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Tony McCoy will seek to make Don’t Push It the first back-to-back winner of the Grand National since Red Rum in 1974 when he rides the horse on Saturday.

The 11-year-old will carry top weight of 11st 10lbs having been quietly campaigned in hurdle races this term.

McCoy said: “He’s definitely getting better with each run this year.

“He’s improving all the time. The only reason he’s stayed over hurdles is because we’re preparing him for the National. It’s a gruelling race.”

McCoy’s emotional victory on the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Don’t Push it in 2010 ended a long run of hard luck stories in the Aintree spectacular for the 15-time champion jockey.

It also sealed his place among the UK’s sporting elite when he went on to claim the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in December.

+ Don’t miss Friday’s Sunderland Echo for our centre spread featuring the runners and riders for Saturday’s big race.