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AP McCoy looking to bow out of Cheltenham Festival on a high

Today marks the end of an era with Tony McCoy’s final day riding at the Cheltenham Festival and the pressure will somewhat be off after his fantastic front running ride on Uxizandre in the Ryanair Chase, but he holds a good book of rides heading by the John Kiely trained Carlingford Lough in the Gold Cup who has taken a strange route which has brought him here.

It took him over a season to win his first race over fences but he did it with a bang when strongly backed into favouritism in the 2013 Galway Plate. Because he hadn’t secured a win over fences the previous season, he was still a novice so connections then decided to follow that route and he won twice at Grade One level, the first of those being at Leopardstown where he got the better of Morning Assembly and the second at the Punchestown Festival when disposing of Ballycasey.

We have only seen him twice this season, both of those occasions at Leopardstown. The first run coming in the Lexus where he travelled well and looked to come to win the race before looking as though he needed the run. That was proven in the Irish Hennessy where he beat Foxrock and last year’s Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere who finished in third a well earned third place.

He goes on any ground so the current rain shouldn’t really inconvienience him but the concern is whether his jumping will stand up around Cheltenham, especially after his run in last year’s RSA Chase where he jumped poorly when sixth behind O’Faolains Boy. Even last time out at Leopardstown, he did make a few mistakes, most notably at the second last. If he can find a bit more improvement, it would be no surprise to see him in the winners enclosure.