Albertas Run, Ryanair Chase, Today, 2.40pm
Synchronised, Gold Cup, Tomorrow 3.20pm
Having won the last two renewals of the Ryanair Chase, Albertas Run knows his way around the Prestbury Park better than most. An 11-year-old at this stage, trainer Jonjo O’Neill knows that he’s up against it to record a hat-trick of wins particularly with Irish young guns Rubi Light and Noble Prince in the field.
Actor Jimmy Nesbitt’s Riverside Theatre heads the betting after an impressive Ascot win but O’Neill’s charge has been here, done that before and is clearly held in high regard.
“He’s in great form,” Jonjo said. “He seems like he’s retained his old ability. He loves this time of year and while there are a few new kids on the block, he’ll give them a good show.”
Jonjo O’Neill’s win as a jockey on super-mare Dawn Run in the 1986 Gold Cup is one of the racing’s greatest spectacles. But it’s training the Gold Cup winner in 2012 that’s getting Jonjo jiggy these days.
The JP McManus owned grey tackles the Blue Riband a fresh horse after staying on dourly to land the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown at Christmas. Synchronised has already won a string of staying chases including the Welsh Grand National and the Midlands Grand National a year earlier.
“He’s a fine horse,” Jonjo told me on Tuesday morning at Jackdaw’s Castle. “He’s happy out there in the field and I’m very happy with him.” And while the affable Corkman clearly thinks race favourite Long Run will take all the beating, he has high hopes that Synchronised will be getting going when others have cried enough.
Check out our exclusive clip below of the pool at Jackdaw’s Castle where Albertas Run and Synchronised do some of their work-outs, filmed on Tuesday morning before the festival.