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Tony McCoy's Grand National agony

By Chris McGrath

Tony McCoy says he will always be deeply affected by the loss of Synchronised in this year’s John Smith's Grand National.

The champion jockey has admitted he will never forget the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner that had to be put down.

Synchronised parted company with McCoy at Becher's Brook but continued riderless for five fences before fracturing a leg at the 11th.

Another horse, According To Pete, also suffered fatal injuries in the controversial race on April 14.

McCoy was so upset at the tragic unfolding of events that he now finds it difficult to talk about the Aintree contest.

“It is one of those terrible things you wish would never happen. Certainly Synchronised is a horse I won't ever forget,” he said.

Synchronised got loose after unshipping jockey McCoy at the start, leading to an eight-minute delay, but he was passed fit to race by a vet who found his heart rate was “barely elevated” above a normal resting rate.

Seventeen-time champion McCoy said: “It is a race that I have been trying to forget about rather than talking a lot about for the obvious reasons.

“Like any big sporting event, the start is very important and my position as a jockey has been to get a good start in the race.

“The Grand National being as high profile a race as it is will always create a little bit more publicity than some of the others. It is one of those things. Everyone is trying to do what's best for horse racing so hopefully we will get it sorted out.”

Meanwhile, St Nicholas Abbey, a sensational winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf under Joseph O'Brien in November, could add a touch of star appeal to Monday's Bank Holiday card at The Curragh.

O'Brien's father Aidan has entered the rejuvenated five-year-old in the High Chaparral EBF Mooresbridge Stakes, a 10-furlong Group Three that the Ballydoyle handler has won with the high-class pair Fame And Glory and So You Think the past two years.

Should the son of Montjeu take his chance, it will be the first time that he has run over less than 12 furlongs since Unaccompanied toppled him over course and distance on his seasonal bow a year ago.

Intriguingly, Dermot Weld's versatile mare, successful at Navan on Sunday, is also engaged, while her stablemate Famous Name and the John Oxx-trained Irish Lincoln scorer Sharestan are others that could test St Nicholas Abbey. The Churchill Downs hero, whose second to Cirrus Des Aigles in Dubai last month was franked by the French gelding's stroll in the Prix Ganay at Longchamp on Sunday, also features among 22 that O'Brien has put in the Eclipse.

Other heavyweights from the Rosegreen establishment that may get the opportunity to tackle the mighty Frankel in the Sandown Group One on July 7 include last year's winner So You Think, Saturday's English 2,000 Guineas favourite Camelot and recent Curragh victor Excelebration.

Jim Bolger has entered Light Heavy and Parish Hall, while fellow exciting three-year-olds Born To Sea and Akeed Mofeed could represent Oxx, who has pencilled in his talented Aga Khan-owned duo Alanza and Takar for Monday's competitive spread at headquarters.

Frankel, having recovered from a recent injury scare, is expected to reappear in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 19, and So You Think and Excelebration have also been given the option of squaring off with Henry Cecil's exceptional colt in that contest.

Ahead of Sunday's English 1,000 Guineas, Ger Lyons tweeted that his Cheveley Park winner Lightening Pearl, a top-priced 20/1 for Classic glory, remains an intended runner at Newmarket after coming through her final piece of work and scoping “100pc afterwards”.

There was a less positive update on the amateur rider Gwen Daly, however, following her fall from her husband Alan's Star Of Boru in the bumper at Ballinrobe on Tuesday evening.

Daly was brought down when Callthebigladjimmy clipped heels and unseated Mark Byrne turning out of the back straight.

Dr Adrian McGoldrick, the Turf Club's chief medical officer, said: “Gwen has a back injury. She's been transferred to the Mater Hospital for further investigations.”

Belfast Telegraph


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