Thursday, March 5, 2015 – The last race of The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse next week 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.
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.