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Tony McCoy is in sparkling form as his rival returns

By Frank Brownlow

Tony McCoy had a stunning 66-1 four-timer on the day one of his greatest rivals, Jason Maguire, returned after six months out of the saddle through injury.

Maguire was kicked in the stomach on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival in March, suffering a fractured sternum and bleeding on his liver.

His return in the Royal British Legion Mares Novices Hurdle at Newton Abbot could not have gone any better as Kim Bailey's seven-year-old travelled sweetly throughout, pulling clear before the home turn.

Maguire even allowed himself a leisurely look around after jumping the last to see there were no dangers to the 5-6 favourite.

Bailey said: "Jason lives very locally to us and comes in regularly to ride work. We're aware that we are very much second fiddle to Donald McCain but he's a massive cog in our operation.

"We were delighted he came back quicker than anticipated."

Bailey also had news of stable star Harry Topper.

He said: "Harry is on course for a repeat bid in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, that's the plan."

McCoy, meanwhile, won on El Namoose, My Direction, Marju's Quest and Petrovic – the latter at the very un-McCoy-like price of 10-1 and all four winners in succession – at Worcester to continue his relentless march towards an incredible 20th successive champion jockey title.

The Ulsterman's big target this season is to become the first jockey to ride 300 winners. He is now on 134, 80 clear in the title race.

Belfast Telegraph


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