Leger Legends Declarations Headed by McCoy

AP McCoy once again had racing fans salivating with excitement on Monday morning as the final declarations for the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends race included the 20-times Champion Jockey.

The race, which will be run at Doncaster on Wednesday, has been run at the meeting since 2010 and raises valuable funds for two local causes – the Northern Racing College and the Injured Jockey Fund’s (IJF) Jack Berry House.

Earlier in the year news broke that Jack Berry, the very man instrumental in raising funds for the new IJF rehabilitation centre in Malton, had convinced the masterful McCoy to ride in the race. McCoy is to be joined in the race by two Derby-winners in Johnny Murtagh and Michael Hills, the 2000 Champion Flat Jockey Kevin Darley and plethora of other stars of the saddle – and Luke Harvey.

So who is going to win? The race is run for 0-70 rated horses, with three-year-olds carrying 11st and four-year-olds and older carrying 11st 5lbs. With all horses declared for the race rated within two pounds of each other (a BHA rating between 68 – 70), we need to find other areas to differentiate our winner.

Whilst the race is run under the Rules of Racing, we have to remember that many of these legends will not be performing at peak fitness. Although a cumulative age of 743 years suggests plenty saddle-acumen, attention should perhaps be applied to those riders on the younger end of the scale or who are known to be regularly riding out. One of the whipper-snappers in the field – Johnny Murtagh who rides Commissar for Ian Williams – claims he rides five lots a day and mucks them out too, that should be enough to keep anybody in shape.

There seems to be a trend with Legend Races for the best jockey in the field to be on the best horse. Whether this is true or in fact they just make them look like good we will never know, but given his unbelievable record AP McCoy will have surely found himself a tasty option for the race in Gannicus trained by his long-time friend Brendan Powell. Being the only horse in the field to have won last time out surely puts him bang up there on form – but don’t be drawn into what is likely to be a very short price on the day for The Champ.

For the best of the rest, Pivotman might have something in hand with a higher All-Weather rating than his turf form suggests. He has been placed in his last three runs for trainer Mick Easterby, and with young Ollie Pears in the saddle he ticks the box on the jockey fitness front.

Kim Tinkler’s mount Cliff, trained by her husband Nigel, may be showing signs he has had this race laid out for him. Five runs since the middle of June, progressively getting better and finishing second on his last two starts hints there may be more to come, and the final piece in the puzzle could be for Kim to land the spoils on Wednesday.

Whatever happens, those there on the day are in for a real treat with AP McCoy making what could be his last competitive appearance in a saddle. He has made it clear that his participation in the race is only a favour to Jack Berry… and it may well be his last. Get down to Donny or tune in on TV – just don’t miss it.