Racing: Momentous McCoy puts Doctoor on call

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The Independent Online
THE LEGIONS who believe that Tony McCoy's judgement of horseflesh has been as big a factor in his rise as his skills in the saddle should pay heed to his words at Chepstow last night after he equalled the record number of wins in a season.

Failure in the last race denied McCoy the 223rd success this term that would have pushed him past the mark established by Peter Scudamore in 1989, but the record will not be safe for long. "I should do it in the first at Ludlow tomorrow as Doctoor seems to have a winning chance," McCoy said.

Among the rider's achievements at Cheltenham last week - where his five wins equalled another record - was the feat of correctly predicting that he would win the final three races of the meeting. Doctoor, who was already going to start at short oddsis likely to be almost unbackable now that he has been tipped by McCoy.

McCoy also had revealing words as to how he has smashed Scudamore's record with more than two months of the season to run. "I had my first day off this season on Monday and I have been very lucky to steer clear of all injuries and suspensions since the season started," he said.

"It's brilliant to equal somebody like Scu's record as he was a fantastic jockey. I would not have been able to do it without the help of Martin Pipe and my agent, Dave Roberts.

"Dave is brilliant at picking rides for me, getting me on the good horses as well as keeping me off the bad ones and I have been lucky to fall in with all the right people since Toby Balding brought me over from Ireland."

Roberts, however, was happy deflect the credit towards his protege. "Tony is the easiest man in the world to work for. He's 110 per cent switched on to the job and gives every horse a ride whether it's the Cheltenham Gold Cup or a selling hurdle."

Fittingly, McCoy reached the 222 mark in a selling hurdle and, appropriately, it was on a horse trained by Martin Pipe, who has supplied him with 134 of his wins and also enabled Scudamore to reach his record.

Earlier, McCoy had earned praise from a trainer of a different school when stealing the opening race by kicking clear on Lannkaran, who is in the care of Captain Tim Forster.

"Nobody told him to do that and that's why he's the champion jockey," Forster said. "He just seized the opportunity to go clear and an ordinary jockey would not have done that as he knows he would get a bollocking."

When Scudamore set his record - or indeed Jonjo O'Neill's figure of 149 in 1978 - few thought it would ever be beaten, but the question now is how far McCoy will kick clear of the old mark. "Obviously I am going to set new figures unless something happens," McCoy said, "but 300 winners in a season? Well I have got more chance of flying to the moon."

Prepare for take off.