Life can be tough...
Life can be tough sometimes and last week Tony McCoy theworlds most successful National Hunt Jockey of all time experienced both thehighs and lows of horseracing.
McCoy, 17 times Champion Jump Jockey of the UK, travellednorth to Doncaster last Monday to partner Darlan in a champion hurdle preprace. Darlan was an up and coming young horse who had won his previous start,the Xmas Hurdle at Kempton, with contemptuous ease and when he came to the last flight he looked as if hewas going to do the same thing again.
But then disaster! The horse caught the top of the hurdleand suffered a fatal fall.
McCoy who was thrown clear was visibly shaken by the sightof his horse on the ground and although the vets were quickly on the scenethere was nothing anyone could do and the champion jockey, the tough on thetrack, struck a lonely figure as he trudged back to the weighing room.
Ive seen McCoy suffer some bone crunching falls over theyears and although they must have hurt this incident seemed to hurt him harderbecause jockeys love their horses and to lose such a good horse in suchshattering circumstances was like a thumping body blow!
Of course as anyone will tell you after such a disasteryouve got to pick yourself up and keep going and by Saturday things had turnedaround 100 per cent!
McCoy was at Newbury to partner the lovely named My Tent orYours again for his retaining owner JPMcManus, the Irish born but Geneva based Irish multi millionaire, and togetherthey turned the ultra competitive 100,000 Betfair Hurdle into a right royalprocession!
My Tent or Yours had only won a small novice hurdle atHuntingdon albeit very impressively but he was taking on seasoned and hardto beat handicappers here but he cruised through and had the race won turninginto the home straight!
Whether this made up for the loss of Darlan I doubt but itmust have made McCoy feel a little better and he continues on his quest toreach 4,000 winners which he should do if everything goes according to plansometime early next year!
Gary Stevens who like McCoy is made of very stern stuff andincredible ability showed just why he decided to come out of retirement at theage of 49 when partnering Slim Shadey to win the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes atSanta Anita on Sunday.
Steven who has ridden over 4,000 winners was forced toretire because of a knee problem but with that behind him the former DubaiWorld Cup winning jockey looks to have everything going for him again and itwould be great to see him back in Dubai riding on Dubai World Cup Night!
Stevens who played the iceman in the film Seabiscuit isenjoying his new lease of life and it was good to see him winning such a toprace on a horse trained by Englishman Simon Callaghan in the colours of hisenthusiastic and also English born owner breeder Phil Cunningham.
Its a long way from California to Dubai but Slim Shadey isa tough campaigner and if he does come over and win one of the races on DubaiWorld Cup night then that would be some story for the iceman!
Talking of ice weve got plenty of that and snow here inNewmarket and Ill be seeing more of the same in Switzerland this weekend whenI fly over to St Moritz where they race on a frozen lake!
Its incredible to think they can race on such a surface andthe horses need special shoes for extra grip and apart from being very cold thejockeys face a big kickback of hard snow!
However UK based trainer George Baker is loving every minuteof it because his horse Ancient Greece has won the big races on both Sundays sofar.
This unique meeting which attracts crowds of 30,000 draws toa close this Sunday with the first running of the Sheikh Mansour ArabianChallenge when 12 top lady jockeys partner Arabian horses in a race around thefrozen lake!
It,promises to be quite a sight and quite a challenge forboth horse and rider!
Finally thankyou to everyone who has sent me a well donemessage following the news that Id beaten the dreaded Big C!
After 6 months of chemo it was quite simply from the doctorat Addenbrokes youre all clear andgood to go !
Ill never forget those simple words!
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