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McCoy takes Welsh glory

Resolute stayer Synchronised helped Tony McCoy complete a grand slam of National victories in the Coral-sponsored Welsh version at Chepstow.

The £80,000 prize, carried over from Christmas, will not earn the champion jockey the same widespread recognition as his triumph aboard Don't Push It at Aintree last year.

But he joins Ruby Walsh as the only current rider to have lifted the great handicap chases of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Synchronised (5-1) had preceded Don't Push It's success by winning the Midlands National last March and it appeared inevitable he would be involved in the finish with McCoy always looking confident.

But Giles Cross ran a mighty race from the front under Harry Skelton, and gave him a tough time before being caught two out and giving way at the last as Jonjo O'Neill's charge won by two and three-quarter lengths in the iconic green and gold silks of JP McManus.

McCoy said: "I've won the English, Irish and now Welsh Nationals for Jonjo and JP, so that's very special. But you always want to win all the good races. As a lot of people have been reminding me ever since Aintree, I'm probably not going to have many more chances."

The sponsors now make Synchronised the 14-1 favourite for the John Smith's Grand National itself but with O'Neill not present, future plans were unclear.

McCoy warned: "He took a long time to learn how to jump normal fences and he doesn't jump out at me as a typical National horse. He might take to it, he might not.

"This was the ideal race for him, three miles five furlongs round here on soft ground. I don't know if he has the scope for the Grand National fences, but he did jump better today than he has ever done. He's achieved his big target, this was his Gold Cup.

"He has never been a brilliant jumper but he just needs extreme distances and very soft ground. After he won the Midlands National Jonjo was always preparing him for this race and it was a brilliant training performance."


From Belfast Telegraph