Stick with master McCoy at Plumpton
A 10-day break in the cross-channel jumping calendar comes to an end tomorrow, with action resuming at Plumpton and Uttoxeter. Tony McCoy, who interrupted a trip to Portugal to ride in the Kerry National on Wednesday, heads south for Plumpton.
The champion jockey has four rides on the card, all of which have winning chances. Of the quartet, Whatdoyoucallit and Good Harvest, trained respectively by Evan Williams and Jonjo O'Neill, may represent the best value.
In the two-mile novice hurdle at 3.0, Whatdoyoucallit faces a number of useful rivals. Freedom Fire is a dual winner over flights, while Paul Nicholls' Marc Aurele is another that has already lost its maiden status. Well beaten last time, that one will be a much more potent threat now that it gets its favoured fast ground once again.
Nonetheless, McCoy's mount is an improving sort. Having never got into the race on its seasonal reappearance at Worcester last month, the Snurge gelding returned to the midlands track a fortnight ago.
On that occasion he recorded a much better effort, keeping on for second place, drawing clear of the remainder in the process. Whatdoyoucallit clearly improved from his first run to his second, so it's reasonable to assume that he will have a live chance tomorrow if he makes similar progress again.
Good Harvest tackles the long distance handicap chase at 4.30. Although only eight line out, this looks set to be a tight affair. Running in the colours of JP McManus, Good Harvest comes here on the back of a win at Newton Abbot last month, for which he carries a seven-pound penalty.
He struggled off similar marks last season, but O'Neill may have found the key to him by stepping him up to extreme distances. Good Harvest's win last time was his first attempt beyond three miles, so there must be a good chance that the trip will again bring out the best in him.