Tony McCoy ‘flattered’ by statue to his honour at Cheltenham
Legendary jockey partnered 31 winners at the famous festival during an epic career
Tony McCoy looks on with his family as a statue of himself is unveiled during Champion Day of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham. Photograph: Harry Trump/Getty Images
Anthony McCoy was left “very honoured and flattered” as a statue was put up in his honour at Cheltenham.
The bronze figure of the retired 20-times champion jockey, which was crafted by Dublin-based sculptor Paul Ferrier, was unveiled in front of racegoers in the Best Mate Plaza before racing on Tuesday.
During his long and successful career McCoy, 42, who is now part of the ITV racing team, partnered 31 winners at the Festival, which included two victories in the Gold Cup and three Champion Hurdle successes.
McCoy said: “I can only say a huge thank you to Cheltenham. It was 20 years to this week when I won the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup and I had my first ride here in 1994. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have a statue put up in my honour.
“A lot of my friends say the statue has more personality than I have. I’m very honoured. I can say a huge thanks to Paul Ferrier who did this as he has made it just like me.
“I feel very honoured and flattered by it.”
He said: “It’s a lovely tribute. I’m very proud of it and delighted he is honoured in this way. It’s very special. I can’t think of anybody that deserves it more.
“It’s unbelievable that Cheltenham have honoured him this way and I feel very proud for him and his family. We miss him, but thankfully he retired on his own terms.
“They [winners] were all special, but I think to win the Gold Cup was very special. I’ve only won one of them, but it is pride of place in my house.”
Trainer Jonjo O’Neill, whom McCoy worked closely with during the latter stages of his career, echoed the views of McManus in praising it as a fitting honour to the multiple champion jockey.
He said: “He fully deserved it. He is a brilliant man. We had a lot of good fun together and really had some great times. He is a magic man. I just wished he had kept on a bit longer. There won’t be another like him in our time.
“He was brilliant on Wichita Lineman and Synchronised and those are just two I can remember. The good thing about him was he was the same whether he was at Fakenham or Cartmel or here.
“He gave them the full treatment and it was always great to see him pull one out of the bag – that’s the difference between a great jockey and a jockey.”