Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 16 December 2017

'Western' is best for McCoy

Thomas Kelly

Tony McCoy's cross-channel trip to Fairyhouse eventually proved worth it, but not before he suffered a shock in the day's opener.

The record-breaking champion jockey jetted into the Co Meath venue for three fancied rides for his boss JP McManus, whose Waaheb started 1/4 favourite to land the opening novice hurdle.

Despite suffering a fall at Leopardstown last time out, punters couldn't get enough of Waaheb, but that tumble appeared to affect the favourite's confidence as Dermot Weld's charge was far from fluent over his obstacles.

With the second favourite Midnight Oil also making a notable blunder early on, the door was left open for Art Of Logistics, which quickened up nicely between the last two flights to take the lead.

Bryan Cooper's mount was a bit hesitant over the final flight, and while Midnight Oil rallied on the run-in, Art Of Logistics always held the upper hand. The 9/1 shot was another winner for the in-form Dessie Hughes, who indicated the son of Exit To Nowhere is likely to return for the track's big meeting in April.

"He'll come back here at Easter for a novice hurdle," said Hughes. "He's got a Flat pedigree and the slightly better ground certainly helped."

In the next race, the mares' maiden hurdle, McCoy was aboard the well-supported Jewel Star, but this 7/2 chance could never get to grips with the leaders and eventually finished fourth. Up ahead, favourite Ma Belle Amie tried to make all the running, but was struggling as the field turned for home and Jody McGarvey sent Royal Flight into the lead.

Having jumped fluently throughout, Christy Roche's five-year-old soon put daylight between her and her rivals and it was left to the Hughes-trained New River to chase her home.

McManus did have the winner of the next contest, but Mark Walsh was in the plate for this one as he guided James Motherway's Corbally to a hard-fought success over the front-running Kilmainham. McCoy's winner finally arrived in the two-and-a-half mile handicap hurdle as he guided Ronnie O'Leary's Western Man to a comfortable success.

The 7/4 favourite, which has been a model of consistency over fences, was always travelling well and hit the front at the final flight before recording a two-length triumph over Indubitably.

Hughes, meanwhile, completed a 69/1 double when his Apache Jack burst between horses to edge out favourite Sizing Chile and Waylander in the bumper.

Johnny King's mount prevailed by a length over the former and Hughes indicated his 6/1 winner is likely to be aimed at another bumper.

Elsewhere, Hidden Cyclone is likely to be aimed at the Galway Plate after being taken out of his Cheltenham engagements.

Trainer John 'Shark' Hanlon had hoped his stable star would develop into a Gold Cup contender earlier in the season but he failed to stay three miles in the Lexus at Christmas.

Irish Independent

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