‘It will give the birds somewhere to sit’: AP McCoy statue to be unveiled at Cheltenham

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  • A life-size bronze statue of Sir AP McCoy will be unveiled at Cheltenham during the Festival.

    It has been made by Dublin-based sculptor Paul Ferriter, whose other works include Cheltenham Gold Cup winner War Of Attrition as well as jockeys Martin and Tim Molony.

    The sculpture, which took six months to make, will stand on the Best Mate Plaza at the northern entrance to the racecourse and will be revealed on Champion Day (14 March).

    “I thought most people got a statue when they were dead! I guess it will give the birds somewhere to sit,” said AP.

    “His dedication to getting it right was really outstanding, from measuring me to videoing me and when I was standing for him.

    “Some of my friends were wondering whether the statue was going to be the old or new me — the 10-stone one or the 12-stone one! Paul has done really well in sculpturing me as a jockey and it was a very enjoyable working with him.

    “I last saw Paul’s work about seven weeks ago, just before it was about to get bronzed and it looked very, very good. I took some videos and showed them to friends who agreed that Paul has really captured my likeness.”

    During his race-riding, AP rode 31 Cheltenham Festival winners, including two Gold Cups and three Champion Hurdles.

    Mr Ferriter said the 20-time champion jump jockey was “very easy to work with and very likeable”.

    “For me, as a sculptor, he was a brilliant subject. AP has a really great face with incredible cheekbones, a great jaw and chin as well as really good hair.

    “He is also a really funny guy and was incredibly obliging throughout the process. In terms of the piece, what I really wanted to try and capture was the kind of intensity that AP has, his total dedication.

    “I have basically produced the classic AP pose – standing with his arms folded and the whip under his arm, with an intense look on his face.

    “It is a pre-race pose, lost in maybe that pre-race anxiety and always looking to the future.”

    AP McCoy statue

    The sculpture was made at Croke Park stadium, where Mr Ferriter’s studio is based. AP also gave him a set of his silks which were then dressed on a mannequin to help with the design.

    “One challenge I did have was the fact AP has changed a lot since he stopped riding,” said Mr Ferriter.

    “So I had to go over old images and photos — I really wanted to get the look he had when he was a jockey and at his racing weight. All of us change over time!”

    Ian Renton, of The Jockey Club, added: “Paul’s work is absolutely outstanding and it will be a great prelude to the Festival when the statue is unveiled to the public before racing on Champion Day.”

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