TONY McCoy treated Scottish racegoers to a masterclass yesterday with a forceful ride on Yes Tom to take the feature Best Prices For 4 Seasons BetVictor Handicap Chase at Ayr.
The 19-times champion has already ridden winners at Leopardstown and Catterick since announcing his retirement on Saturday and did not let down his legion of supporters on one of his last visits north of the border.
In typical McCoy fashion, he took the bull by the horns on Ulster raider Yes Tom (2-1 favourite). He sent the Stuart Crawford-trained grey to the front well before halfway in this extended two-and-a-half-mile contest and gradually turned up the heat.
His enterprising tactics soon had the opposition on the stretch. Back To Bracka tried to mount a challenge only to unseat his rider at the second-last and that left Yes Tom to score by 12 lengths and give McCoy his 202nd success of the season.
“I was delighted with that. I just wanted to get his confidence back. We took him to the Sky Bet (at Doncaster) looking for a big run but unfortunately it didn’t go to plan,” said Crawford, speaking from home in Larne. “At Ayr, it was just about getting a good round of jumping into him and hopefully trying to get a result. He did that and it was great to get it.
“AP rode him to a tee. I told my brother (Steven) to tell him to do that and that’s what he did. There’s a race back at Down Royal on St Patrick’s Day he won last year. We could go for that and then we may think of going back to Ayr for the Scottish National if we get a bit of decent ground. It’s just good to get a win with him and enjoy the day.”
McCoy could only finish fifth on the Crawford-trained newcomer Cornerman in the bumper as Jason Maguire made all on Duke Arcadio (7-2) for Donald McCain. McCoy also had to settle for second place on Top Of The Glas, his other ride of the day, behind easy winner Engrossing (11-8 favourite) in the BetVictor.com Maiden Hurdle.
One For Arthur (9-2) gave weight all round in the BetVictor Svengali Stakes Novices’ Handicap Hurdle. Lucinda Russell’s charge looked to have the measure of nearest pursuer Teddy Tee when that horse came down at the last allowing Peter Buchanan to bring him home a 15 lengths clear.
Russell’s assistant and partner, Peter Scudamore, told Racing UK: “He’s a horse we’re very fond of. I wanted to go over fences with him this season but his owners quite rightly made me wait. He wasn’t strong enough at the beginning of the season. We ran over the brush hurdles at Haydock and that was the making of him. I’ll have to look and see if I can find another of those types of races.”
Stuart Coltherd’s Aye Well (5-2) may be blind in one eye but he still powered to a 14-length victory under James Reveley in the Steven & Tracy James’s Silver Anniversary Today Handicap Chase, while . Marjorie Fife’s Simmply Sam (13-2) lost her maiden tag with a hard-fought win in the Download The BetVictor App Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Maguire is hoping to get among the winners at Musselburgh today when he has three rides for McCain. His first mount is Red Springer who faces just four rivals in the Racing UK Anywhere Maiden Hurdle. He said: “He’s been running well and was a good and very close second at Musselburgh last time in just his second start for Donald. He’s won a bumper in Ireland before he came over to the UK.”
With a win and a second from just two visits to the East Lothian venue, John Quinn’s El Beau looks the one to beat in the featured Geoff Kerr Memorial Handicap Hurdle.