National dilemma for McCoy

TONY McCOY admits he faces a difficult decision whether to stick with Don’t Push It as his ride in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree in April.

The Jonjo O’Neill-trained gelding, owned by JP McManus, ended the McCoy’s long wait when giving him National glory at the 15th attempt in 2010.

McCoy points out it is incredibly tough for horses to win the world’s greatest steeplechase two years running.

Don’t Push It has been burdened with joint-top weight of 11st 10lb – 5lb more than he carried last year – when the weights were announced yesterday.

If McCoy believes any other of his possible mounts, including Can’t Buy Time and Synchronised, look to have a better chance, then he would desert the horse that gave him his most memorable day in racing.

“I don’t know at the moment. I will always be indebted to Don’t Push It for giving me the greatest day of my racing life,” said McCoy.

“But I’m a statistics person, and no horse has won back-to-back Grand Nationals since Red Rum. It’s very hard for a horse to win any Grand National.

“In recent years I thought Hedgehunter and Comply Or Die were really good Grand National winners who could win again.

“They did come back and run well again but it takes an enormous amount out of a horse.

“Hopefully he’s been saving a bit of himself.”

Comply Or Die, the winner in 2008, is one of six possibles from the David Pipe stable, with the Nicholashayne trainer particularly struck on French import Or Noir De Somoza.

“He is a really interesting one. He was a top-class horse in France,” said Pipe. “We had him for a short spell once before – he ran over two miles behind Master Minded, but he’s a stayer.

“Comply Or Die has completed three times, won and finished second. He has a nice weight (10st 8lb) this year.

“He is 12, but there have been plenty of winners between nine and 12 and I was very pleased with his run at Warwick the other day.”

Hedgehunter landed the booty for Willie Mullins in 2005 and the Co Carlow maestro expects to be mob-handed.

“My son Patrick will be riding Dooneys Gate and 11st 4lb gives him a chance. I’m hoping everything goes right and he can get there,” he said.

“I was happy enough with The Midnight Club’s weight (10st 13lb), and hopefully the top one stays in.

“Ballytrim eventually gets in this year and I’m happy enough with his weight.

“Apt Approach probably won’t run, and Quiscover Fontaine was going to go for the Irish National.

“Arbor Supreme was going really well when he was unseated last year and I’m happy enough with him. So we at least have a few that can run.”

Donald McCain had “no complaints” after ante-post favourite Ballabriggs was allotted 11st.

Ballabriggs won at the Cheltenham Festival last March and has landed two novice hurdles easily enough so far this season, giving McCain plenty of hope he is great form.

“I’ve no complaints with that for Ballabriggs. He’s a Cheltenham Festival winner so it was always going to be around the 11st mark,” said the Malpas trainer.

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