Angus McNae - Saturday 9th November 2013
A tale of two jockeys with contrasting styles but equally as dominant
He has done it. Finally the scribes can wax lyrical about the incredible 4000 winners that AP McCoy has ridden. If you sit back and think about it, such an achievement is barely believable. As we all scratch around trying to find a few winners every week McCoy just keeps churning them out with monotonous regularity. There is, however, nothing monotonous about this achievement as witnessed by the enthusiasm with which his 4000th winner has been met.
Towcester was buzzing on Friday; the BBC were all over the story, and even those who do not give a stuff about the sport have had to recognize the magnitude of what McCoy has done. He is going to continue as well, and as sure as a Willie Mullins winner at the Cheltenham Festival, McCoy will soon leave the 4000 mark well behind. He is not just an incredible rider, he is an incredible sportsman and the sporting world has finally realized it with this milestone.
Five days earlier in Santa Anita Gary Stevens rolled back the years when winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic for the first time on Much Macho Man. That he won the race was no surprise to fans of the sport in America.
He has been riding better than ever since he returned to the saddle, and it is a fair to say that he is the best jockey in the United States at this time. His skill is different to McCoy; and it does not involve getting horses to jump and to give their all every time. Stevens’ is a more subtle craft. He has to mix the two contrasting disciplines of riding on turf and dirt, which require pace judgement and track craft and amazingly with age he seems to be getting better.
Two remarkable men and two outstanding jockeys, whose records shine like beacons in the sport and who both showed why they are so good this week in the contrasting fields that they work in.
The Flat season stutters to a close at Doncaster today. Thereafter jumping and all-weather matters will occupy me here on the blog. I am also looking forward to the Dubai World Cup Carnival, and as that meeting draws ever closer I will be putting together a comprehensive guide for your benefit.
For now though can I whet your appetite.
The Carnival has had a record over the years of throwing up a local trainer who out of nowhere finds himself training more winners than he has ever done. This year that man could be Musbah Al Muhairi, who at at the first meeting at Meydan on Friday had four winners to add to a single success at the first meeting at Jebel Ali on November 1. He may go off the boil, his horses may not be good enough to compete at the Carnival, but nonetheless he could be the move up trainer that is worth keeping an eye on during the build-up to the Carnival.
After all the cheering has stopped what we all need is a winner or two and to that end I am going to turn to a couple of horses running today at Doncaster.
The Wentworth Stakes on Town Moor is where I am going first and I will be backing Jack Dexter to gain his second win of the season. He has won at Doncaster before and at a track that suits some and not others that factor is more relevant than is sometimes the case.
He also likes soft ground and he is going to get it on Saturday. Finally, and most importantly, he is in really good form coming into the race. His second last time out on Qipco British Champions Day to Slade Power is the best recent form on offer in the race and I believe he should be backed to win with some confidence.
Secondly I am keen on the chances of Four Winds in the last race at 4.05 at Doncaster. He was repeatedly denied any running room last time out behind Piceno at Newmarket and that run shows us that he is still in good form.
He handles cut in the ground and Doncaster is a track where you can come from off the pace. Such a running style does not often work at the Rowley Mile and as such even with the trouble in-running he got last time he ran very well. He should be backed each-way and hopefully we will get a return in the last race of the Flat season.
Angus's Saturday Selections:
4.05 Doncaster: Four Winds each-way at 10-1 with Paddy Power
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