Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

McCoy gets back up... again

Tony McCoy

For the second day running Tony McCoy picked himself up after a crashing fall to record another winner, this time on board Christopher Wren at Leicester.

Having looked a little lame following a crunching fall at Fontwell yesterday, there was a gasp from the stands as the perennial champion jockey came to grief on Take Of Shoc's.

But McCoy does not have a reputation as the toughest in the weighing room for nothing, and later gave Nick Gifford's Christopher Wren (13-8 favourite) a very confident ride in the Mirror Punters Club Handicap Hurdle.

Allotted a mark of 120 having finished second and first in his previous two hurdle races, the four-year-old has the look of one who could go on to something better having finished third in the Melrose Handicap on the Flat in 2010.

McCoy did have to keep him up to his work in gluey ground after the last, but held off the staying-on Dhaafer by two and a half lengths with Afsoun running his best race for some time in third.

Gifford said: “He looks progressive. He's still quite novicey but he jumped better today than last time.

“He obviously appreciated the step up in trip but he's still got a lot to learn.

“It looked like he idled and the ground will have been sticky enough for him, he wants top of the ground.

“But, the curve is going up, things will get more competitive now obviously, but as long as he keeps improving he'll be a nice horse.”

Not many jockeys can say they have ridden winners on two generations of a family, but Andrew Thornton joined that list by partnering Russian Conquest (8-1) to victory in the Connie Wishes You Winners Novices Handicap Chase, his only ride of the day.

Thornton rode Kellys Conquest to victory at Cheltenham in 2000, and six years later she gave birth to Russian Conquest, who had shown very little in his seven previous races to date but benefited from a change in tactics.

The Seamus Mullins-trained five-year-old had trouble rounding the first bend but soon warmed to the task to beat Al Amaan by three lengths.

“I can't remember ever riding a winner who was the son of another winner I've ridden,” said Thornton.

“Ferdy Matthews (owner) has had horses with Seamus for years and Kellys Conquest was pretty decent. Both of them were over fences too so that must be pretty rare.

“I think this one is raw more than anything and he'd never been in front in his life which might explain his trouble with the bend. Nobody wanted to go on but I thought ‘I know he jumps so let's get on with it'.

“It was just a case of him not knowing what to do really. He's very green. He's only five so you'd hope there's more to come.”

Trainer Richard Hannon yesterday drew level with Mark Johnston’s record tally of 216 British winners in a calendar year.

Hannon, who won the Flat trainers’ championship last month, reached the mark when Numeral landed the totepool handicap at Lingfield.

Johnston’s record, which was set in 2009, could be broken at Kempton today when Hannon sends out Silenzio.

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