SYNCHRONISED UPSETS CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP

Synchronised, ridden by 16-times champion jockey Tony McCoy for trainer Jonjo O’Neill,  won the Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase after two-time winner Kauto Star was pulled up by jockey Ruby Walsh on the first circuit.

(Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
The 8-1 shot, owned by JP McManus took the lead after jumping the last and galloped on strongly to head The Giant Bolster (50-1) and win by two and a quarter lengths.  Last year’s winner  Long Run, the 7-4 favorite, third another  three-quarters of a length away.
Dual winner Kauto Star was pulled up at the ninth fence by Walsh.

(Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

O’Neill, who was securing his first Gold Cup as a trainer, said: “AP was brilliant on him, he knows him so well. Our big worry was keeping him in the race as, if he makes mistakes, he gets behind.

“A lot of work has gone into him at home so was a great team effort from the yard. It’s fantastic to win it as a trainer. It’s a big team effort.”

McCoy said: “It’s great for Jonjo and JP McManus. He’s really delivered today. He was off the bridle the whole way and when I missed the third-last I thought my chance had gone.”

McCoy, who was securing his second Gold Cup victory after Mr Mulligan struck in 1997, added: “He’s an amazing horse and it was an amazing performance. I’m so pleased to win it for JP as he’s been so good to me.

KAUTO STAR (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Trainer Paul Nicholls said Kauto Star, whose participation in the Gold Cup was in jeopardy following a schooling fall a fortnight ago, had returned from the race unscathed.

He said: “He’s absolutely fine. Ruby wasn’t happy after he’d jumped a couple of fences and we said if he wasn’t happy to pull him up, and he’s done the right thing. There’s obviously something tweaking him.”