Champion jockey tipped for double on rare Hexham trip

Tony McCoy, a rare visitor to Hexham, is the star attraction at the Northumberland venue today.

The 18-time champion jockey, who has ridden four winners from 21 mounts at the course in the last five seasons, can enhance those statistics with a double on Regal Encore and Golden Firth.

It is slightly surprising to see a horse of Regal Encore’s potential turning up at Hexham from the Dorset base of trainer Anthony Honeyball.

One of last season’s leading bumper horses, who won twice before finishing second in the Championship Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in March, he got off the mark over hurdles on his second attempt at Plumpton three weeks ago.

Owned by JP McManus, AP McCoy’s employer, Regal Encore lines up in the Hexham Bookmakers Novices’ Hurdle. He should prove too classy for his rivals, which include Malcolm Jefferson’s recent course and distance winner Our Boy Ben.

McCoy can also score on Golden Firth in the Thank You Intu Eldon Square Handicap Hurdle.

The six-year-old has finished unplaced on her two outings at Punchestown and Naas this season, but it looks highly significant that the very shrewd Irish trainer Tony Martin is sending her over to Britain for this race and even more so that he has booked McCoy to ride.

Bookmakers will be taking no chances with the Irish raider.

The Thirsty Bricky may prove the answer to the Farewell And Thanks John Sutherland Handicap Chase.

The veteran campaigner ran a fine race to finish third to Glen Countess at Wetherby last time.

A reproduction of that performance should be good enough for the nap selection to claim first prize this afternoon.

Also worth noting are Pamak D’airy (2.20), who has run two creditable races this season, including one on this course, and the evergreen Matmata de Tendron (3.20), who is a four-time Hexham winner.

At Kempton’s twilight fixture, Sir Alex Ferguson has good prospects of bagging the featured £70,000 Betdaq – Sports Exchange Handicap.

The Ferguson silks will be carried by I’m Fraam Govan, trained by George Baker and the mount of Jim Crowley.

The five-year-old is particularly at home on this course, having gained two of his three career wins at this venue. He is fancied to go well in an admittedly competitive race.

Quiet Warrior can get punters off to a good start in the opening Book Now For Boxing Day Maiden Stakes.

The Marco Botti-trained juvenile failed by a neck to make a winning debut here three weeks ago and has every chance of going one better under the in-form Martin Harley.

Malton trainer Richard Fahey can lift the Winners Are Welcome At Betdaq Nursery Handicap with Our Gabrial.

The two-year-old has cemented together a host of placed efforts and was beaten only a short head at Lingfield last week.

Jamie Spencer has the task of getting him home in front this time.

RACING selections

Hexham today
2.50 Regal Encore, 1.20 Romany Ryme, 1.50 The Thirsty Bricky (NAP), 2.20 Pamak D’airy, 2.50 Golden Firth, 3.20 Matmata de Tendron.

Kempton today
3.40 Quiet Warrior, 4.10 Tarquin, 4.40 Anglo Irish, 5.10 The Third Man, 5.40 Our Gabrial, 6.10 Scottish Boogie, 6.40 I’m Fraam Govan, 7.10 Little Indian.

Today’s other meetings: Leicester and Lingfield.

Tomorrow’s meetings: Huntingdon, Newcastle, Taunton and Kempton.

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