Family Business

Celebrated National Hunt jockey Sir Anthony McCoy rode 4,348 winners over jumps during his career. Family Business, who won the Feast of St. Raymond Novices’ Chase at Southwell on Wednesday, January 23, 2002, was by no means the most important, by certainly the most extraordinary. Seven runners lined up for the extended three-mile contest, worth £4,824 to the winner, but that number was quickly reduced to six when Oh No Whiskey, one of three 66/1 outsiders, fell at the first fence. Another, Star Control, followed suit at the third fence and, with a circuit to travel, Family Business, the odds-on favourite, jumped badly left and unseated McCoy.

After hurling his riding helmet to the ground in disgust, McCoy boarded a Land Rover and headed back to the weighing room, but the drama was far from over. Two fences later, second favourite Eaux Les Couers fell, when in the lead, and third favourite Joe Luke blundered and unseated rider, temporarily reducing the field to two still standing. Eaux Les Couers was remounted, though, and continued, albeit some way behind the other pair.

The new leader, What A Wonder, proceeded to unseat his rider at the very next fence, although he, too, was quickly caught and remounted. Indeed, the 7-year-old was still in a clear lead when making a mistake and unseating rider for a second time at the fourth-last fence. Remarkably, the last of the outsiders, Red Radish, and the aforementioned Eaux Les Couers both refused and unseated rider at the same obstacle, leaving no more horses in the race.

Meanwhile, as chaos reigned elsewhere, McCoy was informed that Family Business had been caught. He remounted, returned to what had been the tenth fence, jumped it successfully at the second attempt and completed the rest of the course, unscathed, to win the race.

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