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AP McCoy Christmas Sporting Dinner attracts 250 guests

Horse racing legend, AP McCoy, proved to be an impressive pull for horse racing fanatics this week, as 250 people attended the Marriott Hotel in Bristol for a three-course dinner, and a chance to hear about the trials and tribulations of arguably the greatest jockey of all time.

McCoy rode a stunning 4,358 winners in his career and won the Champion Jockey 20 times consecutively, winning races from the age of 17 until the day he retired. From the Gold Cup to the Grand National, AP McCoy has prevailed in almost all of the biggest horse races on the planet and it was an absolute delight to welcome him to our festive Finders Keepers Christmas Sporting Dinner.

The black tie event also included a raffle and auction and a raucous comedy set, with a heartfelt interview with AP McCoy sandwiched in between the two.

Doing the interviewing honours and chatting with AP was Emma Spencer, a horse racing journalist and pundit and former lead presenter for Channel 4’s flat racing coverage.

The interview was refreshingly honest, with AP admitting that he’d put on two stone in weight since retiring from professional horse racing and enjoying some time out of the saddle. However, those extra pounds should soon be shed as he is set to take part in a big bike ride which will help to feed his competitive spirit.

That spirit was evident when AP recovered miraculously from a broken back in the space of eight weeks to ride at the Cheltenham Festival. AP described to Emma and the guests how his doctor insisted there was no chance whatsoever that he would recover from his injury – sustained in a fall at Warwick in January 2008.

But AP went against doctors’ orders and opted to go into an ice chamber, four times a day, three minutes at a time, for a fortnight in a bid to recover from his fractured back. Temperatures plummeted as low as -130 degrees and AP admitted to Emma that due to his competitive nature, he secretly enjoyed the challenge of trying to stay in the chamber as long as he could.

AP’s own surgeon miraculously gave him the all-clear to race again just days prior to the Cheltenham Festival. It was that drive and determination which typified AP’s career and his speech proved inspirational to all concerned at the Marriott Hotel.

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