The soon-to-retire champion has chosen the Paul Webber-trained 10-year-old over McManus’ two other entries in the big handicap chase, top weight If In Doubt, trained by Philip Hobbs, and Tom Mullins’ Alderwood.
Cantlow finished eighth last year under Andrew McNamara as McManus lifted the prize with the Barry Geraghty-partnered Shutthefrontdoor. McCoy will be hoping he can be triumphant on the famous green and gold colours and win the race for a second time, having been successful on Butler’s Cabin in 2007.
Gallant Oscar was not among the final field. Though he had been ante-post favourite before being usurped by Cantlow, connections of the Tony Martin-trained 10-year-old are instead hoping he makes the cut for the Crabbie’s Grand National on Saturday week. Gallant Oscar also holds an entry in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr a week later.
Robert Tyner’s Embracing Change, winner of his last four races, was another high-profile absentee.
However, there is a very strong line-up, with Willie Mullins saddling Perfect Gentleman and Dogora as he bids to get on the roll of honour for the first time.
Jim Dreaper is double-handed with Los Amigos and Sizing Coal, with Grand Jesture, Pass The Hat, Vics Canvas and Lots Of Memories amongst the other interesting contenders.
Dan Skelton’s Toby Lerone is first reserve, while the Noel Meade-trained pair of Bose Ikard and Ipsos Du Berlais take up the other two stand-by places.
Speculation over when Joseph O’Brien would return to ride on the Flat has ended after the jockey was declared for two mounts at Cork today.
O’Brien created a relative media frenzy last weekend by riding over hurdles at Limerick, instead of being in action on the first day of the new season at the Curragh.
However, O’Brien’s will now be on the action on the level at Cork, with the rider due to partner East India at 9st 6lb in the www.corkracecourse Rated Stakes and Hans Holbein at 9st 5lb in the Blackwater Maiden.