Racing got the result it wanted – a winner for AP McCoy at his final Crabbie’s Grand National Festival – with victory for Jezki in the Grade One Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle.
The winner, who is trained by Jessie Harrington, scored easily after market rival Arctic Fire fell at the final flight when the pair were upsides. Both the horse and jockey got to their feet, but Walsh was stood down by doctors for the rest of the day.
McCoy said: “With Arctic Fire falling it made it a bit easier and I’m glad to see Ruby and Arctic Fire get up. I knew it was going to be a hard race and at the second-last I thought he might have me beat, but 50 yards from the last hurdle I was still sticking in there. My horse is bred to stay and he won over two and a half miles at Fairyhouse last year so whether we would have won had Arctic Fire stood up I don’t know, but it would have been close.
“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 – I have mixed emotions because I would love to win the National, but I don’t want it to be my final ride. I really don’t want to retire, but if I win the race I’ll do retirement after that.
“I’ve been very lucky to have ridden more winners than anyone else, but I’ve also ridden a lot more losers – you never stop weighing up whether it has gone wrong or right.
“Aintree is a great place and a meeting I’ve always enjoyed, and I’m not just saying that because I’m standing here. They are very friendly people and they make it one of the highlights of the jump jockey’s year.”
Jezki, who won the Stan James Champion Hurdle in 2014, was given a 14/1 quote for next year’s running of that race by Paddy Power.