TONY Mccoy begins his preparations for a final Crabbie’s Grand National when partnering Cantlow in Ireland’s equivalent race at Fairyhouse today.
The soon-to-retire champion struck gold aboard Butler’s Cabin for Jonjo O’Neill in 2007 and has opted for Paul Webber’s horse who was eighth in last year’s renewal to current Aintree Grand National favourite Shutthefrontdoor.
McCoy said: “It’s a process of elimination really, I thought If In Doubt had a big task with top weight as a novice. Alderwood has just been very out of sorts all season. I rode Cantlow at Kempton last time, he choked his head off, we put a tongue tie on him since and I’ve ridden him a couple of times at home and I felt like he was better.”
Meanwhile, all seven races at Haydock on Saturday were won by conditional jockeys, a trend that Sheffield-born Joe Colliver began when landing the opener on Just Cameron for Middleham trainer Micky Hammond. It was the ultra-consistent horse’s fourth win from five starts.
The day saw 17-year-old Sean Bowen complete a treble and, more pertinently, qualify to ride the Paul Nicholls-trained Mon Parrain in the Grand National on Saturday. He needed to secure a 10th career win over fences to be eligible for the race, where he will bid to become the youngest winning rider since Bruce Hobbs piloted Battleship to victory in 1938.
Bowen’s last-gasp handicap hurdle win on Southfield Vic came at the expense of the plucky Raktiman whose jockey Samantha Drake, from Guiseley, was having one of her last rides before switching to the training ranks.