Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: McCoy will be looking for a dream finish

By Frank Brownlow

Tony McCoy is set to remain in the saddle for longer than expected. The Ulster legend is retiring at the end of the current campaign - which in terms of the title race is April 25 at Sandown.

That's when McCoy will be crowned champion jockey for an incredible 20th successive time - although the man himself has said he will quit on the spot if he rides the winner of the Grand National at Aintree on April 11.

But don't be surprised if McCoy is still steering home winners come May.

That's because, despite all the hype that surrounds the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree's Grand National meeting, there's nowhere McCoy would prefer to bow out than the Punchestown Festival.

As Ireland's premier jumps meeting, the Punchestown Festival has always been close to McCoy's heart.

And there's no other way the 40-year-old would want to finish than riding a winner for his long-time boss and friend, leading owner JP McManus.

And to finish back in Ireland, where it all started for McCoy with a winner at Thurles in 1992, would be a fitting climax.

But if McCoy wins on the McManus-owned Shutthefrontdoor in his 20th Grand National - a record number of rides in the famous £1million showpiece - he will truly have earned his 'early' retirement.

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