O’Leary’s horse, Quito De La Roque, was favourite, but nobody had told that to the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Synchronised, who galloped away with the €150,000 Lexus Chase, leaving O’Leary’s horse trailing in third place.
The Ryanair chief could hardly believe his eyes — so much so that he was spotted sporting two pairs of glasses, one tinted for the occasional sunshine and to savour better moments earlier with Make Your Mark winning the first race and Last Instalment the Grade 1 Fort Leney Novice Chase.
Superbly handled by British champion jockey Tony McCoy, the eight-year-old Synchronised swept ahead going to the final fence to easily beat Rubi Light.
Synchronised is trained by Jonjo O’Neill, a native of Castletownroche, Co Cork, who is based at the Jackdaws Castle training establishment, near Cheltenham racecourse.
Despite the defeat, which ended Quito De La Roque’s five-race winning streak, O’Leary managed a smile as he gave McManus a friendly pat on the back and congratulated him on his win.
“Synchronised is not the biggest in the world, but is very game and brave,” said McManus.
“This will be a tonic for Jonjo. He is a bit under the weather.”