AP McCoy: There Should Be An Allowance For Women Jockeys
In his latest blog for William Hill, 20-time Champion Jockey AP McCoy talks about American Pharoah, his new role as a Channel 4 Racing pundit and the passing of racing great Pat Eddery.
Lester Piggott called him a ‘genius’ and said he was the most competitive man to ride against, but was a good bloke with it. His record speaks for itself. Only Sir Gordon Richards has ridden more winners than Pat Eddery.
He’s the only jockey I’ve ever known who was called ‘God’ in the weighing room. He rode for all the big stables and all the big owners. He had his own unique style; it was different, but it was brilliant. He just had the Midas touch that very few sportspeople have. They have that very instinctive nature that makes them better than everybody else. He had that in abundance. He also had what all great sportspeople have – that great work ethic. He wasn’t just a big race jockey, he went seven days a week. It’s a huge loss and very sad that he died at such a young age. Too many people get called a legend and the word gets thrown around lightly, but Pat Eddery was a legend.
Looking back on the Breeders’ Cup, we saw two very good horses in the Turf. It shows what a good filly Found is and what a classy and tough horse Golden Horn has been. He went to every fight. The debate has been raised about the use of Lasix with Found and, whilst everyone will have their own opinion, I think that if you’re allowed to use them and they’re an advantage to you, why shouldn’t you? If I was training and it was legal, I’d give them every aid they could get. Obviously all horses are different and some will react to Lasix better than others. I’m sure there can be after effects for horses that do run on Lasix that might make people think otherwise.
American Pharoah is brilliant for racing. I remember after he won the Triple Crown, Helen Mirren referenced him when she won a Tony Award and his profile is brilliant for the sport. He’s the first horse to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine and it is a big thing. The fact that he won the Grand Slam, adding the Breeders’ Cup Classic to his Triple Crown, is a phenomenal achievement and he broke the track record. He’s the most famous racehorse in the World and the sport needs that. You need a Frankel or a Kauto Star or an American Pharoah – They’re what gets people talking about the sport in a positive way.
That wasn’t necessarily the case with Michelle Payne’s comments after the Melbourne Cup. It was brilliant for her to win the race and tactically she gave Prince Of Penzance a brilliant ride, but I’m not sure that was the time to call racing a chauvinistic sport. The female jockeys are very, very competent riders but perhaps a woman should receive an allowance like a filly does in a race. It’s a very physically demanding sport and they’re not going to be as physically strong as a bloke. They can’t be. Tactically they can be as good but if it comes down to strength in a finish, a woman is not going to be as strong as a man. There aren’t many sports where women compete against men and on a day to day basis are women as physically strong as men? No they’re not. It’s just fact.
The Open Meeting is coming up and I’ll be kicking off with some dressage in the parade ring. Yogi Breisner, the Head Coach of the British Olympic Team, asked me to do it. I’ve done some work with Yogi over the years to teach horses how to jump properly. I can’t dance myself, so I don’t know how I’m going to get a horse to dance! We’ll give it a go though and try and raise money for the British Olympic Team. Being on the back of a horse at Cheltenham to do dressage will be different, though it will be a bit safer at least. I think that will be the last time I’m on the back of a horse in the Cheltenham parade ring anyway.
It’s also my first stint on Channel 4 and whilst it’s obviously something new I’m looking forward to it. I’m not sure everyone is going to agree with my outlook on racing, but there you go. I hope I enjoy it and I get to do it for a bit longer. I might know half of the weighing room, but I’ll just be telling the truth the way I see it. I’m not going to be going into the business of going on television to slate lads, I’m just going to tell the truth as I see it. My motto in life is ‘you’ll never go far wrong telling the truth. ‘
I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing More Of That make his chase debut at the meeting on the Friday, providing the ground is okay. He seems to be back in good shape, he looks to be more himself and hopefully he can be back to the form he showed when he won the World Hurdle.
The Paddy Power Gold Cup is a race I’m looking forward to as well. It will be interesting to see who the Pipes run in the race given their record. Sometimes it takes a very progressive horse to win it – Imperial Commander, Our Vic, Exotic Dancer and the like. There are lots of proper good horses that have won the race and sometimes you might see a Gold Cup horse. The majority of the time you need a Grade One horse running in a handicap.
We might also see the return of Sprinter Sacre in the Schloer Chase. He’s as good a two mile chaser as we’ve ever seen and it will be interesting to see whether they can get him back again. I did see him recently and he looks a lot better so never say never.
This Saturday is also the start of The Jumps competition and I’ve got my ten picked out.
- Alvisio Ville – Big reputation from the Willie Mullins yard last year, didn’t fulfil his potential but hopefully he will this year.
- Aux Ptits Soins – A very good winner of the Coral Cup at Cheltenham last year. He could be a World Hurdle horse this year and I think he’s one to keep an eye on.
- Don Cossack – I won on him at Aintree last season, he won at Punchestown and I think he can go to the very top.
- Faugheen – probably very well named ‘the machine’ having remained unbeaten in all ten starts. He’s going to be very difficult to beat and looks the Champion Hurdle winner already.
- Free Expression – a very good Novice Hurdler. He had a slight problem when beaten at Naas last time but could be a very good Novice Chaser.
- Kings Palace – could be a horse for the early season handicap chases.
- More Of That – A former winner of the World Hurdle. He was disappointing last year but I think he can make up into a top class Novice Chaser this season.
- My Tent Or Yours – Was a runner up in the Champion Hurdle two seasons ago. Had a year off and could win this seasons Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdle.
- Vroom Vroom Mag – Probably the best novice chasing mare in training last season. I think she’s a horse that Willie Mullins will lay out for the Hennessey and I think she could be very difficult to beat
- Yanworth – I rode him in the Cheltenham Bumper last season when he finished fourth. Alan King’s very happy with him saying ‘he’s showing a lot more speed.’ He could be a very good Novice Hurdler.
You can enter The Jumps in shop from Midday on Saturday 14th November.