Grand National Horse Racing By Sir Anthony McCoy

I’m Probably More Excited This Year Than I’m Ever Going To Get

[Image ref: AP McCoy chats to trainer Jonjo O'Neill after exercising Grand National runner Shutthefrontdoor at Southwell Racecourse. Press Association PA.22656061]

I was 20 years old when I rode in my first Grand National (Chatham in 1995, fell at the 12th) and I remember being very excited because it’s the most famous horse race in the world and I felt very lucky and privileged to be taking part. I get the same feeling now and I’m probably more excited this year than I'm ever going to get because it’s going to be the last one. I won’t be changing my approach but obviously beforehand I’ll have mixed feelings, different feelings, but when the time actually comes and once the race starts, it will be just as normal to be honest.

The year that Red Marauder won the race, I remember Ruby Walsh and I were taken out by a loose horse who ran across the front of both our horses. At the time it wasn't very funny, but I remounted Blowing Wind and Ruby remounted Papillon to finish third and fourth. You obviously know your horses but to be sure the good thing about the Grand National is that the horses have their names on the saddle cloth. Luckily when I did catch Blowing Wind his name was on there, so I knew I was getting on the right horse. Obviously remounting is not allowed now, but at that time Blowing Wind got £55,000 for his owners, so it was well worth getting back on him and completing.

Winning the race on Don’t Push It in 2010 was no doubt the most famous win I've had and it was probably the day I felt the most complete in my career. Winning the Grand National for the first time there was a lot of fulfilment, relief, enjoyment, pretty much every emotion going. I’m sure winning it again this year, I’d have similar emotions.

I think Shutthefrontdoor has got a good chance. He hasn't run since November which is a bit of a negative and the handicapper will tell you that his form from Carlisle and the Irish Grand National isn’t great. I don’t think he’d be tipping him up but he’s still given him plenty of weight.

I think he’s a ridiculous price. If he was running in a four and a half mile flat race against 40 other horses, I don’t think he’d be the price that he is, let alone the price he is having to jump 30 fences, so it’s going to be a fair bit of a challenge for him, but hopefully he’s up to it. Any number of horses are as well-handicapped, if not better handicapped. Those horses that won at Cheltenham like The Druids Nephew and Cause Of Causes, while Rocky Creek is probably the horse on form who should be favourite. But hopefully Shutthefrontdoor has got a good chance.

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