AP McCoy prepares for last ride in Cheltenham Gold Cup

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport, Cheltenham
Tony McCoy
AP McCoy rode Synchronised to Gold Cup glory in 2012 but Davy Russell guided Lord Windermere to victory last year
Cheltenham Festival 2015
Feature race: Gold Cup (15:20 GMT).
Coverage: Every race on BBC Radio 5 live or 5 live Sports extra
Going, non-runners and results

Retiring 19-time champion AP McCoy will ride Carlingford Lough as he competes in jump racing's showpiece Cheltenham Gold Cup for the final time on Friday.

McCoy, a winner on Uxizandre on Thursday, will face 15 rivals with wet conditions expected for the big race.

The ground is Good to Soft after 5mm of rain overnight, with more expected before the Gold Cup (15:20 GMT).

Silviniaco Conti, trained by Paul Nicholls, heads the field, along with Djakadam for Willie Mullins.

Last year's winner Lord Windermere and 2013 victor Bobs Worth return.

Other contenders include Hennessy Gold Cup winner Many Clouds, Irish hopeful Road To Riches, plus novice Coneygree and two-time Festival winner Holywell.

Can McCoy go out on a winner?

AP McCoy
AP McCoy rode his first winner of his final Cheltenham Festival on 16-1 show Uxizandre in the Ryanair Chase

The 40-year-old Northern Irishman broke his duck for the 2015 meeting at the 12th attempt, with Thursday's victory in the Ryanair Chase.

His wife Chanelle said: "It's unique here. The buzz of the winner's enclosure - he just wanted that feeling one more time."

McCoy, the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year who has ridden more than 4,300 winners in his career, announced last month he would retire by the end of the season, which concludes on 25 April.

He won the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup the following day at Leopardstown on Carlingford Lough, trained by John Kiely, for owner JP McManus.

His last ride at the home of jump racing will be at 17:15 GMT on Ned Buntline in the race named after him.

AP McCoy's final Cheltenham rides
TimeHorseTrainerApprox oddsRace
1330HargamNicky Henderson6-1JCB Triumph Hurdle
1405Princely ConnThomas Mullins14-1County Hurdle
1440Fletchers FlyerHarry Fry16-1Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
1520Carlingford LoughJohn Kiely10-1Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup
1715Ned BuntlineNoel Meade5-1AP McCoy Grand Annual Chase

Nicholls seeks fifth Gold Cup win

Silviniaco Conti
Gold Cup favourite Silviniaco Conti

Eight-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls dominated the Gold Cup a few years ago with his steeplechasing greats Kauto Star and Denman, who were in neighbouring boxes at his Somerset stables.

After their retirement, he has enjoyed two wins in the festive jump racing highlight, the King George VI Chase at Kempton, with the talented Silviniaco Conti.

But his ante-post favourite needs to improve on a record at the track - which reads third, fell, fourth - albeit he had a big chance when falling late on in the Gold Cup two years ago.

Nicholls believes he can do better, and has also been keen to stress the each-way chance of stablemate Sam Winner.

What's the weather?

Betting on the Gold Cup is likely to be affected by the rain, with a change in the going potentially affecting the chances of horses who prefer particular ground.

So for example, Djakadam - the mount of all-time leading Festival jockey Ruby Walsh - is thought likely to appreciate softer conditions.

However, ante-post favourite Silviniaco Conti could find it tougher to see out the three-and-a-quarter-mile trip.

His stablemate Sam Winner was being backed on Friday morning, while Houblon Des Oubeaux could be an interesting outsider at about 50-1.


Run at 3.20pm on Friday, March 13

1 Bobs Worth (IRE) Nicky Henderson 11st 10lb Barry Geraghty

2 Boston Bob (IRE) Willie Mullins IRE 11st 10lb Paul Townend

3 Carlingford Lough (IRE) John Kiely IRE 11st 10lb A P McCoy

4 Coneygree Mark Bradstock 11st 10lb Nico de Boinville

5 Djakadam (FR) Willie Mullins IRE 11st 10lb Ruby Walsh

6 Don Cossack NON-RUNNER

7 Holywell (IRE) (Blinkers) Jonjo O'Neill 11st 10lb Richie McLernon

8 Home Farm (IRE) Henry de Bromhead IRE 11st 10lb David Casey

9 Houblon des Obeaux (FR) Venetia Williams 11st 10lb Aidan Coleman

10 Lord Windermere (IRE) Jim Culloty IRE 11st 10lb Davy Russell

11 Many Clouds (IRE) Oliver Sherwood 11st 10lb Leighton Aspell

12 On His Own (IRE) (Sheepskin C/P) Willie Mullins IRE 11st 10lb Mr Patrick Mullins

13 River Choice (FR) NON-RUNNER

14 Road To Riches (IRE) Noel Meade IRE 11st 10lb Bryan Cooper

15 Sam Winner (FR) (Tongue Strap, Sheepskin C/P) Paul Nicholls 11st 10lb Sam Twiston-Davies

16 Silviniaco Conti (FR) (Sheepskin C/P) Paul Nicholls 11st 10lb Noel Fehily

17 Smad Place (FR) Alan King 11st 10lb Wayne Hutchinson

18 The Giant Bolster (Hood, Visor) David Bridgwater 11st 10lb Tom Scudamore