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Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 12:21 UK

McCoy desperate for National win

Venue: Aintree Date: Saturday, 5 April Start: 1615 BST
Live coverage: Live video on BBC Two & BBC Sport website from 1300-1430 and BBC One and BBC Sport website from 1430-1700
Highlights: BBC One at 2340 plus extensive coverage on 5 Live Sport

By Russell Barder

Tony McCoy
The 12-time champion jockey will ride Butler's Cabin at Aintree

Tony McCoy believes his glittering career will be a failure if he cannot win the Aintree Grand National.

The 12-time champion jockey has failed to win horse racing's most famous race in a dozen attempts and is desperate for that to change this weekend.

"If you've been dominant in any sport and haven't won one of the big events, then it is seen as a bit of a failure," the 33-year-old told BBC Sport.

"So I would like to put that to bed as quickly as possible."

The fact McCoy that is riding at all at Aintree is testament to the jockey's strength of character and determination.

He badly injured his back in a fall at Warwick at the start of the year and underwent intensive treatment to get back to full fitness.

Last month's Cheltenham Festival marked his return to racing and he is just grateful he has the chance to ride at this weekend's meeting.

"I fractured a couple of vertebrae in my back and had plates put in in mid-January so to be able to get back riding so soon is a bonus.

"There was obviously a chance that I could have been out for a lot longer so to be back racing for the big meetings, and especially for the Grand National meeting, makes it all worthwhile."


McCoy will ride the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Butler's Cabin on Saturday in an attempt to claim his first National win.

The pairing triumphed at last year's Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse and, if the ground stays dry, McCoy is hopeful his mount can last the distance over Aintree's famous big fences.

"In recent years, Irish Grand National winners have got pretty good records," he added.

"He stays well - he had a four-mile race at the Cheltenham festival last year and won the Irish National not long afterwards, so he has got good credentials."

But if he is to claim his first win in Saturday's showpiece race, McCoy believes he will need some luck to help him on his way.

He has finished third on three separate occasions, twice with Blowing Wind in 2001 and 2002 and then four years later with Clan Royal in 2006.

Tony McCoy
McCoy finished third at the National on Blowing Wind in 2001 and 2002

"It's like every sport, you make your own luck, but obviously the Grand National is a little bit more difficult than most races because it only comes around once a year and you need luck in it," said the Irish rider.

"I've felt in the past that horses like Blowing Wind didn't have the rub of the green, if it had a bit more luck it could have come his way and Clan Royal was the same.

"But that is the Grand National, that is what it is all about and that's what makes it the race that it is."

And having waited over 12 years to reach the winning post in first place, McCoy believes he still has time to clinch that elusive victory.

"You could be riding a long time to try and win the Grand National but hopefully I have a few years left in me yet to have a go at it," he addedr.

"I've had 12 goes at it already and it hasn't happened yet and the chances are it might not happen in another 12 goes but hopefully it will happen pretty soon.

"From a jockey's point of view it is a special day and is probably the most watched horse race in the world, let alone the most famous, so it definitely gets your adrenalin going."


Inside Sport: At home with Tony McCoy

see also
The Aintree expert
01 Apr 08 |  Horse Racing
Grand National on the BBC
14 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Inside Sport: At home with Tony McCoy
01 Apr 08 |  Horse Racing
McCoy opts to ride Butler's Cabin
30 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Cloudy Lane retains National bid
31 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
McCoy passed fit for Cheltenham
07 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Ice treatment boosts McCoy recovery
06 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
McCoy's Cabin wins Irish National
09 Apr 07 |  Horse Racing

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