Bookies don't want McCoy again
Bookmakers fear another pounding if Tony McCoy and Don't Push It win the John Smith's Grand National for the second year running.
The Jonjo O'Neill-trained gelding, owned by legendary Irish punter JP McManus, landed a nationwide gamble 12 months ago - and the layers can hear the alarm bells sounding again.
With an estimated £300million set to wagered on the big race at Aintree, bookmakers are praying for a Mon Mome-style 100-1 result in 2009 and not a second successive victory for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
David Williams of Ladbrokes said: "Tony McCoy's profile is bigger than it has ever been and punters up and down the land will be siding with the champion jockey.
"Don't Push It was one of the worst results in Grand National history for the finance teams at the big bookies, but it could be even worse this time around."
Those views are echoed by George Primarolo, spokesman for Aintree's official betting partner totesport.
He said: "Don't Push It landed a huge National gamble last year to leave the bookies reeling and with McCoy on board once more, punters will be out in their droves to support the champion jockey."
The predicted sunny weather could also see punters flocking to the betting shops for their once-a-year bets.
Coral's David Stevens said: "We expect more than half the adult population to place a Grand National flutter, betting £150million on the big race alone, on a day when industry-wide turnover could top £300million.
"We reckon the sunshine that is forecast for much of the UK will see more people than ever take to the high streets up and down the country, ensuring betting shops have their busiest day of the year.
"The National remains the one race that captures the public's imagination, and this year's renewal will be no exception, with several horses likely to attract widespread support.
"What A Friend, co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, will be the choice of Manchester United fans everywhere, while Oscar Time, ridden by the Gold Cup-winning amateur jockey and friend of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Sam Waley-Cohen, is sure to be popular with the Royal Wedding just around the corner.
"However, the one partnership we really fear is last year's winning pair of AP McCoy and Don't Push It.
"The champion jockey cost bookies £20million when winning his first National 12 months ago, and since then he has been crowned Sports Personality of the Year, meaning Don't Push It will be the first name written on thousands of betting slips this time around.
"A repeat win, the first since the legendary Red Rum in 1974, would lead to the biggest payout since Frankie Dettori's Magnificent Seven at Ascot won punters more than £40million in 1996."
Victory for McCoy would see punters cash in by £100million, according to William Hill.
"Tony McCoy's horse has been very popular and we are predicting a £100 million payout if he wins," said spokeswoman Jennie Prest.
"Ruby Walsh's mount The Midnight Club has been ridiculously strong ante-post, but McCoy was gambled on last year before he won on Don't Push it.
"We are predicting that will happen and he may even go off favourite. It wouldn't surprise me."
Irish Independent Sport Star Awards
Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.