A P McCoy
McCoy honoured at his last Festival
   

The last race of The 2015 Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse has been renamed to mark A P (Tony) McCoy's final opportunity to ride at The Festival following his decision last month to retire towards or at the end of this season.

The record-breaking feats of the 19-time champion Jump jockey are recognised in the A P McCoy Grand Annual Handicap Chase for the Johnny Henderson Challenge Cup, which is due off at 5.15pm on Gold Cup Day, Friday, March 13.

 ap mccoy

The new name for 2015 has been made in agreement with the Henderson family and is for one year.

The jockey said: "I am honoured that Cheltenham has decided to have the last race of The Festival in my name. It is a privilege and I would also like to thank the Henderson family for sharing the title for this year. I am much looking forward to next week."

McCoy, set to be champion Jump jockey for the 20th consecutive season, has ridden 191 winners to date at Cheltenham, the Home of Jump Racing. That total includes 30 at The Festival which makes McCoy the third most successful jockey ever at the event, that this year runs from Tuesday, March 10 to Friday, March 13 inclusive.

Robert Waley-Cohen, Chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse, commented: "I am delighted that we have been able to rename this year's Grand Annual Handicap Chase after the champion jockey, especially as it will be his last race at The Festival.

"What he has achieved over the past 23 years, not just at The Festival, is phenomenal and to round off The Festival in his name seemed like a fitting tribute."

The Grade Three A P McCoy Grand Annual Handicap Chase for the Johnny Henderson Challenge Cup is an extended two-mile handicap chase for horses aged five and above.

McCoy has been successful in the race three times, thanks to Alderwood (2013), Edredon Bleu (1998) and Kibreet (1996) who was his first winner at The Festival.

About A P McCoy

Anthony Peter McCoy OBE, born on May 4, 1974, is the greatest jump jockey of his era and most would say the greatest of all time.

McCoy started out on his racing career with trainer Billy Rock in Northern Ireland and then tried his luck as a Flat jockey with noted handler Jim Bolger.

After growing too heavy and turning to Jump racing, he has not looked back. He moved to Britain and joined Toby Balding's Hampshire yard prior to the 1994/95 season when he was champion conditional rider.

His first senior title came in 1995/96 season with 174 wins in Britain after linking up with trainer Martin Pipe. His domination has brought 19 consecutive Jump jockey titles and he is about to secure his 20th.

McCoy broke Peter Scudamore's record of 221 Jump wins with 253 successes in the 1997/78 season.

In 2001/02, he beat by 20 the previous record of 269 winners in any season set by Sir Gordon Richards on the Flat.

He became the most successful Jump jockey of all time when passing Richard Dunwoody's tally of 1,699 winners in August, 2002.

In April, 2004, he accepted a retainer from J P McManus and has ridden ever since for the owner whose principal trainer in Britain is Jonjo O'Neill.

McCoy was awarded an MBE in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours and an OBE in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours.

He was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2010 - the only person in racing to achieve this feat.

McCoy tried to ride 300 winners this season. He broke his own records for the fastest 50 and 100 winners but then injury intervened. He announced his impending retirement when partnering his 200th success of 2014/15 on February 7 at Newbury.

1,000th Jumping Win: Majadou, Cheltenham, December 11, 1999.
2,000th Jumping Win: Corporate Player, Wincanton, January 17, 2004.
3,000th Jumping Win: Restless D'Artaix, Plumpton, February 9, 2009.
4,000th Jumping Win: Mountain Tunes, Towcester, November 7, 2013.

He equalled and passed former trainer Martin Pipe's win total of 4,191 in July, 2014.

First Winner: Thurles, Legal Steps, March 26, 1992

First winner in Britain: Exeter, Chickabiddy, September 7, 1994

His 30 winners at The Festival are:

1996   Kibreet Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase

1997   Or Royal  Racing Post Arkle Chase

1997   Make A Stand   Stan James Champion Hurdle

1997   Mr Mulligan Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup

1998   Champleve Racing Post Arkle Chase

1998   Unsinkable Boxer  Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle

1998   Cyfor Malta Cathcart Challenge Cup Chase

1998   Blowing Wind Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle

1998   Edredon Bleu Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase

1999   Hors La Loi III Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle

1999   Majadou  Browne Advisory & Merriebelle Stables Plate Handicap Chase

2000   Edredon Bleu Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase

2002   Royal Auclair Cathcart Challenge Cup Chase

2003   Liberman Weatherbys Champion Bumper

2004   Well Chief   Racing Post Arkle Chase

2006   Brave Inca  Stan James Champion Hurdle

2006   Reveillez CHAPS Restaurants Barbados Novices' Handicap Chase

2006   Black Jack Ketchum  Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle

2007   Wichita Lineman  Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle

2008   Albertas Run  RSA Chase

2009   Wichita Lineman  Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase

2010   Binocular Stan James Champion Hurdle

2010   Albertas Run  Ryanair Chase

2011   Albertas Run  Ryanair Chase

2011   Noble Prince  JLT Novices' Chase

2012   Synchronised Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup

2012   Alderwood  Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle

2013   At Fishers Cross Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle

2013   Alderwood  Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase

2014   Taquin Du Seuil JLT Novices' Chase