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County joy for McCoy and Alderwood

Tony McCoy finally opened his account at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival when forcing Alderwood home in the Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Alderwood's chance looked to have gone when the he was hampered coming round the final bend, but he soon recovered to put in his winning bid, and the 20-1 shot, trained in Ireland by Tom Mullins and owned by McCoy's boss, JP McManus, jumped the last in great style and battled on resolutely up the hill.

Alderwood clinched victory by three-quarters of a length from Edgardo Sol (25-1), with Sailors Warn (16-1) a head back in third and Plan A (20-1) not far away in fourth.

McCoy said: "It's great to have a winner at last. I rode him the last day (at Leopardstown) and he was going well until the second-last but then didn't finish as well as I'd have liked.

"I think he's had a fibrillating heart problem. He got murdered on the bottom bend but he was 20-1 so I was taking a few chances and hopefully he would keep going. It's great to ride a winner for my boss."

The winning trainer is part of the Mullins family dynasty and is champion trainer Willie's brother.

He said: "It's great to have a winner here at last, what with my father and two brothers already on the list. Things didn't quite work out for him the last day but he had been working very well at home.

"He got absolutely hammered on the home turn but it makes a difference having the right man on board and he really is the 'Real McCoy'. It's such a delight having him on board and the owner, JP, is such a nice man."

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