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McCoy eager for Starluck to prove Arkle worth


Tony McCoy. PA

Tony McCoy. PA

Tony McCoy. PA

Tony McCoy is looking forward to partnering Starluck for the first time as the talented grey makes his chasing debut at Huntingdon today.

The Alan Fleming-trained six-year-old has been placed on many occasions at Grade One level over hurdles, most recently finishing third behind Binocular in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

Although late in the campaign, he begins life over fences in the Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Novices' Chase and, all going well, the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham will be next on his agenda.

"It's nice to ride a horse like Starluck," said the 15-times champion jockey. "He's quite small, but he jumps well at home and hopefully he'll be pretty good.

"He was probably just a fraction short of Champion Hurdle class, but hopefully he'll take to fences.

"The more experience the better, but if they're good enough, it shouldn't stop them winning at Cheltenham."

Starluck is one of four runners in a small but select field. Alan King saddles recent Wincanton winner Mister Stickler, while Pascha Bere won on his fencing debut for Nick Gifford at Plumpton. Likely outsider Hi Tide completes the field.

On a classy card, the Nicky Henderson-trained Minella Class faces four rivals in the Neptune Investment Management Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle.

Winner of the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown by seven lengths from Megastar, Minella Class is as short as 7/1 with Coral for the Neptune at Cheltenham next month.

Irish Independent