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McCoy is feeling absolutely grand

By Frank Brownlow

Punters were last night piling on to Cantlow for Monday's Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse after Tony McCoy opted to ride the JP McManus-owned 10-year-old.

Ulster legend McCoy has said that the Irish Grand National meeting, which starts tomorrow, will be his last appearance in Ireland before his retirement.

The 40-year-old - who will be crowned champion jockey for the 20th successive time on the final day of the season at Sandown on April 25 - has chosen Cantlow over McManus' other two entries in the £250,000 race, top weight If In Doubt, trained by Philip Hobbs, and Tom Mullins' Alderwood.

Cantlow - now as short as 8-1 from 12-1 - finished eighth last year under Andrew McNamara as McManus lifted the prize with the Barry Geraghty-partnered Shutthefrontdoor.

McCoy - who will ride Shutthefrontdoor in the Aintree Grand National next Saturday - will be hoping he can win the Fairyhouse showpiece for a second time, having been successful on Butler's Cabin in 2007.

There is a very strong line-up, with Willie Mullins saddling Perfect Gentleman and Dogora as he bids to get on the roll of honour for the first time.

McCoy is hopeful he can end his glittering career with victory in the £1million Aintree extravaganza.

McCoy - whose only win in the world's most famous race came at his 15th attempt, on Don't Push It in 2010 - has said he will retire on the spot if he is triumphant.

"When you start out as a jump jockey, the Grand National is the race you want to take part in and more than that the race you want to win. It's the greatest horse race in the world," McCoy said.

"It's different in that it is the one race everyone around the country and all over the world stops to watch."

Should Shutthefrontdoor come up short, McCoy - who will be having a record 20th ride in the race - can retire safe in the knowledge he did conquer the National following that memorable 2010 win which saw him crowned BBC Sports Personality.

"My win on Don't Push It was the greatest day of my career," he explained.

"I didn't really believe it with Don't Push It until around 100 yards from the line. You never win the Grand National until you are past the post.

"I would not be silly enough to dream about winning the National again - it would be nice if it happened."

Belfast Telegraph


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