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Buchanan has lucky escape before triumph with outsider

By Frank Brownlow

Ulster jockey Peter Buchanan survived late drama before winning the Betfair Novices Hurdle at Haydock yesterday on 25-1 outsider Thorpe.

Kiama Bay was leading when he fell at the last, leaving jockey Jason Maguire - who returned earlier this season from a long injury lay-off - on the deck and at the mercy of the advancing field.

But quick-thinking Buchanan put his years of experience to good use to steer round Maguire and get home in front.

Ruby Walsh should have a good day at Ascot today, Al Ferof and Faugheen fancied in the Amlin Chase and Coral Hurdle respectively, while at Haydock, Cue Card is the one to watch in the Betfair Chase.

Tony McCoy claims a burning desire to ride 300 winners in a jumps season blinded his judgement over how he handled a recent injury.

The 19-times champion jockey was initially sidelined for a short spell after taking a crashing fall from at Worcester on October 9, but aggravated an old rib injury at Exeter earlier this month.

He rode at Chepstow the following day, but finally decided to take a couple of weeks off to fully recuperate.

McCoy remains out of action, with a midweek return pencilled in as a starting point ahead of next weekend's Hennessy fixture at Newbury, where he is likely to partner More Of That in the Long Distance Hurdle.

The 40-year-old accepted what is now a near-impossible dream of reaching the 300-winner landmark prevented him from taking more time off.

"I wasn't in great shape, but I'm a lot better now," the Ulsterman explained.

"It was bad, but you only get so many chances to ride 300 winners.

"I probably struggled more mentally than I did physically - that was the problem.

"It was more mentally tougher to give up than it was physically," he said.

"I could have done everything that a doctor wanted, but it was purely mind over matter.

"I had myself convinced I couldn't afford to have time off."

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