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Tony McCoy victory gives Jonjo O'Neill a huge boost

By Frank Brownlow

Tony McCoy helped trainer Jonjo O'Neill out of a rut when Rose Revived triumphed at Ludlow.

It was O'Neill's first winner since November 19 - up until that point the Gold Cup and Grand National-winning handler had harboured dreams of becoming champion trainer.

And that would have made O'Neill the first man in the modern era to have been champion jockey and champion trainer.

But the old firm of Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson have strengthened their grip as the campaign has progressed.

O'Neill finally broke free of his mid-winter lull as Rose Revived edged home in the closing bumper under McCoy, closing in on his 20th successive champion jockey title.

The Ulsterman - who is likely to ride either Carlingford Lough or Shutthefrontdoor in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March following yesterday's entries - had to move sharply close home to avoid a temporary rail, but beat Henderson's Clemency in a photo.

While O'Neill has not had anywhere near the amount of runners usually associated with the yard for this time of year, it had still been a disconcerting period.

After Kelvingrove was beaten as favourite at Taunton earlier in the day, O'Neill must have thought the wait was going to be extended but with the help of McCoy - who has missed a chunk of the season through injury - he has removed the monkey from his back although title hopes have gone.

The stable's high-profile stars such as Holywell and More Of That have disappointed and O'Neill, whose last winner was Mont Royale at Warwick, had gone 61 runners and 50 days without a victory until Rose Revived came good in Ludlow's bumper for fillies and mares.

O'Neill, who had been as short as 7-2 for his first championship but has now drifted to 33-1, can now look forward to Cheltenham with renewed optimism.

Belfast Telegraph

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