AP McCoy makes a winning return to the saddle

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  • The 20-time champion jockey AP McCoy made a triumphant return to the saddle when winning the Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster racecourse today (9 September).

    He partnered the Brendan Powell-trained four-year-old Gannicus to a comfortable win, having started 7-2 favourites in the 16-runner field.

    The annual charity race, held during the St Leger meeting, is for ex-professional jockeys and was last year won by Dale Gibson. AP’s rivals included Luke Harvey, Michael Hills, Jim Culloty and Johnny Murtagh.

    AP was persuaded earlier this year to take on the challenge by Jack Berry from the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) to help raise funds for the charity.

    “I am doing this once, and once only, for Jack Berry — who bullied me into it — to say thank you for all his great work. I said I would do it for him,” said AP following his win. “I don’t think there will be anymore rides, unless JP [McManus] asks me, I would never say no to him!

    “The IJF is such a great cause — it was a very enjoyable day and nice to win,” he added.

    Asked what instructions he undertook from trainer Brendan, AP quipped: “I’ve ridden enough winners for Brendan to know not to listen to him.

    “I wanted to keep it simple and he travelled well. I hoped if I kept him in a good enough position, he’d keep going.”

    AP retired in April at the end of the 2014-15 National Hunt season, in front of a packed crowd at Sandown. He finished on a career tally of 4,348 jumps winners.

    His final ride was aboard the Jonjo O’Neill runner Box Office, owned by JP McManus, in the Bet365 Handicap Hurdle, where he finished third.

    Since his retirement AP has been spotted spectating at Punchestown racecourse in Ireland, which he described as “very weird”.

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