Saturday 24 February 2018

Champion unable to add to tally as positive reaction leaves him 'bowled over'

Press Association

Tony McCoy had to settle for second place on Forthefunofit at Southwell on his first ride since he brought up the magical 4,000 winners on Thursday.

The 18-times champion did not rest on his laurels after making jumping history on Mountain Tunes at Towcester, as he travelled to the Nottinghamshire track for just one mount.

Forthefunofit was sent off 2/1 favourite on his debut in the concluding Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, but found the experienced No No Romeo too strong in the closing stages.

The 9/4 second-favourite got first run on the JP McManus-owned and Jonjo O'Neill-trained market leader and stuck on well for Noel Fehily to win by three lengths for trainer Charlie Longsdon.

He has four booked rides at Wincanton today and will be in action at Navan tomorrow, before going back across the Irish Sea for business as usual on Monday.

From Towcester he had hosted a party for family and friends to celebrate the occasion at The Outside Chance pub in Marlborough, which he co-owns.

"It's been an amazing 24 hours, what with the celebrations at Towcester, the celebrations at the pub and then hearing and reading all the messages of congratulations on the television, radio and in the papers. Hopefully, it is all good for racing," he said.

"At the pub, so many of the good people that have helped me in my career were there. Toby Balding for one.

"Martin Pipe drove up from the West Country. I was bowled over at the level of reaction from my friends and contacts in other sports, especially football. There were messages from Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman."

Looking to the future, he said: "In order to give yourself a chance of reaching 5,000 winners you would need so many things to go right.

"But the most important is having good horses to ride, because without good horses you won't ride winners and then you need all the luck in staying injury free. It's a massive ask, but you never know."

Irish Independent

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