Tony McCoy relying on Tyrella's Mountain Tunes for 4,000th win milestone
The four-year-old won at County Down last March for handler Cian Hughes
Tyrella, County Down could provide the key to the magic 4,000 winners milestone being attacked by AP McCoy.
The 18-times champion reached 3,999 on the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Minella For Steak – a spare ride after McCoy's intended mount, the aptly named Mission Complete, was a non-runner at Chepstow yesterday.
The Ulsterman has two booked rides at Towcester, including another O'Neill runner, Church Field, in the handicap hurdle (2.10pm).
However, Mountain Tunes – owned by JP McManus who retains the champion jump jockey – could be the one to achieve the magic number.
The four-year-old makes his first start for his new connections in the novices hurdle (3.10pm) with the son of Mountain High having won a decent maiden point to point at Tyrella last March for handler Cian Hughes on his second start, having finished third on his point to point debut.
The Ulster legend would like nothing better than to reach the 4,000 mark on a horse owned by his boss and friend JP McManus, having secured in recent years an Aintree Grand National (Don't Push It in 2010) and a Cheltenham Gold Cup (Synchronised in 2012), big races that had previously eluded Ireland's leading racehorse owner.
One thing is certain – the modest Northampton track can expect a record attendance today in anticipation of McCoy finally reaching the top of the 4,000 winner mountain.
McCoy admits it will be a relief to bag his 4,000th winner.
McCoy replaced 10lb-claimer James Huxham aboard Minella For Steak and travelled well throughout the three-mile heat aboard the well-supported 3-1 favourite. He opted to kick for home early and appeared in total control approaching the penultimate flight only for Heronshaw to throw down a late challenge.
Heronshaw drew level over the last but McCoy kept pressing his mount and Minella For Steak responded, winning by three-quarters of a length for owners Gay Smith and John Magnier.
McCoy had earlier been out of luck as El Macca could finish only fifth in the opening RABI Gateway Project Maiden Hurdle.
He said of his winner: "He's amazing this horse, because he really struggles to breathe.
"He's been running on better ground and he's won twice now on the heaviest ground possible.
"We're all supposed to be experts in this game and if anyone was riding him, or had anything to do with him, you wouldn't believe he could win on this ground.
"I'm glad that Jonjo let me ride him. I had to ring him and ask."
As for the chances of today's mounts, the 39-year-old said: "It would be great if one of them won.
"For my riding career, the sooner the better that one of them wins so I can get on with trying to have a few winners."