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Grand National 2015: The Druids Nephew is out to deny Tony McCoy's grand plans

By Frank Brownlow

Published 09/04/2015

Jump to it: The Druids Nephew, on way to victory at last month’s Cheltenham Festival, is tipped to go well in Saturday’s Aintree Grand National for Ulster trainer Neil Mulholland
Jump to it: The Druids Nephew, on way to victory at last month’s Cheltenham Festival, is tipped to go well in Saturday’s Aintree Grand National for Ulster trainer Neil Mulholland

Ulster trainer Neil Mulholland would love to see AP McCoy winning at Aintree - but just not in Saturday's Grand National.

Mulholland runs The Druids Nephew, one of the big fancies in the £1million showpiece in which McCoy's Shutthefrontdoor is expected to go off a very hot favourite.

And Mulholland will be cheering on McCoy tomorrow when the soon-to-retire Ulster great rides Carole's Destrier for his fellow Ulsterman in the Grade One Mildmay Novices Chase at Aintree.

Mulholland, originally from Glenavy and now based near Bath, said: "AP has a great record on our horses and Carole's Destrier has a real chance."

But the perfect Grand National outcome for Mulholland would be The Druids Nephew getting home just ahead of Shutthefrontdoor.

"If our lad doesn't win then I would love AP to be on the winner," said Mulholland.

"But hopefully we can do it - our lad has a great chance.

"He's got a lovely weight and he's been schooling really well."

Aidan Coleman has picked up the ride following Barry Geraghty's broken leg sustained in a fall from Sailors Warn at Downpatrick's Ulster Grand National meeting last month

"You have to feel for Barry," said Mulholland.

"Aidan Coleman comes in and he is one of the best around."

The Druids Nephew last month gave Mulholland his first Cheltenham Festival winner, triumphing in the Ultima Handicap Chase under Geraghty.

"It was a great feeling to win at Cheltenham and the fact that there's a bit more of a gap this year between Cheltenham and Aintree provided the opportunity to run The Druids Nephew at both," said Mulholland.

"That was always the plan and he is in great shape.

"He was impressive at Cheltenham and has to have a super chance in the National.

"He ticks all the boxes but you need a bit of luck as well. You need everything to go right - the National is not a straightforward race.

"Midnight Chase has been a great horse for me but this fellow is right up there too," he added.

And Mulholland was quick to pay tribute to McCoy's contribution to racing, the 40-year-old about to be crowned champion jockey for an incredible 20th successive time.

McCoy is gunning for his second Grand National success after victory on Don't Push It in 2010.

"What he has done for the sport is brilliant and he's been a real gentleman to work with over the years.

"I've no doubt that if he wins the National he will retire on the spot," Mulholland said.

If McCoy doesn't call it a day on Saturday he is likely to continue to the last day of the season at Sandown on April 25.

Belfast Telegraph

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