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Tony McCoy to shut out his rivals at Grand National

By Frank Brownlow

Tony McCoy's final Grand National mount, Shutthefrontdoor, will not be hindered by lack of action, according to the eight-year-old's trainer Jonjo O'Neill.

Shutthefrontdoor - favourite for Saturday week's £1million Aintree showpiece - has not raced since November, when he won by eight lengths at Carlisle.

Shutthefrontdoor would have been given a prep run earlier this year, but was held up by a slight fitness problem.

However the horse schooled at Southwell last week under the soon-to-retire McCoy, who has Cause Of Causes as a Grand National back-up.

Both horses are owned by JP McManus.

O'Neill said: "The public will all be backing him looking for that fairytale story.

"We would all love it to happen, but it is a tall order.

"The only pressure I have on me is making sure he (Shutthefrontdoor) gets there safe and sound.

"I'm very happy with him. I would like to have got a run into him but he got an abscess in his sinus in January/February time and it took a while to heal up. He's in great form. He's not a hard horse to get ready, he's a clean-winded horse and was ready to win first time out.

"I would have liked to run him at Cheltenham but I decided not to as he was not as well as he is now and I didn't want him having a hard race, which it is easy to do at Cheltenham.

"He has schooled well and is spot-on for the race. He goes there fresh and well.

"He is better on a flat track and he loves good ground as he is a well balanced horse that's a great mover.

Shutthefrontdoor is currently available at around 7-1, though that price will be cut as the big race approaches with punters expected to pile on what will be McCoy's last shot at the Grand National before he retires.

The Ulster great won the race for the only time in 2010 on Don't Push It - at his 15th attempt - and, as a result, six months later became the only jockey to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The 40-year-old will be having a record 20th ride in the race and has said he will retire on the spot if he is on board the winner.

If not, McCoy has said he will bow out on the final day of the jumps season - at Sandown on April 25 - when he will be crowned champion jockey for an incredible 20th successive time.

McCoy said: "It looks like I will be riding Shutthefrontdoor. If I was to win the Grand National for a second time it would seem like a good time to retire!"

McCoy will have what appear to be his final rides in Ireland when he appears at Fairyhouse's three-day Irish Grand National meeting, which starts on Sunday.

After yesterday's five-day entry stage for Easter Monday's €275,000 Irish Grand National, the big market mover was Philip Hobbs' If In Doubt as he now appears to be the JP McManus representative most likely to be ridden by McCoy.

A staying-on fifth to Don Poli in the RSA, If In Doubt is the second top-weight on 10st 12lb. He has been cut from 14/1 to 10/1, leaving him vying for favouritism with Gallant Oscar.

Belfast Telegraph


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