Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Tony McCoy hits half century

CHAMPION jockey Tony McCoy racked up the half century of winners yesterday with victory on board trainer Jonjo O'Neill's Strongly Suggested at Stratford.

The Ulsterman moved 18 clear of closest jockey title challenger Jason Maguire – despite Maguire having a 16-winner head start due to McCoy missing the beginning of the season in April due to injury.

The 39-year-old looks certain to collect an incredible 19th successive title, injury permitting.

"I'd set myself a target of getting 50 before Galway, which is what I try and do every season," said McCoy, referring to the Festival, which starts next Monday.

"I started a bit later this time and I've been lucky that Jonjo's horses are flying, that's helped me a lot."

The season runs until next April and McCoy could hit the unprecedented 4,000 winner mark next year, a tally the Moneyglass man has expressed a desire to reach before he contemplates retirement.

A 20th successive title is also surely on his wish list before he calls it a day.

Silkelly is a consistent individual and her connections' patience should pay off in the Infinity Ecomax Tyres Handicap at Beverley tonight.

A winner on her seasonal bow at Musselburgh in May, Silkelly has not quite managed to match those heights in two starts since, proving a particularly disappointing favourite on her subsequent start when only fifth at Carlisle.

She unseated her rider on the way to the start that day and appeared to be struggling under a higher mark, although she ran a much better race off the same rating when only beaten half a length into third at Catterick.

She was just outrun in the finish that day, prompting David O'Meara to try her over a mile for the first time here.

Red Explorer did not enjoy the best of runs at Chester but can make amends in Windsor's Variety Children's Charity Handicap.

He was far from sharp out of the gate and had to pushed along to get into contention, with those early exertions probably counting him against him when the race really started to heat up.

Charlie Hills' charge was still beaten just three-quarters of a length at the line, demonstrating that his higher mark of 85 – a rise incurred by his Warwick win in July – would be no bar to success.

Shalwa can make it fourth-time lucky in the coral.co.uk Best Price Fillies Handicap.

Shalwa has not be beaten too far on any of her outings and looks good enough for this kind of event.

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