Synchronised Wins Gold Cup for McCoy and O'Neill
1 Synchronised 8/1
Champion jockey Tony McCoy rode his second Betfred Gold Cup winner, 15 years after Mr Mulligan’s success in 1997, when Synchronised stayed on in the closing stages to score by two and a quarter lengths.
McCoy bided his time on the nine-year-old, who had won the Lexus Chase on his previous time, and forged clear after the last fence for a gutsy success.
“Like myself, he’s not a looker and you probably wouldn’t buy him in the sale ring but what he lacks in size and stature he makes up for in heart. He doesn’t look like a chaser but more than stature, class and physique, he is all heart and spirit that’s what you need more than anything. He’s a professional and has a great will to win and never knows when he’s beaten. He was always going to deliver for you.
“He doesn’t look like a Gold Cup horse and you can’t ride him like a big scopey chaser and squeeze him. I was just getting from one side of the fences to the other as quick as I could and it wasn’t always pretty. I thought I was always close enough. At the third last it was a bit tight but I’d have been gutted if I’d have squeezed him too hard and he’d have fallen.
“We lost a bit of ground there but I knew round the bend that nothing was going better than this horse.
“I was niggling, slapping and cajoling him all the way round and I was just trying to keep going and keep in touch. I was never going well but I was never in a position I couldn’t win from. I didn’t want him to get disheartened and think he was too far back to win. They were going too fast for me up front.
“When you come on the day you believe, you have to be a dreamer. I didn’t think the Lexus was a particularly good race at the time but I always think when you line up in another race you start with a blank canvas and any horse could win.
“Like everyone you want to win the big races more often than you do. I live in the future, not the past and time moves on and the Gold Cup is the pinnacle of our sport.
“My daughter Eve has been telling me to pull my finger out in the last few days and hopefully she’ll be happy now. In some ways she’s very like her dad, I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I’m a firm believer in keeping going and not looking back.
“I said to the boss this morning that I thought it was going to happen today, I just felt today was the day. Maybe I was getting my confidence back, but I just had a good feeling.
“I’m very lucky to ride for such nice people. J P is an out and out racing fan who just loves his sport and horses so much. It’s nothing to do with betting or anything like that. He is just as interested when I ride at Plumpton on a Monday as the Cheltenham Gold Cup. I’m just delighted to win the Gold Cup for him. I won the Grand National for him but time moves on and you need to win more and more.
“Jonjo comes to Cheltenham every year and never gets the credit he deserves, people think Jackdaws Castle is a closed shop and only for J P McManus and Derrick Smith and the like but that’s not the case. He’s an amazing man and brilliant to ride for.
“He did a brilliant job to get the horse here in the condition he was in. Jonjo was very confident beforehand and that gives you a lot of belief when going out to ride them.
“I knew Kauto was not going well and knew Ruby would pull him up. He wasn’t travelling at such an early stage and he’s been such a great horse for the game and Ruby wasn’t going to take any risks. He wasn’t going to win the Gold Cup so Ruby was going to do the right thing. He earned the right to be minded. You have to look after the horse first and foremost.”
JOCKEYS REACTIONS AFTER THE BETFRED CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
Tom Scudamore, partner of second The Giant Bolster, said: “I am very, very happy with that, ecstatic - but we still finished second.”
Sam Waley-Cohen, partner of the third Long Run, said: “I thought he ran his race - he just got beaten. I am happy with that performance.”
Barry Geraghty, fourth on Burton Port, said: “He ran a blinder, I was flat to the mat for the second circuit - he just wasn’t good enough. He ran a great race.”
Denis O'Regan, on board Time For Rupert, said: “Brilliant run.”
Andrew Lynch, rider of China Rock, said: “He ran well. He jumped, he travelled, but probably wasn’t good enough on the day.”
Noel Fehily, partner of Diamond Harry, said: “He went well, but probably hasn’t had the best preparation and got a bit tired. He gave me a great spin.”
Jan Faltejsek, rider of Knockara Beau, said: “I am very happy with the horse - bhe ran well and jumped like a stag today. I am thrilled with him.”
Dougie Costello, jockey of Midnight Chase, said: “It’s tough in this grade. He broke a lot of hearts going that gallop. In the Argento, I could squeeze him outside the wings and he would come up on that good ground, but he wasn’t doing that today. He hasn’t done anything wrong - it’s the Gold Cup - and he has run a game race.”
Paul Townend, rider of The Midnight Club, said: “They just went too quick for me.” Jason Maguire, rider of Weird Al, said: “He bled”
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