DON’T PUSH IT (IRE) The 10/1 joint-favourite won the 2010 Grand National at Aintree.
b g Old Vic – She´s No Laugh Ben (USA) (Alleged (USA)); 10-11-05; Form: 3/11/1211F5/1F0/P82271-423P1
Owner: J P McManus; Breeder: Dominick Vallely; Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey: Tony McCoy
Don’t Push It began his career in the 2004/05 season, finishing a promising third in a Warwick bumper, and duly won on his only two starts the following season in a Market Rasen bumper and a Haydock novices’ hurdle.
Sent over fences the following season, he got off the mark at Southwell before finding only the mighty Denman too good in a novices’ chase at Cheltenham in November, 2006. Further wins at Cheltenham and Chepstow followed and he was still in contention when falling two out in the 2007 Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
He took advantage of his lower hurdles ratings when landing the Listed Silver Trophy at Chepstow on his seasonal reappearance in the 2007/08 season, but disappointed on his two subsequent outings that season. Last season started disappointingly, but he progressed to take second behind Big Buck’s in a hurdle race at Cheltenham in January, 2009, and rounded off the campaign with a fine victory in the John Smith’s Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong of the Mildmay course at Aintree on Grand National day.
He has had four outings so far this season. He began the current campaign by taking fourth in the Grade Two Old Roan Chase at Aintree and then stayed on well to take second to Galant Nuit, beaten half a length, in a Grade Three handicap chase at Cheltenham in November. A bad mistake at the last cost him all chance of success in a handicap chase at Warwick in December, while he disappointed on his latest outing when pulling up in the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Race Record: Starts: 23; Wins: 8 ; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £653,390
The Winning Owner: JP McManus
Few people have enjoyed a closer association with jump racing in the last 30 years than John Patrick ’JP’ McManus, who was born in Co Limerick on 10 March, 1951. 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.
Although still one of the highest-staking punters on the racecourse, “The Sundance Kid” (as he was dubbed by journalist Hugh McIlvanney after a number of major gambles in the ring during the 1970s) is also the biggest jump owner in terms of numbers in Britain, Ireland and France.
He has a host of business interests including dealing in financial markets from his Geneva 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. He was recently in the news because of his stake in the pub and restaurant operator Mitchells and Butler. In 2009, the Sunday Times estimated McManus’ wealth at £435 million.
Since Mister Donovan landed the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 1982, he has enjoyed 32 Cheltenham Festival successes, headed by three-time Champion Hurdle hero Istabraq plus Baracouda, who landed the 2002 and 2003 renewals of what is now the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. This year he won a fourth Champion Hurdle with Binocular.
He does a lot of work for charity and his Pro-Am golf tournament, where he plays with Padraig Harrington as his partner, has raised millions of Euros. McManus is also a keen backgammon player and a big hurling fan. He owns Jackdaws Castle, the Gloucestershire yard that Jonjo O’Neill trains from, and has invested heavily in improving facilities.
He was British champion owner for the 2005/6, 2006/7 and 2008/9 seasons and he has become increasingly serious about trying to win the John Smith’s Grand National, having five runners in 2004, six in 2005, four in 2006, two in 2007, four in 2008 and four again last year. Clan Royal went close when second in 2004, was carried out when in the lead at Becher’s second time around in 2005 and was third in 2006, while King Johns Castle filled the runner-up spot in the 2008 contest.
John Smith’s Grand National Record: 1982 Deep Gale (Fell 1st), 1988 Bucko (PU bef 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 bef 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 before 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 bef 19th), Butler’s Cabin (Fell 22nd); 2009 Butler’s Cabin (7th), Reveillez (BD 3rd), Can’t Buy Time (Fell 18th), L’Ami (PU bef 30th); 2009 DON’T PUSH IT (WON) and three others
The Winning Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill
Jonjo O’Neill (born 13 April, 1952) was a highly successful jump jockey and has established himself at the top of the training ranks in recent seasons. In spite of an appalling list of injuries, he was champion jockey on two occasions (1977/78 and 1979/80), and he set a then record for a season of 149 winners 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 taken the Champion Hurdle (1984), also with O’Neill in the saddle. He also won the Gold Cup on Alverton in 1979, though he had a dreadful record in the Grand National, in which he never completed the course in spite of having had a number of fancied rides.
He retired from the saddle at the end of the 1985/86 season and, having survived lymphatic cancer not long after that, started training near Penrith, Cumbria, in 1987. He forged a reputation with horses such as Vicario Di Bray, winner of the 1989 Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock, and Legal Right, who landed the Grade Three Tripleprint (now Boylesports) Gold Cup at Cheltenham in 1999 and went on to capture the BGC Silver Cup at Ascot as well as the Grade Two Tommy Whittle Chase.
He moved to his present base at Jackdaws Castle in Gloucestershire, not far from Cheltenham, when the yard was bought by owner JP McManus in 2001. His victories at the Aintree Festival as a trainer include Quazar in the John Smith’s Anniversary 4YO Novices’ Hurdle in 2002, Clan Royal in the 2003 John Smith’s Topham Chase, Iris’s Gift (2003) and Black Jack Ketchum (2006) in the Citroen C5 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle, Iris’s Gift in the 2004 John Smith’s Liverpool Long Distance Hurdle and Exotic Dancer (2007) in the totesport Bowl.
His 17 Cheltenham Festival victories include five wins in the National Hunt Chase, the JCB Triumph Hurdle with Spectroscope, the 2004 Ladbrokes World Hurdle with Iris’s Gift and the two victories of Albertas Run in both the RSA Chase (2007) and the Ryanair Chase (2009).
John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2003 Carbury Cross (7th); 2004 Clan Royal (2nd), Joss Naylor (PU bef 19th); 2005 Simply Gifted (3rd), Shamawan (21st), Native Emperor (UR 9th), Clan Royal (CO bef 22nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd), Risk Accessor (5th); 2007 Clan Royal (11th); 2008 Bob Hall (PU bef 19th), Butler’s Cabin (Fell 22nd); 2009 Butler’s Cabin (7th), Reveillez (BD 3rd), Can’t Buy Time (Fell 18th); 2009 DON’T PUSH IT (WON) and one other
The Winning Jockey Tony McCoy
Born in Moneyglass, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland on 4 May, 1974, Tony McCoy is the greatest jump jockey of his era and many would argue the greatest 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 26 March, 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 7 September, 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.
His domination has brought 14 consecutive jump jockey’s titles and he is currently well on course for number 15 this season. 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. In 2001/02 he beat by 20 the record of 269 winners in any season set by Flat jockey Sir Gordon Richards. He has passed the double century mark five times and reached the 3,000 winner mark at Plumpton in February, 2009.
He had a fairytale 1997 Cheltenham Festival, recording a rare double on Make A Stand for his then boss Martin Pipe in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle and Mr Mulligan in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup. McCoy added a second Champion Hurdle when successful on Brave Inca in 2006 and a third this season with Binocular. In total, he has partnered 23 winners at The Festival, although he has yet to finish better then third from 14 rides in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree.
In April, 2004, he left Martin Pipe’s stable after accepting a reportedly huge retainer from owner JP McManus and rides for McManus’s principal trainer in Britain, Jonjo O’Neill. McCoy also rides regularly for Nicky Henderson.
McCoy’s wife Chanelle gave birth to their daughter Eve late in 2007. 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.
John Smith’s Grand National Record: 1995 Chatam (Fell 12th), 1996 Deep Bramble (PU bef 2 out); 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 bef 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):2009 DON’T PUSH IT (WON)