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Tony McCoy now oh so close

By FRANK BROWNLOW

Tony McCoy followed up his successful trip to the Down Royal Festival with doubles over the weekend at Wetherby and Carlisle to move to within four winners of the magical 4,000 mark.

McCoy won the feature WKD Hurdle on Jezki at Down Royal on Friday and maintained his brilliant form over the next two days.

The Ulsterman, closing in on an incredible 19th successive champion jockey title, has three rides today at Kempton and should hit the 4,000 milestone this week.

McCoy (39) beat the previous record of 1,699 – held by fellow Ulsterman Richard Dunwoody – 11 years ago.

Winner number 3,996 came on Red Lion Rock, trained in Armagh by Jim Lambe who himself is on a good run, his Ulster Derby hero Sir Ector triumphing minutes earlier yesterday at Leopardstown.

Oscar Fortune was McCoy's other Carlisle winner.

"I had some good rides (at Carlisle), a couple were maybe a bit disappointing," said McCoy.

"I'm at Kempton for three rides and a couple have chances, hopefully."

He added: "I'll be very proud to make it to 4,000 winners but in this game you can only take things day by day.

"It was nice to ride at Down Royal and great to get a winner.

"I don't get to ride at home as often as I'd like as I have to go where the job takes me."

* AIDAN O'Brien was full of praise for his aptly-named Magician after snatching the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita.

Winning the race for the fourth time, O'Brien said: "I've had some great horses (win the race), but this one is a bit different in that he is a Classic winner over a mile.

"The icing on the cake is that he is by Galileo, who is the most incredible stallion I shall ever have anything to do with."

* IN the wee small hours of tomorrow morning at Flemington racecourse on the southern tip of Australia, Willie Mullins' Simenon will vie to plunder the lion's share of a $6.2m (£3.8m) purse in the Melbourne Cup.

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