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Tony McCoy has off day

Tony McCoy endured a day to forget at Leopardstown yesterday, and will have to pass the doctor if he's to ride at Newbury today after hurting his wrist in a fall.

The Moneyglass native's fall from Kempes at the second-last fence in the Lexus Chase compounded a wretched day for the recently-crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Firstly, the jockey's Dublin flight from Birmingham was cancelled, so he was forced to divert to Heathrow and missed his first two mounts on the seven-race card.

And then he hurt his left wrist when falling from Kempes, but he opted not to go to hospital, preferring to leave the track with an ice-pack on his wrist.

The 15-times champion jockey later said on Twitter that he wasn't shaken too badly by the knock: “Had a fall in Lexus, bit of a kicking but looking forward to tomorrow. Not been great day.”

But the record-breaking jockey will still have to get the go-ahead from the doctor at Newbury if he's to partner favourite Big Buck's in the AP Wins Sports Personality Long Walk Hurdle. McCoy will be anxious to get the green light as he has a strong book of rides at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited return of jump-racing on these shores yesterday was greeted with warm enthusiasm as 10,278 turned out at Leopardstown — which helped to almost double the Tote turnover from last year to €503,534.54

While champion trainer Willie Mullins recorded a double — courtesy of the Cheltenham prospect So Young and staying hurdler Mourad — the day belonged to Noel Meade, who saw his gambled-on Pandorama land the featured Lexus Chase.

Pandorama was sent off the 7-2 joint favourite having been backed in from 6/1 and Paul Carberry guided him to a smooth success.

Meade went on to complete a double as Davy Condon partnered 3-1 favourite Prima Vista to an impressive victory in the two-mile handicap hurdle.

Hurricane Fly, the new emerging Irish hurdling star, should stay on track for Cheltenham’s Champion Hurdle by winning the Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown today.

On his seasonal reappearance, he beat his old rival Solwhit — in opposition again today — in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle by a length and a half at Fairyhouse earlier this month over two and a half miles. Hurricane Fly comes back to two miles today and will be bidding next March to become the first horse since Istabraq to win the Hatton’s Grace and Champion Hurdle in the same season.

Trained by Willie Mullins, Hurricane Fly missed the last two Cheltenham Festivals due to injury but is one of the favourites for the big one next March.Solwhit and the Fly have met three times with the score 2-1 in the latter’s favour.

Trained by Charles Byrnes, Solwhit was successful in November at Punchestown in the Morgianna Hurdle and cannot be ruled out here.

And neither can Luska Lad who has top class form to his name and should make the frame.

However, it looks like Hurricane Fly all the way and another victory would see his odds shorten for Cheltenham.

Big Zeb, winner of the Champion Chase last season, takes on Captain Cee Bee in the Dial A Bet Chase, another Grade One race.

Golden Silver won at Fairyhouse for Mullins and is also in this cracking race but it looks to me as if Big Zeb, who won the Fortria Chase at Navan, is the one to be on here.

Belfast Telegraph


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