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McCoy 'gutted' by Binocluar

A winner at Stratford yesterday saw Tony McCoy reach 199 for the season on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival -- but his mount Remember Now left him feeling anything but joyful.

In fact it was more of a cruel reminder as the chestnut is a half-brother to Binocular, who was taken out of today's Champion Hurdle at the final hour when it emerged he had been receiving medical treatment for an allergy.

Last year's hero was easily McCoy's biggest hope at the showpiece meeting and the most driven of all jockeys was naturally devastated by the setback.

Remember When also represents trainer Nicky Henderson and owner JP McManus, but bears no further similarity to his sibling and was without a win in three prior novice starts.



Nearest

He looked like easily justifying his position as 5/2 joint favourite at the top of the straight in the Daily Nicholls Festival Column Handicap Hurdle but was very nearly caught out on the line by Tatispout.

"That's the nearest he's ever going to get to Binocular," rued McCoy.

But on this most precarious of all days for National Hunt jockeys with a view to the coming week, McCoy will have spared a thought for Irish jockey Dougie Costello, whose Festival looked almost certainly over after falling from Veiled Applause in the race.

Costello had even started the afternoon on a high note, helping Palawi (1/3 favourite) shrug off his only serious rival Sidney Melbourne in the betfair.com/promotions Juvenile Hurdle.

McCoy had earlier spoken about his bitter disappointment over Binocular's withdrawal from the Champion Hurdle, saying it has "taken the gloss off" this year's renewal.

"I don't think I have ever felt so low going into a Cheltenham Festival as I did on hearing the news that Binocular, my best ride of the meeting, was out of the Stan James Champion Hurdle after failing to clear medication for an allergy from his system," said McCoy.

"I only found out late on Saturday night when (owner) JP McManus rang to tell me and then Nicky Henderson phoned on Sunday morning to confirm it.

"I am gutted. I feel completely hollow. I hate sitting out championship races.

"There will, I am sure, be plenty of downers during the week but this was a kick in the groin before it had even started.

"It is tough enough to ride winners here and I have said all along that my week seemed utterly dependent on how he ran in the Champion."