Home sweet home for McCoy as he edges closer to 4,000
Tony McCoy moved to within eight victories of the magic 4,000-winner mark over jumps when Jezki made a smooth return to the track at Down Royal.
The 18-times British champion jockey was out of luck on the first of two rides, but made no mistake in the Grade Two WKD Hurdle.
Trained by Jessica Harrington and owned by JP McManus, Jezki went out 2/9 favourite and was quickly sent into the lead.
Flaxen Flare jumped the penultimate hurdle in unison with McCoy's partner, but the favourite soon saw off that rival.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Caid Du Berlais was also no match for Jezki and was beaten by three and a quarter lengths.
"I'm originally from not far from here," McCoy said. "This was probably the first racecourse I went to as a child – so it's nice to be back. I haven't been here for five years. It's good to get a winner any time, but it's great to win here again."
McCoy now heads to Wetherby today to ride seven horses before travelling to Carlisle tomorrow where he has six rides. Of Jezki, the rider said: "He was the best horse, it was just easier to do his own thing. I thought he was very professional and I look forward to having another go on him."
Harrington added: "I'm absolutely delighted to get that out of the way. There was no pace and he had to do his own donkey work.
"The Morgiana Hurdle (Punchestown, November 17) is definitely an option because he needs match practice if he is going to take on Hurricane Fly and Our Conor."
The win completed a double for Harrington as, earlier, her Gambling Girl (11/4) overcame a final-flight mistake in the hands of Robbie Power to claim Grade Three honours in the Lough Construction Ltd Mares Novice Hurdle. "I think she could be special," Harrington said. "She made a bad mistake and went away again."
There was controversy in the two-and-a-half mile novice chase won impressively by Gold Bullet.
As Ruby Walsh steered Tom Taffee's grey to a five-length success from Howwoulduno, Davy Russell picked up a six-day riding ban on Rye Martini for leaving the Shane Butler-ridden runner-up short of room after the third-last fence.
There was an upset for punters in the opening maiden hurdle as Michael Hourigan's Doesheeverstop sprang a 20/1 surprise under Andrew McNamara.
Not to be outdone, McNamara's younger brother, Robbie, gave his rivals the slip when going for home aboard Ebazziyr, which just held off the challenge of the fast-finishing Carnduff by a nose.
At Dundalk, Colin Keane moved to within three winners of Connor King in the race to be champion apprentice, as he partnered Pat Flynn's He's Our Music to victory in the one-mile handicap.