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Tony McCoy hopes to complete Mission at Chepstow

By frank brownlow

Tony McCoy has refused to rule out a crack at 5,000 winners –even though he would be in his mid 40s if he were to achieve the amazing feat.

McCoy will hit the magical 4,000 winner milestone if he wins on both his scheduled rides at Chepstow today – with the second, Mission Complete, a very appropriately named horse on which to do so.

The first, El Macca, is incidentally named after former Liverpool and Real Madrid star Steve McManaman.

McCoy's next target will be 4,183 winners – trainer Martin Pipe's tally.

The now-retired Pipe is McCoy's former employer, the pair at a time enjoying one of sport's most prolific partnerships.

And McCoy, who will turn 40 at the start of next season when he will bid to win a 20th successive champion jockey title, said: "If someone told me I would still be a jump jockey at the age of 45, I would think they needed their head examined.

"But you never know – you have to dream," he added intriguingly.

McCoy drew a blank with his three rides at Exeter yesterday.

He was narrowly denied in the opening novice hurdle on Flemenson by the Hadden Frost-ridden Rydon Pynes, while his mount in the following race, Keen Eye, never looked like taking a hand in the finish at any stage.

His third ride, Well Hello There, travelled extremely well for much of the three-mile handicap chase but a bad blunder just before the home straight cost him any chance of victory and he was ultimately well beaten.

Achieving the 4,000 at Exeter would have been perfect symmetry for McCoy, who rode his first British winner at the track, Chickabiddy on September 7, 1994.

Reflecting on the day, McCoy said: "Obviously my first winner was here and it would have been nice to have another winner, but it wasn't to be.

"Flemenson was a close-run thing, he ran well but he was giving a bit of weight to the winner. Unfortunately he got beat.

"Well Hello There made a mistake down the back which really put paid to his chances.

"Keen Eye ran okay actually, he ran as well as I expected to be fair."

Assessing his chances at Chepstow, McCoy said: "El Macca is named after a friend of mine, Steve McManaman – I'm not sure he's got as much ability as Steve had but hopefully he will run okay.

"I'm not sure how much of a chance Mission Complete has got.

"It could go on, and I'll be lucky if I have a winner (at Chepstow)."

On the chances of hitting the 4,000 and then his beloved Arsenal winning tonight's Champions League clash with Dortmund, he said: "It would be good, really good (for both to happen).

"We did well at the weekend against Liverpool and have come together well as a team.

"Dortmund are one of the favourites and if Arsenal got a result there it would be a good one."

Bookies do not fancy McCoy's chances of hitting the milestone today on 5-2 favourite El Macca and 14-1 outsider Mission Complete.

William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke said: "The betting suggests he's less likely to achieve the feat – he's 22-1 to ride his 4,000th at Chepstow.

"We were 5-1 for AP McCoy to reach the 4,000-winner milestone at Exeter and racegoers were slightly disappointed not to see him reach the landmark.

"That could look a huge price if he picks up a spare ride or two – all bets already placed with William Hill would still stand."

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