Picking your favourite handful of horses when you’ve ridden 4,358 winners isn’t straight forward, but 20-time Champion Jockey Sir AP McCoy has just about managed to nail down his top five… 

Albertas Run

I couldn’t have a top five horses of all-time without having Albertas Run in.

He won at three Cheltenham Festivals, but in 2008 he won a RSA Chase. I wasn’t long back from injury, I came back the Friday before Cheltenham having broken my back at the beginning of January. I had two plates and four screws either side of my back put in.

He got me around safely and then went on to win two Ryanairs after that. He also finished second in a Ryanair to Riverside Theatre. It took me a little bit of time to get to work on how to ride him, he was a little claustrophobic, he liked to be in front or out a little wide.

He was owned by an absolute gentleman in Trevor Hemmings and I had a lot of great days in the saddle riding Albertas Run.

Black Jack Ketchum

Another one of my top five all-time favourite horses is Black Jack Ketchum.

An unbeaten novice hurdler for Jonjo O’Neill, he won both at Cheltenham and at the Aintree festivals. He was a really impressive and easy winner of the Albert Bartlett.

I can remember the 2006 Cheltenham Festival, Derrick Smith, who’s been lucky enough to own lots of horses or had shares in horses that have won the Epsom Derby. I think to this day he says that when Black Jack Ketchum won at the Cheltenham Festival it was one of his favourite days in racing and it was definitely one of my favourite days in racing too.

Cyfor Malta

So, one of my top five all-time favourite horses is definitely Cyfor Malta.

I can remember when he came over from France, he was the most beautiful looking horse that I’d ever seen in my life. He won first time out at Sandown, he got beat in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, then he won the Cathcart at the Cheltenham Festival, followed by the John Hughes over the Grand National fences as a five-year-old. He was really impressive that day.

I suppose what was most disappointing was that he got injured after he won what is now the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in 1999. He beat Go Ballistic and See More Business both very easily and they went on to finish first and second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

He was a very good horse that I don’t think we ever got to see the best of, but most of all he was the most beautiful looking animal that I’ve ever seen in my life.

Don’t Push It 

Well, I couldn’t really have a top five favourite horses of all-time and not have Don’t Push It in having won the Grand National in 2010 giving me one of the biggest days of my career.

As a young horse, Don’t Push It got beat in a novice chase at the November meeting at Cheltenham and I can remember being gutted. I thought he was one of the nicest horses that I’d ever ridden. I told JP [McManus] that I couldn’t see any horse beating him. He got beat that day, but it was by Denman so I suppose I can forgive myself a little bit!

He did lose his way after he fell in the Arkle that year. He won a handicap chase in 2009 at the Aintree Festival before he went onto win the Grand National. As I say, he did give me one of the biggest days in my career and in Don’t Push It I will be forever grateful.

Synchronised 

I know you shouldn’t have favourites but there’s no doubt Synchronised is my favourite horse of all time and I’ll tell you the reasons why.

There’s a lot of history with Synchronised. In 1996, his Mum, Mayasta, was the first winner that I ever rode for JP and Noreen McManus. I got a spare ride on her at the Punchestown Festival, she was then trained by Frank Berry, who’s now JP’s racing manager, and for all those years later for us to come together again and win the Cheltenham Gold Cup on her son, trained by Jonjo O’Neill.

Synchronised, I think, was a little bit like myself. He had a great will to win, he was a horse that kept improving throughout his career. It was a day, I think, that gave me the most job satisfaction in that I felt like I’d done what I’d been employed to do and that was to try and win the biggest race of them all. That is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, so that is the reason that Synchronised is my favourite horse of all time.

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