Saturday 28 September 2019

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2012

The 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup, sponsored, for the first time, by Betfred, featured 13 runners and was won by Synchronised, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by A.P. McCoy. The race also featured the final racecourse appearance by Kauto Star, winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice and the King George VI Chase five times, who was eventually retired from racing the following October.

Kauto Star was sent off 3/1 second favourite, behind defending champion and 7/4 favourite Long Run but, after losing a prominent early position at the seventh fence, weakened after a mistake at the next fence and was pulled up before halfway.

Meanwhile, Midnight Chase made the running until headed by Time For Rupert at the fourth last, where he blundered, but Time For Rupert, too, was swamped on the run to the second last fence. At that point, 50/1 outsider The Giant Bolster took the lead and looked, momentarily, as if he might cause an almighty surprise. However, Long Run, on his inside, jumped upsides at the last, while Synchronised, who’d been ridden along in sixth as the field turned back towards home, came home strongly on the outside under a vintage McCoy drive. The 8/1 chance fought his way into the lead shortly afterwards and kept on gamely up the hill for a dramatic win. The Giant Bolster rallied for second, beaten 2¼ lengths, with Long Run a further three-quarters of a length away in third.

McCoy, who celebrating his second win in the race, after Mr. Mulligan in 1997, said of Synchronised, “He’s an amazing horse and it was an amazing performance. He’s really delivered.”

Jonjo O'Neill, who became the latest of a select group of men to ride, and train, a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, said, “AP [McCoy] 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.”

Tragically, Synchronised next ran in the Grand National at Aintree less than a month later; ridden, once again, by A.P. McCoy, he was sent off 10/1 second favourite, but fell at Becher’s Brook on the first circuit and, despite getting up and galloping away, broke a hind leg after falling again, when running loose, five fences later and was put down.

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