The pre race betting had Barry Geraghty and Tony McCoy riding the two 10-1 joint favourites going into the 2010 Aintree Grand National and a smooth start saw an unfortunate moment for St John’s Castle, as the horse ridden by Paul Carberry refused to leave the start area.
28-1 shot, Eric’s Charm fell at the 1st and a tight field was still yet to produce a clear leader running towards the second fence. Grey skies did nothing to temper the atmosphere as the cheering crowd were full of voice, each cheering on their own particular favourite.
100-1 outsider Conna Castle reached Becher’s Brook first with a clear 4 length lead, with Black Apalachi and Hello Bud following ahead of a now stretched field. Conna Castle turned wide at Canal Turn, sporting his easily identifiable white nose band, but he recovered to retain his place at the front, with 35 of the 40 starters still running.
This is how it remained for the next few fences and it was only at the Chair that the pack made some headway towards the leading trio. The pace quickened and it was outsider Conna Castle ridden by Sean Flanagan that drew neck and neck with Denis O’Regan on Black Apalachi some 5 lengths clear at the front, leaving Hello Bud a distant 3rd.
Heading over Becher’s for the second time, Black Apalachi had seized the initiative, stealing a 7 length lead, with Conna Castle fading badly. AP McCoy’s Don’t Push It accelerated to close in on the leaders from a good distance behind and draw alongside.
Heading For Home
Over the Melling Road, it was a four horse race, with Don’t Push It now level with Black Apalachi, Big Fella Thanks and Hello Bud running round the final bend. McCoy’s presence at the front began to draw a enthusiastic roar from the assembled crowd as these four were well clear of the rest.
The last fence saw McCoy hit the front and Hello Bud drop away, leaving a straight sprint for the line for the remaining trio. Despite a strong challenge from Black Apalachi, McCoy managed to get up in the final furlongs, getting to the line first on Don’t Push. Despite winning multiple champion jockey titles, this was his first Grand National win at the fifteenth attempt and you could see it written across his face.
His joy was obvious, as it was for J P McManus and Jonjo O’Neill. It was another great day at Aintree for the Irish and a day of firsts, not least for the punter’s favourite, Tony McCoy.