Sir Anthony McCoy came out of retirement to win the Pat Smullen Champions Race For Cancer Trials Ireland on board Quizical. The 45-year-old 20-times champion jumps jockey retired in April 2015, but returned to ride on the Sheila Lavery-trained four-year-old in the one-mile contest at The Curragh on Sunday.
And, despite top-weight, McCoy edged out good friend Ruby Walsh on board Aussie Valentine to claim victory in the race which was to raise funds for Dermot Weld’s former stable jockey, Smullen, who is undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.
Afterwards, McCoy said: “I’m very proud to be here today racing for a great cause. “We can be very proud of horse racing in general in Ireland. The stable staff, racegoers, owners, trainers, jockeys – everyone has given so much support to the amazing man that Pat Smullen is.
“Pat is a special person and a great friend to us all. Unfortunately it’s tough and sad circumstances what we’re doing today, but it just shows you what a brilliant sport this is.” He added: “I genuinely always thought I was going to win!
No, seriously, you want to compete against the very best, that is what sport is all about, and these are the best jockeys we are ever likely to see. “I said I would never ride in a horse race ever again and I meant it, but I’m glad I did today. You want to compete against the best and that is what has made this special. “I got on the best horse and that’s what counts.”