Racing legend AP McCoy bows out with win on final Fakenham visit
- Credit: Ian Burt
The champion bowed out in style at a blustery Fakenham when AP McCoy's final race at the north Norfolk track produced his 219th winner of the season.
McCoy, soon to be crowned champion jump jockey for the 20th successive campaign, appeared to have waved goodbye to the course two weeks ago when he rode a double.
But the retiring jockey returned yesterday and after three disappointing rides, claimed the King's Lynn Chase under the Lucy Wadham trained 8/11 favourite Artifice Sivola.
However, it was a far from straightforward success. McCoy sent the grey off in front but overjumped the first and only just remained upright. At the second fence the gelding almost refused but after that it was plain sailing.
'It was definitely my last race at Fakenham so it's great to go out with a winner,' McCoy said.
'It's been great that people have turned out to see me ever since I announced my retirement and I'm very flattered by it all.'
Artifice Sivola had finished second on his chasing debut at Plumpton and always looked like winning in a race made up of fully exposed chasers.
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There had been no dream start for McCoy in the day's opener. Although sent off a very short-priced favourite, the champion could do nothing on Lions Charge who finished fourth of the five runners.
Bathcounty, a Southwell winner recently, always looked the one to be on and the gelding defied a seven-pound penalty to score well under James Banks at 5/2 for trainer Barry Brennan. Spin Cast showed improvement to finish runner-up.
McCoy also had little chance in the novice hurdle, won at 4/1 by Aviator.
The maiden, making a jumps debut, was given a fine ride by Jack Quinlan who delivered the James Eustace trained gelding perfectly. He pushed the seven-year-old alongside long-time leader Mr Burbidge and Needless Shouting two from home and timed it well to take over at the last flight to beat the market leader.
De Kerry Man, under the hefty burden of 12 stones and five pounds, defied the handicapper to complete a hat-trick of victories when winning the Cromer Chase.
The only ride of the day for Tom Scudamore, the David Bridgwater trained gelding followed up a Fontwell win eight days earlier in grand style.
A Warwick winner in November, De Kerry Man made virtually every yard of the two-and-a-half-mile trip and despite getting tired in the closing stages, held on to beat Dashing George, to win by three-quarters of a length, returned the 1/2 favourite.
There was a stunning performance in the handicap hurdle which went the way of the Suzy Smith trained Azabitmour under Tom O'Brien.
The five-year-old seemed reluctant to race at the start and lost an immediate 12 lengths. However, as the race developed the gelding warmed to the task and with two flights remaining he had the leaders in his sights.
Before the last obstacle O'Brien pushed Azabitmour clear and the 9/2 shot won comfortably after an extraordinary performance.
The finale saw the biggest field of the day with Paul Moloney taking the honours on the Willie Musson trained Bold Adventure, returned at 18/1. It proved a dramatic affair with Aviador crashing out when going well.
The next meeting at Fakenham is on Friday, March 13, starting at 2.20pm.