A typically well judged ride from 15-times champion and 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Tony McCoy, saw Jonjo O'Neill's Synchronised gallop to a brave victory in the stamina sapping Coral Welsh National at Chepstow on Saturday, and in the process give his rider some thinking to do as to which horse he might partner in the Aintree equivalent in three months time, writes Elliot Slater.
Synchronised (5/1), held up through the first half of the three-and-three-quarter mile- race, which was run on heavy ground after plenty of overnight rain. He made eye-catching ground after six out before being sent in pursuit of the gallant Giles Cross as they jumped the second last. Leading at the last, the JP McManus-owned eight-year-old forged away to beat the gallant runner-up, with L'moncloudnine keeping on for third and Ballyfitz grabbing the fourth place spot ahead of Maktu.
Winner of the Midlands Grand National over half a mile further in similarly testing conditions last spring, Synchronised is certainly a classy stayer when the mud is flying, and bookmakers reacted by slashing him to 20/1 in the Grand National odds. Some have made him 16/1 joint-favourite for the Aintree spectacle together with stable companion and last year's winner Don't Push It, on whom McCoy achieved the much cherished success that ultimately proved the key to him winning the popular BBC vote last month.
The big question now is whether or not McCoy might be tempted to desert his old pal Don't Push It in favour of the new kid on the block? The chances are that the decision will be very much ground dependant, as decent or even fast ground would make a bid for the race by Synchronised quite unlikely. Doubtless the champion jockey will keep his cards close to his chest until the very last moment.