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Ryanair Chase
Grade 1, Cheltenham 14:40
£300,000 added,
5yo plus,
2m 5f, Class 1  
Thursday 12th March 2015

1 Uxizandre 16/1
2 Ma Filleule 5/1
3 Don Cossack 5/2
14 ran Distances: 5l, 3¼l, 2¾l
TIME 5m 1.10s (fast by 5.90s)

Uxizandre
© Racehorse Photos

Uxizandre
Trainer Alan King was delighted after Uxizandre gave A P McCoy a Festival winner ahead of his retirement in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham this afternoon.

The 19-time champion jockey gave the 16/1 shot a perfect ride from the front and the pair had plenty left in the tank to repel the challenge of runner-up Ma Filleule as the pair battled up the hill, eventually prevailing by five lengths.

"That was grand," said King.

"He just lost his way on the soft ground in the winter and the better ground has helped him a lot. A P has given him a wonderful ride, the visor has probably helped as well. It all felt right. When he's on song, he can go a right gallop and get horses at it. He got into a great rhythm today.

"It was the big hope that back up to two and a half, he could show what he could do. It's huge for the whole team and I'm delighted to be part of it. The horses have been running well all week but there's nothing like having a winner at The Festival.

"It's great to be part of the whole A P thing to. It was a great ride and that's the only way to ride him. We've been trying him over two miles to see if he was a Queen Mother horse and A P came in and said that halfway round, he wished we'd gone for that as he was travelling so well but didn't think he'd last home.

"He was only beaten narrowly last year by A P in a Grade One on Taquin De Seuil (in the JLT Novices' Chase) then he won his Grade One at Aintree - I think the spring ground helps him. Some of his jumping today was quite breathtaking. Bar three out, he's jumped very straight today so I think the visor has helped him. I was quite hopeful turning in as he had most of them at it.

"He won well on soft ground here earlier on in the year but he hated it at Leopardstown. He was running very well at Newbury before unseating at the last and we would have been happy if he had finished second to Mr Mole there. It was then though that we decided to go back up in trip."

King was quick to pay tribute to the role McCoy has played in Jump racing over the years.

"A P has been just phenomenal - we'll never see his like again. The winners, the dedication, the commitment - he's quite remarkable. I'm just pleased to be a very, very small part of it."

£20 Risk Free Bet - Betbright partners

Ryanair Chase (Grade 1)
£300,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 5f, Class 1
14 ran
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey /Weight Trainer Age
1st Uxizandre (FR) 16/1 A P McCoy
11-10
A King 7
2nd 5 Ma Filleule (FR) 5/1 B J Geraghty
11-3
N J Henderson 7
3rd Don Cossack (GER) 5/2f B J Cooper
11-10
G Elliott 8
4th Eduard (IRE) 16/1 Brian Harding
11-10
N G Richards 7
5th 4 Johns Spirit (IRE) 8/1 R P Mclernon
11-10
Jonjo O'Neill 8
6th 10 Hidden Cyclone (IRE) 12/1 Andrew J McNamara
11-10
J J Hanlon 10
7th Balder Succes (FR) 7/1 W Hutchinson
11-10
A King 7
8th 8 Wonderful Charm (FR) 16/1 S Twiston-Davies
11-10
P F Nicholls 7
9th Taquin Du Seuil (FR) 14/1 N D Fehily
11-10
Jonjo O'Neill 8
10th s.h Third Intention (IRE) 66/1 D A Jacob
11-10
C L Tizzard 8
11th 12 Double Ross (IRE) 66/1 Ryan Hatch
11-10
N A Twiston-Davies 9
12th 9 Foxrock (IRE) 12/1 A P Heskin
11-10
T M Walsh 7
PU Ballycasey (IRE) 22/1 R Walsh
11-10
W P Mullins 8
PU Wishfull Thinking 28/1 R Johnson
11-10
P J Hobbs 12

Mighty McCoy gets one on the board with Uxizandre

They applauded him as he returned past the grandstands, they gave him three cheers in the winner's enclosure, there was grateful thanks all round that soon-to-be-retired A P McCoy had ridden a winner at his final Cheltenham Festival.

Landing the Ryanair Chase was not only another Grade One victory on his superlative CV, but also a further win for his boss, racehorse owner J P McManus. Uxizandre, trained by Alan King, made all and won emphatically, and while we did not witness the famous McCoy drive from the last, getting one on the board was the essential element.

McCoy said: "He jumped off and ran away with me all the way - for the first mile and a half all I was thinking was I would have loved to have ridden him yesterday in the [Betway] Queen Mother Champion Chase because he was going so well. I was a bit worried about his stamina and whether he would see out today's trip, but he jumped fantastically and was always going forward which got a lot of the others in trouble.

"I was quite happy coming down the hill - he kept looking at the television cameras on the inside and I thought that he has a little bit for himself if he is able to notice what is going on around him. Fair play to Alan King, who has got him spot on for today having been disappointing in his two previous runs."

Asked about his emotions when given such a heart-felt reception by the crowd, McCoy said: "I felt joy and happiness. I'm not going to miss riding until the end of the season when I pack up. For now I've got another race and the chance of another go so I'm not for one minute thinking about the future. I'm just enjoying my job, or what's left of it.

"Cheltenham is all about winning, and while I came to this week with a few chances I knew it wasn't going to be easy. You have to keep your head down and keep going. It's great for J P and Noreen McManus - they are brilliant and it's been marvellous to work for them for ten years. He's my boss and his wife is worried that I spent more time with him last week than she did - meanwhile, my wife was worried I was spending more time with him than with her! I'm very lucky and in a privileged position.

"The thrill this horse gave me - I will miss riding horse like this that run away with you all the way and jump like stags. It has to happen at some point so it's a bit sad but we will worry about it this time next year."

'It's great to have a man like him on your side'

J P McManus, owner of Ryanair Chase winner Uxizandre and retainer of A P McCoy's services as a jockey, said: "It's great to be at Cheltenham and it's great to have a man like him on your side.

"What can I say? I'm just so happy and so pleased that [McCoy] had a winner at his final Cheltenham and that we provided it for him makes it even better.

"We spoke about it last week and he said if I can get him [Uxizandre] away, he's got loads of ability and he loves it out there in front - if he can get away and get on his own and the ground isn't soft, I bet he'll give them a good run for it.

"I'm just so happy for A P's family, my family, and Alan King of course and his staff - everybody's done a great job.

"I was hoping - I said, 'is this too good to be true?', and sure enough it happened. It looked like he had the others in trouble, and he jumped the last just as well as he jumped the others.

"In racing you've so many marvellous people and marvellous jockeys how they handle themselves, the way they respect the sport. I admire them all. But AP, I've known him some time. The first time I remember him years ago, Christy Roche rang me. He said, 'have you seen this young lad?' I hadn't taken much notice. 'He should be handicapped', he said, 'not the horses.' I always remember that.

"We never signed a contract, we've never had anything but kind words for one another. I respect him and everything he does, on and off the racecourse."

When asked how he will replace him, McManus said: "We've had him cloned!"

Mrs McCoy fights back the tears

Chanelle McCoy, wife of retiring champion jockey A P, said following her husband's victory aboard Uxizandre in the Ryanair Chase: "This is amazing - it'll mean the world to him. This morning, when he got up and was heading into day three of The Festival, he just wanted to ride a winner one more time, to soak up the atmosphere and just to not finish The Festival without a winner on this last occasion.

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

"Inside he'll be feeling elated. He's not the most animated at the best of times and he was slightly melancholy when leaving the house this morning and this will absolutely mean the world to him. I'll have a happy husband.

"Mr and Mrs McManus have been the most incredible supporters of A P and of the game and it will mean more to A P that he has ridden this winner today for them. He just loves riding in the green and gold. I'm definitely fighting back the tears!"

Geraghty happy with Filleule

Ma Filleule
© Racehorse Photos

Ma Filleule
Jockey Barry Geraghty thought the best horse won after Ma Filleule finished a game second to Uxizandre. The only mare in the race, the seven-year-old jumped and travelled smoothly throughout, finding only an inspired front-running ride from Tony McCoy too strong in the contest.

Geraghty said of the five-length second: "She has run an absolute cracker. She jumped and travelled but the best horse won, there is no way I could get to him."

Geraghty added that the Nicky Henderson-trained mare could run at Aintree in April: "I'd think a run at Aintree now would be a possible for her. We'll see what Nicky is keen to do."

Eduard just lost out to Don Cossack in the race for third in the contest but jockey Brian Harding was delighted with the efforts of the Nicky Richards-trained horse. Harding remarked: "He has run an absolute stormer. He is lacking experience in big races but fair play to him, he has run a great race. He is a good horse."

As for the future Harding believes the seven-year-old has the potential to develop into a future Gold Cup contender.

He added: "I think he could end up being a Gold Cup horse. He is bred to stay further you see and he jumps really well. He needs more experience of tracks like this and today will only help. There is definite improvement in him. He has time to mature and become a really good horse. I'm delighted with him."

RYANAIR CHASE - Past Results

2014-WINNER-DYNASTE 8-11-10 Owner-John White; Trainer-David Pipe; Jockey-Tom Scudamore; SP-3/1 Fav
2ND-Hidden Cyclone 9-11-10 Owner-David & Mrs A F Mee; Trainer-John Hanlon IRE; Jockey-Andrew McNamara; SP-10/1
3RD-Rajdhani Express 7-11-10 Owner-Robert Waley-Cohen; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mr Sam Waley-Cohen; SP-18/1
11 ran, Time-5m 9.13s Dist-21⁄4, 21⁄4

2013-WINNER-CUE CARD 7-11-10 Owner-Jean Bishop; Trainer-Colin Tizzard; Jockey-Joe Tizzard; SP-7/2
2ND-First Lieutenant 8-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Mouse Morris IRE; Jockey-Bryan Cooper; SP-2/1Fav
3RD-For Non Stop 8-11-10 Owner-Potensis Limited & Chris Giles; Trainer-Nick Williams; Jockey-Noel Fehily; SP-12/1
8 ran, Time-5m 19.30s Dist-9, 31⁄4

2012-WINNER-RIVERSIDE THEATRE 8-11-10 Owner-Jimmy Nesbitt Partnership; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-7/2 Fav
2ND-Albertas Run 11-11-10 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-A P McCoy; SP-10/1
3RD-Medermit 7-11-10 Owner-The Dunkley & Reilly Partnership; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-8/1
12 ran, Time-5m 9.69s Dist- ½, ½

2011-WINNER-ALBERTAS RUN 10-11-10 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-AP McCoy; SP-6/1
2ND-Kalahari King 10-11-10 Owner- Juliet Morgan; Trainer-Ferdy Murphy; Jockey-Graham Lee; SP-7/1 3RD-Rubi Light 6-11-10 Owner-Bill Hennessy; Trainer-Robbie Hennessy IRE; Jockey-Andrew Lynch; SP-16/1
11 ran, Time-5m 7.30s 2/1 Fav Poquelin (4th)

2010-WINNER-ALBERTAS RUN 9-11-10 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-14/1
2ND-Poquelin 7-11-10 Owner-The Stewart Family; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-11/4 Fav
3RD-J’y Vole 7-11-03 Owner-Hammer & Trowell Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Davy Condon; SP-28/1
13 ran, Time-5m 11.63s Dist-4.5, nse

2009-WINNER-IMPERIAL COMMANDER 8-11-10 Owner-Our Friends In The North; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Paddy Brennan; SP-6/1
2ND-Voy Por Ustedes 8-11-10 Owner-Sir Robert Ogden; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-4/5 Fav
3RD-Schindlers Hunt 9-11-10 Owner-Slaneyville Syndicate; Trainer-Dessie Hughes IRE; Jockey-Paddy Flood; SP-22/1
10 ran, Time-5m 18.34s Dist-2, 0.75

2008-WINNER-OUR VIC 10-11-10 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-David Pipe; Jockey-Timmy Murphy; SP-4/1
2ND-Mossbank 8-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Michael Hourigan IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-4/1
3RD-Turko 6-11-10 Owner-The Stewart Family; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-7/1
9 ran, Time-5m 10.24s Dist-5, 7 100/30 Fav The Listener (5th)

2007-WINNER-TARANIS 6-11-00 Owner-Mrs A B Yeoman & C R Whittaker; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-9/2
2ND–Our Vic 9-11-05 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-David Pipe; Jockey-Timmy Murphy; SP-7/2
3RD–Billyvoddan 8-11-00 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Henry Daly; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-20/1
9 ran, Time-5m 10.60s Dist-nk, ½ 7/4 Fav Monet’s Garden (4th)

2006-WINNER-FONDMORT 10-11-00 Owner-Bill Brown; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerlad; SP-100/30 Jt Fav
2ND-Lacdoudal 7-11-00 Owner-Carol Skan; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-20/1
3RD-Impek Owner-Jim Lewis; Trainer-Henrietta Knight; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-100/30 Jt Fav
11 ran, Time-5m 3.00s Dist-1¼, hd

2005-WINNER-THISTHATANDTOTHER 9-11-03 Owner-Graham Roach; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh;
SP-9/2
2ND-Fondmort 9-11-00 Owner-Bill Brown; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-9/1
3RD-Rathgar Beau 9-11-03 Owner-One-O-Eight Racing Club; Trainer-Eamon Sheehy IRE; Jockey-Shay Barry; SP-9/2
12 ran, Time-5m 11.90s Dist: ½, 2½ 7/4 Fav Our Vic (PU)

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