sport

Wyck a big plus for JP McManus

Tony McCoy is likely to ride Wyck Hill on Saturday after his boss JP McManus yet again pulled out his chequebook.

McManus has never been scared of a high-profile purchase and two of his most recent buys, My Tent Or Yours and Jezki, dominate the ante-post betting for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

Wyck Hill was partly owned by his trainer David Bridgwater and the lightly-raced nine-year-old will stay at his Gloucestershire yard.

Were he to win or run well at the weekend - and he is the 5/2 favourite with most bookmakers - then McManus is likely to have a live outsider for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National.

Bridgwater had fielded a few offers since his most recent defeat of Katenko at Ascot, but McManus won the race.

It is a huge coup for a relatively small yard to have the legendary green and gold silks in his care.

Bridgwater, who trained The Giant Bolster to finish second to McManus' ill-fated Synchronised in the Gold Cup, said: "The deal is complete now, it's all done and dusted.

"I presume Tony McCoy will be riding him at the weekend, they have their own jockey and it's their choice.

"But he stays with me and it's very exciting.

"I just hope he's as successful for them as he has been so far for us.

"We now have the silks of the first and second from the Gold Cup and not many can say that."

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies believes Same Difference must have a good chance of victory if the handicapper is right in his current assessment.

As Kempton's feature is an early closing event, the weights were allotted before Same Difference ran a sound race when third to RSA Chase fancies Unioniste and Hadrian's Approach at Newbury.

If the assessor looked at the race again, Same Difference would have to carry 6lb more.

Twiston-Davies, who won the race in 2010 with Razor Royale, feels he is the right type for the race.

He said: "If the handicapper is right, I think he's got to have a very good chance.

"He's the right type for the race, he jumps, gallops and stays.

"We are closely matched with Rolling Aces on a line through Hadrian's Approach and we get nearly a stone off him."

Philip Hobbs has a good record in the race having won it four times - more than any trainer - thanks to Dr Leunt (1999), Gunther McBride (2002), Farmer Jack (2005) and Quinz (2011), and the latter is coming back for another go along with Duke Of Lucca, who has been supported in recent days.

"Neither would go if the ground was too soft which it doesn't look like it's going to be," said Hobbs.

"At the moment the plan is to run both."