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Why Aintree, not Cheltenham, holds the last great McCoy special

| 09.02.2015

Ladbrokes have priced up a couple of markets to honour jumps jockey AP McCoy after the expert County Antrim pilot announced his retirement from the sport at the end of the current campaign.

Naturally, the upcoming Cheltenham Festival and Aintree are the subject of the bookies’ fervent calculations.

You can have 10/11 either way on under or over 2.5 winners from the Moneyglass man in the Cotswolds, and cool-headed punters will no doubt be all over the former, leaving sentiment aside.

Three victories has been enough to take the top jockey title in six of the past 11 Cheltenham Festivals, but McCoy hasn’t managed to outdo all around him over the four days since 1998, when he won for the second (successive) time.

Boss JP McManus has plenty of lively contenders set for Cheltenham, including defending Ladbrokes World Hurdle champion More Of That, the 7/2 favourite with the sponsor, and 16/1 Gold Cup shot Carlingford Lough, who won the Irish Hennessey over the weekend with McCoy on board.

Johns Spirit is also among the favourites for the Ryanair Chase at 10/1, but 10/11 looks a bit short considering everything will have to go right for McCoy, not once, but three times at Prestbury Park, so unders gets our vote at the same odds.

Conversely, 10/1 about the soon-to-be 20-time champion jockey winning the Grand National should be snapped up considering the mob hand McManus looks likely to head into the Aintree spectacle with.

Favourite Shutthefrontdoor, currently at 20/1 with Ladbrokes, won last year’s Irish National with Barry Geraghty on board, but McCoy is sure to have first pick of his gaffer’s group, which also contains smart David Bridgewater-trained animal Wyck Hill at 33/1.

Having only won the world’s greatest steeplechase once, with McManus’ Don’t Push It in 2010, McCoy signing off with a second Grand National seems perfectly apt.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune