The 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup was another in a long line of special races, pitting past champions against up and coming stars. This year’s stars included 2 time winner Kauto Star, again partnered by Ruby Walsh and 2011 champion and 7-4 favourite, Long Run.
Habitual front runner, Midnight Chase, ridden by Dougie Costello, led the field for the first circuit of Prestbury Park in exactly the same fashion as he had in the 2011 Gold Cup. Kauto Star, 3-1 2nd favourite, made heavy running of the early stages, a fact that was clearly concerning Ruby Walsh and which eventually led him to pull the gelding up at the 10th fence, ending his race.
What a friend, part owned by Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson and ridden by Daryl Jacob had been the first casualty of the race, falling at the 2nd fence.
After the initial jostling, the field settled with a clear group of 7 horses vying for the title. At this stage, it could have been any of them. The lead was shared between Midnight Chase and the Irish horse, Time for Rupert, ridden by Paul Webber, with Synchronised at the back of the pack, but still within striking distance.
Over the Last Fence
Giant Bolster, the 50-1 outsider took the lead over the last and was looking well placed for a shock Gold Cup win until Synchronised rallied strongly to take the title by 2 and a quarter lengths.
The Cheltenham crowd had a new champion to cheer and the dream pairing of AP McCoy and trainer Jonjo O’neill were celebrating a famous win ahead of Tom Scudamore on Giant Bolster and last year’s winner, Long Run.
“He’s an amazing horse and it was an amazing performance. He’s really delivered. He flowered in the last few days and it was spot-on timing. It’s fantastic to win it as a trainer”.
The race marked Tony McCoy’s 2nd Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph and unfortunately, the last time Kauto Star would grace Prestbury Park, as owner Clive Smith admitted that it was “90% certain” that the amazing gelding would be retired.
Another great Cheltenham Festival had had a fitting end with a thrilling finale and another great Irish winner.