McCoy lays Foundation for success
Tony McCoy closed to within two of a landmark 4,000 career victories over jumps after riding his third consecutive double and could reach the target at Exeter on Tuesday.
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McCoy had ridden two winners on each of Saturday and Sunday and was at it again at Kempton Park on Monday as Captain Cutter made a promising start to his hurdling career and Foundation Man built on the promise of his chasing bow.
The Nicky Henderson trained Captain Cutter was sent off at 4/11 favourite for his hurdling bow in the Weatherbys Bank Foreign Exchange "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle and gave his supporters very few anxious moments en route to a 10 length victory.
In truth, the six year old's hurdling was far from fluent with one notable mistake coming four from home but he simply had too much class for his rivals.
McCoy was allowed the luxury of several long, lingering looks around for rivals - of which there were none - before easing his mount home for a ready success.
Talking about Captain Cutter's mistake four flights from the finish, McCoy said: "When he jumped, he almost caught his head. It could have been worse. He could have knuckled over, but thankfully he didn't.
"With the price that he went off at, he won the way he should have. He is a nice type of horse, he needs to brush up on his jumping and needs a bit of experience.
"He has started off well. I'm not sure he is the easiest horse to ride, but hopefully he will be (in time), all being well."
Foundation Man was sent off at 11/10 favourite for the Weatherbys Bank Foreign Exchange Handicap Chase and duly obliged although McCoy did have to get quite serious with the six year old.
Jonjo O'Neill's charge received a reminder down the back straight, but mastered Lemon's Gent from the home turn and looked to have the race in safe keeping jumping the second-last.
Upton Mead came from further back to try and make a race of it under a familiar foe in Richard Johnson, but Foundation Man safely negotiated the final obstacle and was always doing enough to hold on by two and three-quarter lengths.
McCoy said: "He has been a disappointing horse, to be honest. He was going everywhere but forward, but he obviously has ability and he can improve. He is taking a step nearer and he is getting better. You can see from the size of him that he is a chaser, and hopefully he will improve with every race he runs."
Assessing his chances at Exeter, McCoy said: "I wouldn't say they are good chances. Flemenson is probably the best one."
The O'Neill-trained Flemenson bids to make in two from two over obstacles in the opening novice hurdle at the Devon venue, while McCoy also rides Keen Eye in a similar event and Well Hello There, also trained by O'Neill, goes in a handicap chase.
Captain Cutter was completing a double on the card for his trainer as French recruit Volnay De Thaix (15/8 favourite) had initiated the brace by making a sparkling British debut in the Weatherbys Bank Novices' Hurdle, scoring by 11 lengths under Barry Geraghty.
"He is a big baby, but I would say he has an engine on him," said Geraghty. "He'll just take small steps for now, I would imagine."
Martin Keighley's Annacotty (8/1) made it third time lucky over fences in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Novices' Limited Handicap Chase.
Keighley said: "I think he needed that first run at Chepstow and then it was a bit of a disaster last time at Exeter as he skidded into the first fence, did the splits and scared the life out of himself.
"Today he was still thinking about it a bit, but it will do him the world of good to finish with his head in front, so we're delighted."
Trainer Jim Best and jockey Trevor Whelan combined to take the concluding Weatherbys VAT Services Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle with 10/1 shot Bollin Judith.