Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Tony McCoy's toughest race is off the track

Supreme talent: Tony McCoy goes again for the record today

Tony McCoy's toughest race today could be the 60-mile dash between Uttoxeter and Worcester as he bids to break trainer Martin Pipe's record of 4,191 winners.

McCoy, currently on 4,190 winners, has three rides at Uttoxeter this afternoon, the last – the appropriately named Dashing Over – in the 5.20.

The prolific Ulsterman is then booked to ride Old Pals Act in the 6.20 at Worcester's evening meeting, followed by three more rides.

My Nosy Rosy represents the 40-year-old's best chance at Worcester, but he will hope to have broken the record at Uttoxter, courtesy of the fancied On The Record and Dashing Over.

McCoy, closing in on an incredible 20th successive champion jockey title, had his most recent winner – Stonemadforspeed – at Southwell on Sunday then had to settle for a couple of third places at Newton Abbot on Monday.

McCoy is enjoying a fantastic season – even by his own sky-high standards – with 74 winners so far, putting him 41 clear of closest challenger Tom Scudamore in the title race.

He hit his half century in record time, raising hopes that the 300 winner mark for the season – which ends in April – could be broken for the first time ever.

McCoy holds the current record of 289, set in 2002.

Pipe's mark of 4,191 is one of McCoy's most cherished landmarks, one of the last great racing milestones as he charges towards the 5,000 winner mark. He rode his 4,000th winner last November.

McCoy, as stable jockey, rode most of Pipe's winners in the period between 1997 and 2004, before joining forces with top owner JP McManus, Pipe retiring in 2006.

"It's a huge number of winners and he (Pipe) is somebody I've always admired and been lucky enough to work with, so after the 4,000, this became the next target," said McCoy.

Meanwhile, Knavery can star in Lingfield's Paul Kelleway Memorial Classified Stakes, despite disappointing when only third at Doncaster on his most recent outing.

Roger Varian's runner was sent off favourite that day on the back of his maiden win at Kempton in May but he showed signs of greenness in the finish and eventually finished nearly six lengths adrift of the winner.

He is clearly still learning and should not be be dismissed from calculations just yet.

Aiyana hit the bar when second last time but is still the pick in the Henry Streeter Handicap.

Billingsgate has sound claims as he lines up in the Ryman The Stationer Handicap at Sandown.

The three-year-old was an all-weather winner for Charlie Appleby at the backend of last season but it has taken him a few starts to really find the winning groove this term.

Billingsgate looked thoroughly in need of his Doncaster debut in April and made significant strides from that performance when third on the Kempton Polytrack back in May.

Those two runs appeared to have brought Billingsgate to concert pitch, as he duly triumphed in good style back on Town Moor last month, winning with a little more in hand than the official three-quarters of a length margin would suggest.

The handicapper has put him up 6lb for that victory but given his recent progress, Billingsgate looks as though he could still have a bit left in the locker.

Taper Tantrum only lost out by a nose on his racecourse bow and should be off the mark in the Raynes Park Maiden Auction Stakes.

He came up against a more experienced rival in Buckleberry in what was only a modest maiden, but Taper Tantrum showed plenty of promise in racing prominently before just dropping away close to the line.

Michael Bell's runner will certainly be wiser for the experience and Taper Tantrum should build on that effort.

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