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McCoy a National treasure.

Byline: TOM PEACOCK

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

The pounds 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.

Trainer Jonjo O'Neill had given the gelding just two sighters over hurdles this term and although there had been market confidence during the week, he was usurped as favourite on the day by Maktu (9-2).

Travelling Pat Murphy's star played a major part before finishing fifth but he was outshone by Victor Dartnall's Midlands National third Giles Cross, who ran a mighty race from the front under Harry Skelton and appeared to be travelling within himself into the final half-mile.

However, the fact they had already ploughed through more than three miles of Chepstow mud was bound to have an effect and Synchronised moved dangerously alongside with a couple of fences left to jump.

As talented as Skelton is, McCoy with his eyes on the prize is not a man to be trifled with and he had forged two and three-quarter lengths clear by the line 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.

"Anything before is history, you might as well be someone who hasn't won it. Mind you, as a lot of people have been reminding me ever since Aintree, I'm probably not going to have many more chances to win these races."

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 went on: "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."

It was fairly heartbreaking for the considerably less decorated Skelton, who rued: "I definitely thought I'd be in the first three.

"They didn't go a great gallop and he was jumping really well in front.

"AP said he really clouted the fourth-last but when he got to me at the second-last it was as if he had just joined in the race.

"The winner's a really good horse, and Victor has done very well to get him back."

In third was the prominently-ridden I'moncloudnine, whose trainer Neil Mulholland said: "He ran a cracker."

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IN SYNC: Tony McCoy on big race winner Synchronised
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jan 9, 2011
Words:586
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