Five great rides by Sir Anthony McCoy, five years on from his retirement

Scene from the Supreme 2017.

It has been five years since the best jump jockey ever retired and we have picked out his five best rides.

Don’t Push It

The ride that McCoy will always be remembered for was probably one of the most straightforward of all his 4,358 winners.

But the Grand National is the biggest jumps race in the world, the champion jockey’s 14 previous failures at Aintree meant that all eyes were on him in 2010 and his mount Don’t Push It was a huge public gamble, backed from a morning 25-1 in to 10-1 joint favourite at the off.

McCoy reckoned he “had the race in the bag” after just a mile but there was no complacency in the saddle and he drove the quirky chaser to a decisive success, which sparked scenes of joyous celebration rarely seen on a British racecourse.

Wichita Lineman

If Don’t Push It could be named the winner after a mile, victory for Wichita Lineman looked improbable – bordering on impossible – for all bar the last few yards of the extended 3m William Hill Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in 2009.

Many an other jockey would have pulled up the 5-1 favourite, whose jumping left something  to be desired and who trailed lazily in rear for much of the way.

Another mistake three out appeared to put an end to a slight mid-race revival but McCoy does not accept defeat easily, got him going again and forced his head in front in the last few strides for the most gloriously unlikely of wins.

Pridwell

Beating the mighty Istabraq on any horse was a rare achievement – doing so on the unpredictably tricky Pridwell took a truly masterful ride.

Early on in the Aintree Hurdle in 1998 McCoy was at pains to kid and cajole his mount, a horse who needed to be filled with confidence before he could be called on for his effort.

Having bided his time and won his mount’s trust, McCoy got a huge response when he finally asked him for everything after the final flight and the partnership scored a famous victory over the Champion Hurdle winner who was still a head adrift at the line.

Hennessy

McCoy had a habit of making the impossible become more-than-plausible, even after sweating in the sauna to make the 10st 7lb that Hennessy was set to carry in the Whitbread Gold Cup in 2009.

The effort to beat the scales looked to have been in vain as his mount struggled to keep tabs on the front runners for much of the way and still trailed the leaders by around six lengths as he headed to the final fence in fourth place.

Yet no cause was ever lost with McCoy in the plate and sheer force of will seemed to drive Hennessy on, so that he inexorably closed the gap on the long run-in and hit the front on the line for an astonishing success.

Champleve

Few of McCoy’s wins were secured so narrowly nor took so much effort from the saddle as that on Champleve in the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham in 1998.

Indeed, the judge had to call for a print of the photo-finish before announcing that “AP” had done enough to hold off his big rival Richard Dunwoody on Hill Society, straining every sinew on the flat to get the verdict by the shortest of short heads.

Nor was it just a test of strength. He got a fine round of jumping out of a five-year-old who had made his chasing debut only a month and a half earlier, sat tight after his only mistake three out and timed his dash for home perfectly so that he had just enough left to hold on in front.

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