Another milestone for magical McCoy
Tony McCoy raced to his 150th winner of the season at Folkestone yesterday with yet another example of the sort of ride which had to be seen to be believed.
It was typical McCoy stuff on Storm Survivor, in the colours of JP McManus who had four winners between Navan and Wexford on Sunday, as the 16-times champion jockey retrieved what looked to be a lost cause at the halfway point of the staying handicap hurdle.
Despite little form from five previous starts, Storm Survivor was backed into 10/11 favourite, but McCoy was soon pushing the gelding along to remain in contention and many betting slips will have been clutched nervously across the country. Somehow, as he has managed countless times before, the record-shattering rider got his mount to gather speed and they eventually won by two and a quarter lengths.
The 37-year-old played down the likelihood of breaking his seasonal best total, 289 in the 2001/'02 campaign. Measuring the speed of the 150, McCoy said: "It's not a quick one, that's for sure. I'll keep going, as you've always got to dream, and see where I get to, but the more important thing is to find some better horses.
"I might get there if I keep riding at the third meeting on a Saturday, but we need some more good ones."
Winner number 149 had been easier to find, as McCoy and Temple Lord (5/4) were left clear in the two-mile novice chase, with 8/11 favourite Lifestyle crashing out at the third last.
McCoy had to settle for the runner-up spot aboard Free Speech which was edged out close home by gamble of the day Hunt Ball -- backed into 6/4 favourite from 8/1 in the morning -- in the novice handicap chase.
"I don't think any of the money was ours, but I did think he was well handicapped," said trainer Keiran Burke.
Meanwhile, Henry de Bromhead is hoping to end the reign of Paul Nicholls in Saturday's Tingle Creek with his champion chaser Sizing Europe.
Nicholls has given Tataniano and Kauto Stone entries in the Sandown showpiece as he seeks his seventh consecutive victory in the two-mile feature. However, De Bromhead is upbeat about his prospects as his stable star drops back in trip after finishing second to Quito De La Roque in the three-mile JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal.
"The Tingle Creek is the plan at the moment. He seems in good form and we're going to give it a go," De Bromhead stated. "We've just tried to freshen him up since Down Royal and keep him good, supple and agile."
Nicky Henderson has put in one of last season's top novices, Finian's Rainbow, while Wishfull Thinking is a possible from the Philip Hobbs stable.
De Bromhead is hoping Sizing Symphony can continue his rich vein of form in what could be a highly informative Neptune Investment Novices' Hurdle at Sandown on Friday.
The five-year-old completed a hat-trick at Cheltenham seven weeks ago on his first race outside Ireland, and now faces his stiffest test to date.
"He seems to be improving all the time," the Waterford-based trainer said. "He deserves a crack at it. We're looking for as nice a ground as we can get and it seems pretty good ground at Sandown at the moment.
"We're looking forward to running him and it looks a good race."