Sixteen-time champion jockey Tony McCoy was at his sensational best when galvanising Synchronised into action to produce a storming late run to land the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The Jonjo O’Neill-trained, JP McManus-owned nine-year-old – who was sent off a well-backed 8/1 – wasn’t travelling well at any stage in the contest but he stayed on best of all to catch the 50-1 outsider The Giant Bolster on the run-in.
Long Run, the 7-4 favourite, was always well placed under Sam Waley-Cohen but he was outbattled up the hill by the first two.
Two-time champion Kauto Star was pulled up on the first circuit with the crowd breaking out in spontaneous applause during the contest.
McCoy said: “It’s great for Jonjo and JP McManus. He’s really delivered today.
“He was off the bridle the whole way and when I missed the third-last I thought my chance had gone.”
McCoy, who was securing his second Gold Cup victory after Mr Mulligan struck in 1997, added: “He’s an amazing horse and it was an amazing performance.
“I’m so pleased to win it for JP 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 and I love
him to bits.
“Jackdaws Castle looks a closed shop with JP and just a few other owners and I can’t understand why he doesn’t get more horses.”
Trainer Paul Nicholls said Kauto Star, whose participation in the Gold Cup was in jeopardy following a schooling fall a fortnight ago, had returned from the race unscathed.