herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Is the National the end for AP McCoy?

Shutthefrontdoor could see McCoy bow out at Aintree and leave bookies reeling

Jezki ridden by Jockey Tony McCoy wins the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle during the Grand Opening Day of the Crabbies Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool
Jezki ridden by Jockey Tony McCoy wins the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle during the Grand Opening Day of the Crabbies Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool

BY the time the church bell closest to you chimes five times tomorrow evening, AP McCoy's career as a jockey could well be over.

The legendary jockey himself admitted that his final farewell on an Irish racecourse at Fairyhouse on Tuesday was the toughest period since he made the announcement back in February but if Shutthefrontdoor manages to follow up his Irish Grand National victory of 12 months ago with some heroics in the most famous horse race in the world, the now most famous jockey in the sport of jump racing will retire there and then.

Inducted into the Aintree legends Hall Of Fame before yesterday afternoon, the 2010 winning rider who will have his 20th ride in the race tomorrow, got his final Grand National meeting off to the perfect start when guiding Jezki to victory in the Grade One Aintree Hurdle at the expense of final flight faller Arctic Fire and afterwards he admitted: "I'm just trying to keep things as normal as possible and do my job.

"I can leave the worrying until after I walk out of here on Saturday night - I have mixed emotions because I would love to win the National, but I don't want it to be my final ride. I really don't want to retire, but if I win the race I'll do retirement after that."

The Jonjo O'Neill-trained Shutthefrontdoor has been the ante post favourite for the 4m3f race ever since McCoy confirmed that he would be his final Grand National ride and bookmakers are already curling up at the thought of McCoy giving them an absolute hammering.

First Lieutenant is set to be the next most popular horse in the race with Nina Carberry, fresh from her winner over the National fences yesterday, the only lady rider in the race which is due off at 4.15pm.

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