Tag Archives: McCoy

Thanks AP!

It’s all out and over – Anthony McCoy has officially retired from race riding. His long career has come to an end at Sandown Park today. He finished in third place in his last ever race on appropriately named Box Office. When he jumped off, a visible emotional Anthony McCoy was no longer an active jockey.

Much has been said over the course of the recent days, weeks and months since AP announced his retirement towards the end of the season. That says there isn’t much that I could add to it that hasn’t been said before already. But one last thing:

Enjoy your retirement Anthony. You’re a legend. I hope you’re in a good place and you’ll find plenty of things that keep you happy and occupied after a long life of race riding. It ain’t be easy. But you champ, you can do it. #Thanks AP!

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Preview – Aintree Grand Opening Day 2015

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Day one of the Aintree Grand National Festival. A brilliant card of top class jump racing is awaiting us – four Grade 1 races – that is simply sensational! The Aintree Hurdle in particular shapes as a cracker with the likes of Jezki, Arctic Fire and Rock On Ruby tackling the 2m 4f trip. Probably not a race to bet on, but to simply sit back and enjoy. Betting wise I’ve two selections for the day:

1.40 One Magnificent City Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)

The first four in the betting have all been beaten by the same horse at Cheltenham… in fact they have been demolished. A sigh of relive for connections – there’s no Un De Sceaux here today! Josses Hill was the one who fared best last month, he finished a creditable third. He got a very good ride that day but was clearly ridden for a place. Things are different today and for that simple reason he looks short enough in the betting. He may not be able to ride his own race in a way he could do it the last time.

Vibrato Valtat may get closer this time with a different ride. He remains with potential, while Clarcam needs to show big improvement to be competitive. You could pick holes in each of the three better fancied runners here and I feel this might be one for an upset.

If there is a horse that looks potentially capable of causing an upset then it is Cash And Go. He’s been a decent hurdler, finished 3rd in a Grade 3 here at Aintree last season. He improved gradually this season over fences. Unseated his rider on his Chase debut, battled and won well the next time and demolished a small field in a minor race most recently.

He is still learning his game over the bigger obstacles and needs to improve his jumping if he wants to be competitive here. But he is a nice prospect, with more improvement to come and he may well be up to this class. I like to select him as a big price against the better fancied market leaders.

Cash And Go @ 20/1 Bet365 – 5pts win

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3.25 Aintree: Betfred Bowl Chase (Grade 1)

It’ll be interesting to see how much the big guns have still left in the tank after a tough season and Cheltenham in particular. That says I’m surprised how the betting shapes for this race. Holywell looks an exciting prospect, no doubt, and he wasn’t disgraced in the Gold Cup at all. But I feel he is a wrong favourite. And improving sort with loads of potential – yes. But he hasn’t done yet what a Silviniaco Conti has done.

Conti was certainly disappointing at Cheltenham. However this was his only poor performance this season, ignoring his seasonal reappearance. Cheltenham doesn’t suit Conti, but Aintree does. He won this very same race last year, and the fact that he was such an impressive winner of the King George, should give him every right to be the favourite for this race.

The mare Ma Filleule is a consistent individual, always well fancied in the big races with her sex allowance, but she hasn’t been able to get her head in front in her last three races, where she had every chance to do so. She looks just a tick below the very best horses in this field. Don’t underestimate Menorah. On his day he could always spring a surprise. He’s kept fresh and has conditions to suit. But on most occasions he has been beaten by Conti in the past, and that should be the fate here again today.

Silviniaco Conti at 3/1 is a full point too big in my mind. It remains to be seen what damage the Gold Cup has done to him. But he bounced back last year to win this race, so I don’t see a reason why the same shouldn’t happen today again. He’s the class act in the field and I expect a big run with conditions sure to suit.

Silviniaco Conti @ 3/1 Bet365 – 10pts win

Preview – Irish Grand National

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Naturally this is a race where you could pick five horses and still may not pick the right one to win. It is that competitive! The conditions at Fairyhouse will ensure that this is a real test of stamina today, not only because of the long 3m 5f trip, but also very much because of the soft ground.

That says spring is in the air nonetheless, and we should have a cracking race in prospect under the pleasant April sun. I could say allot about each and every runner, but will concentrate on the horses that intrigued me most – I had 11 runners short-listed, and cut it down to three horses to follow today.

Thunder And Roses; Katie Walsh – 25/1 

The seven year old gelding had a fair first season over fences. A mud loving hurdler as high as 135 rated, he was always going to be a better chaser potentially and currently rated 136, he could still have a bit improvement left. He was disappointing at Cheltenham where he fell, was a modest third in Grade 2 company before, but won a 3 mile contest at Fairyhouse in impressive style back in January. Now on his Handicap debut, he looks not out off it with a fair opening mark, and this test today and could be what he really wants.

Dogora; Paul Townend – 33/1 

He is only a six year old and is one I’m sure hasn’t shown us all he has got yet. His performance in the Cross-Country Chase at Cheltenham was really good I felt, even though he got a bit tired up the hill. But he was one of the horses affected by the fallers at the second last but he kept going and was by no means disgraced in 4th. It looks like this kind of test is what he wants, so the big field and trip should suit him. He has done well on soft ground in the past and of a mark off 135 he could be dangerous.

Tammys Hill; BT O’Connell – 25/1 

This hunters chaser had a rather light campaign this season and clearly has been kept fresh for the National. He can race off a very fair mark and has class, as he won the Foxhunter Chase two years ago at the Festival. I believe he has the trip in him and he goes well in these kind of ground conditions. He looks in with a big chance.

All three selections 2.5pts Each/Way

Preview: Gold Cup Chase

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This years Festival feature race looks wide open. There is no real outstanding candidate in the race. Or is there? Normally, Silviniaco Conti would be a red hot favourite in anyone’s book. He has the best form this season, and clearly is the number one chaser around at the moment. His Kempton King George success is the standout piece of form – undoubtedly. Trainer Paul Nicholls insists that all past problems have been solved and therefore he won’t falter again the way he did in last years Gold Cup after jumping the last, when he actually looked the sure winner. I’m not convinced, however To my eyes he simply looks a horse tailor-made for flat tracks, like Kempton and Aintree. For that reason I oppose him today.

There are plenty of new kids on the block. Novice Coneygree is a super exciting prospect. I really like him. He gets his ground with the rain arriving. But he’s a novice. That is not an easy task today. Road To Riches and Many Clouds are the improvers. There is no reason why they shouldn’t be competitive. Carlingford Lough also falls into this category and I like his profile. But the more rain’s falling, the more his chances are faltering. Willie Mullins’ best chance is rising star Djakadam. Another progressive sort, but  he is a very short price in this competitive race given his form.

Holywell is tipped by many to give AP McCoy the perfect farewell gift. He has been improving throughout the season and looks primed for a big run. He loves it around Cheltenham and stays. Surely it would be lovely to see him winning. But is he good enough? I remain a doubter.

What about the old brigade? Bob’s Worth, a former Gold Cup winner. Hard to trust these days with lack of recent form. Last years winner Lord Windermere hasn’t shown much this year either. Though an improved effort in the Hennessy may bring him nicely along. He’s trained with only this one race in mind. But the 2014 renewal was a strange race. I don’t trust the form.

Boston Bob and On His Own, two more Mullins horses. The latter one was runner-up last year. As mentioned before, a strange race. He done well this winter in the Lexus Chase and is not out of this, clearly he is a better chance than Boston Bob in my mind.

A bit the forgotten horse is The Giant Bolster. He absolutely loves it around Cheltenham and with a bit luck he would have won at least one Gold Cup in recent years. His jumping can be a problem sometimes, but he has the heart and guts to be a big runner once again today. At 40/1 with four places, he is well overpriced and his chances underestimated. He usually comes alive at this time of the year, and it is wise to ignore anything he has shown up to this point this season.

The Giant Bolster @ 40/1 Bet365 – 2.5pts EW

McCoy writes history… yet again

One couldn’t have written the tale any better. There is Tony McCoy, the world’s most successful jockey. A legend of this sport. One whose name is synonymous with jump racing. There he is, announcing his retirement at the end of the season. He did this after winning a big race at Newbury on Saturday. He wanted to do it on his own terms. Put and end to the speculations surrounding him and his 20th champion jockey title.

And there he is, parading in front of the frenetic Leopardstown crowd. He and his mount Carlingford Lough just won main event, the Hennessy Gold Cup. Just another piece in the breathtaking career, for McCoy, the once little boy, born in Moneyglass, Country Antrim of Northern Ireland, who made his way to the summit of the sport without the benefit of having a family with background in the game.

This morning on the way to work I heard an interview with him on the Irish radio station Newstalk FM. McCoy, collected, calm, yet somehow emotional in his voice, reflected on the weekend, his decision to retire – but felt awkwardly distanced to the idea of what may lie in front of him – once he jumps off the horses back for the last time. What’s then AP? Who knows. For the moment, it is hard to envision jump racing without him. And thanks god, for a couple more weeks we don’t have to get used to this thought.

So let’s just sit back and enjoy the man at what he’s best: Riding winners! Relieve the Hennessy Gold Cup again, in the video below – it also has to be stated that I tipped McCoy and Carlingford Lough to win the Hennessy. Which obviously makes it an even better story… for me personally at least!