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McCoy back chasing 17th title

By Chris McGrath

Champion jockey AP McCoy expects to be back in action tomorrow after recovering from the injuries sustained in a fall last month.

The Ulsterman, closing in on his 17th title, has been sidelined since December 30 after fracturing his ribs and bruising his lungs in a fall at Taunton.

McCoy — who has 174 winners so far this season, 62 more than second placed Richard Johnson — saw a specialist on Monday and after receiving a positive update, he is planning to return to action tomorrow at Warwick.

“The doctor is very happy so I should be back on Thursday,” confirmed McCoy (right) .

The jockey's agent Dave Roberts has not yet finalised Thursday's riding plans.

He said: “I don't think he has to pass a doctor or anything and he'll be back riding on Thursday.

“I'm waiting to see what Jonjo (O'Neill, trainer) is doing and then we'll go from there.”

Meanwhile, dawn yesterday brought such a deluge in Lambourn that trainer Nicky Henderson was tempted not to work his horses; later on, moreover, he would have an especially distressing funeral to attend.

He should be commended for his forbearance, then, in embracing his obligations as host of a media open morning to promote the race closest to the heart of Dai Walters.

As owner of one of the best horses stabled at Seven Barrows, of course, Walters could rely on his trainer to show due enthusiasm for Oscar Whisky's defence of the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las on Saturday week.

Oscar Whisky will be dropping back to two miles in search of the biggest prize offered at Carmarthenshire's thriving new track, which is also owned by Walters, before trying three miles against Big Buck's at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

But some are urging both men to view the race not so much as a compulsory detour, as a crossroads.

For now they are simply keeping their options open, by entering Oscar Whisky for the Champion Hurdle, in which he finished third last year, as well as the World Hurdle.

Walters reckons the odds in favour of the longer race at 60-40, but Henderson has long sounded more emphatic.

“I wish there was a two-and-a-half-mile championship hurdle,” he said, picking his way through the puddles.

“But there isn't. The Aintree Hurdle is the obvious thing, and he did win that well last year.

“All being well, his programme will be Ffos Las, Cheltenham and then back to Aintree. But you've still got horses like Hurricane Fly around, at two miles.

“Obviously, if he breaks the track record at Ffos Las, we might think again. And if you go up to three miles you walk into Big Buck's, who is probably the least beatable of them all.

“It is daunting. But this horse was third in the Champion last year and I don't see where the improvement is supposed to come from, to win it.

“And the one thing he will have is the natural speed to travel with Big Buck's,” he said.

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