AP McCOY GRAND ANNUAL HANDICAP CHASE
THERE was no fairytale winning end to AP McCoy's last ride at the Cheltenham festival on Friday but the 20-time champion jockey received a tremendous reception with cheers and applause from the huge crowd ringing out hard and loud around the packed enclosure.
the champion placed fourth on Noel Meade's Ned Buntline who held on bravely despite being badly hampered by an early faller.
There was joy for brothers Tom and Michael Scudamore when 16/1 winner Next Sensation clinched the win.
The eight-year-old finished fourth behind Savello in this race last year after going off too quickly under Richard Johnson but his jockey this time around, Tom Scudamore, gave him a perfect ride as the pair recorded a four-length victory.
"It's great to ride a winner at The Festival for my brother (trainer Michael Scudamore) but also because we lost Granny and Granddad (former jockey and trainer Michael Scudamore) within a short space of each other over the summer," said the jockey.
"Granddad had been such an integral part of our lives for so long obviously and, if it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be here. It's a shame he's not here but he'll definitely be having a Scotch or two with the likes of Terry Biddlecombe and all the other old jockeys up in heaven.
"Any winner here is extraordinary and I've very lucky to ride for David (Pipe) and my brother. It's great for Mark Blandford (owner) too as he's Michael's godfather and we're all good friends.
"Someone is definitely looking down on us, especially as he tried to take the fourth fence with him and if I'd have come off him there, I'd have got a holy rollicking off Granny.
"He does like to be headstrong up front but I think too much was made of that last year as there was a false start which lit him up and he went off too fast.
"Luckily today, I managed to relax him at the start as he was very keen going down. He settled after he hit the fourth and now he's grown up a bit.
Scudamore also paid tribute to the soon to be retired McCoy.
I don't mind sharing the stage with AP," said Scudamore. "The cheers when he came in said it all. I'll miss riding against him enormously. I'm not going to miss being beaten by him though! To have had the pleasure of riding against him and competing against him has been an absolute privilege."