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Sweet sixteen beckons for Tony McCoy

Tony McCoy tightened his grip on a 16th successive Jump Jockey Championship when he took his tally of winners for the season to 173 with victory on board Cucumber Run in the EBF National Hunt Novices Hurdle at Hereford yesterday.

That came on the back of a double at the Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The Ulsterman won last season’s title with a total of 195 winners so, if he can avoid injury, has every chance of breaking the 200 barrier this time around with the season ending on April 23.

The 36-year-old is a massive 54 winners ahead of his nearest rival Richard Johnson.

McCoy wrapped up a 20-1 double at Cheltenham on Saturday on board Neptune Collonges in the Argento Chase.

“He didn't run as badly as the form suggested last time and (trainer) Paul (Nicholls) just told me to go a nice gallop on him as we know he stays well.

“We thought there were a few doubts about Punchestowns and Tidal Bay so the plan was to get them at it.

“He's an older horse who knows his way around and he's just a pleasure to ride,” said McCoy, who had won the opening JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial on Local Hero.

Larne’s stuart Crawford suffered the frustration and financial blow of a wasted trip to Doncaster with Grand National hopeful Killyglen.

Crawford sailed across with Killyglen on Friday but Doncaster failed an inspection on Saturday morning.

Killyglen, fifth behind Kauto Star in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at the Down Royal Festival in November, may get a run before having a crack at the Grimthorpe Chase back at Doncaster in March.

“He was second in the Grimthorpe last year so we’ll have another shot at that,” said Crawford. “He could also run in one of the Nationals later in the year, possibly the Grand National at Aintree.”

Killyglen had been due to contest the Sky Bet Chase on Saturday afternoon, but the meeting was abandoned that morning due to a frozen track.

With overnight temperatures having dipped to minus 3C, acting clerk of the course Gemma Charrington was forced to concede defeat following a second inspection at 9.30am.

Belfast Telegraph

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