The dark side of McCoy’s BBC ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’

Posted on the 17th December 2015

On Sunday 20 December, the now retired jockey Tony (AP) McCoy will receive a BBC ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for his contribution to sport.

What will certainly be omitted from the ceremony, during the televised ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ programme, will be a shocking statistic – that McCoy, since June 2007, rode at least 29 horses who were killed during the race or died shortly afterwards. The final fatality was Burton Port, who died at Doncaster on 18 February this year.

The extent of McCoy’s personal culpability is debatable. But what is indisputable is that he was aware of the potentially fatal risks faced by every horse he raced throughout his career. Despite so many fatalities, he continued to ride at full gallop and over dangerous fences such as those in the Grand National. In April 2012 he rode the ill-fated Synchronised who was destroyed after falling and breaking a hind-leg in the infamous race.

Says Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall: 

‘The career of multi-millionaire jockey AP McCoy should be remembered for the “sacrifices” that race horses were forced to make in his pursuit of fortune and fame. Not only did a large number die whom he rode, but they were forced give their all in demanding, energy-sapping races. The public should be aware of the true price horses pay – injury, death and an uncertain future are the prospects for most. Jockeys have a choice, horses don’t.’

More Information

  • For full background and interviews, contact Dene Stansall on 01732 364546
  • See Animal Aid’s online database of on-course deaths, Race Horse Deathwatch

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