Synchronised (nearside) on his way to winning the Cheltenham Gold CupPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Synchronised outstays rivals to land Gold Cup
Report: Cheltenham, Friday
Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1) (Class 1) 3m 2 1/2f , New, 5yo+
SYNCHRONISED outstayed his rivals up the famous Cheltenham hill under an impressive ride by Tony McCoy to give jump racing's leading owner JP McManus a first win in the Gold Cup.
The improving nine-year-old won at 8-1 from The Giant Bolster who ran a massive race to finish second at 50-1 with favourite Long Run finishing in third at 7-4.
Kauto Star, who was trying to win the race for a third time, was pulled up with more than a circuit to go.
Synchronised was providing 16-times champion jockey Tony McCoy with a second win in the race having landed it on Mr Mulligan back in 1997 and provided Jonjo O'Neill with a first Gold Cup win as a trainer having ridden the winner of the race twice in the past.
Tony McCoy: second Gold Cup winPICTURE: Mark Cranham
Having been back in fifth two out, Synchronised put his stamina to use in the closing stages, jumping into contention at the final fence before powering up the run in to score by two and a quarter lengths and complete a 188-1 double for McCoy who had taken the County Hurdle on the McManus-owned Alderwood earlier in the afternoon.
The festival highlight was watched by a sell-out crowd - over 70,ooo attended day four at Cheltenham.
McCoy, who had experienced a frustrating time at the meeting up until the final afternoon said: "It's great for Jonjo and JP, he was off the bridle the whole way and he missed the third last but luckily he was close enough and he's an amazing horse. It's a brilliant training performance."
O'Neill, who partnered Dawn Run to a famous win in the Gold Cup back in 1986 added: "What a fantastic ride, he got him in a lovely jumping rhythm and it was just brilliant. Everyone has done so much with this fella at home, it's a team effort."
Trainer Jonjo O'Neill: "just brilliant"PICTURE: Patrick McCann
Since winning the Welsh National at the start of last year, Synchronised had been stepped up in grade and illustrated he still had more to give when slamming his rivals by eight and a half lengths in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.
McManus said of his first ever Gold Cup winner: "I've not had many runners but it's a pleasure to win it. I am so sorry Kauto Star pulled up but I gather he is ok and that's good news. It was lovely to win, he's not a Kauto Star but we've done it our way."
While Kauto Star tracked the leader Midnight Chase throughout the early stages of the race he soon started dropping back through the field leaving Ruby Walsh with little choice but to pull him up.
After the race his trainer Paul Nicholls said: "Ruby has done the right thing. There is obviously something tweaking him but he's fine."
Synchronised and JP McManusPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
Synchronised was being shoved along by McCoy over a circuit from home as Midnight Chase and Time For Rupert disputed the lead as they raced out in to the country. China Rock was travelling sweetly in behind the leaders along with The Giant Bolster who took it up two from home.
Long Run, last year's winner got into a challenging position at the last but he finished a further three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up.
Sam Waley-Cohen, rider of Long Run said: "He has run his race. I am disappointed he did not win but I am not disappointed in the horse. He has run alright.
"There is no hard luck story so what can you say? When heading over the last I thought his stamina might see him through but it didn't."
Connections were understandably delighted with the effort from The Giant Bolster. Jockey Tom Scudamore said: "He's run a great race and I'm so happy. He fulfilled all of my expectations. No excuses. He was beaten by a better horse on the day, but what a race he's run."
Trainer David Bridgwater added: "When he was in front at the last I thought there must be another circuit to go.
"I always said we weren't just coming for the day out.Him and Long Run were the babiesin the race and he'll do nothing but improve."
Time For Rupert was suffering from heat exhaustion after the race and although there were a few anxious moments, after being covered with several buckets of water he was absolutely fine.
Sam Waley-Cohen was banned for two days for his ride on Long Run after the stewards found he had used his whip above the permitted level.