McCoy rides Ascot winner despite serious facial injuries to spark Henderson treble
19:58 GMT, 3 November 2012
When Tony McCoy arrived at Ascot on Saturday, he looked in urgent need of attention at the hospital beside the racecourse.
Only 24 hours earlier he'd been floored at Wetherby by a vicious kick in the face that would have put paid to lesser mortals.
Battered and bruised: McCoy was not to be denied a winner, despite his injuries
After surveying the damage, his great
friend Jonjo O'Neill suggested: 'Most probably there is not another
jockey who would ride the next day after taking a hit like that.'
Iron-man McCoy has spent a lifetime defying medical opinion on his way to a record-breaking 17 championships.
For this is one of those rare sportsmen who has never willingly retired hurt.
On Saturday, he was at it again,
wondering what all the fuss was about as he turned up for work with 20
stitches in his face, two broken teeth and a patchwork of plasters on
his nose and lip.
First, though, he had to pass a
fitness test by a racecourse doctor who consulted the BHA's medical
officer Michael Turner before giving him the go-ahead.
Iron man: McCoy partnered My Tent Or Your to victory
Naturally, McCoy didn't doubt he was
able to take up his book of rides, though he looked an even whiter shade
of pale than normal after claiming his 101st winner of the season on My
Tent Or Yours for Nicky Henderson.
'I promise you I'm not that bad,' he assured me through clenched teeth.
'It's more superficial than anything else. I've certainly felt worse after a fall,' he added.
'I was holding the horse after he dropped me when he spooked, lashed out and caught me full in the face.
'I've broken a couple of teeth, but
luckily my dentist put in a couple of temporaries last night. The doctor
at Wetherby also sorted me out with a plastic surgeon at York Hospital
who stitched me up inside and outside my lip and on my nose.'
No wonder Henderson joked: 'I told
Jonjo I wanted a jockey, not the Phantom of the Opera. On Friday night
AP's agent Dave Roberts assured me he would not be riding here. But with
him you never say never.
'We all love our horses, but they
are accidents waiting to happen. I gather that if AP had been standing
any closer to the horse he would not be here now.'
On Sunday, McCoy is down for one ride at Carlisle, a round journey from his home of eight hours.
On Saturday, he confirmed that he
intended to fulfil his booking on a horse called Valley View as he
closes in on his next target of 4,000 winners.
My Tent Or Yours gave Henderson a quick double following the victory of Hadrian's Approach in the Ascot Underwriting Beginners' Chase.
Favourite backers were delighted with
the result when the 7-4 market leader was announced the winner after
snatching the spoils from The Druids Nephew on the line.
The runner-up had looked assured of
the spoils but Barry Geraghty got an excellent response from the
Henderson-trained winner to get up by a nose in the shadow of the post.
Rolling Aces finished third, three and a quarter lengths adrift.
Henderson said: 'Ascot takes a bit of jumping and he was learning all of the way around.
'I'm delighted to be here talking to you as I didn't think that he had won anyway.'
Roberto Goldback made it a hat-trick for Henderson as he ran out an impressive winner of the United House Gold Cup Handicap Chase.
Previously trained by Dessie Hughes and Jessica Harrington in Ireland, Roberto Goldback was making his debut for the Seven Barrows team in this Grade Three event.
It proved a dramatic renewal of the three-mile contest with a heavy fall for Charlie Poste from Le Beau Bai early on, while Sam Waley-Cohen also took a nasty-looking tumble from Frisco Depot as the race really started to hot up.
Geraghty looked to be in the driving seat from some way out aboard 9-1 shot Roberto Goldback though, and a sound leap at the last sealed a nine-length victory.
Duke Of Lucca kept on for second with Alfie Spinner a further four and a half lengths back in fourth.
Henderson said: 'We thought that he would run well but it was his first start for me and I didn't know enough about him.
'Ascot (for this race) was the reason we brought him over.
'We only started the horses really in the last couple of weeks and a day like this makes us feel a lot better.”
Raya Star and It's A Gimme could be
set for a rematch at Cheltenham in two weeks' time after fighting out a
thrilling finish in the William Hill Priority Prices Handicap Hurdle.
(8-1) just mastered It's A Gimme by half a length and the Racing Post
Hurdle at Prestbury Park on November 18 definitely beckons for the Alan
King said: 'He was carrying a lot of weight but I'm thrilled and I hope that I left a little to work on.
'He'll go to Cheltenham now, even
though he'll be reassessed, and is settling better. I don't mind going
up 5lb for winning a race like this.
'We'll then decide whether to jump a fence or not.'
The winner is a best priced 10-1 with
Paddy Power and Stan James for his Cheltenham assignment, while It's A
Gimme is generally available at 8-1.
A 9lb rise in the weights was not enough to stop Ivor's King completing a hat-trick in the Gardiner & Theobald Novices' Handicap Hurdle.
Previously a winner at Exeter and
Wincanton, Colin Tizzard's charge turned the two-mile-three-furlong heat
into a procession in the hands of the trainer's son, Joe.
Turning for home, Otto The Great was
the only danger to the front-running Ivor's King, but he proved no match
as the 7-2 favourite pulled nine lengths clear with a further two and a
quarter lengths back to Thoresby in third.
Tizzard snr said: 'You can't hold this horse and he's ridden on his own at home as all he wants to do is gallop.'
The winning rider, who was claiming
his first win here for over a decade, added: 'He is improving and gave
me a better feel than at Wincanton last time.'