When I first started working in television back in the spring of 2002, Tiger Woods was the best golfer in the world, Brian Lara the leading batsman and Tony McCoy was about to win his seventh Champion Jockey’s title.
Lara has long since retired, many say that Tiger should retire and last Saturday at Newbury the greatest jump jockey of the modern era revealed that at the end of this season he will retire.
When Tiger and Tony finally call it a day, three of the men who, for me, defined sporting greatness for so long will leave us with some magical memories and I was privileged enough to be the man holding the mic for McCoy when he chose to announce his impending retirement, a moment I will never forget.
I am a lover of sport and when AP dropped the bombshell that he wouldn’t ride 200 winners in a season ever again because he was going to retire, my first reaction was that of a fan of horse racing. However swearing on live TV is liable to land you in trouble so there was silence until my producer urged me to ‘keep going’.
At the end of the interview I was choked with emotion, primarily because AP was holding back the tears himself as he revealed his plans.
Many people were praising me for my part in what happened but I genuinely had no idea why, as it could have occurred at any time and any place, but luck meant that I was on hand to interview him as he brought up a double century for the tenth time in his career.
After Channel 4 went off air and things had calmed down a little I went to the weighing room to find AP to congratulate him on all that he had achieved, to thank him for revealing it in the post Game Spirit Chase interview and to ask why he had chosen that moment.
‘Your question gave me the perfect lead in, so I thought why not’ he said. A rare moment of satisfaction.
One small thing occurred to me later that evening though. For a prolonged period both the BBC and Channel 4 were on the receiving end of fierce criticism for post-race interviews with the jockeys still on horse back almost immediately after the race. Luckily both broadcasters held firm and Channel 4’s persistence with it paid off in spades at Newbury last Saturday.
I had been in Dubai early last week and had the pleasure of spending a morning with Mike De Kock. Normally reserved and edgy on race days, the South African was engaging as he revealed exciting plans for some of his stars including Cape Derby winner Ertijaal, who could have the Dubai World Cup in 2016 on his agenda.
De Kock has a big team lining up on Thursday at Meydan and it could be worth backing Almoonqith, who is improving fast and was unlucky on his last run.
Rishi is a sports broadcaster who has covered some of the greatest events across many sports including the last three Olympic Games in Athens, Beijing and London for the BBC. He has also presented or reported on golf, snooker, cricket, eventing plus many more and in the last few years I have covered the Ryder Cup, US Masters, The Open, The Cricket World Cup, Snooker World Championship and Eventing at Badminton and Burleigh.
Biddestone Racehorse Syndicates
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