McCoy is right on Sync
Synchronised justified the faith of his connections by claiming an unlikely victory in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown yesterday.
Without success since claiming an attritional Welsh National in January of this year, Jonjo O'Neill's eight-year-old looked set to defend his crown at Chepstow until a late change of plan saw him cross the Irish Sea.
With conditions at the Foxrock venue having dried out significantly in recent days, it seemed Synchronised would face a huge task to get the better of last-time-out Grade One winners Rubi Light and Quito De La Roque, but he trumped that pair with remarkable ease.
John Durkan scorer Rubi Light looked to have most of his rivals in trouble heading down the back following a fine effort from the front, but he was unable to stop Synchronised and Tony McCoy sweeping by at the top of the straight.
Quito De La Roque, the 13-8 favourite, was another to arrive on the scene going well, but while he and Rubi Light began to tread water, Synchronised was just getting going and he ate up the ground on the run for home to score by eight and a half lengths.
Rubi Light saw out the three miles well enough on his first try at the distance to hold on to the runner-up spot, with Quito De La Roque third.
Frank Berry, racing manager to Synchronised's owner, JP McManus, said: "I thought the ground might be too quick for him but he handled it really well.
"He had 11st 11lb in the Welsh National at Chepstow and it was going to be a slog, so we made the decision to come here.
"He gets the trip and he jumps, and he'll get an entry in the Gold Cup.
"He had a hard enough race there and more than likely will go straight to Cheltenham.
"He'll also get an entry in the English Grand National."
McCoy added: "We were a little worried about the ground drying up, but Jonjo was happy to come here for him.
"He's got great stamina, and that's really what brought out the best of him.
"If he does happen to run in the Gold Cup he won't disgrace himself."
The Gigginstown House Stud-owned Last Instalment (11-4) earlier maintained his unbeaten record over fences with a superb performance in the Topaz Fort Leney Novice Chase.
With Gigginstown-retained jockey Davy Russell having decided to ride 7-4 favourite First Lieutenant, Brian O'Connell partnered Philip Fenton's Last Instalment, whose jumping impressed throughout the three-mile journey.
He quickened past Allee Garde in the home straight and safely negotiated the final obstacle to secure a six-length win, with First Lieutenant staying on for second.
Fenton said: "He's a lovely horse. I was surprised that Davy opted for the other one (First Lieutenant).
"He will have one more run before Cheltenham if he goes there.
"He doesn't particularly need one, but he could go for the PJ Moriarty Chase here."
Colm Murphy's laudable mare Voler La Vedette opened up new options by securing her first victory at three miles in the woodiesdiy.com Christmas Hurdle.
The seven-year-old had comprehensively beaten the reopposing Mourad in the two-and-a-half-mile Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse earlier this month, but the latter was the odds-on favourite to turn the tables over this longer trip.
Ruby Walsh kicked for home first on the market leader, but Andrew Lynch cut a confident figure on the Colm Murphy-trained Voler La Vedette (13-8), who readily pulled clear of her main rival to score by four and three-quarter lengths.
Voler La Vedette is declared to run in Thursday's Istabraq Festival Hurdle over two miles, but is unlikely to take her chance.
Murphy said: "She has loads of options, she could go back to two miles or have another three-mile race."
Point-to-point and bumper winner Make Your Mark (4-5 favourite) made a hugely impressive start to his career over timber in the Madigans Maiden Hurdle.
Mullins said: "He'll go the novice hurdle route.
"He'll move up the pecking order after that. He doesn't do anything flashy at home but when you ask him a question he answers it.
"I thought he might be more of a stayer, but he shows more class than I thought."
Mullins and McCoy successfully teamed up with 9-4 favourite Quiscover Fontaine in the Star Best For Racing Coverage Rated Hurdle, while the champion trainer completed a treble for the day with The Bosses Cousin (11-10 favourite) in the concluding bumper.