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Uxizandre Hands McCoy First Festival Success With Gutsy Ryanair Win

Thursday 12th March 2015

AP McCoy bagged his first win of his final Cheltenham Festival as the perennial champion jockey produced a magical front-running ride on the Alan King-trained Uxizandre to land the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase in superb style and give some respite for the bookmakers as the heavily-backed favourite Don Cossack could only finish third.

McCoy, who will be hanging up his riding boots at the end of the season, sent his 16/1 Barbury Castle inmate to the front in the early stages of the Ryanair and set a cracking gallop from the outset, as he aimed to land the 2m 5f prize for his good friend and inspiring owner JP McManus.

Don Cossack was backed from 7/2 to 5/2 in the lead-up to the race and the Irish raider's challenge was halted on first by a glaring mistake at the business of the race, before he was sandwiched in between two rivals as he tried to bridge the gap between himself and the eventual winner.

Nicky Henderson had already piloted a winner in the Pertemps Final on day two with Call The Cops and the Seven Barrows handler would've been thinking Ma Filleule could storm into contention, but the classy grey mare struggled to reel in Uxizandre, who kicked for home as they turned into the home straight.

Maintaining the gallop as he jumped the last McCoy, who has now ridden 31 winners at the festival in an illustraious career, kept Uxizandre up to his work and the 16/1 shot went on to beat Ma Filleule by five lengths with the staying-on Don Cossack completing the placings.

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