Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

McCoy and Dobbin on winners

Ulster's two Tonys - McCoy and Dobbin - have something else in common as well as their Christian names.

They are both riding former winners of the Irish Grand National when competing at Aintree tomorrow.

McCoy of course is on last year's Fairyhouse winner Butler's Cabin while Dobbin will ride Point Barrow who won the Irish National the year before.

"I am hopeful rather than confident," said Dobbin who won the big one at Aintree on Lord Gyllene in 1997 - the year when the race was disrupted by a bomb scare.

Dobbin said: "I never forget the celebrations after that race and hopefully I have the same celebrations tomorrow.

"Lord Gyllene gave me a great ride when the race was held on the Monday and people left their work to come to the National especially to see the postponed race.

"I believe there were about 20,000 people at Aintree and that was amazing considering the race was held at five o'clock on a Monday night.

"Lord Gyllene gave me one of my fondest memories in racing and you could argue that his success was also the biggest of my career. I'd love to win another National and who knows what might happen for it's a strange sort of race."

Point Barrow, who is trained by Pat Hughes in Carlow, fell at the first fence last year when backed favourite.

Dobbin fancies his chances this time and added: "The Irish National is a very good form guide and in his latest race, Point Barrow showed he was coming back to his best."

That was in the Tennents Chase at Down Royal on St Patrick's Day when In The Loop trained by Roy Wilson in Larne finished first - ahead of Dun Doire with Point Barrow in third place.

Hughes has never won the big race and he is reasonably hopeful that Tony can do the trick. "It's a bit of a lottery sometimes," he said. "Although you can always pick out the main players. It's just a question of getting the right one."

Apart from winning the race, Dobbin was seventh last year on Longshanks for Kim Bailey and that was his best other placing.

Dobbin has ridden 31 wins this season but as he told me: "It has been a quiet time for Nicky Richards for whom I ride but thankfully I have avoided injury.

"If I win the National again, it will make my season."