Tony McCoy rode his 150th winner of the season at Wetherby on Goodwood Mirage, but missed out on a further three victories after being stood down for the remainder of the afternoon.
McCoy could be seen wincing when unsaddling Jonjo O’Neill’s four-year-old after the Read racinguk.com/columnists Handicap Hurdle and it was later confirmed a recurrence of a clavicle injury he picked up in a bad fall at Worcester last Thursday meant he could not continue.
The perennial champion, who is aiming to reach a total of 300 during the campaign, then missed out on riding Foundation Man (3-1 favourite) and Fort Worth (7-2) and the chance to “ride” a rare walkover winner.
McCoy had returned to action with a bang when collecting a treble at Huntingdon on Tuesday, but even he felt he could have done more harm than good by carrying on.
Goodwood Mirage cost 380,000 guineas and was well fancied for the Fred Winter at Cheltenham but was brought down. Subsequently gelded and after surgery to remove a chipped bone on his knee, the 8-1 chance oozed class and could be a well handicapped horse.
O’Neill said: “AP says he’s very sore. The fall last week would have kept normal jockeys off for a couple of weeks but he’s not normal, is he? This lad pulls very hard and I think that’s where the damage was done.
On Goodwood Mirage, he added: “I think the tongue tie helped him today. He threatened being a very good horse, and he still might be.
“He’s been gelded and had a chip removed in the summer. We’ll just see how he goes.”
McCoy’s intended mount in the Wetherby Racecourse And Conference Centre Novices’ Handicap Chase, Presence Felt, was the only one to line up after the other three intended runners were taken out, with amateur jockey Harry Bannister stepping into the breach.
As the rules state, Presence Felt paraded in the paddock in full headgear and had to canter to the start for the result to count officially. That win completed a four-timer for O’Neill as Foundation Man, ridden by Jason Maguire, claimed the Bobby Renton Handicap Chase, a race won by such luminaries as Night Nurse in the past.
Foundation Man’s dam, Function Dream, won a Castleford Chase at Wetherby in 2000 and was favourite for the Champion Chase later that season only for the meeting to be lost to foot and mouth disease.
“His wind is not the best, he had another operation in the summer,” said O’Neill. “He’s a good jumper and he likes good ground. He’s related to Captain Chris and he’s had issues as well.”
Fort Worth won the Racing UK Novices’ Hurdle in the Coolmore colours of Derrick Smith and looks a nice prospect for fences.
The first race of the new season was won in impressive fashion by Relentless Pursuit (9-2) for Warren Greatrex and Gavin Sheehan. His experience told in the Spinal Research Rachel Wright Memorial Hurdle, with the all-the-way winner having his third outing of the campaign already.
Greatrex and Sheehan doubled up in the closing handicap hurdle with Kaysersburg (11-8).
Fledgling trainer Alex Dunn has really found the key to Nikos Extra (5-1), who won for the third time in his last four outings in the Racing UK Anywhere Available Now Handicap Chase.