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McCoy looking forward after National win; McCoy looking to next prize after ending National jin: racing.

Byline: Chris Wright

THERE will be no easing off for champion Tony McCoy despite still celebrating his first John Smith's Grand National success aboard Don't Push It.

The 14-times champion finally ended his long wait for victory in the Aintree marathon when partnering the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Don't Push It on Saturday.

And despite being the winning-most National Hunt of all time and the only one in history to partner 3,000 winners, the record-breaking 35-year-old will continue to push himself as he always has - with weighing room's colleagues' retirement quips given short shrift.

He did party long into Saturday night in Liverpool after the 10-1 joint favourite gave him a first National win on his 15th ride in the race. But he didn't drink any champagne and it was business as usual.

After yesterday's homecoming parade at trainer O'Neill's Jackby daws Castle yard and the nearby Plough Inn, McCoy was back in the saddle at Southwell where he partnered Don't Push It's stable-mate Aberdale to victory. But as he posed for pictures with daughter Eve, wife Chanelle and O'Neill, McCoy said: "Amazing isn't it.

I didn't get home until 5am and have only had a couple of hours sleep. "I had a few Red Bulls to keep me awake, but this is a surreal feeling. "If I liked the taste of champagne I might have had some, but I don't even like the taste. "I didn't get to see many of the boys after the race, but Tom Scu and Paddy Brennan kept asking me when I am going to retire.

"I do hope that one day I wake up and say that this isn't for me before I make a fool out of myself. "I love what I do and hope for my own mental state that I do wake up like that one day, but I fear something will drag me down. "But I live in the future, not the past. The season starts again in two weeks and I want to be champion jockey again and I want Binocular to win the Champion Hurdle again.

" McCoy's quest for National victory invariably dominated the build-up to Aintree in each of his 14 previous attempts when the nearest he came was third-placed finishes for Blowing Wind (2001) and Clan Royal (2006). Again on the eve of Saturday's race. he spoke of his determination of winning the race and never stopped believing he would never triumph. He added: "For the last 14 years I have left Aintree thinking I will never win the National. "Every year I have then gone back and started to convince myself that it is possible.

"After jumping five or six fences yesterday I thought it can happen and the more we went on the more confident I became. "Don't Push It has always had a bit of class and I knew that if he took to it then he could win. "The way he jumped the first few fences I knew we had a chance of winning. "Each time I pulled him out and showed him daylight he kept picking up and he gave me the impression he would stay." McCoy's victory was widely celebrated by racing afficionados and the general public at large.

He had spoken to friend and weighing room colleague Ruby Walsh, who missed Saturday's race when he fell and broke his arm earlier that day. McCoy also said Frankie Dettori, who ended a similar wait for Derby glory aboard Authorized in 2007, rang to congratulate him. It has been an emotional weekend for him and he said.: "Crossing the line I could not believe it. Martin Pipe and Ted Walsh were two of the first people to congratulate me. "They are two of the biggest people in jump racing and to see the joy in their faces made me emotional. It was very special.

" But as well as McCoy finally claiming National victory trainer O'Neill and owner JP McManus were also celebrating a first success. The trainer was back his stables at 10pm last night and partied at the Plough Inn until the early hours. O'Neill, who failed to complete in eighth attempts as a jockey and had seen 15bids for glory before training a National winner, said: "We went there with two horses both in great form, but we didn't think that either would win.

"Everything came right, though, and there was no pressure. I have never seen him jump as well as he did yesterday. "We put earplugs in him for the first time and I was amazed how calm he was in the paddock and in the parade ring. "My only worry was King Johns Castle when he wouldn't jump off as we had trained him to the minute and I thought that might just delay him.

" A notoriously tricky character, Don't Push It found a new home in the lower paddock at Jackdaws after frustrating his trainer one morning. "He had annoyed me so I put him out in the field with the sheep and it worked grand," said O'Neill. "He has been out here ever since and even chases the sheep round like a dog would when he is in a good mood. "I told JP he would win the Champion Bumper when we first got him but I knew he wouldn't handle the preliminaries. JP said to just leave him to come to himself and develop."

McCoy admitted that is was O'Neill had who convinced him to ride Don't Push It ahead of stablemate Can't Buy Time and the trainer added: "You would hate to put a fella off a National winner. The other horse is a good horse, but Don't Push It is a class horse and you need that kind of horse to win the race these days.

"We have built National fences every year at home, but didn't this year for the first time and that shows what doing that is worth! Winning the Grand National is huge as it is a people's race. The first race anyone hears about as a kid is the National and it is a magical race. "Housewives have heard of it and the world stops for a few minutes when it is on.

"I remember delivering bread with Johnny McCarthy in Fermoy and we stopped off to watch Ayala in 1963. We watched it on a small television which had a very snowy picture and I dreamed of one day going to the National, never mind being involved.

"If you keep trying you hope that it might come right one day and AP deserved to win it. "He was very upset the year (2005) Clan Royal was carried out, but I said to him 'listen, it is only horseracing - it is just a sport'."

CAPTION(S):

National heroes Tony McCoy and Don't Push It yesterday From left: Jonjo O'Neill, JP McManus and Tony McCoy at Aintree on Saturday Don't Push It, jockey Tony McCoy and his daughter Eve with trainer Jonjo O'Neill (left) and groom Alan Berry (right) at The Plough Inn at Ford, Temple Guiting yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 12, 2010
Words:1181
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