Grand National: McCoy fifth as Leighton Aspell wins second National
"I'm going to miss riding horses like that and in races like that," says AP McCoy after riding last Grand National.
Many Clouds won the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree for trainer Oliver Sherwood and last year's winning jockey Leighton Aspell.
For a long way it appeared Shutthefrontdoor could provide Tony McCoy with a fairytale second National triumph before his retirement, but he eventually weakened into fifth place.
It was a record 20th ride in the world's greatest steeplechase for McCoy, who admitted he will miss riding in such a great race.
He said: "I was very happy all the way, but just between the fourth- and the third-last I was following Many Clouds and I knew he was a dour stayer.
"I was behind him in the Hennessy and thought I might get past him, but he stuck at it well there. I thought from the third-last I was struggling.
"I got a great ride off him and Jonjo had him in great shape. He jumped fantastic and I wouldn't mind riding him next year!
"I'm going to miss riding horses like that and in races like that. I got a great buzz out of it and I thought for a long way he could win.
"It's my last National, but it was a very enjoyable one."
2015 Crabbie's Grand National
1st Many Clouds L P Aspell 25-1
2nd Saint Are P J Brennan 25-1
3rd Monbeg Dude L Treadwell 40-1
4th Alvarado P Moloney 20-1
5th Shutthefrontdoor AP McCoy 6/1 fav.
Successful aboard Pineau De Re 12 months ago, Aspell was never too far off the pace and Many Clouds, winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury earlier in the season and sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, jumped with aplomb throughout.
Many Clouds tired from the elbow, but had enough in the tank to hold off Saint Are, with Monbeg Dude third and Alvarado fourth.
Leighton Aspell on board Many Clouds was also the winning jockey on Pineau de Re last year.
He said of Many Clouds on Channel Four: "He's the best ride I've had over these fences, he was awesome."
The win was a third in the National for owner Trevor Hemmings after Hedgehunter (2005) and Ballabriggs (2011).
A proud Hemmings said: "When a third comes along, that is something special. It is a wonderful, wonderful feeling.
"For years and years this race has captured my heart. What a wonderful feeling, you can't express it.
"Thank you Oliver Sherwood, thank you Leighton and all the staff, and, of course, Aintree."
Jockey Aspell said: "It was wonderful and we will certainly celebrate tonight. I asked some big questions, but he dug deep.
"We really refreshed and recharged his battery, and I tried to conserve energy. He is all heart - all season he has had hard races.
"Win lose or draw, that's the best ride I have had in the National. I just hoped his battery life lasted out and it did."
Winning trainer Oliver Sherwood said: "I can't believe it, it was some spin. All I wanted was the horse to come back in one piece.
"He was foot-perfect and didn't make a mistake. I thought it was a year too soon, but he was fit and healthy and it was Trevor's decision - he must get all the credit.
"The horse has been unbelievable all season, he has blossomed all year - he just got out of bed the wrong way in the Gold Cup.
"I didn't show him any National fences on purpose, I thought he had just gone over the top before the Gold Cup."
When told that Many Clouds was recovering from his exertions, having appeared to be struggling after the race, Sherwood said on Channel Four: "That's the best news ever.
"All I wanted was for the horse to come back in one piece."
Sherwood added: "I didn't see my horse come back in, so I was a bit worried, but I gather he was just a bit wobbly and he's OK.
"Jumping the last I couldn't watch. I watched the race on my own and the poor people beside me - I lost it completely!
"It was some spin from Leighton - to win it two years on the bounce is just unreal.
"I still don't know what happened in the Gold Cup. He definitely didn't run his race, nothing against the winner (Coneygree).
"I've done nothing with this horse since Cheltenham. He hasn't seen a National fence. I didn't think it was the right thing to do. He's done two quiet bits of work and that's all I've done with him.
"It gave me a bit more confidence this week when (Silviniaco) Conti ran so well and Holywell didn't run badly, so the Gold Cup form was working out.
"Luckily this year there's an extra week from Cheltenham to Aintree, which has made a huge difference.
"I'm going to really enjoy this one - I'm in cloud cuckoo land!"
Saint Are's trainer Tom George said: "I'm delighted with him. He looks as fresh as paint after it.
"Stamina is not a problem and he's a run a great race.
"He got close to a couple of fences but everything went right. He has been beaten by a better horse on the day. You can't fault him.
"I thought for a second he might get there. It was all very exciting."
Monbeg Dude delighted his connections by improving on last year's seventh-place finish.
Jockey Liam Treadwell, who won the 2009 National aboard Mon Mome, said: "I thought I'd win after the last, his run just flattened out but everyone's delighted. The horse has enjoyed it, I've enjoyed it and I'm very pleased."
Trainer Michael Scudamore said: "To run a race like that is absolutely amazing. I'm so proud of the horse and so pleased for him."
Alvarado was fourth for the second successive year for Fergal O'Brien, who said: "He's a horse that's given his heart and soul again today.
"There's no real hard luck stories. We are very lucky. He got baulked a bit at the Canal Turn and Paul (Moloney) said it put him out of his rhythm a little.
"We're over the moon again."
Belfast Telegraph Digital