It comes as no surprise to learn that Jonjo O’Neill’s Grade 1 Lexus Chase winner Synchronised has been allotted top-weight of 11st 10lbs for the ‘world’s greatest steeplechase’, the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree on April 14, writes Elliot Slater.
The classy campaigner shot up the handicap following his surprise win in Ireland just before the turn of the year where he proved those that had thought of him as no more than a good staying chaser very wrong in seeing off the likes of Cheltenham Gold Cup candidates Rubi Light and Quito De La Roque with ease to place himself potentially in line for a shot at the blue riband event at Cheltenham on March 16.
The Gold Cup would certainly fit snugly into the schedule for O’Neill’s nine-year-old who would have four weeks to recover before facing the challenge of the awesome Aintree fences and anyone placing an ante-post Grand National bet online need to remember this.
Unlike other Grade 1 winners before him who have attempted to win the marathon contest, the son of Sadler’s Wells is already a proven long distance stayer having landed the 2010 Midlands Grand National in style before following up at the end of that year by beating the gallant Giles Cross in the slog that is the Coral Welsh Grand National.
Although he goes particularly well when the mud is flying Synchronised, generally on offer at 16/1 for the Grad National, has shown that he is equally at home on good ground, giving connections plenty of cause for optimism on a variety of fronts ahead of attempting to give his owner JP McManus his second win in the race in three years, following the 2010 victory of his stable companion Don’t Push It, the horse who gave 16-times champion jockey Tony McCoy a win in the race that had eluded him for so long.