AP McCoy’s mother says she will be ‘delighted’ to see him quit horse racing.
The riding prodigy has previously indicated he will step aside from the sport early if he secures a victory in Saturday’s Grand National.
On Friday, his 70-year-old mother Claire said she expects he will live up these words, adding that his wife Chanelle probably “can’t wait ’til he gets out of it” either – largely due to concerns over his safety.
While much of the country will be watching the feted Ulsterman ride his horse Shutthefrontdoor out of the box at Aintree at 4.15pm, Claire told the News Letter she will not be among them.
She is not attending the race in person, and will be too nervous to watch the start of it on TV – opting instead to wait for the horses to slow down a bit before tuning in.
Asked why she is not travelling to England for the spectacle, she told the News Letter: “Oh I never would go. I’d never dream of going to the like of that. I couldn’t cope with that.”
She said her nerves were a combination of hoping that he wins, and hoping that he simply gets around the course unscathed.
She noted that there are 39 horses in the race, and imagined how tough it would be for him to fall from a front runner and then be forced to watch as “they’re all galloping over the top of you”.
“I just couldn’t cope with watching it,” she said.
“I’m not the only one. Every jockey’s parent, and every trainer, and every owner must have those butterflies in their stomachs.
“They’re more like wasps in mine today. Hopefully he’ll get round safely.”
Mr McCoy had already pledged to quit by the end of this current racing season.
Then last month, Channel 4 News asked whether he would bring the date of his retirement forward if he finishes first in the Grand National.
Mr McCoy (who is also known by his Christian name Tony as well as the initials AP) said: “I think it will probably be the right thing to do. I think I’ll probably stop there and then.”
He had already won the Grand National once, in 2010.
If he fails to secure victory this time then he will reportedly continue for another couple of weeks, with a race at Sandown on April 25 expected to be his last.
Claire confirmed yesterday that, if he wins the National, she expects it to be his last-ever performance.
Asked how she would feel about it, the retired Post Office worker said: “I’d be delighted. I’d be absolutely delighted.
“It’s sad too. We’ve had 20 very good years out of racing with him. And we’ve met some brilliant people through racing.
“You’ve all that – you have all those memories, and it’s lovely to have those memories.
“But that’s how life goes. All careers come to an end at some stage. It’s the right time for him, so it is.”
She said she would be pleased to see him out of harm’s way.
But what would he do next?
“I haven’t got a clue, and I think he hasn’t got a clue,” she replied.
“He just doesn’t seem to know as yet what he’s going to do now.
“But he’s very focussed and whatever he will do, he’ll be equally as focussed; whatever job he takes on.
“It won’t be training – I can’t see him training... He’s extremely like his father. He’s very professional in what he does, and everything has to be right.
“He’s very punctual, he’s very strict with his diet, he’s extremely focussed.
“You’d have to be living with him to realise how focussed he is – how very strict he would be with himself.”
While she will be at home in Moneyglass with husband Peadar (a 75-year-old retired joiner) during the race, some of his siblings will be at Aintree in person.
“I’ll watch bits of it,” said Claire.
“I’ll not watch the start of it. I can’t handle the start of it; you know that roar, over that first jump? Oh my God!
“When they settle down a bit, and don’t seem to be going so fast, you can watch it a bit better. It’s not an easy watch, now.
“I’d sort of go in and out from the kitchen to the living room. But I don’t think I’ll watch the beginning of it.”
As for whether she will have any money riding on her son, she said: “Oh no, I don’t bet at all. I wouldn’t have a clue how to bet.”
On November 7, 2013, AP McCoy became the first jockey in history to reach the milestone of 4,000 jump race wins.
Three years earlier, he had been named BBC Sports Personality of the Year – the same year that he was accorded an OBE.