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McCoy to partner Carlingford Lough in Gold Cup

Tony McCoy has confirmed his final ride in the Cheltenham Gold Cup will be aboard Carlingford Lough, and Coral make the improving chaser 10/1 to provide the retiring champion jockey with a third success in the contest.

The John Kiely trained nine-year-old provided McCoy with his first victory in the Irish Hennessy earlier this month – the the day after he announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

McCoy has chosen Carlingford Lough over Holywell, although it’s no great surprise considering the former is owned by his great friend JP McManus for whom he has been retained to ride since 2004.

Writing in his Cheltenham Festival blog, McCoy, who landed the Gold Cup aboard Mr Mulligan in 1997 and Synchronised in 2012, said: “I couldn’t be happier to say that Carlingford Lough will be my ride in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

“He gave me a great feel winning the Irish Hennessy and I am very much looking forward to riding him in the Gold Cup, if he lines up. Gold Cup day is probably the most important day of the whole jumping year and I am hoping he has got a live chance.

“People might look back to last year and point out he was only sixth in the RSA but he never really got into a rhythm and we saw more of what he was capable of when he won the Grade 1 at Punchestown.

“John Kiely has the horse in great shape and he is definitely going there with a chance.”

Carlingford Lough has a similar profile to Synchronised who McCoy partnered to victory for McManus in the 2012 Gold Cup.

Like Synchronised, the gelding is a dour stayer who needs nudging and cajoling into his races and heads for into the contest of the back of a career-best performance.

Synchronised showed improved form to win the Lexus before triumphing at Cheltenham, and Carlingford Lough’s win in the Irish Hennessy was a huge step forward on what he had previously shown.

Nine-year-olds also have a good recent record in the 3m 2f contest having won three of the last six runnings, and in what looks a wide open renewal Carlingford Lough looks a big player in the blue riband event on Friday, March 13th.