Cheltenham Gold Cup, England, by Lynn Lawson

March 16th, 2012 – The Cheltenham Gold Cup was the climax of another spectacular week of National Hunt racing at this annual festival in the picturesque Cotswolds. Run over a distance of 3 miles 2 furlongs in a natural amphitheatre of rolling hills, this coveted race has a prize fund of £284,750. The two most fancied contenders were dual Gold Cup winner (2007, 2009) Kauto Star, the most popular horse in the country, and last year’s winner Long Run. In front of a 65,000 crowd, Long Run started favourite in a bid to retain his crown. Early on it became apparent to jockey Ruby Walsh that Kauto Star was not running well – a fall during training in the run up to the festival had previously poured doubt on his participation. He was pulled up and it is likely that this 12 year old superstar will now have a well-earned retirement after 7 successive festival appearances and winning earnings of over £2 million. Long Run failed to produce the sparkle of last year and turning for home with the long haul up the hill towards the finish, met the last fence in unison with Synchronised and The Giant Bolster. A battle of tenacity and stamina ensued. Former Welsh National hero Synchronised emerged the stronger of the trio to give 16 times Champion jockey A P McCoy his second victory in this prestigious race. Owned and bred by legendary Irishman J P McManus, Synchronised, who is small in stature compared to many, put up a gutsy performance for popular local trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

1st Synchronised 8/1

2nd The Giant Bolster 50/1

3rd Long Run 7/4 Fav

Lynn Lawson

Leave a Reply