Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Racing Cheltenham

Cheltenham: AP McCoy keeps faith and beats pain to finally get off mark with Taquin

By Frank Brownlow

Tony McCoy revealed he was confident that Taquin Du Seuil would be the horse to finally get him off the mark at the Cheltenham Festival.

Jonjo O'Neill's charge devoured the famous hill to claim the JLT Novices' Chase under an inspired ride by the Ulster great.

McCoy was dumped on the Prestbury Park turf after a crunching fall from O'Neill's Goodwood Mirage late on Wednesday, but typically dusted himself down and was back in action later in the afternoon.

Although walking gingerly before and after his first mount yesterday, his pain was not evident during the race itself as he treated his adoring public to another power-packed finish.

Taquin Du Seuil was among the leading contenders for the Grade One contest at 7-1, but looked to have his work cut out when front-running 33-1 shot Uxizandre, carrying the colours of McCoy's boss JP McManus, kicked for home rounding the home bend.

However, McCoy did not give up and mastered the outsider on the run-in by three-quarters of a length, much to the delight of the packed grandstands.

"I'm a bit gutted I beat my boss (McManus), but obviously delighted for Jonjo," said McCoy.

"I always had great faith in this horse."

Paddy Power make Taquin Du Seuil a 25-1 shot for next year's Gold Cup, and O'Neill would love a crack at the blue riband.

He said: "We think he's a good horse and he jumped well and got the race run to suit him today.

"I need to thank JP for letting Tony off to ride him for us and his horse ran a blinder, but we needed all of AP today.

"It should ease the pain in AP's back.

"The horse has won over a mile and seven (furlongs) on the Flat in France. You don't know until you run them over it, but if he does get the (Gold Cup) trip he's a proper horse."

O'Neill later made it a Grade One double in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and another trainer to enjoy a brace was David Pipe as Ballynagour supplemented Dynaste's earlier Ryanair Chase victory.

Ballynagour was sent off the 7-2 favourite for last year's Byrne Group Plate but he could finish only eighth on that occasion.

However, as a 12-1 shot, Ballynagour laughed at his rivals in winning by eight lengths from Colour Squadron in the hands of Tom Scudamore.

Pipe said: "When he's good he's very good, as he showed when he won at Warwick.

"He's bled on occasions, so we don't do much with him and just give him an easy life.

"I probably shouldn't have run him here at the Paddy Power meeting, he wasn't fit enough at the time.

"Fair play to the owner, he was happy for us to bring him here fresh.

"I'm not sure what we'll do now, he's not a horse that takes too many runs so I don't think we'll be in a rush to do anything other than watch the DVD a few times."

There is plenty of Ulster interest at the Festival today with Flaxen Flare and Strongpoint in the Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle, while Carsonstown Boy and Tammys Hill go in the Foxhunter.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph