Tony McCoy delighted punters with a stunning 45-1 treble at Southwell yesterday as the Ulsterman continues to prove that life begins at 40. McCoy hit the landmark age in May and has been in the form of his life ever since.
The treble – on West End, Dursey Sound and Houston Dynimo – caned the bookies and took McCoy's total for the season to 96, putting him on course to ride his fastest ever century of winners.
The deadline for that feat is September 4 and if McCoy, as expected, achieves it he will, by his own admission, have a chance of reaching one of racing's most magical marks.
No jockey has ever ridden 300 winners in a season, with McCoy – racing towards a 20th successive champion jockey title – holding the current record of 289.
McCoy's third winner yesterday was for David Pipe – son of retired trainer Martin Pipe whose mammoth record tally of 4,191 career winners the Moneyglass rider broke just last month.
Paul Hanagan warmed up for the four-day Ebor Festival when landing a double on his comeback from injury at Pontefract yesterday.
The dual champion Flat jockey had been determined to test his fitness in time for York, where his rides include Taghrooda for his boss Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum in the Yorkshire Oaks, after damaging his arm in a horror fall at Goodwood on July 29.
And he made a successful return on Imshivalla (5-2) for trainer Richard Fahey, for whom he used to be stable jockey, in the CGC Events For Conference & Banqueting Handicap.
He made all of the running as the three-year-old filly swept to her third win over a mile at the course this season.
"I'm just glad to be back," said Hanagan.
"I've done as much as I could, but I was very sore. There's only one way of getting it right and that is by riding.
"The last couple of weeks have been difficult but I've been in this game long enough to know what happens.
"I'm looking forward to York now."
Fahey's assistant, Robin O'Ryan, said: "This horse likes the hill here. Once a filly starts improving you never know when they're going to stop.
"It's helped her going up to a mile and letting her bowl along. She seems to relish it."
Hanagan enjoyed a 100 per cent return on the day when steering Hesbaan (10-11 favourite) home in the totepool Supporting The Sport You Love Maiden Stakes for his main patron.
He had the Marcus Tregoning-trained gelding to the fore to register a straightforward two-and-a-quarter-length verdict over Flawless Pink.
"He's done it well and it was a valuable maiden. The prize-money's good here," said the trainer. "He's a nice, sound little horse. He's been a bit unlucky."
Fahey had earlier struck with Grandad's World (3-1 favourite), who made a winning debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Trevor Woods Memorial Maiden Stakes, storming away under Tony Hamilton to score by three and a quarter lengths from Canny Kool.
Malton trainer Peter Niven had York on his mind as Beat The Shower (15-2) gave a timely boost to stablemate Clever Cookie's bid for the Ebor when winning for the first time for three years in the St John Ambulance Handicap.
"He's been knocking at the door. He snapped his splint bone and had to have an operation," Niven explained.