Chanelle had no idea, the only other person in the world that had any idea, I think, was JP and I told Dave in front of Chanelle and they were both a bit gobsmacked.

Richard Fahey has started banging in the winners again on a regular basis and Time And Place looks sure to give a good account of himself in the Ladbrokes Handicap at Southwell.

Having been relatively quiet for a stable of his size through December and January, he has sprung back into life this month with a strike-rate hovering around 25 per cent.

Time And Place is lightly-raced for a five-year-old having had just 12 starts, but he is now on a career-high mark with the prospect of more to come.

Since pulling up with an injury at York in June he has been second on his next two outings and the only question mark is his ability to handle the Fibresand and.

* Selections -

Southwell: 2.00 Very First Blade, 2.30 First Dream, 3.05 Layline, 3.35 TIME AND PLACE (NAP), 4.10 International Name, 4.40 Gabrial The Duke.

Ayr: 2.10 Fort Smith, 2.45 Gilnockie, 3.15 Spring Over, 3.50 Shine A Diamond, 4.20 Definite Dream, 4.55 Wabanaki.

Ffos Las: 2.20 Thunder And Rain, 2.55 Clyne, 3.25 Ifyouthinkso, 4.00 Copper Birch, 4.30 Pobbles Bay, 5.05 Thornton Alice.

Double: Time And Place and International Name.

Southwell: 2.00 Very First Blade, 2.30 First Dream, 3.05 Layline, 3.35 TIME AND PLACE (NAP), 4.10 International Name, 4.40 Gabrial The Duke.