Saturday 18 January 2020

McCoy steals the show with brilliant Leicester four-timer

Keith Hamer

Tony McCoy stole the show on Leicester's all-hurdle card with a near 29/1 four-timer from five rides to take his tally for the campaign to 155.

Two of his winners, Schism and Amuse Me, were for his main patron, Jonjo O'Neill, while Nicky Henderson's Zama Zama and Phoenix Flight from the James Evans stable provided the rest of the ammunition.

McCoy's spree began with the newcomer Schism (3/1) in the Leicester Juvenile Fillies' Hurdle. The three-year-old had shown fair form on the Flat when with Henry Candy and transferred that to jumps as she swept home by five lengths from Flying Phoenix.

"It's a first winner for the Dirty Dozen syndicate," said O'Neill's assistant, Guy Upton. "She stayed well on the Flat and won during the summer."

Sixteen-times champion McCoy doubled up on Amuse Me (3/1) in the Waltham On The Wolds Handicap Hurdle for O'Neill, who also struck with Canal Bank at Market Rasen. The grey rallied in game fashion to deny the favourite Edgebury by a length.

Zama Zama obliged as a 2/11 hotpot should, taking the Mountsorrel Maiden Hurdle by six lengths without coming out of second gear to continue Henderson's fine run.

"He's a nice, big type and a chaser in the making. He's got a big engine and a promising future ahead of him," said Henderson's assistant Ben Pauling.

Phoenix Flight (4/7) completed the quartet, but only by a rapidly diminishing nose from Rowan Tiger in the Knighton Novices' Hurdle. McCoy made the most of his mount's stamina by kicking on a long way out and just held on.

"It was close," said Evans. "We knew we would have to make use of his stamina and his experience. He'll probably go for a handicap over Christmas next."

McCoy's only losing ride came on odds-on shot Kells Belle, which had to settle for second behind Fiendish Flame in the Vale Of Belvoir Handicap Hurdle for Jennie Candlish.

The seven-year-old is a much better horse going right-handed but finding the ideal track and suitable race has proved difficult. However, the Leek-based handler chose the perfect race for the former Donald McCain inmate.

Enjoying himself in front under Alan O'Keeffe, the 11/2 chance ran his rivals ragged to score by 19 lengths.

And it was a case of keeping it in the family when Tom Flint, the brother of jockey Rhys, steered home Kapdor (7/4 favourite), trained by his father John, in the Barnby Conditional Jockeys' Selling Handicap Hurdle.

Irish Independent

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