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Brace of winners beckons for Tony McCoy at Haydock
Updated 12:04pm Wednesday 19th March 2014 in Sport
Anyone who witnessed Tony McCoy hobbling around at the Cheltenham Festival last week after a couple of crushing falls might have thought the legendary jockey would be conspicuous by his absence for a little while in order to recover.
McCoy, however, has proved time and time again that he is an iron man and he returns to action at Haydock today with a hefty book of rides and several winning chances.
Donald McCain, whose own number-one jockey, Jason Maguire was put out of action for a lengthy period after suffering serious internal injuries in a fall at Stratford on the eve of the Festival, has been quick off the mark to book McCoy and the Cheshire might well be rewarded by seeing the perennial champion ride him a couple of winners.
In the 32Red 'Fixed Brush' Novices' Hurdle, McCoy will be aboard McCain's Katachenko, who trotted-up by a dozen lengths on his latest outing at Musselburgh. This looks a tougher assignment, but the gelding has had only two hurdling runs and is open to further improvement. He should go well.
McCoy and McCain can also clinch the 32Red Tomb Raider National Hunt Flat Race with Palermo Don.
The four-year-old shaped well to finish third at Newbury on her debut and may not need to improve much on that performance to lift this prize.
Philip Hobbs enjoyed an excellent Cheltenham with two winners from Fingal Bay and Balthazar King and the Minehead trainer can continue his winning spree with a brace of successes this afternoon.
Hobbs can land the 32Red Burning Desire Slot Handicap Hurdle with Cloud Creeper, who ended a frustrating sequence of near-misses when winning by ten lengths at Southwell last time out. There is more to come from him in handicap company and he is fancied to follow-up.
Hobbs can also capture the 32Red Free £10 Bonus Novices' Handicap Chase with nap selection Bincombe.
A likeable individual, the six-year-old gained a wide-margin win at Newbury on his latest start. The handicapper has raised him 9lb but that may not be enough to stop him in his tracks.
Also worth noting on the Haydock programme are recent Leicester winner Carli King (2-10), trained by the in-form Caroline Bailey, and Mick Easterby's Shadows Lengthen (5-15), a Doncaster winner three weeks ago who has good prospects of producing an encore.
At Kempton's evening meeting, Silvestre de Sousa, back for a week from Dubai, can make his presence felt aboard a couple of Mark Johnston-trained runners.
De Sousa rode a winner for Johnston on his comeback ride at Wolverhampton last Friday and has good prospects of adding to his domestic tally aboard Trafalgar Rock (7-10), who looks up to winning in maiden company and Crowdmania (8-10), who has really got his act together in recent weeks and who is chasing a hat-trick of wins. This is the North Yorkshire gelding's toughest test to date, but he looks to be improving with every race.
Newmarket trainer Chris Dwyer, who has his horses in excellent heart, has a winning chance with Sarah Berry (6-40) on a course where she has scored in the past, while George Baker's recruitment of champion jockey Richard Hughes for I'm Harry (7-40) looks significant on the five-year-old's first outing of the season.
2.10 Carli King, 2.40 Cloud Creeper, 3.10 Bincombe (NAP), 3.40 Karazhan, 4.15 Shadows Lengthen, 4.50 Katachenko, 5.20 Palermo Don.
5.40 Jeremoss, 6.10 Catalyze, 6.40 Sarah Berry, 7.10 Trafalgar Rock, 7.40 I'mHarry, 8.10 Crowdmania, 8.40 Silverheels, 9.10 Byrd In Hand.
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