Sunday 17 December 2017

Tony McCoy rules out final tilt at Punchestown Festival

Tony McCoy
Tony McCoy

Tony McCoy believes it is "very likely" that he will ride Shutthefrontdoor rather than Cause Of Causes in the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree next month and has also confirmed he will not be riding at the Punchestown Festival.

The Aintree news does not comes as a huge shock given last year's Irish National winner has been favourite for some weeks, but after the JP McManus-owned Cause of Causes won at the Cheltenham Festival it did throw the cat amongst the pigeons for a while.

Speaking to The Times, McCoy also said that he will not be riding at the Punchestown Festival and that if he does not win the National, Sandown's fixture on the last day of the National Hunt season is more than likely the destination for his final ride.

"I'm very likely to ride Shutthefrontdoor but I won't commit finally until close to declaration time - there is plenty of time yet for something to go wrong," said McCoy.

"I'm not sure he should be such a short price, and it's a long time since he ran, but something would have to happen for me to switch from him.

"His trainer (Jonjo O'Neill) has a fantastic record with staying chasers and the horse is obviously in good form. I rode him round a circuit of Southwell last week and he jumped very well.

"If I don't win it, I'll go on until Sandown. It's the end of the British season and they have been good enough to name a race after me (the bet365 AP McCoy Celebration Chase).

"I did have some thoughts about Punchestown, the following week, but I definitely won't be riding there. If I did that, I might just as well carry on and I won't be doing that."

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