Monday 11 December 2017

Tony McCoy in demand for Gold Cup at Sandown

Upsilon Bleu ridden by Tony McCoy
Upsilon Bleu ridden by Tony McCoy

Tony McCoy is likely to be more sought-after than ever as he unexpectedly became available for a ride in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on the final day of the jumps season.

The record-breaking jockey, who will retire after being crowned champion for the 20th year in succession on Saturday, is open to offers after his boss J P McManus was left without a runner following the defection of both Gallant Oscar and Cantlow at Monday's confirmation stage.

Among his possible options could be Bobs Worth, the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, whose regular rider Barry Geraghty is sidelined through injury.

The Nicky Henderson-trained 10-year-old is described as a 'definite' runner at this stage and as yet no jockey has been booked.

"At the moment he's definitely going to run. I don't know at this moment in time who will ride him. I've spoken to Nicky and a lot, I guess, will be what happens behind the scenes," said Malcolm Kimmins, head of his syndicate of owners.

"There's obviously a lot of talk about what Tony McCoy is going to ride. I simply don't know the answer to that at the moment. There will no doubt be plenty of discussion going on. I can't say more than that.

"It's very exciting and is going to be one hell of a day. I'm aware there is an AP factor to it."

Bobs Worth is currently set to carry 11st 7lb with the Willie Mullins-trained On His Own the top weight on 11st 12lb after 40 horses stood their ground.

On His Own is a very smart performer, having finished second in last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup, and is fresh from winning a Grade Three chase at Cork earlier this month.

Mullins took out his other entry, Perfect Gentleman, but other Irish-trained representatives are First Lieutenant, Grand Jesture, Vics Canvas, Pass The Hat, Guess Again and Heathfield.

The Lucy Wadham-trained Le Reve and Warren Greatrex's Paint The Clouds head the ante-post market as 10-1 joint-favourites with Ladbrokes.

Paul Nicholls, who has won this race with Tidal Bay and also Ad Hoc in 2003, has left in Grand National also-rans Rocky Creek and Unioniste plus Wonderful Charm and Just A Par.

The Ditcheat handler told "Unioniste could well run if they keep watering and the ground is good or easier.

"Rocky Creek is 50-50 at this stage, Just A Par could well run and Wonderful Charm is another possible after his fine effort the other day at Aintree."

David Pipe has a strong contender in The Package, winner of the Kim Muir at Cheltenham but a denied a place in the Grand National.

"It was a shame that he narrowly missed the cut for the Grand National, although it does mean that he goes to Sandown a relatively fresh horse and he will appreciate the sound surface," the Nicholashayne trainer told

Philip Hobbs is mob-handed with 2012 runner-up Roalco De Farges, Return Spring, Aintree winner Duke Of Lucca and Bertie Boru.

Others in the mix include Across The Bay, Bally Legend, Lost Legend and Royale Knight.

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