Saturday 18 November 2017

Tony McCoy states Grand National case for Carlingford Lough

Carlingford Lough
Carlingford Lough

Sir Tony McCoy would have a "slight preference" for Carlingford Lough if he had the choice of JP McManus' Crabbie's Grand National hopes at Aintree on Saturday week.

After winning his second Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February, the John Kiely-trained 10-year-old warmed up for a tilt at the National with a staying-on fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup under Barry Geraghty, who replaced McCoy as retained rider to McManus.

With the likes of fellow McManus horses Shutthefrontdoor and Gallant Oscar still in the hunt, Geraghty faces a difficult call, but McCoy feels Carlingford Lough is the "class horse" of the powerful owner's contenders.

He said: "I genuinely do not have a clue what Barry will ride - I think he could ride any one of JP's.

"Carlingford Lough looks like he will stay and he will love the flat track and drying ground.

"He didn't come home great after Cheltenham last year as he was very sore but John Kiely has said that he has had a much better preparation going into this year's Grand National.

"I think Carlingford Lough is the best horse of the lot of them and that's the fact he has won two Irish Hennessys (Irish Gold Cups). He is the class horse and I would have slight preference for him.

"If Jonjo O'Neill said to ride Shutthefrontdoor, though, I would definitely ride him as if tells you what staying chaser to ride he is normally right.

"I thought for a long way round last year that I was going to win on Shutthefrontdoor and it was only after the third-last that I didn't think he would win.

"I don't know if Shutthefrontdoor really stays and you would be a little bit worried about that.

"If he was a horse that had a lot of runs and had no reason to get better then you might look elsewhere, but there are legitimate reasons that he could be better this year.

"He might not be as fresh this year having been to the races at Huntingdon for a gallop the other day so that is a very legitimate reason for him to perform better."

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