Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 22 November 2014

McCoy reveals Grand plan

At Fishers Cross with jockey Tony McCoy after winning The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Race during the Cheltenham Gold Cup Day on Day Four of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire
At Fishers Cross with jockey Tony McCoy after winning The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Race during the Cheltenham Gold Cup Day on Day Four of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire

Champion jockey AP McCoy has narrowed down his choice of rides in Saturday week's Grand National to just two – Sunnyhillboy or Colbert Station.

 

But bookmakers last night made the Ulsterman odds on to ride Sunnyhillboy, agonisingly beaten a nose by Neptune Collonges in last year's Aintree spectacular.

On that occasion, Sunnyhillboy was ridden by Richie McLernon.

McCoy, who will next month wrap up an incredible 18th successive champion jockey title, is JP McManus' retained rider and has the pick of the Irish owner's six-strong squad of contenders.

McCoy won his only Aintree National on the McManus-owned Don't Push It in 2010, leading to the Co Antrim man becoming the only jockey ever to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

McCoy, who revealed conditions at Aintree will influence his decision, said last night: "I presume it will be Sunnyhillboy or Colbert Station, but I will definitely not make my mind up until a couple of days before.

"I want to know what the ground is going to be like and want to keep my options open as long as I possibly can."

Colbert Station is 14-1 for the race, with Sunnyhillboy at 20-1. Those odds will be cut when the 38-year-old finally reveals his choice.

McCoy has terrible memories of last year's Grand National, his mount Synchronised suffering a fatal injury.

McCoy had won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Synchronised the previous month.

Beshabar has been ruled out of the Grand National after suffering an ankle injury.

Winner of the 2011 Scottish National for Welsh trainer Tim Vaughan, the 11-year-old has not been seen in competitive action since finishing fifth in that year's Hennessy Gold Cup.

Vaughan had been carefully preparing Beshabar for the National, but a fetlock problem means he will not be making the trip to Merseyside.

"Beshabar was found to have heat in a front fetlock joint," said Vaughan.

"Following discussions with our vet, Tim Beauregard, we have taken the decision to take Beshabar out of training and he will therefore be scratched from the Grand National."

• SIR Peter O'Sullevan is in Charing Cross Hospital, London, after suffering a mild stroke, said Nigel Payne, chief executive of the legendary former broadcaster's charitable trust.

O'Sullevan (95) is to undergo further tests.

Payne said: "Sir Peter had a mild stroke on Sunday night, which he detected himself.

"He called the doctor and was admitted to hospital and is currently in the stroke unit."

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