Thursday 18 January 2018

McCoy lands 140/1 four-timer

Tony McCoy enjoyed an excellent afternoon at Newton Abbot with a near 140/1 four-timer yesterday.

The 17-times champion jockey picked up his first win in the stewards' room as 5/2 joint-favourite Littledean Jimmy was promoted to first place in the opening novice hurdle. The interference between John O'Shea's charge and My Legal Lady happened two flights from home, but the stewards felt it was enough to reverse the placings.

McCoy doubled up for the day on Jonjo O'Neill's Amuse Me (9/4 joint-favourite) in the novices handicap chase and soon added a third success with Nicky Henderson's 7/2 joint-favourite Zama Zama in the handicap hurdle. O'Neill had his second winner as McCoy triumphed on 7/4 favourite Space Telescope in the Newton Abbot Races Handicap Hurdle.

McCoy appeared to have strong claims of making it five wins from five rides in the two-mile handicap chase, but favourite Temple Lord ran another disappointing race as top honours went to 7/1 chance Dean's Grange.

The jockey's final ride of the day was Listen And Learn in the bumper and McCoy was denied a fifth triumph as the debutant went down by just a short head to favourite Billy Twyford.

Elsewhere, stable companions Thousand Stars and Zaidpour will renew rivalries in the French Champion Hurdle next month after the Willie Mullins' pair occupied the first two places in Sunday's Prix La Barka at Auteuil.

Thousand Stars had filled the runner-up spot in the Grade Two contest 12 months ago before going on to land the Grande Course De Haies D'Auteuil, and is set to defend his crown after going one place better in the recognised trial under Paul Townend.

Zaidpour, which chased home Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival, took the runner-up spot under Ruby Walsh.

"He (Thousand Stars) is some star all right," reflected Mullins. "It was another very good performance from him and the plan would definitely be to go back to France with him next month.

"I thought Zaidpour ran a very good trial and I'd expect plenty of improvement from him for his next run. He'll be going back to France as well."

Walsh will now have to decide which horse to ride when they meet in France.

• Master Oats, which completed the Gold Cup-Champion Hurdle double for Kim Bailey after Alderbrook won at Cheltenham in 1995, has died at age 26.

Irish Independent

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