It’s not often you back the runner-up in the Grand National and yet you’re glad you lost.
Having stuck a few bob each way on Black Apalachi (our racing correspondent Neil O’Donnell’s choice) this column had a nice three-figure sum in its sights until Tony McCoy sealed his legend in Liverpool.
Aintree’s three-way tale of perseverance involving ‘AP’, trainer Jonjo O’Neill and owner JP McManus would chisel away at the most hardened cynic.
Moved to cry, McCoy, with over 3,200 career winners, clearly felt incomplete without having ‘Grand National-winning jockey’ on his CV. Nearly 36, he’s now done it all, the pinnacle being a victory that he hoped would make his daughter Eve proud some day. The short-priced favourite for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year prize (though things could change quickly depending on England’s experience in South Africa), the Antrim ace hailed McManus as the man who’s done more than anyone for jump racing, while Jonjo’s place in the public’s affections has long been assured.
It’s rare that a singular success should be greeted with such universal delight, but there couldn’t have been a more popular winner than the temperamental Don’t Push It of the 2010 edition of ‘The People’s Race’.
Waterford rider David Casey, who finished a fine sixth on Snowy Morning, said: “It’s great for AP and it’s great for racing… I’m thrilled for him for lots of reasons, including the fact that I lived with him for about a year and a half when I was based in England.”
During that time, David witnessed the sacrifices McCoy has made to condition himself as the winningmost professional the sport has known. He’s spilled the blood, poured with sweat, and now, finally, he’d shed the tears too.