Don’t Shut The Door On McCoy Yet

On the week that A.P McCoy announces to the racing world that he’s hanging up his boots and calling time on his amazing career, I take a look at his Grand National record and assess whether or not it was equally as glittering as his lifetime winners tally.

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It’s pretty much a cast iron cert that the Grand National 2015 will be McCoy’s twentieth and final ride in the race but it’s a race that’s been far from kind to him over the years.

In fact bar for his win aboard Don’t Push It in 2010 McCoy’s Grand National record has been a mixed bag.

1995 Chatham (fell 12th)
1996 Deep Bramble (pulled up 29th)
1998 Challenger du Luc (fell 1st)
1999 Eudipe (fell 22nd)
2000 Dark Stranger (unseated rider 3rd)
2001 Blowing Wind (brought down 19th remounted 3rd)
2002 Blowing Wind (3rd)
2003 Iris Bleu (pulled up 16th)
2004 Jurancon II (fell 4th)
2005 Clan Royal (carried out 22nd)
2006 Clan Royal (3rd)
2007 L`Ami (10th)
2008 Butlers Cabin (fell 22nd)
2009 Butlers Cabin (7th)
[highlight]2010 DON’T PUSH IT (WINNER)[/highlight]  
2011 Don`t Push It (3rd)
2012 Synchronised (fell 6th)
2013 Colbert Station (unseated rider 15th)
2014 Double Seven (3rd).

[custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”true” style=”color:#027c04″]Significant moments[/custom_headline]

In his first ever ride in the race in 1995 McCoy was aboard the Martin Pipe trained veteran Chatam who went off a 25/1 shot. McCoy and Chatam came to grief at the twelfth fence. The 1995 race was won by Royal Athlete (40/1) and trained by Jenny Pitman.

2001 was one of the heaviest and wettest Grand National’s in living memory with only four finishers although two of those were remounted. McCoy will go down in history as being aboard one of those remounted finishers as he managed to complete in his own time on Blowing Wind and finish third. Blowing Wind was prominent throughout the race before being badly hampered by loose horses veering across the ditch at the nineteenth fence causing the horse to refuse.

After all the amazing mishaps throughout the race Red Marauder (33/1) went on to beat Smarty by a distance with the remounted Blowing Wind and the remounted Papillon another distance back in third and fourth.

In 2002 McCoy was aboard Blowing Wind again who was naturally sent off the 8/1 favourite after the exploits of the previous year’s race. McCoy gave favourite backers a good run for their money and was up there challenging with the eventual winner Bindaree until three from home before fading back into third place.

In 2005 McCoy replaced Liam Cooper on Clan Royal who had been an unlucky runner-up in 2004 aboard the same horse after jinking quickly and mistiming his run at the “elbow”. McCoy was going particularly well in 2005 until he was unfortunately carried out at the twenty-second fence.

Partnering Clan Royal once again in 2006 McCoy came third in the race to the Irish trained Numbersixvalverde (11/1).  Clan Royal had been the long time antepost favourite for the race and all looked to be going well up until the second last fence when McCoy was still bang in contention. However at the last Numbersixvalverde came sweeping past Clan Royal and Hedgehunter and McCoy just held on in a photo finish for third from Nil Desperandum.

After teaming up with Butlers Cabin in 2008 & 2009 and again failing to win in the famous green and gold colours of J.P McManus many people were beginning to doubt whether A.P McCoy would ever add a Grand National victory to his illustrious C.V. He’d already won absolutely everything else up until then and was regularly the King Of Cheltenham but he was becoming the layers favourite rider in the Aintree Grand National. He just couldn’t win it, the racing Gods were conspiring against him and lady luck was most certainly not on his side. But that was all to change the following year in 2010.

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McCoy’s steely grit and determination finally paid dividends in 2010 when the McManus/O’Neill team provided him again with a strong and live candidate for the race that had eluded him on fourteen previous attempts. In winning the race he avoided equalling the record held by Jeff King for the most number of rides in the race without actually winning it.

Don’t Push It was sent off the 10/1 joint-favourite after a flood of money around the country hours before the race with the horse coming in from an early morning price of 25/1.

Coming to the last side by side with Black Apalachi only a bizarre mishap could have stopped McCoy but remember he’d had his fair share of those misfortunes in previous years so no chickens could be counted. However he jumped it well and readily pulled away from Black Apalachi on the run in.

“I’m a dreamer”,  McCoy said after climbing off Don’t Push it in the winner’s enclosure. [blockquote cite=”AP McCoy” type=”left”]I’m always dreaming that I’ll win every race I’m in.

After jumping Becher’s for the first time McCoy started to realise that his instincts were correct. “To be honest, I thought after a mile that I had the race in the bag,” he said, and while that might still have been the adrenaline talking, Don’t Push It made life very easy for his partner.

“At that point, I wouldn’t have swapped him for anything, and I mean anything, not just horses,” McCoy said. “He had just totally taken to it. He’s always been a bit too intelligent at times, but today he used all his brains in the right way.

“He’s always been a horse with ability and that’s what you need for this race. He’s a little bit mentally unstable, which maybe is why he gets on well with me, but at times he’s shown that he has class.

“I was aware how long it is from turning into the straight here to the line so I was worried about going too early, but I thought he ran pretty well over three miles and three furlongs at Cheltenham in November so in the back of my mind I thought he’d definitely stay.”

So the monkey was finally off McCoy’s back after his victory in 2010 and his Grand National hoodoo was put to bed. I dare say he could actually “enjoy” his subsequent rides after that and he was unsurprisingly sniffing around in the closing stages again with a third place in 2011 and yet another third place in 2014.

[custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”true” style=”color:#027c04″]The last hurrah[/custom_headline]

Frank Berry the racing manager to JP McManus indicated the other day that their team had six entries in the 2015 Grand National. With the likelihood of Carlingford Lough running in the Gold Cup only and missing Aintree, the intended National five at this stage are: Wyck Hill, Alderwood, Sunnyhillboy, Cause Of Causes and Shutthefrontdoor.

[blockquote cite=”McCoy taking about Sunnyhillboy” type=”left”]There’s no point in two pensioners going round together.

With McCoy shying away from the veteran Sunnyhillboy  and being quoted as saying “There’s no point in two pensioners going round together.” It seems highly probable  that McCoy will side with [highlight]Shutthefrontdoor[/highlight].

If McCoy wins on that horse on the 11th April he will bring the house down but whatever the outcome that day he will be shutting the door for the very last time on his Grand National career and it won’t be reopening so savour those Aintree memories whilst you can as you won’t be seeing his likes on Merseyside again for a very long time.

[custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”true” style=”color:#027c04″]The Real McCoy[/custom_headline]
The Inside Story Of Racing’s Greatest Jockey

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