There was no escaping the Tony McCoy factor at Fakenham races on Friday with the 19-times jump jockey champion on show for the final time at the track.
McCoy had announced his impending retirement a few days earlier – and it was no surprise to find his photo on the front of the Valentine’s Day race card.
True to form this legend of the sport produced two wins and two seconds from his four rides for four different trainers and then departed the scene to three rousing cheers from the packed crowd around the winner’s enclosure.
Clerk of the Course David Hunter saluted his amazing achievements.
“On behalf of this course and racegoers right round the country I thank you for what you have achieved over the past 20 years as champion, both on and off the saddle,” he said.
“I hope you continue to enjoy whatever you do after retiring and as a small token of our appreciation, please accept a bottle of sloe gin, a bottle of champagne and a set of locally made glasses.”
McCoy had to wait until his second ride in the At The Races Novices Hurdle over three miles to record his first win of the day.
On board the odds-on favourite Capard King for Jonjo O’Neill he stayed in touch with long-time leader Twin Barrels under Robert Dunne before making his move up the home straight to pull away by five lengths.
The double came on Nicky Henderson’s six year-old Clean Sheet in the EBF Stallions ‘National Hunt’ Novices Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs.
Always up with the pace the pairing took over from three out and were never challenged despite the attentions of second favourite Chidswell, ridden by Brian Harding.