Sandown Preview (16.25): Box Office can prove a hit for McCoy
AP McCoy will have his final ride in what has been a phenomenal career aboard Box Office in the 2m 4f handicap hurdle at Sandown today (16.25), and the gelding looks to hold leading claims of providing a fairytale ending for the record-breaking jockey.
The 40-year-old, who will be crowned champion jockey for the 20th time this afternoon, has rewrote the record books and been a tremendous ambassador the the sport.
He stunned the racing world when announcing in February that he was to retire at the end of the season, and is undoubtedly the greatest jumps jockey the world has ever seen.
In Box Office, he has a horse who has shaped with bags of promise in his last two runs, and is owned by great friend JP McManus.
McCoy has enjoyed terrific success in the famous green and gold colours since becoming McManus’ retained rider in 2004, and it would be a fitting end to a glittering career if the Jonjo O’Neill trained gelding could past the post first.
There is certainly plenty to like about the profile of Box Office, who had some useful form in France before joining O’Neill and has run better than his finishing position suggest in hot contests over 2m 1f at the Cheltenham Festival an Aintree.
In the first of those, Box Office stayed on strongly in eye-catching style to finish a never nearer six length seventh of 22 to Qualando in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.
The four-year-old then put in a similar display when seventh of 21 to Astra De la Cour at Aintree, leaving the distint impression that there was better to come.
Judge on those runs, Box Office will relish the step up in trip and his current mark of 135 looks exploitable given the son of Great Pretender’s unexposed profile.
It also looks as if connections have laid out Box Office to provide McCoy with a dream send off, and I fancy the sporting legend to sign off his career in the only style he knows – as a winner.