The Scottish National is a difficult puzzle to solve but we’ve got the best person to help you pick the winner
WITH 30 runners jumping 27 fences over just short of four miles your need someone special on your side to unravel the Scottish National puzzle.
Luckily, we’ve got the very best – Sir AP McCoy.
It might be two years next Saturday since the legendary jockey hung up the green-and-gold silks of owner JP McManus for the final time after a staggering 4,358 winners.
But few people have got their finger firmer on the pulse than William Hill ambassador McCoy.
And he reckons HENRI PARRY MORGAN is the one punters should be siding with in Ayr’s big race.
McCoy explained: “It’s wide open as you would expect – it’s properly competitive.
“I like Henri Parry Morgan. He’s not fulfilled potential and he’s been a bit in-and-out this year.
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“But he ran a bit better at Liverpool a couple of weeks ago and Peter Bowen’s horses come good at this time of year. Peter won the race a few years ago with Al Co.
“This is the only National Jonjo O’Neill hasn’t won and Another Hero should like the ground. The cheekpieces he wears for the first time might bring out a bit improvement.
“There’s no doubt last year’s winner Vicente has a chance. He’ll like jumping these fences more than the Aintree fences – he fell at the first in the Grand National.
“That’s a help that he didn’t go far in the National.”
Vicente’s trainer Paul Nicholls helped McCoy win his only Scottish National. It’s 20 years since he booted home Belmont King to win the Ayr marathon when fortune was certainly on his side.
McCoy added: “I was lucky when I won it.
“Belmont King was meant to run in the Grand National but it was the year of the bomb scare. He got upset and they took him home rather than stay until Monday.
“I wasn’t able to ride in that National as I was off with concussion. When they ran him a couple of weeks later in the Scottish I was back.
“The other reason I was quite lucky was that I’d been Paul Nicholls’ jockey at the beginning of the season and I ended up going to Martin Pipe. There was a bit of a thing about me not riding for Paul again so it was lucky they let me on him.”
It’s hard to believe it’s two years since McCoy rode his last race. But he pulled the famous green-and-gold colours on again on Tuesday night.
McManus sponsored the shirts of McCoy’s team in a charity football match against a side of Cheltenham Town’s old boys in aid of the injured Jockey’s Fund.
More than 1,200 watched the ex-Robins beat McCoy’s team of jockeys and former footballers 3-2 on a night that raised more than £20,000.
Arsenal nut McCoy said: “We had great fun at the football the other night.
“It was a shame Harry Redknapp had to go to manage Birmingham – he got transferred from us on the deadline day!
“There a good few ex-footballers there Franny Jeffers, Lee Hendrie, Julian Joachim, Darren Byfield and a few others.
“There was a penalty competition at half-time with Paul Nicholls, Dan Skelton, Alex Hammond taking penalties.
“Hopefully is something we could do annually.”