TONY McCoy is just 11 winners away from the magical 4,000 over jumps after a double on Eastlake and Deadly Sting at Aintree.
The 18-times champion took another step closer to yet another record-breaking achievement with a brace for trainer Jonjo O’Neill that again illustrated his talents in the saddle.
Fresh from a treble on Saturday, he enjoyed a smooth success in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Handicap Chase on Eastlake, owned by his boss JP McManus, after first Stagecoach Pearl and then Boxer Beat exchanged pacemaking duties.
McCoy brought the 11-4 favourite to lead between the final two fences and go on to triumph by three and a quarter lengths from Anay Turge. “He jumped really well today and AP gave him a lovely spin round,” O’Neill said.
McCoy more than earned his riding fee on Deadly Sting (11-8 favourite) after a fierce duel with the Sam Twiston-Davies-ridden Bally Braes in the matalan.co.uk Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race. The verdict was a head and the winner had to survive an inquiry after the first two appeared to bump in the closing stages.
Meanwhile, Aidan O’Brien looks to have an exciting jumper on his hands again after the impressive success of Carriganog in the I.N.H Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle at Wexford.
The four-year-old was a first jumps winner for O’Brien since the mighty Istabraq in 2001 when obliging at Clonmel earlier this month, and followed up in real style. Sent off as the 8-11 favourite to make it two wins from as many starts over timber, he travelled and jumped well for Robbie Power before taking it up from Theatre Mill after two out.
The outcome was never in any doubt from there, as he powered 16 lengths clear of The Cookie Jar. Like Istabraq, the winner now runs in the colours of JP McManus, who bought the Shantou gelding following his Clonmel effort.
Frank Berry, racing manager to McManus, said: “He did it grand. He handled the ground and you couldn’t ask for any more. He will probably go for another novice in a few weeks’ time, but we will see what Aidan wants to do. He looks a big chaser in the making. He made those hurdles look small.”
In France, Tac De Boistron took Group 1 honours for trainer Marco Botti and jockey Martin Harley with victory in the Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp.
Runner-up in the Prix du Cadran on his previous start, the six-year-old grey appreciated the drop in trip to just under two miles and destroyed the opposition in the French St Leger.
Tres Rock Danon made the running until well into the home straight where Harley unleashed Tac De Boistron to sweep into the lead and pull clear to win by five lengths. Going Somewhere was second while Irish challenger Missunited put in excellent work at the finish to get third for Michael Winters, just three-quarters of a length away.
The other British raider The Lark never figured under Jamie Spencer for trainer Michael Bell. “He won well. This is his ideal trip – the Cadran was just a little bit too far for him,” said Botti. “I was pleased he showed a nice turn of foot on this ground, as it’s very testing.”