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McCoy rounds off year with double

Tony McCoy managed a fitting end to his landmark year by taking both Grade One races at Newbury, including one named in his honour aboard the magnificent Big Buck's.

McCoy had remarked how much he enjoyed riding Big Buck's at the course a month ago and the unrivalled stayer lived up to every expectation in the AP Wins Sports Personality Long Walk Hurdle.

A thick blanket of fog refused to lift for the entire afternoon, with visibility to an absolute minimum, but McCoy emerged from the gloom sitting motionless on the 2/13 favourite, finishing six lengths clear of a typically determined Lough Derg.

Big Buck's has strung up a winning sequence of 10, and at this stage there does not appear to be an opponent capable of threatening a third consecutive Ladbrokes World Hurdle title.

"AP said to me it was depressing that he would have to follow him around for the rest of the season," said trainer Paul Nicholls, referring to the eventual return of regular rider Ruby Walsh.

"I think he'll go to the Cleeve Hurdle now, then Cheltenham and Aintree.

"He's amazing -- I'm not sure I've ever had one win 10 in a row. Never say never, but he'll definitely stay hurdling this season."

McCoy added: "You don't need to say anything about a horse like him, you just look at his form. There's no point trying to follow a horse like that at Cheltenham -- he's obviously just the best."

In the sportingbet Supports Heros Charity Challow Novices' Hurdle McCoy struck for his main employers JP McManus and trainer Jonjo O'Neill, who gave him the Grand National victory which sealed his Sports Personality award.

This came aboard Backspin (5/1), previously the winner of a Punchestown bumper for Mags Mullins and a Bangor novice hurdle for O'Neill.

Obscured

The field were again obscured throughout but McCoy said he had overcome the 9/4 favourite For Non Stop by the final flight and when they came into vision 100 yards from the line, he was eight clear up the far rail.

O'Neill said: "We liked him at Bangor but he's very novicey and this was a big step up.

"I'd be inclined to give him another run for experience. AP said he was very green after the last and if you go to Cheltenham, you've got to be experienced."

O'Neill had no definite Cheltenham target, but the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle appears favourite, adding: "At least we know he gets that trip -- what we don't know is if he gets further."

McCoy managed a third success on Grandouet in the Happy Birthday Laura Juvenile Hurdle, easing the 11/10 favourite past fellow Nicky Henderson inmate A Media Luz.

"Tony did say he might be happier on flat tracks but I'm not ruling anything in or out," said Henderson.

"The Adonis Hurdle (Kempton, February 26) might be a race for him."


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