Racing: McCoy's historic double ton

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TONY McCOY passed the latest of many milestones in his remarkable career here yesterday when he brought a four-year-old called Fataliste home by 18 lengths in the Adonis Hurdle. It was the reigning champion jump jockey's 200th winner of the season and was the fastest double century in history.

Sure, the goalposts have moved, as they do in most sports with the passage of time, since Peter Scudamore set the previous mark on 27 April back in 1989 - the season now starts two months earlier - but that should not diminish McCoy's achievement. His next target is numerical - the best- ever 221 winners ridden by Scudamore in that 1988-89 season - and should be a formality. He is only 10-1 with William Hill to reach the magic 300 before the shutters come down on the campaign 12 weeks hence.

Fataliste is trained by Martin Pipe, whose West Country winner factory has supplied 122 of the 200 and performed similar service for Scudamore.

"Brilliant," he said, "I'm delighted he did it on one of ours; Scu actually didn't. He gave him a super ride, but then he usually does, which is what makes him champion. He is so determined and goes out so full of confidence. It's very nice to have him on our side."

But even the 23-year-old Irishman's skills could not get the favourite Challenger Du Luc into the firing line in the afternoon's feature, the Racing Post (Handicap) Chase.

The quirky gelding was closing on the leaders Super Tactics - ultimately the length and a quarter winner- and Land Afar when he hit the 15th obstacle; thereafter he was off the bridle and disappeared from contention after another, worse, mistake three out.

By contrast Super Tactics, trying three miles for the first time, jumped superbly in front for Andy Thornton and an extra- extravagant leap two out settled the issue. The consistent 10-year-old is clearly at home round Kempton's sharp, flat track; yesterday's was his fifth victory here, and came as something of a surprise to his Dorset- based trainer Robert Alner.

"We didn't think he would win such a big race," he said, "and so he has no fancy entries. But he's a tough sort of horse, who never gives up."

Although Racing Post Chase day, just two and a half weeks before Cheltenham, will not always be as good a guide to the Festival as it was in 1994, when eight participants at Sunbury went on to victory at Prestbury, it generally provides some fairly accurate pointers. Two of the past three cards have thrown up three subsequent Cheltenham winners.

One race that has not yet been highlighted, however, is the Arkle Trophy, but Kadastrof, who had little more than an exercise spin to win the opening Emblem Chase, may be the one to buck the trend. The enormously likeable, perky eight-year-old entire is now 6-1 favourite for the two-mile novice chaser's championship with Hills.

It had been expected that Phil and Colin Paton's chestnut - trained by Robin Dicken at Stratford-on-Avon - would go straight to Cheltenham after running the race of his life against the senior champion-elect, Ask Tom, at Newbury two weeks ago, but he came out of that narrow defeat almost too well for his own good.

"He was getting a bit above himself," said Dickin, "and I didn't want him in bits all over Warwickshire. The other nightmare scenario was that after more than a month off he might have attacked the first fence at Cheltenham with too much enthusiasm and ended up on the floor. But this will have taken some of the tickle out of his feet and 17 days to the big day is just right."

Kadastrof was the first leg of a four-timer for Thornton, who found the truth of the old adage about luck being in when he replaced Adrian Maguire - shaken up after a heavy fall from Amtrak Express in the Racing Post Chase - on Buckhouse Boy in the Rendlesham (Limited Handicap) Hurdle and came home 12 lengths clear of McCoy on the hot favourite Gysart.

At Haydock, Dom Samourai, so often the bridesmaid this season, earned deserved reward in the Greenalls Grand National Trial and another bright spot for the Pipe stable with a seven-length beating of Him Of Praise and Strath Royal. It was a typically dour staying performance from the diminutive blinkered grey, sent by Chris Maude to tackle the leaders Strath Royal and Nahthen Lad from the final turn.

But as an Aintree trial it was something of a non-event: neither Dom Samourai nor Strath Royal is entered in the National and of those that are only Him Of Praise (cut five points by Hills to 20-1) and Nahthen Lad, up with the pace for most of the way and deprived of fourth place by Call It A Day in the closing stages, showed to any effect.