Grand National 2015: AP McCoy wins on Jezki in Aintree Hurdle
|Grand National 2015, Aintree|
|Festival dates: 9-11 April Grand National: Saturday 11 April at 16:15 BST|
|Coverage: Live commentaries of all the big races on BBC Radio 5 live and online with live text commentary on 11 April.|
AP McCoy rode his first winner of his final Grand National meeting aboard Jezki (3-1), following a dramatic final flight in the Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle.
Three horses were in contention coming to the last, where Ruby Walsh suffered a heavy fall on Arctic Fire.
That stopped the momentum of 2012 Champion Hurdle winner Rock on Ruby and allowed McCoy, who is retiring this month, to win by 13 lengths.
Earlier, in the Betfred Bowl Chase, Silviniaco Conti edged out Ballynagour.
There was just a nose in it as the two-time King George winner made it back-to-back victories in the Grade 1 Aintree race by holding off 18-1 Ballynagour's spirited late challenge.
Ridden by Noel Fehily, 7-4 favourite Silviniaco Conti, who is trained by Paul Nicholls, jumped serenely over the famous fences to recover from his disappointing showing in the Gold Cup, where he finished fourth behind winner Lord Windermere.
McCoy's mount Holywell was third in that - the feature race - but the 19-time champion jockey was delighted to get his first victory of the day, on Jezki.
"This festival is fantastic and it's great to win a race like this," said 40-year-old McCoy.
"I will miss riding a horse like this but hopefully this time next year I will be out of rehab and be able to come and enjoy myself!"
|BBC Radio 5 live's Cornelius Lysaght:|
|"It's impossible to say whether Jezki or Arctic Fire would have won but, especially with the jockeys involved, it would have been a thriller, and what a breathless way for McCoy to get his first winner of Aintree 2015.|
|"Jezki, the 2014 Champion Hurdler, stayed the distance so well you wonder if the World Hurdle might be his target next season.|
|"And what a magnificent performance by Silviniaco Conti earlier; Cheltenham, where he's been beaten in three Gold Cups, may not be 'his' track but Aintree certainly is."|
Nina Carberry's ride On The Fringe, the 5-2 favourite, completed the big hunter chase double by backing up success at Cheltenham with another victory at Aintree.
In the opening race of the afternoon - the One Magnificent City Manifesto Novices' Chase (Grade 1) - Ruby Walsh rode 5-1 shot Clarcam to victory for trainer Gordon Elliott.
Nicholls also picked up another victory, courtesy of 16-1 All Yours in the Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1).
All set for Ladies' Day
A crowd of about 45,000 is expected at Aintree on Friday to experience all the colour and razzmatazz of Ladies' Day.
Champagne Fever, the mount of Ruby Walsh for trainer Willie Mullins, is one of the leading contenders for the feature Melling Chase.
The grey missed last month's Cheltenham Festival after a stablemate bit him on the journey over.
McCoy rides Don Cossack for in-form trainer Gordon Elliott, who had two winners from three runners on Thursday.
Last year's champion chaser Sire De Grugy, two-time Cheltenham Festival winner Cue Card and the high-class Al Ferof add intrigue to a competitive contest.
Any other business
The Topham Chase is run over the Grand National fences, with Rajdhani Express a leading player.
Amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen partners the Nicky Henderson-trained horse with the rider seeking a sixth career win over the big obstacles.
Splash Of Ginge, Hunt Ball and Annacotty are among rivals.
Full race schedule (Time, race, status, distance. Feature race in bold )
13:40 Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 4f
14:15 E-Lites Top Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m ½f
14:50 Betfred Mildmay Novices' Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 3m 1f
15:25 Betfred Melling Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f
16:05 Crabbie's Topham Steeple Chase (Grade 3) 2m 5½f
16:40 Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m ½f
17:15 Weatherbys Private Banking Champion Standard Open NHF Race (Grade 2)2m 1f