Monday 26 February 2018

Crawford looks to McCoy for Yes Tom's Grand ambitions

Jockey Tony McCoy during Grand National Day of the Crabbies Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, April 11 (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)
Jockey Tony McCoy during Grand National Day of the Crabbies Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, April 11 (Mike Egerton/PA Wire)

Thomas Kelly

Stuart Crawford could call upon the services of Tony McCoy to partner Yes Tom in Saturday's Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.

With the Paul Nicholls-trained Sam Winner set to take his chance under top weight of 11st 12lb, just 26 of the 54 confirmed entries are in the handicap proper with 10st or above.

The champion jockey's most obvious mount is the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Catching On, which was favourite for last month's Midlands National at Uttoxeter but parted company with McCoy at the eighth fence.

However, the horse sits on a perch of 10st 3lb and with McCoy's lowest riding weight in the last 12 months 10st 4lb, the soon-to-retire jockey would need to slim down or risk putting up overweight.

With 10st 6lb on his back, Yes Tom may be an obvious alternative as McCoy (above) makes his final appearance at Ayr. He steered the 10-year-old to a course victory on his penultimate start and Crawford would be interested in giving him the ride if available.

"Looking at the forecast, there's a bit of rain forecast for the middle of the week and then it's due to dry up again," said the Larne, Co Antrim handler.

"As long as the ground is around good or good-to-soft, we'll definitely be letting the horse take his chance.

"We haven't anything finalised on the jockey front. That (using McCoy) would definitely be an option as he's won on the horse before, but I'd have to speak to him and his agent to see if he would be interested in the ride.

"Paul Carberry rode him in the last year, so he'd definitely be a player as well."

McCoy's agent Dave Roberts said that the jockey's mount has yet to be confirmed.

"He'll definitely be there (Ayr on Saturday), but he has no ride in the Scottish National yet," said Roberts. "He's going to Cheltenham on Wednesday and Thursday and then the two days at Ayr."

Al Co could bid to register back-to-back victories in the race after trainer Peter Bowen reported the 10-year-old to have taken nothing out of himself after falling at the first fence at Aintree.

Others in the mix include Jim Dreaper's Midlands National winner Goonyella and the Venetia Williams-trained Houblon Des Obeaux, runner-up to Many Clouds in the Hennessy.

Meanwhile, a comprehensive review of British jumps racing is under way, the BHA has announced.

A committee consisting of cross-industry experts and chaired by the former Cheltenham boss Edward Gillespie will meet to discuss the health of the sport, identify challenges and deliver recommendations to safeguard the future of the game.

Irish Independent

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