McCoy eyes historic double

Kris Spin won the Primo Bar & Bistro Barbados Handicap Hurdle / Picture: Nigel Bowles - Fontwell Park

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Don’t Push It is bidding to become the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back Grand Nationals.

And connections have reported the 11-year-old is in ‘great form’ ahead of his mammoth challenge at Aintree.

Plenty have put up a bold fight before, ultimately, failing to land successive victories in the famous contest.

But with 15-time champion jockey Tony McCoy on board, plenty of people have given Don’t Push It every chance of repeating Red Rum’s 1973-74 feat.

Those punters have backed the son of Old Vic into a solid 12/1 third-favourite and will be buoyed by the latest reports from his Jackdaws Castle home.

Trainer Jonjo O’Neill said: ‘He’s in great form.

‘He’s had a good prep and he’s very well in himself.’

McCoy, who rode the gelding in the Pertemps Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last month, is equally pleased with his mount.

‘He seems in good shape,’ said the top jockey.

‘I thought he ran a nice race in the Pertemps at Cheltenham and his form has been progressing.’

One of Don’t Push It’s chief threats may come from the Lucinda Russell-trained Silver By Nature.

He has long been talked of as a Grand National horse but connections have bided their time before taking the plunge.

The nine-year-old grey booked his ticket to Aintree with a fine win at Haydock last time out.

‘We made our minds up to come here after Haydock,’ said Russell.

‘He (owner Geoff Brown) was never worried about having a runner in the National, he just wanted one to be competitive.

‘He was there the day the horse was foaled and he adores him.’

Donald McCain – the son of Red Rum’s trainer Ginger – will also be aiming to protect the family honour and prevent Don’t Push It netting back-to-back wins.

Ballabriggs carries the hopes of the McCains, who also triumphed in 2004 with Amberleigh House.

‘You need a horse who can travel round Aintree,’ said McCain Jnr.

‘A lot of horses get outpaced and that is when accidents start happening.

‘Ballabriggs wouldn’t want either extreme of ground but good or good to soft would be absolutely fine.’