Preview - Richards' runners primed for Carlisle

AP McCOY has been given Carlisle Races' backing for BBC Sports Personality of the Year ahead of the course's final meeting of 2010 on Sunday.

The legendary jockey is booked to ride Foxsbow for Jonjo O'Neill in the 3pm Red Rum Lawn Suites February Handicap Chase on the card, though the wintry weather may still play a part.

ThE Cumbrian course is hoping to stage a Christmas-themed Family Fun Day to bring the curtain down on the year.

If the freeze-up relents and racing goes ahead, there are some very interesting contests to ponder, starting with a novice hurdle at 12.20pm.

Nicky Richards' Malin Bay is an early entry and sets a high standard and is well-primed with a second-placed outing under the belt.

Donald McCain junior's Tornado Bob would be another well-fancied type if making the lin-up Howard Johnson's always merit close inspection and I suspect Rupert Lamb or any of his newcomers, if preferred, would be on the premises at the finishing post.

The 1.25pm is another novice hurdle - albeit over a shorter distance - and Tim Easterby's Bollin Felix is a stand-out at present, though no jockey has been booked.

Johnson's Sciptwriter was a high-class handicapper on the flat and must be considered, though he would have to be in preistine shape to better Rival E'Estruval from Pam Robson's yard, who is battle hardened with three runs behind him.

The 1.55pm race, the £9,000 News and Star Handicap Chase, should be won by a decent sort and Rambling Minster, though given top weight, is an experienced campaigner who will take all the pegging back if he runs.

In the 2.25 Ultimate Ladies Night 1st August Novice Chase, it would be a treat to see Wymott - one of the most exciting horses in training with McCain - but Ferdy Murphy's Hallo Ladies is more likely to run (G. Lee already booked) and would be a fitting winner.

Foxesbow has already been mentioned for the 3pm race if the O'Neill raider journeys north, but in the 3.30pm national hunt race race that ends the card it really is a guessing game.

David Pipe's The Tracey Shuffle may not make the long trip because of the weather but is one to remember if the trainer has considered going this far afield.

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