Grand National Horse Racing By Sir Anthony McCoy

Sir AP McCoy Tells William Hill He Would Ride More Of That

WILLIAM HILL ambassador Sir AP McCoy has given an exclusive insight into the 2017 Randox Health Grand National and revealed he’s racing back from the Masters golf practice days at Augusta to be at Aintree.

And Sir AP credits his 2010 Grand National victory on board Don’t Push It with helping him land the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award that same year.

The 20 times champion jockey rode 10-1 shot Don’t Push It to victory in the colours of JP McManus and believes the green and gold silks could triumph again this year in the shape of More of That or Cause Of Causes.

When pushed to pick between the pair Sir AP said: ‘More Of That ran in the Gold Cup and at some point he will come back to life. If I had a ride I’d settle for Cause Of Causes or More Of That – I would like to ride both of them, but More Of That has a bit of class.’

And another horse that Sir AP believes has a touch of class is Saphir Du Rheu trained by Paul Nicholls, who can land the trainer’s championship with a Grand National win. Sir AP said: ‘Saphir Du Rheu is quite well  handicapped on his Gold Cup run and he has a load of class.

‘For a jockey the Grand National can be a career-changing race if you are lucky enough to win it.

‘My greatest Grand National moment for certain was winning the race on Don’t Push It. I was very lucky, because I won the Grand National I went on to win the Sports Personality of the year and if I hadn’t won the Grand National I wouldn’t have won that.

‘It is the most famous horserace in the world with an audience of 600 million watching it around the planet. That makes it very special indeed, but it’s a race you need a bit of luck in and it took me 15 attempts to win it.

‘Look at last year’s winner Rule The World at 33/1 and before that Auroras Encore at 66/1 and Mon Mome at 100-1 and they are all in the last eight years – with a couple more at 25s and 33s in the last five years.

‘It’s the 40th anniversary of Red Rum’s third win in the race, but I am not sure a horse will ever do what Red Rum did. It will be very hard to find another triple winner.

‘My earliest memory of the race was when I was about 11 and my granny backed Last Suspect to win in 1985 at 50-1.’

Sir AP revealed that down the years he had a couple that got away and how he felt Blowing Wind in 2001 was travelling like a winner until he was unseated and four years later Clan Royal was going strong only to be carried out of the race at Becher’s Brook in 2005 when Hedgehunter won at 7-1.

Sir AP said: ‘I thought Blowing Wind was going to win the year Red Marauder won the race. When he went past the winning post the first time I thought he was definitely going to win and Clan Royal had every chance of winning when he was carried out.

‘So when Don’t Push It was going well I knew what had happened before, so I only knew I was going to win when I got to the elbow. It’s then that you hope you have enough to get home and nothing is going to get past you.

‘For a jockey the Grand National is nervous excitement rather than nerves. There are such a lot of people there and there are not many horseraces that you notice such a huge crowd at the start. 

‘It’s an amazing race and a lot more horse friendly now with changes to the fences.’

And his worse Grand National memory was when Gold Cup winner Synchronised fresh from his victory at the Cheltenham Festival fell in the race and ran off only to get fatally injured while running lose.

Sir AP said: ‘The worse moment was Synchronised getting killed. He got fatally injured when he was loose.’ 

But Sir AP believes the modifications to the fences at Aintree have been very ‘horse friendly.’

He added: ‘I don’t think you can change it any more. It is different than every other horserace – it’s pretty much the ultimate challenge for horse and rider.

‘It is more horse friendly – the old wooden stumps the fences were built on are not there anymore. It is exactly where you would want it to be. 

‘There are still fallers, but there is still plenty of engaging viewing and excitement to it and it is more horse friendly.’

Sir AP thinks the odds are stacked against a woman winning it this year, but purely on the figures with 38 or 39 male riders to just the one or two women and only Katie Walsh already pencilled in for Paul Nicholls’ Wonderful Charm. 

Ahead of Aintree Sir AP has been taking in the practice days at Augusta and is planning to watch Rory McIlory and Shane Lowry play.

Sir AP is tipping Rory McIlroy at 13-2 to win the Masters, but believes Bubba Watson at 33-1 could be a decent outside bet at Augusta.

Sir AP said: ‘I will be watching Rory and Shane and will keep it Irish. I would like it for one of them to win it, but the way Dustin Johnson is playing he’s a worthy favourite. 

‘But Bubba Watson can surprise. It wouldn’t be the biggest shock to see him going in again. He has played well there plenty of times.

‘I will back Rory out of loyalty. Augusta is amazing. The TV doesn’t do it justice.

‘It is the greatest manicured place you will ever see in your life. It is a beautiful place and you can see the attraction with it.

‘It is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and I look forward to being there.’