McCoy favourite to oust Thomas

If poor Sam Thomas thought things could hardly get much worse, at Folkestone yesterday they did. Paul Nicholls' No 2 jockey has had a nightmare run in high-profile races since stepping into injured Ruby Walsh's shoes 17 days ago but his ill-luck continued even away from the spotlight with two falls from two mounts at the lowly Kent track.

Most galling was the capsize of the favourite Zacharova at the second-last in the staying handicap chase, for the Venetia Williams-trained gelding was poised to give his young rider a much-needed confidence-boosting victory. Since Thomas tumbled off Big Buck's at the last in the Hennessy Gold Cup three days ago, debate has been rife about his being replaced on Master Minded in Saturday's Tingle Creek Chase. And yesterday Tony McCoy was installed 4-11 by William Hill to partner the two-mile champion on his return to action.

Master Minded, the highest-rated horse in training, was one of 13 entries yesterday for the Grade One contest at Sandown. His rivals will include the best of last year's novices, Tidal Bay, who opened his senior campaign with an easy win at Carlisle a month ago.

Nicholls was named jump trainer of the year for the fourth consecutive year in the annual Derby Awards yesterday with Walsh, who hopes to return to action at Cheltenham on Friday week, top jump jockey. The Flat laurels went to Johnny Murtagh and Aidan O'Brien, who was not present due to the death of his father.

There will be a top-level bonus on Saturday with the re-routing of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle to Wetherby after its loss at frostbound Newcastle. The two-mile race is set to feature a clash between Sublimity, winner of the Champion Hurdle last year and Punjabi, third this.

One of the heart-gladdening moments of the weekend was the sight of Brave Inca travelling like the top-class horse he is for most of the Hatton's Grace Hurdle before running out of puff in the closing stages of the two-and-a-half mile contest and yesterday came the splendid news that the 10-year-old, who missed all of last season with a leg injury, emerged from his first outing for 584 days perfectly unscathed. "He's been down to the river and will be out in the field later," reported trainer Colm Murphy.

Brave Inca's next intended target is the Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown's post-Christmas meeting. Although his old rival Hardy Eustace will take him on again in the two-mile contest (the score in their nine meetings is 7-to-2 in Brave Inca's favour) the signs are that Catch Me, his conqueror on Sunday, would swerve another clash with the 2006 Champion Hurdle winner, over the minimum distance at least.

"Taking Brave Inca on over two miles is one thing, beating him is another," said the six-year-old's trainer Edward O'Grady. "Over that trip, I'm not sure we'd jump well enough to cope with him on anything quicker than heavy ground." The three-mile Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown is Catch Me's most likely target.

*David Ashforth claimed the title of Racing Journalist of the Year for the second time yesterday. Ashforth was previously honoured in 1996 when working for the Sporting Life . He now works for the Racing Post.

*Times have been hard in the bloodstock world this year but quality will out and last night at the Tattersalls breeding stock auction the top-class Saoirse Abu was sold for 1.95 million guineas. The Jim Bolger-trained filly, winner of the Phoenix Stakes (beating Henrythenavigator) and Moyglare Stud Stakes (beating Listen) as a juvenile and third in the 1,000 Guineas this year, has joined Sheikh Mohammed's broodmare band and will be mated with Authorized next spring.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home