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Monday, 28 May 2012

A P McCoy, Sweet Prince, and Me

I never was one for name dropping. Oh all right, I once spent a week swimming in the nude with a very famous actor. Ain’t saying who, but perfectly true, as dropping names along with trunks might land me in the law courts. But I am gonna drop one name. Tony McCoy. A P McCoy as he is known in the horseracing game. Superstar, legend, fifteen times NH Champion, and runaway winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the year. Can’t remember when but it must have been after he won the Grand National at his fifteenth attempt (Don’t Push It) as jockeys rarely get the recognition they deserve. Met him last Friday, chatted, had a photo with him, and left thinking what a nice chap he is. Hope he thought the same of me. I mean, let’s face it, I may not be a legend but I know at least three folks who reckon I am only nine pence short of a shilling.
I met the nice and helpful Mr McCoy because he rode a friend’s horse in a race at Towcester last Friday. It wasn’t Cheltenham or Aintree and the race (a NH bumper) won’t register on the great scheme of horseracing things. But A P McCoy, racing legend in case you have forgotten, gave our party the lowdown both before and after the race. So pleasant and informative you would have thought he was riding the favourite in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The horse, Sweet Prince, finished third and we were all delighted. Will never be an Alberta’s Run (see blog profile) but will give its delightful owner a lot of fun when it enters the world of handicapping hurdling. Being trained by Jonjo O’Neill (another racing legend) there was always the possibility that AP (don’t take me long to get familiar) would one day ride him. But in his second race? In a bumper? At Towcester? That’s a bit like Colin Firth turning up for a cameo at Harpenden Hall or Wayne Rooney having a fling with Luton Town FC. As I told one of our non horseracing party, we were in the presence of an icon. She’s a bit deaf and I think she thought I said iron which may explain why she kept admiring my shirt. Light blue and white, colours of the Greek flag and Sweet Prince. I know how to impress racehorse owners. Greece might go belly up but I reckon our five year old, a real trier based on his first two runs, may make his mark. The McCoy factor meant he went off favourite at Towcester (11/4) but he never threatened to win. We didn’t mind. A hot evening, nobody took their clothes off, and we cheered like mad when he plugged on for third. Bit frisky in the winners enclosure for the first three. Reckon he tried to kick me as they showered him with well deserved water. Many would say that our Sweet Prince has taste.
Epsom this week – Derby and Oaks – and then Royal Ascot. Vow and The Fugue should go well for the fillies and fancy a punt on O’Brien’s Astrology in the Derby. My sort of price (20/1) even though Camelot and/or Bonfire both look the real deal. Won’t see Sweet Prince there. Putting his feet up after Huntingdon and Towcester. Much more important. Mr McCoy, legend, superstar, would agree. Roy Hall

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