Jason Maguire gets a new season's head start on Tony McCoy


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The Independent Online

However baffling a calendar that ended one jumps season at Sandown on Saturday, and began a new one at Huntingdon, Ludlow and Wetherby yesterday, at least one man was able to achieve a coherent sense of narrative. Jason Maguire had picked up the front page of the trade newspaper to find his agent vowing to end Tony McCoy's incredible 18-year monopoly on the jockeys' championship – and promptly lent substance to that ambition by riding four winners at Wetherby.

Maguire, who finished 41 behind McCoy's latest seasonal tally of 185 winners, is intent on stealing a march this time round. McCoy expects to sit out the next two to three weeks after cracking ribs in a fall at Cheltenham 11 days ago. Richard Hale told the Racing Post the title was "100 per cent the aim" for a jockey who ended a sequence of seven consecutive seasons, out of 14 in all, through which the luckless Richard Johnson has finished runner-up to the phenomenal McCoy.

For most, however, attention now switches to the Flat, with the first Classics of the season at Newmarket this weekend. Its first Group One prize was won at Longchamp yesterday by the German Derby winner, Pastorius, who may come to Ascot in midsummer for the King George. The Prix Ganay also featured a promising resumption by Dunaden, staying on well for third over a trip short of his best.

Another globetrotter, Red Cadeaux, collected his latest lucrative podium when finishing third in Kyoto, back over two miles after his amazing run in Dubai. He will revert to 10 furlongs in Singapore next month. At the end of a trying week for Godolphin, there was limited comfort from Sajjhaa, who finished fourth in pursuit of another huge oriental prize in Hong Kong.

Turf account

CHRIS McGRATH'S NAP: Sharaarah (4.50 Wolverhampton)

Well bred, lightly raced filly has joined a yard in unstoppable form.

NEXT BEST: Moss Hill (2.20 Wolverhampton)

Much improved on handicap debut over course and distance, and meets more exposed rivals here.

WHERE THE MONEY'S GOING: Richard Hughes is 4-7 from 4-6 with Coral to retain jockeys' title.