Saturday 24 March 2018

McCoy takes on Starluck mission

Thomas Kelly

TONY McCOY will partner Starluck on his chasing debut at Huntingdon on Thursday with a view to riding him in the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham.

The six-year-old was last seen finishing third in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, but he is now set for a late-season switch to the larger obstacles.

With regular rider Timmy Murphy set to partner leading fancy Ghizao at Cheltenham, trainer Alan Fleming has been on the lookout for a replacement and is delighted to have secured the services of the 15-times champion jockey.

"All going well, he'll run on Thursday and he's in good form," said Fleming. "Obviously he's best on good ground but he'll run on soft. He'll go just as long as it's not heavy."

Meanwhile, Robbie Hennessy's Rubi Light is set for a trip to the Cheltenham Festival after impressing in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran last Saturday.

The six-year-old ploughed through the mud to beat the likes of Roberto Goldback and Scotsirish in the Grade Two contest and, providing conditions suit, he will now aim for Grade One glory in the Ryanair Chase on St Patrick's Day.

Elsewhere, Nacarat has been left to shoulder top weight should he make his third consecutive appearance in the Racing Post Chase at Kempton on Saturday.

Tom George's grey won this three-mile handicap in 2009 and was runner-up to Razor Royale 12 months ago. He was last seen finishing fourth to Long Run in the King George VI Chase last month and would be having his first race since he had a small wind operation.

With the original top weight What A Friend now withdrawn, Nacarat heads the handicap on 11st 12lb after 19 horses were left in at the five-day stage.

Razor Royale could try to repeat last year's win and he, along with Crescent Island and Beat The Boys, is among three from the Nigel Twiston-Davies stable.

Paul Nicholls has left in Fistral Beach and Free World, while Colin Tizzard can choose from Hey Big Spender and Mount Oscar.

Irish Independent

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