TONY McCoy is expected to make a decision on his ride in the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree at the last moment, with a forecast of rain and ground conditions proving the deciding factors.
The champion jump jockey is likely to choose between Irish challengers Colbert Station and Double Seven - both of whom are owned by JP McManus - when the final declarations are made on Thursday.
McManus' racing manager, Frank Berry, told the Guardian that it is anticipated that McCoy will decide "about half an hour before the jockeys have to be declared".
"Double Seven wouldn't want a lot of rain,” he added. "Colbert Station, any rain wouldn't matter to him, he'd handle any ground, which Double Seven wouldn't."
McManus may also be represented in the Grand National on Saturday by the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Lost Glory, but he is unlikely to be on McCoy's radar.
Berry said: "He hasn't set the world on fire. It's hard to fancy him."
Ireland's chances of winning a first Grand National since Silver Birch in 2007 include the Willie Mullins-trained Prince De Beauchene.
Trainer Peter Maher is also optimistic that Big Shu can benefit from the forecasted rain this week and further Ireland’s hopes.
The Co Kildare handler is expecting an improvement at Aintree from the nine-year-old who placed third in the defence of his cross-country crown at Cheltenham last month.
"He came out grand. Good ground is not his business and it was a better race this year,” Maher said.
"Cheltenham was a remarkable run for everything to go against him. The ground went against him, things didn't go right, and Balthazar King is a good horse around Cheltenham”.