Mar 13, 755 days ago

McCoy hopes to bow out in style

McCoy hopes to bow out in style

Champion jockey Tony McCoy rode a brilliant race to make all the running on Uxizandre and win Thursday’s Grade 1 Ryanair Chase. The 16-1 winner was wearing a visor for the first time after a couple of disappointing efforts and was certainly lit up by the new headgear. He jumped superbly to hold off Ma Filleule and the favourite Don Cossack.

The victory was greeted with as much enthusiasm as an odds-on favourite as McCoy saluted the crowd in the winner’s enclosure. It ended a long wait for McCoy’s first winner of the week but he is hoping that it won’t be his last.

He is optimistic of a good ride on Hargam in the opening Triumph Hurdle on Friday for Nicky Henderson, the training have earlier broken his festival duck for the week with Call The Cops in the Pertemps Final. Hargam was impressive when winning at Musselburgh last month and is one of three strongly-fancied runners for the Lambourn trainer in the race.

McCoy then partners Princely Conn for Thomas Mullins in the competitive County Hurdle. The six-year-old has been running consistently in Ireland and was a close second at Leopardstown last month. Fletchers Flyer looks up against it in a top quality renewal of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle but he could have each-way claims on his Wincanton victory over Aqalim in January. The runner-up ran well when finishing fifth on Thursday’s card.

There will be plenty of sentimental support for McCoy’s Gold Cup mount, Carlingford Lough. He booked his place in the field when winning the Irish Hennessy at Leopardstown under a typically strong McCoy ride. The gelding did not jump well here last year in the RSA Chase but plenty of punters will put their faith in the champion jockey in his last Gold Cup.

McCoy had a choice of mounts in the finale but has decided to partner last year’s runner-up Ned Buntline for Noel Meade. The son of Refuse To Bend has only raced twice since, most recently finishing down the field in a handicap hurdle at Leopardstown.

Ned Buntline has already been the subject of strong support this week and bookmakers will be bracing themselves for a big pay-out if McCoy can deliver the perfect end to the festival meeting. Uxizandre was McCoy’s 31st winner at the Cheltenham festival but it may not necessarily have been his last.

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