McCoy notches Ayr double
Tony McCoy endured an eventful journey to Ayr but it was worth it in the end as he won on his only two mounts - with Tap Night the highlight.
McCoy ended up on a flight to Edinburgh instead of Glasgow, over 80 miles from Ayr, but the perennial champion jockey still made it to the track with plenty of time to spare.
His first mount came on Tim Easterby's Deepsand in the opening BetVictor Welsh Open Final Frame Insurance Maiden Hurdle and despite some hairy leaps out to his left in the straight, the 4/6 favourite was still able to see off the game challenge of Hallmark Star by a length.
However, it was for the JP McManus-owned Tap Night that McCoy made the long trek and he will enjoy the journey home after Lucinda Russell's six-year-old cruised to a cheeky win in the BetVictor Non Runner Free Bet At Cheltenham Novices' Chase.
The first horse McManus has owned to be trained in Scotland, Tap Night holds entries in the Arkle and the Jewson at Cheltenham but could switch to a handicap if the assessor is not unduly harsh.
Having won on his chasing debut over two miles he was only last of four at Musselburgh most recently.
Conceding 7lb to David Pipe's The Tracey Shuffle, a 135-rated hurdler, the pair were sent off 11/8 joint-favourites.
Pipe's charge set a really strong gallop up front and jumped for fun apart from two mistakes down the back straight.
They did not stop his momentum too much, but McCoy did not have to get serious to cruise up alongside before letting out an inch of rein after the last to win by a length and a half.
"I'm really pleased because I wasn't too sure about the distance in the heavy going but he seemed to cope really well," Russell told Racing UK.
"I don't suppose AP (McCoy) wanted The Tracey Shuffle to get too far in front and then he made a couple of mistakes and the Irish horse (Aibrean) fell so it opened up a bit.
"AP said he just made one mistake down the back. I've not really thought about Cheltenham. I'll speak to Frank (Berry, McManus' racing manager) and AP and see what they think."
It turned out to be an excellent day for the trainer, with 2/1 favourite Nuts N Bolts claiming the Money Back On Madrid With BetVictor Handicap Chase and 5-1 shot Island Confusion running away with the concluding bumper.
Donald McCain's point-to-point winner Swatow Typhoon followed up a bumper win at the course 20 days ago with a game success in the BetVictor.com "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle.
Off the bridle some way out, he looked a sitting duck for Talkin Sence but when push came to shove for that one he was found wanting as Jason Maguire drove out the 9/4 joint-favourite for a seven-length win.
"He's a grand horse. Donald bought him a couple of months back," said Maguire.
"He's not very quick at home, when he had his first run in a bumper he said to make plenty of use of him and he ground it out that day and did the same again today.
"He's going to get further, he'll gallop all day. I'd say we got away with it at this trip in the conditions, you wouldn't run him over two and a half on quicker ground.
"He jumps hurdles fine and as long as it's soft ground we'll keep him going but you wouldn't want to run him on quick ground."
James Ewart's Sacre Toi put in a sparkling round of jumping to win his third race of the season in the BetVictor Non Runner Free Bet At Cheltenham Handicap Chase.
Winning jockey Brian Hughes said: "He likes to be left alone in his races and doesn't like getting crowded. That's his third win of the season and he's genuine. In fairness he only ran five days ago so fair play to James for getting him out again."
Phil Kirby and Adam Nicol combined to take the Follow Us On Twitter At BetVictorRacing Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle with Ancient Times (5-1).