Cheltenham Gold Cup 2012 – Synchronised

The 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup featured fourteen runners, including reigning champion Long Run and dual winner Kauto Star. A fortnight previously, Paul Nicholls, trainer of Kauto Star had rated his charge only ‘50-50’ to participate in the Cheltenham Gold Cup after a fall while schooling at home. Nevertheless, the pair dominated the betting, with Long Run sent off favourite, at 7/4, and Kauto Star next-best, at 3/1. The bookmakers went 8/1 bar the front two, which brought in Midnight Chase, trained by Neil Mulholland, Synchronised, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, Burton Port, trained by Nicky Henderson and Weird Al, trained by Donald McCain.

Once underway, Midnight Chase took the field along at a generous pace, but it soon became clear that jockey Ruby Walsh was less than happy with Kauto Star. After racing prominently in the early stages, the twelve-year-old lost his place and, after a mistake at the eighth fence, was pulled up before halfway. At the fourth-last fence, Midnight Chase blundered and surrendered the lead to Time For Rupert but, approaching two out, he was swamped by the horses that would eventually fight out the finish. The Giant Bolster, a largely unconsidered 50/1 outsider, took over at the head of affairs, but was pressed at the final fence by Long Run and Synchronised.

Long Run, though, could not summon the acceleration that had carried him to victory in 2011 and could only keep on at one pace on the run-in. By contrast, Synchronised, who had been off the bridle for most of the way, led soon after the final fence and kept on gamely to beat The Giant Bolster, who rallied for second place, by 2¼ lengths. Long Run eventually finished third, a further three-quarters of a length away. Winning jockey Tony McCoy later reflected on the victory of Synchronised, saying, ‘…when I missed the third-last I thought my chance had gone.’