African Story and Prince Bishop, winners of the last two Dubai World Cups, have both been retired and are to spend their future days actively occupied in a Godolphin yard, albeit at a low-key level.
John Ferguson, Bloodstock Adviser to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, said: “They have both been remarkable racehorses over the years.
“Both are eight-year-olds, they have both run on Dubai World Cup night each of the past four years.
“They have both won the biggest prize in world racing.
“They retire having given the Maktoum family many days of great pride and enjoyment.
“Sheikh Mohammed felt it was the right thing to retire them from the racetrack but not to abruptly end their involvement in day-to-day activity in the stable, which they enjoy immensely.
“I am not sure of the logistics as yet, but they will be in one of the Godolphin stables and in all probability will be ridden every day in the immediate future,” Ferguson added.
Godolphin have today announced the retirements of both Prince bishop and African story…the last 2 Dubai world cup winners….
— Dubai Racing Channel (@DubaiRacingTV) April 23, 2015
The parallels in the racing careers of African Story and Prince Bishop are amazing.
Both started their racing days with champion French trainer Andre Fabre.
Both joined Godolphin after several outings in the old maroon and white silks of Sheikh Mohammed, and they each won in excess of £4.5m during extensive racing careers which encompassed European and Middle Eastern seasons.
African Story, a son of Pivotal, won eight of his 21 starts for £4.7m in prize money.
To underline his versatility, he won the Godolphin Mile and Dubai World Cup, both on Tapeta at Meydan, but much earlier, on 2 July 2011, he was beaten a head by Moonlight Cloud in the seven-furlong Prix de la Porte Maillot at Longchamp on turf.
Prince Bishop, who is by Dubawi, went on to win 11 of his 28 starts for just over £4.5m in prize money.
He ran in three Dubai World Cups at Meydan, winning the 2015 edition on sand.
The irony was that he hated the kick-back from the sand but was so far out of touch early that he was able to avoid it after swinging wide in the second half of the race.
He also won two runnings of the September Stakes on Polytrack at Kempton Park.
Fabre commented: “Both African Story and Prince Bishop showed great ability from their earliest days.
“I am pleased they both went on to realise the potential they displayed when with me.”
Saeed bin Suroor trained both African Story and Prince Bishop for their respective Dubai World Cup victories.
“They were very tough and reliable racehorses. Both geldings, they could adapt quickly to their environment no matter where in the world they were taken to race.
“The fact that they could each compete in top races on Dubai World Cup night four years on the trot says a lot for their class and durability,” the trainer added.
AP McCoy reacts to ending his horse racing career by finishing third on 5-2 favourite Box Office at Sandown. The Arsenal supporter receives a lifetime achievement award from Gunners great Liam Brady and ex-Arsenal striker Ian Wright presents McCoy with his 20th jockey's title.
Riding legend Tony (AP) McCoy bowed out for the final time on Saturday finishing third on Box Office at Sandown Park.
The 40-year-old Northern Irishman – whose own box office appeal drew a capacity 18,300 crowd to the racecourse – was cheered to the rafters from the moment earlier in the day when he walked through a guard of honour of his colleagues to accept the Jockeys Championship trophy for a 20th and final time.
“It’s just amazing that all these people should come here to see me. I feel really privileged,” said a tearful McCoy.
“I will never forget this day. It is way beyond my expectations. I feel very honoured and privileged to have had had a great way of life in last 25 years.
“So blessed to live your life like I have. I always say to my colleagues enjoy it while you can as you don’t know how long it is going to last.”
McCoy’s words on the fragility of their careers had special significance as the first thing he will do next week is fly to Ireland to see Robbie McNamara and his cousin JT.
Robbie has lost the feeling in his legs after a fall earlier this month while JT was paralysed in a crashing fall at the Cheltenham Festival in 2013.
McCoy, who will then take a rare 10 day holiday in Barbados, said his relationship with his retainer JP McManus had been a special one.
“I was very honoured when he asked me to ride for him,” said McCoy. “I started off as his employee and as time has gone on we have become really good friends.
“Our wives became concerned when on a couple of St Valentine nights we were in London together!!
“I always found the people I worked with were very loyal and that is very important in life.”
— Francis Keogh (@HonestFrank) April 25, 2015
The final race of the McCoy era, which has seen him win a record 4,382 races including two Cheltenham Gold Cups and a Grand National, was won by Richard Johnson, who finished runner-up to him 15 times in the jockeys championship.
However, the Englishman, considered the man most likely to succeed McCoy as champion jockey next year, was sad rather than relieved his nemesis would no longer be part of the scene.
“It has been a real honour to sit alongside this fellow all these years,” said Johnson also fighting back the tears.
McCoy’s long-suffering wife Chanelle – who has seen her beloved break every bone in his body and lose all his teeth – admitted retirement for him would take some getting used to.
“He’s going to miss it dreadfully,” she told Channel Four.
“There wll be lonely and empty days ahead of him but he will be alright,” added Chanelle, who with McCoy had two children daughter Eve and son Archie through IVF treatment as the constant battle with his weight had reduced his sperm count.
McManus, in whose colours McCoy finally won the Grand National on Don’t Push It in 2010 costing the bookmakers an estimated €50million, said McCoy was a man apart.
“AP is just different,” the quietly-spoken 64-year-old Irishman told Channel Four. “When you ask him to do something he is like the man having bacon and egg for breakfast, both the hen and the pig is involved and that is AP.”
McCoy’s final moments prior to the final ride were as ever taken up by signing autogrpahs for his colleagues and then being mobbed on his way to the paddock, but still pausing to sign the racegoers programmes.
A great cheer emanated from the stands as the horses went out for the second circuit and they reached a crescendo as it looked like he could come and deliver a perfect final fairytale.
It wasn’t to be but McCoy was still hailed by the fans who included Oscar-winning actress Judy Dench.
“It’s great to be able to meet him and say: ‘you’re a legend’,” she told Channel Four.