Fontwell failure long forgotten as Synchronised strikes Gold

Kris Spin won the Primo Bar & Bistro Barbados Handicap Hurdle / Picture: Nigel Bowles - Fontwell Park

Snow can’t stop St Patrick’s Day fun at Fontwell

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LITTLE more than two years ago, he was humbled by a girl.

Beaten into third by Alan King mare Over Sixty and rival Penn Da Benn, few would have predicted such a meteoric rise.

But yesterday the transformation was complete.

From Fontwell also-ran to Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, Synchronised announced himself on the biggest stage of all.

There was nothing comfortable about yesterday’s win, though.

It took a vintage performance in the plate from 16-time champion jockey Tony McCoy to deliver the son of Sadler’s Wells at the perfect moment.

Not that the modest Irishman would admit it.

Instead, he chose to heap praise on to trainer Jonjo O’Neill and owner JP McManus.

It was the same double act who gave McCoy the leg up on his sole Grand National winner Don’t Push It back in 2010.

And McCoy was relieved to bag the big-race double for his biggest supporters.

‘He was off the bridle the whole way and when I missed the third-last I thought my chance had gone,’ said McCoy.

‘He’s an amazing horse and it was an amazing performance.

‘I’m so pleased to win it for JP (McManus) as he’s been so good to me.

‘Jonjo has done an incredible job.

‘I’ve got a Grand National and a Gold Cup out of the man – I love him to bits.’

O’Neill recognised the McCoy factor, though and was quick to salute the pilot of his 8/1 shot.

‘AP was brilliant – he knows him so well,’ he said.

‘A lot of work has gone into him at home, so it was a great team effort from the yard.

‘We weren’t really confident but he flowered in the past few days.

‘It’s fantastic to win it. It’s a big team effort.

‘I knew the one thing he would do was stay – the big problem was keeping him in the race and AP did it.’

Kauto Star was already a dual Gold Cup winner when Synchronised suffered defeat on a chilly Monday at Fontwell.

Yesterday’s feature race – the blue riband event of the four-day Festival – was billed as a tear-up between him and 7/4-favourite Long Run.

It never materialised, though.

While Long Run battled on to finish third, Ruby Walsh pulled up Kauto Star before halfway.

Owner Clive Smith later admitted it was unlikely the jumping legend – a veteran of 16 Grade 1 wins – would race again.

He said: ‘Someone will have to come up with a very good reason for me not to retire him.’

Splitting Synchronised and Long Run on the podium yesterday was The Giant Bolster at 50/1.