Racing: McCoy signals intent with winning return

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The Independent Online

Tony McCoy described himself as "nervous, like a lad who was having his first ride", when he returned to action at Fontwell yesterday after being out of action for two months. It was not a feeling that was to persist as the champion jump jockey, who broke his right arm in a fall at Worcester on 18 June, returned to the winner's circle on his first mount and put his main rival for this year's title, Richard Johnson, in his place in the process.

Flying Spirit, appropriately enough named, was the horse that carried him to success in a novices' hurdle, while Enitsag, his only other ride as he restricted himself to a couple of mounts over the smaller obstacles, could manage only third.

It was Flying Spirit, though, that proved the significant partner, pulling clear to score by 13 lengths at 9-4 and beating the 1-2 favourite Chivite, ridden by Johnson. "It means a lot to me, the reception the public gave me after that first win back," McCoy said. "It has been tough while I've been off, but I managed to cope by not watching racing on TV, which would have upset me.

"My arm feels 100 per cent and although I have foregone the dream of 300 winners this season, I will be going everywhere for winning rides as usual. If I have to flog all the way to Perth for just one ride, that is where I will be."

Johnson, who was leading McCoy by 18 in the championship table at the start of the day, said: "Tony looks fitter than ever. My lead will probably give him something to think about - for around 10 days."