McCoy ends year on a high

Perennial champion jockey Tony McCoy ended 2009 on a high by signing off the year with a near 742-1 treble at Warwick courtesy of wins from Leo’s Lucky Star, Afistfullofpebbles and Prince Geeno.

Leo’s Lucky Star was first off the mark when completing a clean sweep of victories across all codes in the Jockey Club Catering Beginners’ Chase.

The Roger Brookhouse-owned gelding was a winner on the level for Mark Johnston and has posted numerous successes over timber for David Pipe.

The 8-1 chance tried his hand at chasing in the spring of 2008 without much success but his latest attempt proved much more fruitful as he came clear to thwart the challenge of 11-10 favourite Quartz De Thaix by six lengths.

Pipe said: “That was a good performance and I think he will improve for the run.

“The ground would have been soft enough for him but his jumping was very good and Tony said he was very quick over his fences which should serve him well in the future.

“He was a decent hurdler so hopefully he will make up into a decent chaser.”

Pipe provided McCoy’s final winner too as 13-2 chance Prince Geeno took the Help For Heroes Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, while he donned JP McManus’ famous green and gold silks aboard Jonjo O’Neill’s Afistfullofpebbles (10-1) in the Mercia 97.0 And 102.9 Handicap Chase.

O’Neill commented: “Tony got him jumping and as he ran past horses his confidence increased, which has made the difference.”

McCoy missed out on a massive four-timer as O’Neill’s Salpierre was relegated to second spot by Awesome Freddie (3-1) in the Anabel And Anabel’s Sister Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

Lucy Wadham is eyeing a big-race target at Newbury in March for Queen Poline after she bounced back to form in the EBF Mares’ ’National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle.

The 10-1 chance disappointed at Newbury last month when Wadham’s Newmarket yard was under a cloud, but she gamely led with a circuit left to run for a five-length call over 5-4 favourite Silver Kate.

Wadham said: “She looked fantastic at Newbury but most of our horses were wrong at the time and that is more like her old self.

“She’ll jump a fence in time but that win qualifies her for the mares’ final and she’ll head there with probably another run in between.”

A series of minor problems have restricted Pontiff to just seven career outings but he certainly has not lost any of his ability judged on his all-the-way romp in the E.On – For Our Hero’s Handicap Chase.

Noel Fehily sent the first-time-visored nine-year-old into an early lead and the 9-2 chance bowled merrily along in front to score by a little over three lengths on his first outing for 349 days.

Trainer Warren Greatrex said: “He was almost retired at the start of the year as he has had so many problems and we have had to be patient with him.

“He deserves a decent shot at a clean run and this will have done his confidence the world of good.”

A step up in trip and challenging underfoot conditions brought out the best in 4-1 favourite Rebeccas Choice who opened his account in the extended three-mile Coventry Telegraph Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.

Trainer Mark Rimell said: “The ground and trip have helped him as he is an out-and-out stayer.

“He has taken a long time to come to himself and get his confidence but he was ready to win.”

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