Tony McCoy, who has ridden five winners from 14 mounts this season at Catterick – at a strike-rate of 36 per cent – returns to the North Yorkshire course today in a bid to further add to his scoresheet.
The legendary champion jockey is fancied to complete a double in the first two races on Capote and Hawaii Five Nil, both trained by Jonjo O’Neill, for whom McCoy was successful on Upswing at Newbury on Saturday.
Capote is making his debut for O’Neill in the racinguk.com Novices’ Hurdle.
Previously trained in Ireland, where he won a point-to-point on his only start, he looks an interesting recruit to the Jackdaws Castle team.
With three recent winners in the line up for this long distance event, Capote will certainly not have things all his own way, but the six-year-old is taken to prove himself a horse with a bright future on the professional scene by coming out on top.
In the Cheltenham Preview Evening February 28th Handicap Hurdle, McCoy rides Hawaii Five Nil, who will be making his handicap debut.
The gelding has shown a fair level of ability in novice company, although he was firmly out of his depth in a hot race at Cheltenham on his latest start in mid-December.
He enters handicaps off a mark of 111 and should be able to put that rating to good use over the minimum trip.
In the featured £12,000 Weatherbys Private Banking Handicap Chase, McCoy will be aboard O’Neill’s Mr Watson, who returns from a two-month break.
He is not without a chance on his best form, but preference is for Union Jack D’Ycy, trained by Venetia Williams, who is in unstoppable form at present.
Having spent much of his career racing in France, Union Jack D’Ycy has had two outings for Williams this season and was successful on the latest of them, at Warwick last month when he produced a workmanlike performance to score in likeable fashion.
He is up 7lb for that win, but there looks to be more to come from him, especially now he tackles an even longer distance.
The nap vote is awarded to Star Lily, trained by Keith Reveley, in the Racing Again On 25th February Mares’ National Hunt Flat Race.
The five-year-old won handsomely on her debut at Wetherby at the end of November and looks capable of defying a 7lb penalty. James Reveley, the trainer’s son, has the mount.
At Wolverhampton, Lambourn trainer William Muir has a couple of winning chances with unbeaten horses.
First to face the music is Big Baz in the coral.co.uk Handicap. A winner at Lingfield on his debut, the four-year-old followed up on this course and is now set to race off a 5lb higher mark. Still learning his job, he is open to further improvement.
A similar comment applies to stable mate Fleckerl, who lines up in the Coral App Download From The App Store Handicap.
A winner here and at Lingfield on his two outings to date, he has been raised only 3lb since his latest success six weeks ago and remains an interesting proposition.
In the Ladbrokes Handicap over seven furlongs, Sweet Vintage will be seeking a change of luck.
Mark Brisbourne’s filly has finished second on this course on her last two outings, producing respectable performances on both occasions.
She is overdue another winning turn and has Luke Morris in the saddle to help her achieve that.
1.50 Capote, 2.20 Hawaii Five Nil, 2.50 Alderbrook Lad, 3.20 Blake Dean, 3.50 Union Jack D’Ycy, 4.20 Star Lily (NAP).
2.30 Rightcar, 3.00 Haadeeth, 3.30 Archive, 4.00 Big Baz, 4.30 Fleckerl, 5.00 Secret Suspect, 5.30 Sweet Vintage.
Today’s other meeting: Plumpton.
Tomorrow’s meetings: Ayr and Southwell.
The meeting at Lingfield has been abandoned.