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McCoy moves to 3999 with Minella For Steak gamble

Tony McCoy moved to within one of achieving an incredible 4000 winners when he landed a gamble at Chepstow on Wednesday aboard Minella For Steak. The 18-times champion jockey had been booked to ride Mission Complete for Jonjo O’Neill but made the switch when the trainer withdrew the horse due to the ground.

A large crowd had gone in the hope of seeing history being made and the jockey change inspired a gamble from 6-1 to 3-1 favourite, originally the mount of claimer James Huxham. McCoy took his mount to the front at the second-last and held off the late challenge of Heronshaw the delight of the spectators.

McCoy revealed that he had phoned O’Neill to ask if he could switch to Minella For Steak and he now heads to Towcester on Thursday for two more mounts for his retained stable. He partners Church Field in the Agetur UK Handicap Hurdle and Mountain Tunes in the Weatherbys Novices’ Hurdle.

Both horses run in the colours of JP McManus and there is no doubt that McCoy would love to reach the 4000 mark in the colours associated with many of his biggest triumphs. Church Field rattled off consecutive victories in the summer but has struggled on his most recent outings.

Despite a couple of disappointing efforts, Corals already report support for Church Field from 5-1 into 4-1 favourite for 2.10 race. Hollow Penny and Market Option are thought the most likely to spoil the party.

Mountain Tunes is an ex-Irish point-to-pointer who will be making his British debut on Thursday. He has been chalked up as a likely favourite for the 3.10 race in which he meets hat-trick seeking Premier Portrait and Prideofthecastle.

Whether or not he reaches the 4,000 winner mark on Thursday, Corals have already priced up McCoy at 6-1 to go on to ride 5,000 career winners.