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Tony McCoy is all set to take on the World

By Frank Brownlow

Tony McCoy is targeting World Hurdle success at the Cheltenham Festival after a winning return to the saddle yesterday following a three-week injury lay-off.

McCoy won on Southfield Royale at Fontwell - his sole ride yesterday. And the winner has a strong Ulster connection, being trained by Glenavy native Neil Mulholland, who is now based in Wiltshire.

The 40-year-old Ulsterman will be hoping to continue in a similar vein at Newbury on Saturday when he rides World Hurdle hero More Of That in the Long Distance Hurdle and Merry King in his bid for a first Hennessy Gold Cup success.

"More Of That is one of our main hopes for the season. He's favourite for the World Hurdle which is a race I've never won so it would be nice to tick that one off," said McCoy. "I've never won the Hennessy Gold Cup although I haven't had too many cracks at it as it clashes with the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle."

McCoy, closing in on an incredible 20th successive champion jockey title, took his tally for the season to 153 but his dream of becoming the first rider to hit the 300 mark - he holds the record of 289 - looks out of reach this time around.

McCoy showed no signs of rustiness after rib and shoulder injuries sustained in a fall last month as he gave the 2-1 shot a typically strong ride to land the raceclear.co.uk Novices Hurdle ahead of 1-2 favourite Coologue.

"You can't afford to miss any days and it's impossible to ride 300 winners now," said McCoy, who is in action at Newbury today.

"You've just got to ride as many as you can and hopefully some good ones along the way.

"I'm very lucky, I've had a lot of good people looking after me.

"I was slightly worried about the ground (for this horse) as he won his bumper at Market Rasen on better ground, but he's a good type and Neil's done well.

"He said the more he jumped at home, the better he was.

"He jumped pretty well first time and you'd have to like him."

Mulholland completed a double courtesy of Ballydague Lady.

Belfast Telegraph

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