McCoy’s Grand National choice looks ‘a toss-up’, says Berry

Tony McCoy’s ride in the Crabbie’s Grand National appears to be down to a potential two after the weights were announced for what looks an incredibly open renewal on April 5.

McCoy’s boss JP McManus owns 11 of the possible runners as the combination bid to repeat the Aintree success of Don’t Push It in 2010, and the owner’s racing manager Frank Berry said: “They are all well at the moment and let’s hope they get there in one piece.

“I fancied Colbert Station (11st) when AP rode him last year on decent ground but he forgot to take off at The Chair.

“I’d say (what McCoy rides) will be a toss-up between Colbert Station and Double Seven (10st 11lb), who has won his last five.

“Carlingford Lough (10st 13lb) is entered but I’d say it will be a year too soon for him and he’ll be in one of the novices at Cheltenham.”

Colbert Station is trained by former Grand National-winning trainer Ted Walsh along with 2012 third Seabass (11st 2lb), while Double Seven is also trainer by another former Aintree conqueror in Martin Brassil.

Willie Mullins has eight possibles, headed by Boston Bob and On His Own, who have both been given 11st 3lb. Prince De Beauchene (10st 10lb), Vesper Bell (10st 5lb), Away We Go (10st 4lb), Quel Esprit (10st), Up The Beat (10st) and Rockyaboya (9st 11lb) comprise his team at this stage.

Last year’s Scottish National hero Godsmejudge has a mark of 10st 11lb, while Mossey Joe, now trained by Enda Bolger following his sale to owner Barry Connell, has 11st 1lb.

Bolger said: “I think he looks highly rated for a hunter chaser, but all his best form seems to be in the latter half of the season. We intend to give him a run in a point-to-point on Sunday week. He’s settled in fine.”

The handler also has Quantitativeeasing (10st 9lb) and Quiscover Fontaine (9st 10lb) engaged.

Bolger said: “That’s a nice weight for Quiscover Fontaine. He’ll probably go for the cross-country race at Cheltenham first.”

The National is about the only event missing from champion trainer Nicky Henderson’s CV and former Gold Cup winner Long Run was given 11st 9lb, which is just 1lb behind the top-weight Tidal Bay.

He has the Hennessy hero Triolo D’Alene on 11st 6lb, which is 1lb lower than his fascinating new recruit Hunt Ball.

Tidal Bay is one of seven entries for Paul Nicholls and he expects the former Lexus winner, who was second in last weekend’s Irish Hennessy to be more than competitive.

The 13-year-old missed his chance in 2013 due to a setback.

“It must be his OAP allowance,” Nicholls said of Tidal Bay’s 11st 10lb.

“He must have a chance as he’s 2lb lower than his mark for finishing third in the Welsh National.

“I decided to take him out of the Gold Cup as you’d have to train him for the Gold Cup and I’d rather keep him fresh for Aintree.

“Rocky Creek (11st 5lb) would be 50-50 to run, I think he might just go for the Gold Cup instead.

“Hawkes Point (10st 6lb) is in on Saturday and we’ll see how he gets on, while Sire Collonges (10st 8lb) will go for the cross country race at Cheltenham. ”


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