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McCoy in line to ride Cockney Sparrow in Mares’ Hurdle

Champion jockey Tony McCoy has revealed that he could be aboard John Quinn’s Cockney Sparrow in the Mares’ Hurdle as she bids to prevent Quevega winning the race for the sixth time in succession.

It would be a rare team up with the stable, as he has had just 15 rides for the Malton-based handler since 2000.

Those rides have resulted in three wins and five places for a strike rate of 20 per cent and a £4.67 profit to a £1 level stake.

Writing on his blog for Cheltenham Racecourse, the 18-times champ, said: “There is a chance I am going to ride Cockney Sparrow in the Maress’ race against Quevega, but I do think that Quevega will probably win.

“If she turns up in the same sort of form as she has for the last five years then it is hard to see her being beaten but hopefully Cockney Sparrow can make the frame.”

Cockney Sparrow is 7/1 with Coral for the Mares’ Hurdle, with Quevega an industry top price of 4/5.

The five-year-old is officially rated 20lb inferior to Willie Mullins’ mare, but her rating of 147 compares very favourably to those that have finished runner-up to Quevega in the last two runnings of the race.

Kentford Grey Lady was beaten four lengths off a rating of 134 when runner-up to Quevega in 2012, and French raider Sirene D’Ainay ran off 126 when beaten just 1 1/2 lengths by her last year.

She has a progressive profile and remains open to stacks of improvement.

The daughter of Cockney Rebel put up a smart performance for a novice when readily winning a 22-runner handicap hurdle at Aintree last season off a mark of 130, and after winning on her seasonal reappearance off 11lb higher put in a cracking effort when runner-up to My Tent Or Yours in the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle over 2m.

She was also sticking to the task well at Doncaster last time out when coming to grief two from home in a race won by the brilliant Annie Power, and she looks the main danger on paper to the red hot jolly.

McCoy also revealed that the progressive Gilgamboa, trained in Ireland by Enda Bolger, is likely to be his mount in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle which gets the meeting underway on Tuesday, March 11th.

He said: “It is looking like I will kick off the meeting on Gilgamboa in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He won the Boylesports Hurdle at Leopardstown last time and probably needs to improve but he does have an outside chance.

“The likes of Irving and Vautour are going to be well fancied but I think it’s an open Supreme so you never know.”

Gilgamboa is a 12/1 shot with Coral for the Supreme.