GAA Football

Horseracing legend AP McCoy guest speaker at Irish News Allstar awards

AP McCoy, the most decorated jump jockey of all time, will be the guest speaker at The Irish News Allstar awards in Armagh on September 7. Picture by PA
Neil Loughran

TWENTY-TIME champion jockey AP McCoy will be the guest speaker at the prestigious Irish News Allstars event, which takes place at the Armagh City Hotel on September 7.

A keen GAA fan, Sir Anthony played underage football with St Ergnat’s GAC, Moneyglass before his love of horseracing took him to Jim Bolger’s county Carlow yard as an apprentice jockey.

From there, he went on to become one of his sport’s most recognisable figures and the most successful jump jockey of all time.

On the night, Sir Anthony will take part in a question and answer session with RTE presenter Joanne Cantwell, looking back through the peaks and troughs of his days in the saddle.

For those in the audience, including the players anxiously waiting to find out if they have made it into the Ulster Allstar team, it promises to be an enthralling evening.

“I am really looking forward to meeting the players and managers that have provided us with so much excitement in the Championship this year at the Irish News Ulster Allstars this year,” he said.

“Across all sport it is all about performing to a very high level in order to be first past the post or progressing to the next game in the All-Ireland Championship. The night will give me an opportunity to share some of the key moments in my career.”

Irish News sports editor Thomas Hawkins has fond memories of charting McCoy’s rise and rise, and is looking forward to reliving some of his greatest feats on September 7.

He said: “Tony's a legend in his sport, and an inspiration not just in the world of horseracing but to sportsmen and women in every field.

“I remember standing in the bookies in Union Street a few years back with a few friends from the office to watch him challenge for his 4,000th winner. What a moment, it was electric.

“I had also cheered him on when he landed his one and only Grand National on Don't Push It. I wasn't on the winner that day but I was cheering him on nonetheless.

“He's a great ambassador, the very best in sporting excellence''

Irish News marketing manager John Brolly added: "AP McCoy's record is simply incredible which was driven by a man who had a burning desire to win.

“It will be fascinating to hear first hand the passion that provided Anthony with the motivation to keep going and wanting to keep winning. AP McCoy is a sporting icon and we are delighted to have him speak at our awards night."

In a glittering career, AP McCoy raced over 16,000 times before retiring in April 2015, bowing out of the sport after being crowned champion jockey for the 20th consecutive time.

The avid Arsenal fan was presented with the champion’s trophy by former Gunners striker Ian Wright. McCoy, who has held the title since 1996, is the only man to have lifted that trophy, and is now allowed to keep it permanently.

He landed the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice, on Master Mulligan in 1997 and Synchronised in 2012 and the Champion Hurdle on Make A Stand (1997), Brave Inca (2006) and Binocular (2010).

It looked as though the Grand National might end up being the one that got away, but in 2010 – at the 15th times of asking – McCoy finally won the famous Aintree race on Don't Push It.

In the same year, he came the first jockey to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

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