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McCoy keeps winning despite Master scare

By Frank Brownlow

The winners just keep on coming for Northern Ireland’s Tony McCoy as he followed up his victory on Master Minded in Saturday’s Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot with a double in the more modest surroundings of Market Rasen yesterday.

McCoy, who last month became the first jockey to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, won the Racing UK Novices Hurdle on Problema Tic before following up with Foxesbow in the Racing UK Handicap Chase.

But the 15-times champion jockey had a very close call on Master Minded, his main assignment of the weekend.

The Paul Nicholls charge landed a second Victor Chandler Chase — but it is fair to say the once invincible aura he had is no more.

Although the Clive Smith-owned eight-year-old lost his Queen Mother Champion Chase crown to Big Zeb in March, there appeared to be valid excuses for the defeat given he had a rib injury for most of last season and has since undergone a breathing operation.

While it may seem folly to claim a horse unbeaten in three runs is not at his best, Somersby pushed him all the way.

A four-length advantage at the final fence shrunk to a short head at the line, with the champion jockey and champion trainer rather relieved men.

McCoy said: “He did well to win, they went a real good gallop early on and at Swinley Bottom he came back on the bridle and I let him run when I shouldn't have done — I should have sat and let him fill up more. But he's a very good horse, he got a bit tried on the ground and he probably idled a bit.”

Nicholls said: “I was disappointed initially because turning in I thought he was going to go away and win quite nice and then I was thinking something obviously isn't quite right with the way the horses are running.

“I said that to AP (McCoy) but he wasn't having any of that — he just said he gave him a bad ride. His words, not mine.”

McCoy blamed himself for allowing his mount to go for home too soon and Nicholls explained: “Tony said he gave him a bad ride. I was initially a bit disappointed, but he said not at all, and that he went too soon.”

Henrietta Knight is keen to point Somersby at the two mile championship for which the gelding can be backed at odds ranging between 8-1 and 14s. The same horse was clipped to 9-2 from 8-1 for the Ryanair Chase.

Knight said: “I was worried that he hadn't schooled as well as we would have liked.

“At this stage it would be great to win another Champion Chase and he has plenty of time in which to go further. My initial reaction would be the Queen Mother and I am leaning towards that.”

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