McCoy eyes Cheltenham return


Racing:Tony McCoy is hoping to be fit for the Cheltenham Festival, despite suffering a back injury in a fall at Warwick yesterday.

The champion jockey fractured a vertebra when parting company with Arnold Layne in the Classic Chase, prompting fears he could miss the Festival.

However, McCoy's personal assistant Gee Bradburne issued an upbeat bulletin on his condition today.

"He has a stable fracture of the T12 vertebra. But there is no neurological damage - ie he is moving everything fine," confirmed Bradburne.

"He's hoping to be back in time for the Festival, and the doctors' prognosis is good.

"They say he might be out for six weeks, but we really don't know at this stage."

McCoy is expected to ride Exotic Dancer in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup in nine weeks' time, and Bradburne believes the thought of the Festival will spur on his recovery.

"He's in good spirits this morning but he's pretty uncomfortable," she added of the 12-times champion, who is in University Hospital Walsgrave in Coventry.

"The fact the doctors are quite optimistic about him making the Festival is lifting him, I think."