AP McCoy to be knighted and big win for Nicky Henderson
We didn’t see much snow over the festive period, but the weather still managed to cause havoc to the racing schedule. This week saw the meeting at Plumpton abandoned after just three races, with the course waterlogged, suffering the same fate as the Welsh National last week.
Jockey Andrew Thornton told At The Races: “We’re all for racing, but unfortunately the water is as much as a foot deep in places. It’s getting worse and the rain doesn’t look like stopping.”
Earlier on in the day, Nicky Henderson’s L’Ami Serge surged clear in the At The Races App On iPhone Novices’ Chase, winning by 27 lengths.
One other race that did go ahead was the BetBright Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on New Years’ Day. That was won by the aptly named Seeyouatmidnight, who came in three and a quarter lengths from second placed Blaklion. It gave trainer Sandy Thompson a fantastic start to the year, with Wakhan winning at Musselburgh.
Late last year saw more good news for AP McCoy, a man who had a fantastic 2015. He finally gave up racing after recording over 4,300 winners, he had a film released about him and he won the Sports’ Personality lifetime achievement award. His latest honour was to be knighted in the New Year’s honours list, becoming Sir Anthony McCoy OBE.
“I never thought anything like this would be bestowed upon me,” said the Northern Irishman. “You can’t be recognised in any higher way.”
There was more big news for the sport as we entered 2016, as it was announced that next year would see a shake-up in television rights. ITV were confirmed to have won the rights to free to air coverage of racing from 2017 onwards, after signing a deal worth £30 million. That deal includes the rights to the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National, the Derby and Royal Ascot next year.