Miracle man Tony McCoy battled back from a heavy fall in the Lexus Chase with a superb treble at Newbury yesterday, a tally which included success in both Grade One contests on the card.
McCoy injured his wrist in a tumble from Kempes in the Lexus — Tuesday’s Leopardstown feature — but defied all the odds to land a treble yesterday, which included victory on Big Bucks in the Newbury feature, the AP Wins Sports Personality Long Walk Hurdle named in the 36-year-old’s honour for his triumph in the prestigious BBC award earlier this month.
And McCoy was highly impressed by Big Bucks, trimmed from 4-5 to 4-7 for his defence of the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
“You don't even need to say anything about a horse like that — you just have to look at his form,” said McCoy.
“There's no point even trying to follow a horse like him around Cheltenham as he's just obviously the best.”
The Moneyglass man, chasing a 16th consecutive champion jockey title, was also victorious on board Grandouet and Backspin, the latter triumphant in the Grade One Heroes Charity Challow Novices' Hurdle.
Hurricane Fly leapt to favouritism for Cheltenham Festival honours after landing an emphatic victory over his old rival Solwhit in the Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown yesterday.
The Willie Mullins-trained gelding was cut from 11-2 to 7-2 outright market leader for the Champion Hurdle after he followed up his recent Hatton's Grace success in tremendous style.
“There is nothing set in stone but I would like to get three runs into him before Cheltenham, and I'd say he'll come back here for the Irish Champion Hurdle next month,” said Mullins.
The Leopardstown Christmas Festival concludes today with Mullins’ Mikael D’Haguenet strongly fancied to win the Grade One Novice Chase.
Meanwhile, Noel Meade, on the mark in a big way with Pandorama in the Lexus Chase, can follow up with at least a double at Down Royal today.
Meade appears to have the answer in the opening Sean Graham Bookmakers Maiden Hurdle with Dylan Ross who won the bumper at this meeting in November and can maintain that level of improvement.
In the main event, the Adam & Ann Armstrong Memorial Handicap Chase, Meade goes with the strongly-fancied Accord Aris.
Benburb trainer Jim Lambe looks to have a grand opportunity with Drumbaloo who ran in the Cheltenham bumper last March after previously winning at Hereford, Down Royal and Navan.
Drumbaloo makes his debut over hurdles in the Stallion Owners Maiden and should be good enough at the expense of Meade’s Another Palm.
Pat Martin generally has a winner here and Lucky Spring can score in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap, a race in which Crossgar’s Colin McBratney runs Sole Witness and Selection Box.
Gordon Elliott has been on the mark recently and has the likely winner of the Beginners Chase in Tharawaat who was most unlucky last time out when falling.
TODAY’S DOWN ROYAL SELECTIONS: 12.10 Dylan Rose; 12.40 Drumbaloo; 1.10 Lucky Spring; 1.40 Tharawaat; 2.15 Accord Aris; 2.50 Send For Paddy; 3.25 Rich Revival.