Only one horse has won the Gold Cup and Grand National in the same season, the legendary Golden Miller in 1934. It’s a sobering stat for the connections of Synchronised even if earlier this week Tony McCoy was talking up the opportunity the nine-year-old has of making history. However when you look a little closer the stat is somewhat misleading given that only 17 Gold Cup winning horses have actually run in the same year’s National. The demands of the Gold Cup and the proximity of the two races tend to put connections off.
In 1935 Golden Miller attempted a double double but having won the Gold Cup he fell in the National. Twelve months on Golden Miller won a record fifth Gold Cup in succession but was brought down at the first fence in the National. In 1946 the Tom Dreaper Prince Regent won the Gold Cup but he had to settle for third in the National.
More recently L'Escargot won the National in 1975 but that was four years after he won his second Gold Cup.
Alverton, ridden by Synchronised’s trainer Jonjo O’Neill, won the 1979 Gold Cup but two weeks later his double bid ended in tragedy as he died after taking a crashing fall at Becher’s Brook.
The horse that came closest to emulating Golden Miller was Garrison Savannah but after narrowly beating The Fellow in the 1991 Gold Cup he was collared on the long National run-in by Seagram having looked certain to win at the last.
Twelve months later Cool Ground claimed a surprise Gold Cup victory but he had to settle for 10th in the National. In 1994 The Fellow finally won the Gold Cup and was in contention to win at Aintree three weeks later when he fell at the Canal Turn. In 1995 Master Oats demolished the field to win the Gold Cup and was in second at the last fence before weakening to finish seventh.
Since then no Gold Cup winner has attempted to win the National although Rough Quest won the National having finished second behind Imperial Call in the Gold Cup and Hedgehunter finished second in both races in 2006.
The overall picture is that of the few horses who have attempted to win both races, most have run well for a long time. Over to you Synchronised.