Huge congratulations go to Tony McCoy, winning jockey in the John Smith’s Grand National 2010.
McCoy, the 14-time champion jump jockey and breaker of all records, shed tears as he won the £925,00 John Smith’s Grand National at his 15th attempt.
“I am being a big wuss but it is everything to win the John Smith’s Grand National. I have won lots of big races and I am supposed to be a good jockey but to not win the Grand National is bit of a negative on the CV.
“I am delighted. When I started off riding for Billy Rock – he really believed in me. I am delighted for my mum and dad – they have been great to me – and obviously my wife Chanelle and Eve (his young daughter) – she will be proud of me now hopefully when she grows up.
“My mum and dad aren’t here but I am sure that they will be watching at home. It’s great for them. My trainer put me on the right horse – he swayed me very much and didn’t argue with me. I asked him to toss a coin and I think he tossed it a few times until he got Don’t Push It. Jonjo is an amazing trainer – he was very adamant – and I didn’t argue with him.
“I think that you get enough goes at something and you keep going – you are always punching – you have always got a chance of winning. I am delighted for this man (JP McManus) because he the best supporter that this game has had or ever will have. I am very, very privileged – I mean I rode a Grand National winner in these colours.”
Jonjo O’Neill, the winning trainer, said: “I am lost for words! It is fantastic and I thought that it would never happen to me. I am delighted that it has happened and I am delighted for AP, for JP, and all of the lads. It is brilliant.
“Alan Berry does everything with this horse. The horse lives out in a field, with half a dozen Jacobs sheep, and Alan does everything with him. I don’t even go near him, so it’s all down to him.
“I didn’t really believe we would win until we passed the post. I didn’t think that it would never happen but, anyway, it did happen so it is marvellous.”
JP McManus, the winning owner, said: “Firstly, I want to thank Frank Berry because he found the horse and bought him as a foal and I don’t think we would have the horse without him. So that was a great start and full marks to Jonjo and all of the team at Jackdaws – Don’t Push It has been a difficult horse over the years to keep him right and keep his mind right.
“He gets very hot and very warm so I think it was a great effort on behalf of Jonjo and all of his team.”
After 14 failed attempts at the John Smith’s Grand National and the same number of jockeys’ championships, the most-successful jump rider of all time Tony McCoy finally landed his sport’s most-famous prize.
McCoy was confident from a mile into this year’s race aboard Don’t Push It that he would be successful and he eventually came home five lengths clear of Black Apalachi.
“The only good thing going into the race was that (owner) JP (McManus) had had more failed attempts than me!” joked McCoy.
“It was the perfect race and he jumped well all the way.
“He ran well in November at Cheltenham under top weight and that had always been at the back of my mind. He has always had ability but is mentally unstable so the two of us get on well together!
“I’m the biggest dreamer in the world, I dream every day, and for the past five or six years I’ve dreamt that I’d win the National. I got a bit down so this year I decided to enjoy myself.
“I hadn’t gone more than a mile and I wouldn’t have swapped my position for anything, and I don’t just mean horses. He had just totally taken to it. He’s sometimes been too intelligent but today he totally used his brain the right way. He made a couple of mistakes but that was my fault as much as the horse and who cares.
“I’ve won a few other races that nobody knows but everyone on the street knows the Grand National, it’s the people’s race and from a jockey’s perspective that’s why it’s important. At least that I can think that I’ve sort of done alright as a jockey now.
“My daughter (Eve) is more into Ruby Walsh than me. I thought at Christmas that it was because he looked like Santa but she still talks a lot about Ruby. But hopefully this win should give her something to be proud about in years to come.
“JP is the greatest supporter this game will ever had and it’s probably only Jonjo and me who know how much every horse, whether at Plumpton on a Monday or at Cheltenham, means to him. There have been plenty of horses that I’ve suggested we should move on but he said to keep them and he’s often been right. “
Chanelle McCoy, Tony’s wife, said: “I am just practically speechless. For him to do this means the absolute world for him. I know that he would love his mother and father to be here – Claire and Paeder – who are the most amazing parents. Our little daughter Eve is at home cheering. It has been an emotional day and, for a man that doesn’t get too emotional, this is a hugely emotional end.
“Thanks also to Mr and Mrs McManus to have make this possible for Anthony, and for Jonjo and Jackie. I think that it is a lovely team effort and a massive achievement.”
The high regard in which AP McCoy is held by his weighing-room colleagues was evident in the immediate aftermath of the John Smith’s Grand National when Denis O’Regan, beaten five lengths on Black Apalachi by McCoy and Don’t Push It, was swift to pay tribute to the winning rider, who had been out of luck in 14 previous starts in the race.
O’Regan said: “I’m so delighted for AP McCoy, he’s been years in the game. If anybody had to beat me I’m just glad it was him.
“He beat me fair and square on the best horse on the day. Fair play to him because he has achieved so much.”
Barry Geraghty, rider of the fourth Big Fella Thanks, added: ““I had a great ride and he jumped brilliantly, but I’m so pleased for AP.
“I knew that I was not sitting on the winner to the second last and AP was sitting on plenty of horse. It was a good result for him and JP – they deserve it.
“if you can’t have the winner, then it’s good to see AP win it.”
JP McManus said later: “It’s great to have a runner and it’s even better when you win. I suppose as a child the one race you know about is the Grand National and it means such a lot. My mum, my dad, we all loved the National and we were encouraged to have a bet. It’s a wonderful day for everyone – for Jonjo (O’Neill) for Alan Berry, who looks after Don’t Push It, and for all the staff.
“When he ran last November in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, AP (McCoy) said he could just be a National horse and I’m very glad he picked him today. It’s just a very, very special day for us all.
“AP really deserved to win this race and I’m just so glad it was on one of mine.”
The Professional Jockeys Association paid its own tribute to champion jump jockey Tony McCoy on his achievement in winning the Grand National for the first time.
Chief Executive Kevin Darley said: “AP has re-written the record books during his career in the saddle, but a singular omission in his own mind was a victory in the Grand National.
“No one watching the aftermath of the race could have failed to have been moved by how much the win meant to AP. It wasn’t just those who had backed Don’t Push It who were happy with the result, everyone recognised the sense of personal achievement for one of racing’s greatest ever jockeys.”
AP McCoy, who is a director and joint president of the PJA, will be named champion jump jockey for the 15th time later this month.
Kevin Darley added: “AP is a wonderful ambassador for our sport, and we are lucky to have him. Hopefully, we can now look forward to him making the shortlist for the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year – then the whole nation would get a chance to show their appreciation of his talents and achievements as a sportsman.”
On behalf of all your colleagues and the PJA team: “Well done Champ.”
Allison is the Publisher of Eclipse Magazine. She loves going to the Races and is learning to bet (despite being officially the worst bettor in the History of the Universe), there’s a lot more to learn…