Cheltenham Racecourse is pleased to announce that a statue of Sir AP McCoy will be unveiled on the opening day of The Festival, Champion Day, Tuesday 14th March 14.
The lifesize bronze of record-breaking legendary jockey, Sir AP McCoy, will be situated on the Best Mate Plaza by the north entrance to the racecourse.
It was crafted by Dublin-based sculptor Paul Ferriter, who boasts an extensive portfolio including the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner War Of Attrition and leading golfers.
Ferriter also produced the statue of jockeys Martin and Tim Molony, which is situated at Limerick Racecourse.
Sir AP McCoy, who retired from the saddle at the end of the 2014/15 season, was the most successful jockey Jump racing has ever known.
He was champion Jump jockey a record 20 times, taking the title every season between 1995/96 and 2014/15, and partnered an incredible 4,358 Jump winners during his career.
His 31 successes at The Festival included two Cheltenham Gold Cups (1997 Mr Mulligan & 2012 Synchronised) as well as three Champion Hurdles (1997 Make A Stand, 2006 Brave Inca & 2010 Binocular).
He is now a pundit for ITV Racing, an ambassador to Randox Health, sponsor of the Grand National at Aintree and the County Hurdle at The Festival, and remains a member of owner JP McManus’s team.
Sir AP McCoy said: “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.
“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.
“His dedication to getting it right was really outstanding, from measuring me to videoing me and when I was standing for him.
“I thought most people got a statue when they were dead! I guess it will give the birds somewhere to sit.”
Ferriter commented: “Sir AP McCoy 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.
“I met AP a few times and went over to his house to take some videos and measurements. I actually produced the sculpture at Croke Park stadium, Ireland’s national stadium, as that is where my studio is situated. AP also gave me a set of his silks which I took back to the studio and set up on a mannequin.
“AP came over at Christmas to look at the clay model I had produced. He liked what he saw. He was followed by Ian Renton from Cheltenham, who also liked what he saw. It is important for me to get the green light from the client at the clay model stage before I cast it up.
“I started out by making a smaller two-foot version, which I then enlarged to life size for the final product.
“One challenge I did have was the fact AP has changed a lot since he stopped riding. 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!
“It was a six-month project from start to finish. I will be at Cheltenham for every day of The Festival and am very much looking forward to the statue being unveiled on Champion Day.”
Ian Renton, Regional Director, Cheltenham & The South West, The Jockey Club, added: “The achievements of Sir AP McCoy are truly outstanding and we are proud to recognise them with this permanent tribute at the Home of Jump Racing.
“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.”