Bookmakers report a gathering of Tony McCoy support in the market on leading jockey at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.
The 19-times champion will star at the biggest jumps meeting of the year for the final time before retirement and has an exciting book of rides, including defending champion Jezki in the Stan James Champion Hurdle and Carlingford Lough in the Betfred Gold Cup.
McCoy was last crowned top rider at the Festival in 1998, but is 10-1 with Ladbrokes to roll back the clock.
David Williams of Ladbrokes said: “It’s a ’Ruby Tuesday’ that has us most concerned, but if McCoy gets on the scoreboard on the opening day it could suddenly all change.
“The prospect of McCoy in winning form as we head towards the Gold Cup is a chilling one. Ever since he announced his retirement there’s been a surge of support for him in many races.”
Ladbrokes see Jezki as McCoy’s best chance of a winner, but have seen backing for his other mounts such as Parlour Games, Mr Mole and Ned Buntline, who runs in the final race of the last day named in the Ulsterman’s honour.
Williams said: “If McCoy wins aboard Ned Buntline in the Festival finale it could easily be the biggest roar of the week from the packed stands.”
Asked when making a brief appearance on a preview panel after racing at Sandown on Saturday what he would like to ride away from his own horses, McCoy was quick to point to Annie Power in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle on the opening afternoon.
McCoy said: “Annie Power is the biggest certainty, just purely for the reason that she is going into her race and could be well below her best and still win as she is rated well above everything else.”
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