Racing: Bakkar helps Maguire to return at the double

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The Independent Online
By Richard Edmondson

ADRIAN MAGUIRE completed the fairytale on his return from injury yesterday but now has his mind set on the big story. Registering a double at Leicester is one thing, but now the Irish jockey is focused on racing's Super Bowl at Prestbury Park.

It can seem odd to hear Maguire talking about an eagerness to return to the Festival. The meeting holds terrible memories for him as it marks two dreadful injuries and the death of his mother, all of which have prevented him from competing at Cheltenham for the last three years.

When he was last at the big one we talked of Maguire the jockeys' champion- in-waiting. Now, at 26, a title seems no longer guaranteed and he looks to make the most of his opportunties (including requesting payment for interviews).

The admirable portion of Maguire was in evidence in the Midlands yesterday as he thumped home Macgeorge and Bakkar in his celebrated indomitable style. "He has given the horse a brilliant ride," Richard Lee, the trainer of the former, said. "I can honestly say I don't think anyone else would have won on the horse today.''

Win No 2 was for his retained stable of David Nicholson, who will provide much of the Maguire arsenal in the Cotswolds next month. His jockey appreciated the exercise. "It's cleared the cobwebs a little bit," he said.

Maguire was also pleased with the recuperation of the right arm he has now fractured twice in recent months. "The arm is good," he said. "I have used both hands no problem and it's great to come back and have two winners.

"I have been doing weight-lifting and running and swimming. You can do all that but you still need to improve your race fitness. Once or twice when coming back from injury I have been less fit than I was today. I'll be easing myself back with Cheltenham in mind.''

Maguire has already avowed that, in the near future, he will be partnering only animals who have numbers in front of their name rather than form which looks like a Scrabble rack. He proves a point with his single ride at Lingfield today. It is in the bumper.