Record-breaking jockey AP McCoy immortalised in bronze
Life-size statue of legendary jump jockey to be unveiled at Cheltenham next week
Sculptor Paul Ferriter (in blue) directs Ciaran Patterson and Sandor Prsa putting the finishing touches to a bronze statue of AP McCoy. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
A muddied Tony McCoy at Chepstow racecourse in 2013. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
As the greatest jump jockey of all time, AP McCoy seemed to expand the bounds of human endurance.
He has broken legs, arms, collarbones, ribs, cheekbones, wrists and shoulder blades in accumulating 4,358 wins and 20 champion jockey titles in his incredible career.
He achieved all that despite being, at 5ft 10 inches, too tall according to the conventional wisdom to be a jockey.
Coupled with McCoy’s insatiable desire to win was a monastic existence. He spent his years as a jockey effectively starving himself to keep his weight down.
This version of McCoy will not break bones or starve himself, but Ferriter said he has tried to retain the former jockey’s best-known trait – his intensity.
McCoy retired last year at the age of 41. Mr Ferriter said he spent time with McCoy in Galway and his home in Lamborn in England getting his dimensions correct with one significant added detail.
The bronze McCoy is depicted at his weight as a jockey which was 10 stone. The real McCoy has put on two stone since he gave up his notorious regime.
The statue was commissioned by the Jockey Club in the UK and will be shipped to England next week in time for the festival. It will find a permanent home at the north entrance to the racecourse.
“It is a privilege to be asked to sculpt AP,” said Ferriter. Previously he has done bronze castings of golfer Jack Nicklaus and the racehorse War of Attrition at the request of Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary.
Ferriter said: “I got to hang out with him [McCoy] quite a bit. He’s a very likeable guy. I took measurements and video footage. We even played a few rounds of golf which was fun.
“He has got a very interesting face. He has got great cheekbones. He was very easy to work with. I think I have really captured the intensity in his face.”
He made a small version and showed it to both McCoy and Ruby Walsh who voiced their approval. The last act was carried out on Wednesday when the statue was patinated with blow torches to give it a sheen.
McCoy has already signalled his approval, stating he felt “honoured and privileged” to be cast in bronze.