Rory Delargy thinks the McCoy factor has been overplayed at Kempton on Monday...
"Every rider has their bete noir, those beasts who go perfectly well for the stable conditional, but curl up when the yard's number one gets on board, a situation often made more embarrassing as that tends to be when the money is down..."
Tony McCoy has rarely been out of the news in recent weeks, and I won't rehash his achievements, but his reputation for galvanising horses which other jockeys cannot motivate is part of the McCoy myth. That's certainly true taken as a whole, but every rider has their bete noir, those beasts who go perfectly well for the stable conditional, but curl up when the yard's number one gets on board, a situation often made more embarrassing as that tends to be when the money is down. Surely no animal would have the temerity to embarrass McCoy so? Step forward Tarvini.
The last four occasions on which the champ has had the misfortune to ride Tarvini, he's looked thoroughly recalcitrant, recording a trio of in-running squiggles. Normally such behavious would signal that the runner in question is a lost cause, but Tarvini doesn't comply to the norm. He's spent much of the last couple of seasons giving experience to Jonjo O'Neill's greenest claimers, and has won for both Maurice Linehan (then unheard of, but soon much heralded), and James Huxham already. He went very close to giving young Patrick Cowley a first winner under Rules on his debut ride at Exeter last time, and he clearly saves his best for the boys.
The fact that McCoy rides Dreamsoftheatre is something of a smokescreen here - that one also runs for the McManus/O'Neill axis, but it seems McCoy would rather ride one of the clydesdales which were seen in action at that track yesterday than he would throw his leg over Tarvini again. Dreamsoftheatre's chances need to be assessed on their own merits, but the fact is that his presence in the field has caused the price on Tarvini to be artificially inflated, and there is no doubt that he represents the value in the race at this stage.
The concluding handicap hurdle is another cracker, but complicated by the fact that the trio who head the market all have absences to overcome. Poet was talked of a Cheltenham candidate after winning on debut, but that form didn't work out, and he has always needed very soft ground to be seen to best effect. Ranjaan lost his way quite badly early this year, but may well bounce back fresh, particularly with the handicapper cutting him some slack. Fourth Estate is the darkest one of all, having looked a very good prospect in bumpers, but he has the longest absence to overcome, with no run since April 2012.
Any of that trio could win if stepping up to the mark, but there is one who appeals at much bigger odds, and that is Taaresh, who was an impressive winner at Worcester in the summer, and has had excuses since. That Worcester contest has proven very solid form, and I don't think Taaresh is at all badly handicapped, for all there's a suspicion he needs to her his hooves rattle, and even Kempton's good ground may be dead enough for him. That's a definite concern, but at odds of 33/1 and bigger, it's a chance well worth taking. Should the going prove to be on the easy side, then the writing will be on the wall, but Kevin Morgan's charge remains one for the notebooks when the sun finally comes out.