Famed Ulster jockey Tony McCoy has confessed that cardiac surgery on his baby son has made the build-up to his 19th Cheltenham Festival the “most difficult” ever.
“I must admit that my personal build-up to this Cheltenham Festival, the 19th of my career, has been the most difficult,” he said on Saturday.
“Yesterday my wife Chanelle and I spent the day in the Portland Hospital with our seven-month-old son Archie, who underwent cardiac surgery.
“As any parent will know the health of their children is paramount. Archie had recently been diagnosed with a bronchial tube narrowing, which was restricting the air flow to and from his lung. At the Portland, he is in the good hands of cardiologist Professor John Deanfield.
“Consequently, though I intend to ride at Sandown today (Saturday), I will not be riding tomorrow or Monday as I will be with Chanelle and Archie in hospital. I would probably have taken the days off to freshen up for Cheltenham anyway.
“Deepest thanks to our friends and family for the great support we have had over this.”
The Cheltenham Festival starts tomorrow.
In November it was revealed that plans were being made at Stormont to hold a reception for the Co Antrim-born competitor after he notched up 4,000 victories.
DUP, UUP and Sinn Fein Assembly members lined up to pay tribute to the Moneyglass native.