Racing: McCarthy strikes lucky in the Nags Head

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ADRIAN McCARTHY, one of the season's leading apprentices, ended his longest losing run of the campaign in the Nags Head At Pickhill Maiden Auction Stakes at Ripon yesterday.

McCarthy, 19, started 1998 with a winner on New Year's Day, and on 7 August took his score to 55. But he had drawn a blank since until yesterday's victory on Oriel Star.

However, it was a desperately close call as he added to his tally, for the David Evans-trained filly had only a short head to spare over Tread Softly - the pair having raced on opposite sides of the course.

As the result was announced, McCarthy said: "It is getting on for four weeks since my last winner and it has been a very frustrating time, but you just have to keep battling away and hope your luck will change.''