A P McCoy realised one of his big racing ambitions when Dont Push it won the 2010 Grand National for trainer Jonjo O'Neill and owner JP McManus. He will be hoping those same connections can enjoy more big race success with his intended 2015 mount - and final Grand National ride - Shutthefrontdoor.
About A P McCoy
Born Moneyglass, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland on May 4, 1974
Background: 19-time champion A P (Tony) McCoy is the the most prolific jump jockey of of all time. He is the son of Peadar McCoy, who bred the 1993 County Hurdle victor Thumbs Up. McCoy started out with Billy Rock, riding out from the age of 12, before trying his luck as a Flat jockey with Jim Bolger and rode his first winner on Legal Steps at Thurles on March 26, 1992.
Since growing too heavy and turning to Jump racing, he has not looked back. He partnered his first British winner, Chickabiddy, at Exeter on September 7, 1994 and was champion conditional rider in Britain in 1994/5 with a then record 74 winners when attached to Toby Balding's Hampshire yard. He took his first senior title the following season with 174 wins.
He linked up with trainer Martin Pipe in 1997. McCoy broke Peter Scudamore's record of 221 wins in the 1997/8 season with 253 successes and broke his own record for the fastest 200 winners in the 1999/2000 season, ending up with 245 successes. His 1,000th Jumping win came on Majadou at Cheltenham on December 11, 1999. In 2001/02 he beat by 20 the record of 269 winners in any season set by Flat jockey Sir Gordon Richards. He became the most successful Jump jockey of all time when passing Richard Dunwoody's tally of 1,699 winners in August, 2002. His 2,000th Jumping win came on Corporate Player at Wincanton on January 17, 2004.
In April, 2004, he left Martin Pipe's stable after accepting a reportedly huge retainer from J P McManus and rides a lot for the owner's principal trainer in Britain, Jonjo O'Neill. His 3,000th Jumping win came on Restless D'Artaix at Plumpton on February 9, 2009. He scored a long-awaited victory in the Grand National aboard Don't Push It in 2010, his 15th ride in the famous Aintree race. The landmark win helped towards him being crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year that December. On November 7, 2013, he achieved an amazing 4,000th career success on Mountain Tunes at Towcester. His domination has brought 19 consecutive Jump jockeys' titles and he is about to gain his 20th title.
He has had a total of 31 Cheltenham Festival successes (the third-highest total ever), including the Gold Cup on Mr Mulligan (1997) and Synchronised (2012) and the 1997, 2006 and 2010 Champion Hurdles with Make A Stand, Brave Inca and Binocular. He equalled and passed former trainer Martin Pipe's win total of 4,191 in July, 2014. McCoy tried to ride 300 winners this season. He broke his own records for the fastest 50 and 100 winners but then injury intervened.
On February 7, after partnering his 200th winner of the season at Newbury, McCoy shocked racing by saying he would be retiring towards or at the end of the current season. He will break another record if participating as expected in the 2015 Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree on April 11. Last year he equalled the record for the most rides in the race - 19, matching Tom Olliver, who was successful three times (1842, 1843 & 1853). His wife Chanelle gave birth to their daughter Eve late in 2007 and their son Archie in 2013. McCoy was made an MBE in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours List and his achievements were recognised with a reception at Stormont, the seat of government in Northern Ireland, in August, 2009. In the 2010 Birthday Honours List he was made an OBE.
A P McCoy Crabbie's Grand National Record
1995 Chatam (Fell 12th), 1996 Deep Bramble (PU 29th); 1998 Challenger Du Luc (Fell 1st); 1999 Eudipe (Fell 22nd); 2000 Dark Stranger (UR 3rd); 2001 Blowing Wind (3rd), 2002 Blowing Wind (3rd), 2003 Iris Bleu (PU 16th); 2004 Jurancon II (Fell 4th); 2005 Clan Royal (CO 22nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd); 2007 L'Ami (10th); 2008 Butler's Cabin (Fell 22nd); 2009 Butler's Cabin (7th): 2010 DON'T PUSH IT (WON); 2011 Don't Push It (3rd); 2012 Synchronised (Fell 6th); 2013 Colbert Station (UR 15th); 2014 Double Seven (3rd)
Shutthefrontdoor (IRE) Factfile
Breeding: b/br g Accordion - Hurricane Girl (IRE) (Strong Gale)
Breeder: Deirdre Connolly
Born: April 28, 2007
Owner: J P McManus
Trainer: Jonjo O'Neill
Probable Jockey: A P McCoy
*Ante-post favourite and likely mount of A P McCoy, who is about to gain his 20th jockeys' championship & retire.
*Emerged as a potential Aintree contender when staying on well to land the Irish Grand National by three quarters of a length at Fairyhouse in April last year.
*Has been saved for the Crabbie's Grand National since beating Vintage Star by eight lengths in an extended three-mile graduation chase at Carlisle in November.
*Owner, trainer and jockey combined to win the Grand National with Don't Push It in 2010.
Barry Geraghty rode Shutthefrontdoor to win the 2014 Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
Shuthefrontdoor Trainer Quotes
O'Neill said: "Shutthefrontdoor is in great form. I could not be happier with him. I would have liked to have got a run into him (before the Grand National) but he had an abscess on his sinus in January/February time which took a while to find out where it was.
"We did think about giving him at run at Cheltenham (at the Festival in March) but decided not to. I think he is a better horse on a flat track and secondly I did not want to give him a hard race at a time when he wasn't as well as he is now. He is schooling well and is spot on.
"He is a clean-winded horse, who is not hard to get ready. He was ready to run and win first time out at Carlisle. He is going to Aintree fresh and well. It is all down to A P now if he is going ride him.
"You need to have a good classy horse for the National. Before, you needed a good jumper and a lot of luck, now it is a proper race. Aintree has done a great job with the track and the fences are first class.
"He likes to be up there and hopefully in the first half of the runners - that at least is my plan. If he got luck in running over the first mile, I would ride him myself.
"I don't bet so it does not make any difference to me what price he is - I am just training the horse as though he was going for a little race at Stratford or whatever!
"Hopefully, A P is going to ride Shutthefrontdoor and the public will want to back him, looking for a fairytale story. We would all love that to happen, but it is a tall order.
"The only pressure (on me) is that Shutthefrontdoor gets there safe and sound. He is in the best form I can possibly get him. I would be more nervous if we had hiccups now but we had them in January and February. If he doesn't win, we can blame whoever rides him!
"I'd love good ground at Aintree - he is a well-balanced horse and a great mover. He does not want it too soft. Perfect jumping ground is ideal. They make a good job of the ground at Aintree - we just don't want the heavens to open. He is as good as any horse in the National.
"We are going there full of confidence, but you have got to be realistic - it is the National."
About Trainer Jonjo O'Neill
Jackdaws Castle, Temple Guiting, Gloucestershire
Synopsis - Jonjo O'Neill has established himself as one of the top Jump trainers and enjoyed his best season in 2013/14, with 134 British Jump winners and over £1.5 million in prize money. He is set to top 100 winners again this season and has ante-post favourite Shutthefrontdoor, the likely final Crabbie's Grand National ride for legendary A P McCoy, in Aintree's £1-million showpiece on Saturday, April 11.
The trainer's biggest success came when he sent out the 2010 Grand National winner Don't Push It, owned by J P McManus and ridden by A P McCoy. It was a first Grand National success for all of them. He has also saddled the runner-up twice, with Clan Royal (2004) and Sunnyhillboy (2012), plus two thirds.
However, as a jockey, he endured terrible luck in the Grand National and failed to complete the course on each of his eight rides. He retired from the saddle at the end of the 1985/86 season, having been champion Jump jockey twice.
O'Neill survived a battle with lymphatic cancer not long after that. He started training near Penrith, Cumbria, in 1987 and moved to his present base at Jackdaws Castle in Gloucestershire, near Cheltenham, when the yard was bought by J P McManus in 2001. There has been considerable investment in facilities since and a growing ambition.
He has been leading training at Aintree's Crabbie's Grand National Festival four times, with three wins over the three days in 2010, the same number in 2007, four in 2003 and four again in 2002. He has also sent out 25 winners at the Cheltenham Festival and trained two Royal Ascot winners on the Flat.
Born - April 13, 1952.
Background - Champion Jump jockey twice (1977/78 and 1979/80) and set a then-record for winners in a season (149) in his first championship year. The most sensational moment of his riding career came when he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Dawn Run in 1986 as the mare became the only horse to win that trophy after having previously captured the Champion Hurdle (1984), again with O'Neill in the saddle. He also won the Gold Cup on Alverton (1979) and the Champion Hurdle on Sea Pigeon (1980). He enjoyed nine Cheltenham Festival successes and partnered 901 winners in all.
First winner as a trainer - Shelbourne, Ayr, January 30, 1987
Jonjo O'Neill Crabbie's Grand National record:
2003 Carbury Cross (7th); 2004 Clan Royal (2nd), Joss Naylor (PU 19th); 2005 Simply Gifted (3rd), Shamawan (21st), Native Emperor (UR 9th), Clan Royal (CO 22nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd), Risk Accessor (5th); 2007 Clan Royal (11th); 2008 Bob Hall (PU 19th), Butler's Cabin (Fell 22nd); 2009 Butler's Cabin (7th), Reveillez (BD 3rd), Can't Buy Time (Fell 18th); 2010 DON'T PUSH IT (WON), Can't Buy Time (Fell 8th); 2011 Don't Push It (3rd), Quolibet (UR 11th), Can't Buy Time (Fell 18th); 2012 Sunnyhillboy (2nd), Synchronised (Fell 6th) Arbor Supreme (UR 10th); 2013 Lost Glory (PU 17th), Sunnyhillboy (UR 30th); 2014 Twirling Magnet (Fell 1st), Burton Port (UR 2nd)
Other major wins at the Crabbie's Grand National Festival:
Aintree Melling Chase: 2010 Albertas Run; Crabbies Topham Chase: 2003 Clan Royal
Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle: 2003 Iris's Gift, 2006 Black Jack Ketchum
Weatherbys Private Banking Champion Standard Open NHF Race: 2003 Classic Native
Silver Cross Stayers' Hurdle: 2004 Iris's Gift
Other big-race wins as a trainer include: Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (2012 Synchronised), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2003 Spectroscope), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (2004 Iris's Gift, 2014 More Of That), RSA Chase (2008 Albertas Run), Ryanair Chase (2010 & 2011 Albertas Run), JLT Novices' Chase (2014 Taquin Du Seuil),Christmas Hurdle (2002 & 2003 Intersky Falcon), Fighting Fifth Hurdle (2002 Intersky Falcon), Irish Grand National (2007 Butler's Cabin, 2014 Shutthefrontdoor), Betfred Becher Chase (2003 Clan Royal), December Gold Cup (1999 Legal Right, 2006 Exotic Dancer), Lexus Chase (2008 Exotic Dancer, 2011 Synchronised), Welsh National (2002 Mini Sensation, 2010 Synchronised), Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle (2007 Refinement), Paddy Power Gold Cup (2006 Exotic Dancer, 2013 Johns Spirit)
About Owner J P McManus
J P McManus
Born: March 10, 1951 in Co Limerick, Ireland. Background: John Patrick 'J P' McManus attended the Christian Brothers school on Sexton Street, Limerick. He left his father's plant hire business at the age of 20 to become a racecourse bookmaker, but then took the less well-trodden route of gamekeeper-turned-poacher when becoming a professional punter. McManus recalls one of his first bets as being on Merryman II in the 1960 Grand National when he was just nine, but the bet that changed his life was £4 on Linden Tree in a Newmarket maiden in 1970, the horse winning at 100/8. He had another £4 on when Linden Tree won the Observer Gold Cup at 25/1, and £5 each-way at 33/1 for the Derby, when the horse beat all bar Mill Reef. He was dubbed "the Sundance Kid" by journalist Hugh McIlvanney after landing a number of major gambles during the 1970s. McManus has a host of business interests including dealing on the financial markets from his Geneva, Switzerland, base and part-ownership of the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados, where he also has a house. With John Magnier, he bought a 28.7% stake in Manchester United through the Cubic Expression company before subsequently selling out to US tycoon Malcolm Glazer in 2005. He was in the news shortly after that because of his stake in the pub and restaurant operator Mitchells and Butler. In 2014, the Sunday Times estimated McManus' wealth at £550 million, making him the 12th richest person in Ireland. Racing interests: McManus purchased his first racehorse, Cill Dara, at the age of 26 and is the biggest jump owner in terms of numbers in Britain and Ireland. He owns Jackdaws Castle, the Gloucestershire yard that Jonjo O'Neill trains from, and has invested heavily in improving facilities since purchasing the property in 2001. Mister Donovan provided him with his first Cheltenham Festival success in the 1982 Supreme Novices' Hurdle and McManus has enjoyed 44 winners in total at the meeting. The mighty Istabraq is the most revered horse he has owned following three consecutive victories in the Champion Hurdle (1998, 1999, 2000), while he has also won a Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup with Synchronised (2012) and three Ladbrokes World Hurdles with Baracouda (2002 & 2003) and More Of That (2014). A full 28 years after his first runner in the race, McManus finally achieved a long-held ambition when Don't Push It, trained by Jonjo O'Neill and ridden by A P McCoy, won the 2010 Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree. He has been British champion owner for the 2005/6, 2006/7, 2008/9, 2009/10, 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons & has retained A P McCoy as his main jockey since April, 2004. Other interests: McManus does a lot of work for charity and his Pro-Am golf tournament, which takes place every five years, has raised over 100 million euros. McManus is also a keen backgammon player and a big hurling fan.
JP McManus Crabbie's Grand National Record:
1982 Deep Gale (Fell 1st), 1988 Bucko (PU 27th), 1992 Laura's Beau (3rd), 1994 Laura's Beau (Fell 6th), 1996 Wylde Hide (UR 24th), 1997 Wylde Hide (UR 22nd); 1998 Gimme Five (5th), 2002 Spot Thedifference (UR 27th); 2003 Youlneverwalkalone (PU 13th); 2004 Clan Royal (2nd), Spot Thedifference (5th), Risk Accessor (UR 6th), Le Coudray (Fell 22nd); 2005 Innox (7th), Spot Thedifference (18th), Shamawan (21st), Clan Royal (CO 22nd), Le Coudray (PU 21st), Risk Accessor (UR 2nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd), Risk Accessor (5th), Innox (Fell 1st), First Gold (UR 23rd); 2007 L'Ami (10th), Clan Royal (11th); 2008 King Johns Castle (2nd), L'Ami (Fell 2nd), Bob Hall (PU 19th), Butler's Cabin (Fell 22nd); 2009 Butler's Cabin (7th), Reveillez (BD 3rd), Can't Buy Time (Fell 18th), L'Ami (PU 30th); 2010 DON'T PUSH IT (WON), Can't Buy Time (Fell 8th), Arbor Supreme (UR 15th), King Johns Castle (refused to race); 2011 Don't Push It (3rd), Blue Sea Cracker (14th), Quolibet (UR 11th), Can't Buy Time (Fell 18th), Arbor Supreme (Fell 28th); 2012 Sunnyhillboy (2nd), Synchronised (Fell 6th), Arbor Supreme (UR 10th), Quiscover Fontaine (Fell 17th); 2013 Quiscover Fontaine (16th), Colbert Station (UR 15th), Lost Glory (PU 17th), Sunnyhillboy (UR last); 2014 Double Seven (3rd), Colbert Station (PU 25th)