He may have announced his retirement, but there’s still no stopping Tony McCoy.
He turned up at Fakenham again on Monday after just about everyone presumed he’d visited the track for the last time at its February 13 meeting.
With four rides on the card there was just one winner for the 19-times champion as he steered odds-on favourite Artifice Sivola to a comfortable victory in the King’s Lynn Chase over two miles.
The horse jumped indifferently over the first two fences but then settled into a good rhythm at the head of affairs to take control. Cantering well clear up the home straight, McCoy received hearty applause from the crowd as he approached the line, everyone knowing that this time it really was farewell to the champ.
Claiming jockey James Banks won the opening East Dereham Hurdle, also over two miles, with a confident ride on Bath County who had won his previous race just eight days earlier at Southwell.
Always handily placed the pairing broke away from three out with just Spin Cast in pursuit, staying on well to get home by five lengths.
A very competitive Norwich Novices Hurdle looked to be between 2 to 1 favourite Needless Shouting with Conor O’Farrell on board and long-time leader Mr Burbidge ridden by Mark Quinlan.
But coming to the last the hard ridden Aviator under Jack Quinlan edged ahead, holding on by a length in a thrilling finish.
Another odds-on favourite was untroubled to win the Cromer Chase over two miles and four furlongs.
On his only ride of the day, Tom Scudamore played his cards early, urging De Kerry Man into the lead and staying there throughout.
The David Bridgwater trained seven year-old tired at the last but was a comfortable winner by three lengths ahead of the fast-finishing Dashing George.
Despite being left way behind at the start, Azabitmour ran a cracking race under a fine ride from Tom O’Brien to win the EPDS Racing Welfare BTO Series 2015 Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs.
Making up lost ground in the first half mile, trainer Suzy Smith’s talented five year-old relished the conditions, sweeping ahead up the final straight for a seven length victory over Weybridge Light.
Unfancied he may have been in the betting stakes but Willie Musson’s Bold Adventure was a revelation under experienced jockey Paul Moloney in the day’s final race, the Wells Next the Sea Hurdle over three miles.
Sitting quietly behind the main pack as the race unfolded the 18 to 1 outsider had plenty in the tank as he swept past long-time leader Sandynow up the straight, winning by the best part of three lengths.
The next race meeting at Fakenham is on Friday, March 13, coinciding with Cheltenham Gold Cup day.
Racegoers will be able to see all the Cheltenham action on the big screen in the centre of the course.