Racing: McCoy may miss Pipe party

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The Independent Online
Martin Pipe stands on the brink of reaching another century of winners in a season after gaining his 99th victory yesterday - but the stable's favoured rider, Tony McCoy, is unlikely to be joining the ton-up party.

McCoy was ruled out of action for today and tomorrow following a fall at Taunton. After concussion was diagnosed, the jockey was stood down for three days. This means he misses promising rides at Cheltenham today and Lingfield tomorrow which seem almost certain to clinch Pipe's century.

Adrian Maguire, McCoy's nearest pursuer in the jump jockeys' title race, may also miss Cheltenham today, because of influenza.

McCoy, who is on the 115-winner mark, was on Iktasab in the West Hatch Novice Hurdle yesterday when the horse fell at the final flight when in fifth place.

The season's leading jump jockey was then badly kicked by another runner. He lay motionless for a while but eventually walked away from the incident to be brought back in an ambulance.

McCoy's condition meant he was forced to give up his remaining booked rides on the Taunton card, including the Pipe-trained Out Ranking in the final event. This multiple winner duly won, with Richard Hughes in the saddle, taking the yard on to the 99 mark.

"McCoy will miss the next two days as the rules state that if the concussion is of a minor nature the jockey cannot ride for three days," said racecourse doctor Roger Lambert.

Pipe was not at Taunton but the trainer's assistant, Chester Barnes, said: "I suppose we've got to wait another day for the century and I don't know how many runners we'll have over the weekend with Tony out of action.''

It compounded a bad week for McCoy, who had to give up his sole ride at Leicester on Wednesday after a fall at Plumpton on Tuesday which left him bruised.

At Sandown yesterday, Adrian Maguire whittled down his rival's lead to 59 with a hat-trick on Hurricane Lamp, Potter's Bay and Stately Home.

He narrowly missed out on a four-timer when Jack Tanner, the 1-4 favourite for the novice stayers' hurdle, went down by a head to Yahmi in a driving finish up the hill.

But Maguire later revealed he was feeling under the weather and might not be fit for Cheltenham today. "I'm dying of the flu and might not ride tomorrow," he said. "I will talk to David Nicholson and see how I am in the morning."

Richard Dunwoody, 65 winners behind McCoy, seemed in rude health at Fakenham, where he reached the 50 mark for the season when skillfully steering The Lancer to victory at Fakenham.

Dunwoody's mount appeared to be dropping out of contention with three fences to jump, but the rider had merely been giving the 6-4 favourite a breather after being prominent from the start. The partnership came with a renewed challenge from the home bend to beat Dr Rocket by two and a half lengths. Dunwoody had earlier initiated a double with Le Teteu, who galloped right through the last flight in the juvenile novice hurdle, but it did not stop him.

The former champion jockey sat tight on the winner, another 6-4 favourite, and they came home two lengths clear of Desert Mountain.

Inchcailloch, a good winner at Sandown yesterday, is a doubtful runner for the Tripleprint Gold Cup at Cheltenham tomorrow. ``I'm frightened the track might be slippery again," trainer Jeff King said afterwards.

Still on course for the Cheltenham event, though, is Addington Boy. Gordon Richards, his trainer, is expected to send the eight-year-old on the journey from Penrith for a race which carries pounds 60,000 in added prize money. Tony Dobbin will ride.