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AINTREE SPECIALISTS | Don’t Push It

Don’t Push It landed victories on both the Grand National and Mildmay circuits for Jonjo O’Neill

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AP McCoy and Don't Push It

When Don’t Push It weakened away at two out in the Maghull Novices’ Chase back in April 2007, few could have envisaged that the gelding would be charging through the Elbow to claim Grand National success three years later.

Jonjo O’Neill’s talent struggled on his first start at Aintree, only managing to finish fifth out of six runners in the Grade 1 contest.

The next season saw the gelding win the Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Chepstow, but he suffered a fall in the Festival Plate at the Cheltenham Festival and O’Neill had no explanation for his poor effort in the Listed Handicap Hurdle at Aintree four weeks later.

Jonjo O'Neill
Jonjo O’Neill’s first Grand National success as a trainer came with Don’t Push It

The son of Old Vic would claim his first success on the Aintree course in April 2009, winning the John Smith’s Handicap Chase on day three of the Grand National Festival.

After taking fourth in the Old Roan Chase in October, the then 10-year-old returned to the Merseyside track six months later as joint-favourite for the Grand National.

With the household name of AP McCoy in the saddle, Don’t Push It produced arguably his finest performance in the biggest race of them all.

Tackling the world-famous Aintree fences for the first time, the versatile sort took to them almost immediately and travelled soundly throughout.

A slight error at the 26th fence could have put an end to his chances, but he found his previous momentum and ploughed his way to the front to challenge the leaders.

O’Neill gelding took the lead jumping over the last fence, with AP McCoy constantly asking for more from his mount to fend off the constant challenges of Black Apalachi.

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Don’t Push It began to pull away from his rival in the final stages, eventually running on to win by five lengths and to give McCoy a long-awaited success in the world’s most famous race.

The victorious pair would team up once again for the 2011 renewal, with O’Neill’s star producing a fine effort as top-weight to land third.

Don’t Push It will always be remembered for giving AP McCoy his only success in the Grand National and he is a clear example of an Aintree specialist.

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