McCoy doubles up at Carlisle
Tony McCoy moved to within four victories of 4,000 winners over jumps when Oscar Fortune and Red Lion Rock struck at Carlisle on Sunday.
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The 18-times champion jockey had been out of luck with his first two mounts at the Cumbria circuit, but made no mistake aboard Oscar Fortune in the Mr & Mrs Handley Ruby Wedding Novices' Hurdle.
Trained by Jonjo O'Neill, the recent Huntingdon scorer (5/4 favourite) jumped into the lead after the second-last and swiftly exerted full authority over runner-up Deputy Dan, who was a length and three-quarters down at the line.
Oscar Fortune's part-owner, Richard Seed, said: "Eventually he's going to be a three-mile chaser, we hope. Tony said when he asked him, he quickened well. It will be up to Jonjo where he goes next, but my personal opinion is he's worth a chance (in better company)."
McCoy had to wait until the concluding bumper to secure a double when Red Lion Rock (11/8 favourite) eased a length and three-quarters clear of Chebsey Beau for Northern Ireland trainer James Lambe.
The jockey now heads to Kempton for three rides on Monday.
He said: "I had some good rides today, a couple were maybe a bit disappointing. I'm at Kempton for three rides and a couple have chances, hopefully."
Cloudy Too made an impressive seasonal return in the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase, in which McCoy finished second aboard Tap Night.
A three-times winner over fences last season, including a victory at this meeting 12 months ago, Sue Smith's charge was a 4/1 shot in a small but select field of five runners.
Ridden positively by Jonathan England, Cloudy Too jumped smartly and raised the pace going down the back straight. He continued to pour it on once straightened up for home and his rivals were unable to keep up.
McCoy kept working on 11/8 favourite Tap Night, but was eight lengths adrift at the line.
A tilt at the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on November 30 could be next on the winner's agenda.
Smith's husband, Harvey, said: "He's a good horse and the lad (England) rode him well. He knows the horse, which is essential."
Asked about the Hennessy, Harvey Smith said: "He could go there, but it depends what mark he gets. If he (the handicapper) puts him too much, he won't go."
England said: "I ride the horse every day and I'm very thankful to the owners and Sue and Harvey for letting me ride him. His jumping has improved and he's done it very easy in the end. This is probably my biggest winner, so it's great."
Sky Bet slashed the winner's price for the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury to 16s from 25/1.
McCoy earlier suffered disappointment in the bookmakers.co.uk Beginners' Chase as 4-5 favourite Holywell, also trained by O'Neill, could finish only third behind the impressive Many Clouds (5/2).
Winner of the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival in March, Holywell's jumping left a lot to be desired on this debut over fences and despite McCoy's urgings, he could never land a significant blow.
Oliver Sherwood's Many Clouds, on the other hand, fenced beautifully at the head of affairs under Leighton Aspell.
He began to tire in the testing conditions after the final fence, briefly giving Knock A Hand a glimmer of hope, but Many Clouds had enough in reserve to hold on by two and a quarter lengths.
Sherwood said: "He is a horse who likes a good break between his runs, but he is growing up a lot. I haven't a clue where he'll go next. I'm just happy to get this run out of the way.
"I think we'll stick at two and a half miles for now and probably end up going up to three miles later on."
Sky Bet introduced the winner into the betting for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival at 25/1.
McCoy also finished second aboard Bernardelli in the opening Northern Racing Club 'Saturday Naps Challenge' Novices' Handicap Hurdle.
The Nicky Richards-trained 4/1 chance travelled well before moving into the lead early in the home straight.
But Turtle Watch (7/2) and Wilson Renwick loomed up menacingly and it was clear he had far more to give than his rival between the final two flights.
Jim Goldie's charge pulled readily clear and passed the post with 12 lengths in hand.
Goldie said: "He's a nice horse and I think the handicapper might take a dim view of that, so we might have to get him out quickly if he's all right."
Sherwood and Aspell completed a double as Global Power claimed the feature Cumberland Handicap Chase.
Mister Marker made a race of it at the end of a stamina-sapping three and a quarter miles, but 3/1 favourite Global Power saw him off by a length and three-quarters.
Sherwood said: "The ground is important to him and he is better when he's fresh. Hopefully, if he gets in, I'll train him for the Welsh National now. He travels well in his races and he's a bonny horse."
The Jennie Candlish-trained Beauboreen (3/1) came from a long way back to beat Funky Munky by a neck in the Geoffrey McLean Is Sixty Handicap Hurdle.
Candlish's partner and assistant, Alan O'Keeffe, said: "He handles that heavy ground and I'm nearly sure he'll go chasing next."