Monbeg Dude banking on cool dude Tony McCoy in Trial

Racing royalty mixes with the real thing today as Tony McCoy rides Monbeg Dude for the first time in Haydock’s Betfred Grand National Trial. 

Monbeg Dude banking on cool dude Tony McCoy in Trial

Since announcing his retirement after winning the Game Spirit on Mr Mole last weekend, McCoy has been firmly in the winners.

He even rode to victory four times in four different countries in successive days earlier in the week, and it looks inevitable that he will leave the professional ranks having only ever been champion jockey.

Now he has the task of steering the popular Monbeg Dude, part-owned by Mike Tindall, husband of the Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Zara Phillips, back into the winner’s enclosure.

Trainer Michael Scudamore has one eye on Aintree and a return for the Grand National itself, in which he was seventh last year, and having been fourth in the Hennessy and Welsh National under a big weight on his last two runs, he remains in very good form.

“If he comes out of Haydock well then I think we will have a look at one of the handicap races at Cheltenham, but I will speak to the owners about that,” said Scudamore.

“Saturday is a big race and he will go there to do his best, but Aintree Is the main aim at the moment.

“I would have said, looking at his form, that you could argue that he is better at a Cheltenham or a Chepstow, the more undulating and testing tracks, as they probably play to his strengths more than flat tracks.

The Philip Hobbs-trained Gas Line Boy has already won over course and distance this season but the handicapper hit him with a 15lb rise and he was subsequently pulled up in the Welsh National.

Dropped 5lb for that, jockey Richard Johnson still thinks he may be too high in the weights.

“He won up there before Christmas and bolted up in a real stayers’ race,” he said.

“The handicapper was pretty harsh on him putting him up 15lb. He has come down 5lb from that now, but it’s still a big ask.”

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox