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Synchronised takes Gold Cup title as Kauto Star drops out

Champion jockey Tony McCoy rode to victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Synchronised, claiming his second title.

Trained by Jonjo O'Neill and owned by legendary gambler JP McManus, the 8-1 chance had too much raw grit for big outsider The Giant Bolster.

Tony McCoy rides to victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Synchronised Credit: PA

Synchronised's two-and-a-quarter-length victory, no matter how impressive, was nonetheless slightly dampened after two-times Gold Cup winner Kauto Star was pulled up at the ninth fence by Ruby Walsh.

Ruby Walsh pulls up two-times Gold Cup champion Kauto Star at the ninth fence Credit: PA

Kauto Star's owner, Clive Smith, said it was "90% certain" the legendary 12-year-old would be retired. He said: "What a great career he's had and he's been a wonderful horse. I've been so proud to own him and also the support of everybody has been absolutely tremendous.

"I would say it's 90% certain that he'll be retired. Someone will have to come up with a very good reason for me not to retire him."

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.

He said: "He's absolutely fine. Ruby wasn't happy after he'd jumped a couple of fences and we said if he wasn't happy to pull him up, and he's done the right thing."

Synchronised ridden by Tony McCoy (left) jump the last as they go on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup Credit: PA

McCoy, whose sole Gold Cup success had come in 1997 courtesy of Mr Mulligan, said: "He was off the bridle the whole way and when I missed the third-last I thought my chance had gone.

"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."

Synchronised take the Cheltenham Gold Cup title Credit: PA

O'Neill, who was securing his first Gold Cup as a trainer, added: "AP was brilliant on him, he knows him so well.

"Our big worry was keeping him in the race as, if he makes mistakes, he gets behind. A lot of work has gone into him at home so it was a great team effort from the yard.

"He only came right in last 10 days or so and we weren't really confident. He flowered in the last few days and it was spot-on timing."

Jockey Tony McCoy celebrates his second Gold Cup win Credit: PA