Doncaster preview: Leger Legends Classified Stakes (15.35)
All eyes will be on AP McCoy today as he returns to the saddle to partner Gannicus in the Leger Legends charity race at Doncaster (15.35), in what is being billed as a clash between him and former top class flat jockey Johnny Murtagh.
The straight 1m contest sees 16 former jockeys do battle in aid of the Northern Racing College and the Injured Jockeys Fund’s Jack Berry House. Since its launch in 2010, the charity race has generated over £500k and another £100k is expected to be raised in 2015.
Champion jumps jockey on 20 occasions, McCoy teams up with the in-form Gannicus who hails from the yard of former Grand National winning jockey Brendan Powell.
The four-year-old has won twice at Brighton this year, and produced a career best effort when edging out Double Czech by a neck at the seaside venue last time out.
Gannicus is now able to race off just 1lb higher, and that gives him every chance at the weights of following up and providing McCoy with a dream “one-off” comeback success.
Murtagh partners the Ian William trained Commissar and has been busy training to do battle McCoy. He said: “I ride out five lots and muck out six horses a day, so I am still pretty fit. It would be great to be involved in a driving finish with AP, just to see how good he really is!”
Murtagh was one of the leading riders of his generation, capturing five Irish Flat jockeys’ championships and three Epsom Derbies, and now trains at the Curragh after retiring form the saddle in February 2014.
In Commissar he has a gelding who landed a 1m 1f handicap at Goodwood back in June and ran close to best when runner-up in a Redcar claimer last time out.
The six-year-old remains well-treated off a mark of 68 on the pick of his form, and although this afternoon’s trip is probably shorter than ideal the race is likely to be run at a strong gallop which will bring his stamina into play.
Coral’s top tip: AP McCoy hates to be beaten and Gannicus can provide the greatest jump jockey ever seen with a flat race winner in a fascinating contest for charity