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Tony McCoy victory will have punters walking on Ayr at Scottish Grand National

By Frank Brownlow

Tony McCoy has yet to predict immediate retirement if he wins the Scottish Grand National at Ayr on Saturday - but expect a roar from the crowd that can be heard this side of the Irish Sea if the Ulster legend triumphs.

McCoy will ride Benvolio for champion trainer Paul Nicholls - with the 40-year-old's only other Scottish National success coming on Belmont King for the same handler way back in 1997.

After two National near-misses at Aintree and Fairyhouse, the soon-to-retire McCoy will get the chance to make it third time lucky in the £210,000 Scottish version.

"It's my last Scottish National and I'm looking forward to getting to Ayr and meeting fans there for the last time," he said.

"Everyone has been so good to me at the races since I announced my retirement. They've been really kind.

"I'm just hoping Benvolio can put up a good performance," he added.

"There weren't many possibilities for me in the race in terms of weight, but he's a good ride to get.

"He went very well in the Welsh National and if he can repeat that performance on Saturday I'm hopeful of a good run," said McCoy, who will be crowned champion jockey for the 20th successive time when the season ends at Sandown on Saturday week.

That's when McCoy will call a halt to what has been a glittering career - he had said he would quit on the spot if he won the Aintree Grand National on Shutthefrontdoor last Saturday.

Shutthefrontdoor finished fifth, following on from his mount Cantlow's sixth in the Irish Grand National on Easter Monday.

McCoy will be riding Benvolio for the first time on the horse's 13th start under rules, the eight-year-old having won twice each for Daryl Jacob and the now-retired Harry Derham.

Benvolio, a 16-1 shot, is set to be joined by stablemate Sam Winner, who will carry top weight and be partnered by Sam Twiston-Davies.

Ulster jockeys Peter Buchanan and Brian Hughes ride Lie Forrit and Cape Tribulation respectively, while Larne trainer Stuart Crawford runs Yes Tom.

Belfast Telegraph


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