McCoy brouhaha takes away from great Saturday racing
18 July 2014
I just cannot get my head around what the big deal is about Tony McCoy’s bid to try to eclipse Martin Pipe’s tally of winners.
Tony McCoy is already well on his way towards 5000 winners, a figure he said he would never reach in the press conference at Towcester last year after he powered to 4000.
He has six bites of the cherry at Market Rasen’s excellent Summer Plate meeting on Saturday.
McCoy drew level with Pipe’s total of 4,191 at Uttoxeter on Wednesday, but so what?
I appreciate that McCoy is angling to beat his former mentor and the trainer that gave him the leg-up on his way to the pantheon of racing greatness.
The comparison, however, is like apples and oranges.
As I write Matt Prior, the England wicketkeeper, is yet to bat in the second Test against India at Lord’s. Prior has amassed 4064 Test runs in his 78 matches in his career. Why don’t we set up a career match bet between them, runs v winners, and splash it all over the news? What about who will be on a higher figure by the end of the summer? Any bookmakers out there?
The trouble is, McCoy’s extraordinary achievements over National Hunt fences need to be placed into context.
He is the leading Jumps jockey of all time, so in his own sport he is nonpareil. In terms of racing, however, he lags behind other jockeys around the world on the level.
Russell Baze rode 10,533 Flat winners in his career. Laffit Pincay Jnr rode 9,530 winners. These are guys that lived on a little more than a can of pop each day and rode well into their 50s.
That luxury is, of course, denied McCoy, as he battles age in what is a far more punishing discipline and the champ is in the twilight of his career.
It will be interesting to watch his quest on Saturday, but with Al Kazeem returning to the track, the Weatherbys Super Sprint and the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh, my eyes are trained elsewhere.
Roger Varian has had a season of near misses at the top level, with the likes of Ambivalent, Kingston Hill and Aljamaaheer all placed in Group One company.
At a lower level, on the other hand, he has been mopping up and I fancy Haxby to add to his haul in the Super Sprint.
Haxyby’s form behind Hootenanny and Justice Good is some of the best there is in the field, but it is the fact that there are 24 other runners in the dash that makes all the difference for me.
Hootenanny ran a very fast time in the Windsor Castle and it was clear that Haxby appreciated the pace in that contest. The pace could play out similarly in Berkshire.
Tiggy Wiggy will be a tough nut to crack but Haxby is better drawn, has less weight, has good speed figures and is a double-figure price. Pillar Box appeals at 14-1, too.