Tony McCoy will achieve a racing fairytale if he can bring the house down and win the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on what would be the final ride of his record-breaking career.
The soon-to-be 20-times champion jockey announced in February this was to be his final season in the saddle and has since said he would call it quits on the spot if he won the National.
For a man who has made a career out of breaking records, it is not beyond the realms of possibility the Jonjo O’Neill-trained eight-year-old he rides will complete his part of the job.
Having won the Irish Grand National last season, Shutthefrontdoor is a strong form contender in his own right and has been the ante-post favourite for months on a tide of McCoy sentiment.
With McCoy now entering the final throes of an unbelievable career, he has finally allowed himself some time for reflection.
“Sometimes I feel sad about it. There’s days when I wish it wasn’t coming to an end, but the reality of it is it is coming to an end,” he said.
“I know deep down it’s the right thing. It’s very deep down I have to go, but it is the right thing.
“Pretty much all my life, since I was a child, I’ve been able to do what I’ve loved doing.
“It’s going to be very different not being able to do it any more. I’ve been very lucky to ride for very successful people. I think that definitely helps you along the way.
“It’s going to be very difficult when my valet, Chris Maude, and all the lads bring my gear round to the horse and say, ‘Here you go, you’re finished’. That’s when the reality is going to hit home, that I’m not going racing any more.
“I’m just trying to keep things as normal as possible and do my job. I can leave the worrying until after I walk out of here on Saturday night.”
With his professional head on, McCoy feels he has a serious chance of going out on an extraordinary high with a second National win, especially as Shutthefrontdoor is trained by O’Neill, who is so good with staying chasers.
“Jonjo has prepared him for the race and is very happy with him,” said McCoy.
“He’d have liked to have got a run into him, but he had a few little problems with him in Christmas and January so he didn’t get the chance to run him.
“He’s happy with the way he’s going and he’s brilliant at preparing horses for those big staying chases.
“The Grand National is the most famous race in the world and we were lucky enough to win it with Don’t Push It, but, on the whole, Jonjo as a trainer has a very good record with horses that have run in it and it would be nice for that record to get even better.”