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Tony McCoy hat-trick leaves the bookies trembling

By Frank Brownlow

A stunning Tony McCoy hat-trick made it 121 winners for the season – and hurt the bookies – as the tantalising prospect of hitting the magical 300 mark gathers momentum.

McCoy may have turned 40 in May but the Ulsterman is currently in the form of his life as he closes in on an incredible 20th successive champion jockey title.

No jockey has ever ridden 300 winners in a season – McCoy holds the current record of 289 – and if the Moneyglass ace achieves the feat it would be a massive boost for his other major goal.

That is to ride an unprecedented 5,000 career winners, a target that at his current strike rate could be as little as two seasons away with McCoy on a total of 4,238.

McCoy continued his excellent run of results for Jim Best when Saint Helena landed a gamble in the 32Red Casino Handicap Hurdle at Southwell.

The six-year-old had been a 6-1 shot in the morning until Best withdrew his other runner Into The Wind, who had been McCoy's intended mount, due to the ground. The 19-times champion switched to Saint Helena, replacing Rhys Flint.

Saint Helena was sent off 11-10 favourite and McCoy registered his eighth win from 12 rides for Best this season.

Although Saint Helena had shown little in seven starts over hurdles since joining the Best team, being beaten a total of 228 lengths in her last three outings, she had won races on the Flat for Harry Dunlop.

The stewards held an inquiry to consider the apparent improvement in form of Saint Helena and interviewed the trainer, who stated that the mare, who had been a very buzzy type in the past, settled better and had benefited from a break of 125 days since her last run.

Best also told the stewards the mare was suited by the firmer ground on this occasion.

Having heard his evidence they forwarded his explanation to the British Horseracing Authority so that her previous performances could be reviewed.

McCoy was completing a double having taken the opening SIS Handicap Chase on Ever So Much.

McCoy made it a treble when scoring on the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Listen And Learn for JP McManus in the 32RedSport.com Handicap Hurdle.

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