Alderwood - Cheltenham 16.03.2012

Alderwood jumped into the lead at the last before powering clear

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

McCoy lands first festival success on Alderwood

Report: Cheltenham, Friday

Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade3) 2m1f

TONY MCCOY had to wait until the final day of the festival but finally bagged a winner when Alderwood overcame a difficult path in running to take things up after the last and surge clear for the 16-time champion jockey.

Settled in mid-division, he never left the rail and Alderwood was travelling strongly down the hill but, with plenty still inwith chances turning for home, he became short of room and badly hampered, losing his position as the strong-travelling Sailors Warn and Plan A struck the front.

It came at a crucial time in the Grade 3 and looked to have cost McCoy the race. But not to be denied, he gathered his mount before delivering a strong challenge, taking a share of the lead jumping the last and powering clear under a typically strong drive.

While it was a first winner of the 2012 festival for McCoy, it was a first ever festival success at the meeting for trainer Thomas Mullins. The younger brother of Irish champion trainer Willie, said: " It is fantastic, an unbelievable feeling.

"It is such a delight for me to have him [McCoy] on board, he is a great help to me. JP [McManus, owner] is more entitled to have a winner than anybody - he is great for the game."

It was a third winner of the week for McManus and his retained rider added: "It is nice to ride a winner for the boss and it's great for the horse. I think he has had a fibrilating heart problem. He got killed on the bottom bend but kept going."

Edgardo Sol ran on well under Harry Derham to take second, with Sailors Warn holding on for third. Plan A was fourth under Paul Carberry and Via Galilei took fifth.

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