Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Tony McCoy at double as 4,000 quest hots up

Tony McCoy triumphs in the Weatherbys Handicap Steeple Chase on Eastlake yesterday, the first of an Aintree double, as the Ulsterman's march towards 4,000 winners gathers pace

Tony McCoy still has an outside chance of hitting the magical 4,000 winner mark at the Down Royal Festival after a double at Aintree.

McCoy – fresh from a treble on Saturday as he closes in on an incredible 19th successive champion jockey title – is now just 11 winners away from the landmark figure thanks to wins on Eastlake and Deadly Sting yesterday.

He passed the previous record mark of 1,699 – set by fellow Ulsterman Richard Dunwoody – 11 years ago.

McCoy, who missed the opening month of the season through injury, is about to complete the fastest ever 1,000 winners, number 3,000 coming in February 2009.

The 39-year-old had a 123-1 five-timer at Carlisle on Thursday, a feat which brought hopes of achieving a 4,000th winner at Down Royal into sharp focus.

"It was a day you dream of – it was a great day. It's something you don't do too often," he said.

As for the race to bag 4,000 winners, McCoy said: "I am just taking it day by day."

McCoy is in action today at Bangor-on-Dee, Ffos Las tomorrow and is booked to ride at Down Royal on Friday on the two-day Festival's opening card.

McCoy brought Eastlake to the front between the final two fences and went on to triumph by three and a quarter lengths from Anay Turge.

"He jumped really well and AP gave him a lovely spin round," said trainer Jonjo O'Neill.

"I was delighted to see him go there and jump as well as he did.

"We might bring him back here for the Grand Sefton."

McCoy more than earned his riding fee on Deadly Sting after a fierce duel with the Sam Twiston-Davies-ridden Bally Braes.

McCoy's fellow Ulster jockey Martin Harley enjoyed Group One success in France yesterday, winning the Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp on board Tac De Boistron.

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