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Page last updated at 08:25 GMT, Sunday, 11 April 2010 09:25 UK

Tony McCoy basks in overdue Grand National success


Delighted McCoy thanks trainer O'Neill after National win

By Frank Keogh
BBC Sport at Aintree

Triumphant jockey Tony McCoy said his victory in the Grand National at the 15th attempt was a dream come true.

McCoy has relentlessly broken records in his 14 years as champion jockey, but always wanted to complete his CV by winning the world's most famous race.

The 35-year-old finally did it on Don't Push It, a horse many had discounted.

"I'm the biggest dreamer in the world. I dream every day, and for the past five or six years I've dreamt that I would win the National," said McCoy.

"I got a bit down this year so I decided to enjoy myself."

Don't Push It was heavily backed from 20-1 into joint 10-1 favouritism after Ruby Walsh suffered a suspected broken arm in a fall and missed the ride on long-time market leader Big Fella Thanks.

Barry Geraghty stepped in to replace Walsh and guided him into fourth, with Black Apalachi running a fine race to be runner-up and last year's fourth State of Play going one place better this time.

McCoy's victory on the horse trained in Gloucestershire by Jonjo O'Neill and owned by millionaire gambler JP McManus secured a hat-trick of firsts before a crowd of 70,000 racegoers.

Tony McCoy on Don't Push It

Don't Push It wins the Grand National

O'Neill never completed the daunting course in seven rides as a jockey, and was luckless with 15 previous contenders as a trainer.

McManus, whose horses run in the green and gold of his local Limerick hurling club, has more than 200 horses in training but had never been better than runner-up in the four-and-a-half mile marathon.

"JP is the greatest supporter this game has ever had and it's probably only Jonjo O'Neill and me who know how much every horse, whether at Plumpton on a Monday or at Cheltenham, means to him," said McCoy.

McCoy has won the King George VI Chase, Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup in a career that has rewritten racing's record books.

He is driven by riding winners, and shows a steely determination to reach new levels of dominance.

But the modest rider knew that his CV would forever have a gaping hole if he did not claim the one race which captures the world's imagination.

Honest Frank

"I've won a few other races that nobody knows but everyone on the street knows the Grand National," he said.

"It's the people's race and from a jockey's perspective, that's why it's important. At least I can think that I've sort of done alright as a jockey."

The O'Neill stable had expertly prepared the temperamental Don't Push It for the race which had previously been so unkind to them.

"I had four horses to choose from but ruled two of them out a couple of weeks ago and Jonjo more or less put me on the right horse," said the jockey.

"He ran well at Cheltenham in November under top weight and that had always been at the back of my mind. He has always had ability but is mentally unstable so the two of us get on well together."

McCoy on his way to victory

Grand National - closing stages (UK users only)

O'Neill paid credit to Alan Berry, another jockey at his impressive Jackdaws Castle training operation, who works with Don't Push It every day.

"I am lost for words. It is fantastic and I thought that it would never happen to me," said the trainer who celebrates his 58th birthday on Tuesday.

"I am delighted that it has happened and I am delighted for AP, for JP, and all of the lads. It is brilliant.

"Alan does everything with the horse. The horse lives out in a field, with half a dozen sheep. I don't even go near him, so it's all down to him."

Frank Berry, racing manager for McManus found the horse and bought him as a foal.

"Full marks to Jonjo and all of the team at Jackdaws - Don't Push It has been a difficult horse over the years to keep him right and keep his mind right," said the 59-year-old former bookmaker McManus.

Trainer Henrietta Knight, who has teamed up with McCoy for several big-race successes, said: "It was an absolutely brilliant result.

"It was thoroughly deserved and sealed the perfect career for such a great jockey. It put the icing on the cake.

"I have never seen him so emotional when he finished a race [apart from] when he won the Champion Hurdle this year. Both races really moved him. It was fantastic."

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see also
The Unreal McCoy
10 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
McCoy ends wait for National win
11 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
Where they finished at Aintree
10 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
Grand National as it happened
10 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
Grand National photos
10 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
Walsh out of National after heavy fall
10 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
McCoy rides Albertas Run to glory
09 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
McCoy picks Grand National ride
08 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
McCoy earns landmark 3,000th win
09 Feb 09 |  Horse Racing
McCoy's Grand National dream
09 Feb 09 |  Horse Racing
McCoy's career - in his own words
09 Feb 09 |  Horse Racing
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing

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