The 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup featured the defending champion, Long Run, who was sent off 7/4 favourite, and two-time winner Kauto Star, by now a twelve-year-old and making what turned out to be his final racecourse appearance, who was sent off 3/1 second favourite. Kauto Star, though, ran no sort of race on his fourth and final attempt to win a third Gold Cup, weakening after a mistake at the eighth fence and being pulled up before halfway in the 3 mile 2½-furlong contest.
Long Run, on the other hand, made a bold bid to retain his title. Despite hitting the third-last and second-last fences, the seven-year-old was driven to challenge at the final obstacle and, although he could on keep on at one pace under pressure in the closing stages, finished an honourable third, beaten a total of just 3 lengths.
Victory went to the Lexus Chase winner, Synchronised, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by A.P. McCoy, at 8/1. O’Neill later admitted that, ‘Our big worry was keeping him in the race’ but, despite several jumping errors, the nine-year-old rallied from an unpromising position turning for home to emerge as a potent threat at the final fence. Under a vintage McCoy drive, Synchronised tackled the leader, The Giant Bolster, early on the run-in and kept on gamely to win by 2¼ lengths. The Giant Bolster, trained by David Bridgwater and ridden by Tom Scudamore, belied odds of 50/1 to finish a rallying second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Long Run.
Less than a month later, Synchronised attempted to become the first horse since the legendary Golden Miller, in 1934, to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season. Sadly there was no fairytale ending; Synchronised initially fell at Becher’s Brook on the first circuit, but took another, fatal, fall at the eleventh fences when running loose.