Sports Personality Horse Racing Football By Sir Anthony McCoy

Someone said ‘it’s not important whether you win or lose.’ Whoever said that probably lost.

Someone said ‘it’s not important whether you win or lose.’ Whoever said that probably lost.

The Juddmonte International is a mouth-watering clash and I know that people will have different opinions. The star attraction was always going to be Golden Horn. He is rated equal to Frankel at this stage of his career, but whether he ends up with the rating Frankel ultimately achieved is another matter. If he can manage that he’ll be an amazingly good horse. I know all the lads who rode against Frankel said he was the best they’d ridden against and for Golden Horn to be as good as Frankel is going to take some doing, so we’ll have to wait and see.

On top of that, we’ve got the recent addition of Gleneagles to the race. The last time a Derby winner met a Guineas winner in the Juddmonte International was in 1992 when the Guineas winner, Rodrigo de Triano, beat the Derby winner, Dr Devious. I’m probably going to be one of the very few that thinks Gleneagles might beat Golden Horn. You could say that he looks an out-and-out miler, but I do think he’ll get further and obviously with Galileo being his Dad, it gives him every opportunity and every possibility of staying a mile and a quarter. I’m going to go for the surprise of Gleneagles beating Golden Horn. It’s a fantastic race and a great spectacle for racing. It’s not often you get such a heavyweight clash between potential champion three-year-olds; one probably going to be champion three-year-old miler and one champion three-year-old middle distance horse and they’re meeting in the middle to decide which one’s going to be the best. It’s a proper contest and Gleneagles is the one for me.

Of the others in the race, The Grey Gatsby is a good yardstick and if you beat him you’re a talented horse. Time Test, a winner at Royal Ascot, steps up against two potential champions and if he could improve enough to beat them that would be a surprise. I think Gleneagles can beat Golden Horn and the other two can fight out the positions for third and fourth between them.

For the Nunthorpe, everyone talked about Acapulco being a two-year-old that looked like a four-year-old at Royal Ascot. She’s a big strong filly getting enormous amounts of weight from the other horses and it’s going to be very difficult to give away weight in a sprint like that. Of the older horses, the likes of Muthmir won at Goodwood having been a little disappointing in the July Cup. Sole Power’s a reliable yardstick. If they get a good, fast pace he’ll put up a good show, but I really do think the race is going to be all about Acapulco and I don’t see any reason why I should go against her. She’d be one of my best bets of the meeting at York.

Before we get to York, we’ve got the William Hill Great St Wilfrid at Ripon and I’m going to give you the winner in the shape of Mick Channon’s Shore Step. I thought he ran very well at Goodwood, he’s a horse capable of a little better and can keep improving. Of the others in the race, Don’t Touch of Richard Fahey’s, who’s won all three starts, is definitely an improver and Eccleston from David O’Meara’s is an interesting one. He had six in the race beforehand and now he’s down to Eccleston so must have a lot of faith in him and he’s a trainer who’s done exceptionally well this year. There’s no doubt he’s one to keep on the right side of, but I’m going to go for Shore Step to be the William Hill Great St Wilfrid winner.

The new set up with JP McManus is taking shape. I’ve been lucky to have a very good relationship with JP for the eleven years that I was riding for him and I’m going to continue to have a close interest. Frank Berry will continue to be JP’s Racing Manager and he is very knowledgeable. He was a great help to me when I was riding and he’ll be a great help to Barry I’m sure. There’s a nice team of horses and I think we’d like to make it better together and if I can communicate with a few of the trainers over here and make Frank’s life a little easier, then that’s the plan.

Obviously there’ll be a lot of horses I’ve ridden in the last year or two that Barry won’t have and I’ll hopefully be able to help him out in some shape or form. Barry’s a top class jockey and the riding of the horses will be left very much up to him.

Here’s something I wasn’t expecting to say so soon: I’m watching my weight. It’s all for a good cause, because I’m in training for the Legends race and riding out at Jonjo’s. I’m getting a little bit heavy so I’m riding out to keep fit. I think it’s going to be my one and only experience of riding in a charity race and it wasn’t my intention at all to ever ride, but at the opening of Jack Berry House he asked me if I’d do it. I think he’s raised over half a million pounds and I thought ‘it’s the least I can do’ and obviously hopefully win it! Someone said ‘it’s not important whether you win or lose.’ Whoever said that probably lost, it’s all about winning isn’t it? Whoever said it’s the taking part that counts is full of you-know-what! Being a patron of the Injured Jockeys’ Fund, it’s important I do my little bit to help out.

Being AP is going to premier at the Toronto Film Festival later this year, which is the result of the cameras following me around for the last year of my career. It was something I decided to do mainly for my little boy, Archie, so he’ll be able to look back at it when he’s a little older. I actually enjoyed it and didn’t notice the cameras. The director is Anthony Wonke and he’s won three BAFTAs, so whatever chance I had of looking okay, he was probably my best chance. I don’t think acting is for me though. I don’t have the physique of a Vinnie Jones or the temperament to play the tough guy so not sure what my role would be if I was to go into acting.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear I’ve been golfing a bit. Richard Hughes and I play a lot together, especially at the moment, before he becomes a trainer. We were very lucky to play with Harry Redknapp and Kevin Bond last week. Hughesie and I, well mainly Hughesie, gave Harry and Kevin a good old beating. If Hughesie is as good a trainer as he is a golfer then he’ll do well. Harry was great company, I’ve known him a long time and ridden horses for him. He always has some great stories. None of which I can tell here!

I’ve been in plenty of small planes going from race meeting to race meeting, but this week I had the chance to fly in Paul Bonhomme’s Red Bull plane.

Paul is actually leading the Red Bull race and said “it’ll be much more interesting if you take the controls when we get up there!” It’s amazing being up there doing flips and loop-the-loops, it was mad, you’re thinking ‘is this really alright?’ First time I’ve flown a plane and I was doing loop-the-loops! I’m not a thrill seeker, but it was a real rush and I’d recommend it to everyone. Great, great fun.

I better finish with Arsenal! Awful is the only way I can describe that opening day game. I know Cech got plenty of stick, but the lads at the back have to take some of the blame. The only bit of hope I had is that Chelsea only drew. I like the idea of giving Chambers or Gabriel a go at the back. I still think we are a striker short, a Benzema or whoever short. It was only the first game of the season, but they better not do that again!