04/12/2012 1:02PM

England: Synchronised goes for historic double in Grand National at Aintree

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Synchronised can become the first horse since Golden Miller in 1934 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same year when he starts as the 164-pound highweight in Saturday’s Grand National at Aintree Racecourse in England.

The presence of a Gold Cup winner in the Grand National is a rarity.

The Gold Cup is run over three miles and two furlongs, while the Grand National is run over a grueling four miles and four furlongs. Horses seldom run in the two races in consecutive starts. Plus, the Gold Cup winner almost always carries high weight in the Grand National, a handicap, compared to the Gold Cup, a race run at level weights.

Synchronised, who won the Gold Cup on March 16, will be ridden by leading rider A.P. McCoy, who won his first Grand National in 2010 with Don’t Push It. Synchronised is trained by former champion jockey Jonjo O’Neill for J.P. McManus, who has the largest stable of steeplechase horses in Britain and Ireland.

As of Thursday, Synchronised was the 6-1 favorite in an expected field of 40, the maximum allowed. The race is run over two circuits.

A 9-year-old gelding, Synchronized will start over the National fences for the first time on Saturday. His competition includes defending champion Ballabriggs (12-1) and Junior (9-1), who was beaten by a nose in a prep race at Doncaster Racecourse in January.

There are two sets of brother and sister riders in the race – Paul and Nina Carberry and Ruby and Katie Walsh. Of them, Paul Carberry has arguably the best chance, on the 16-1 shot Chicago Grey.

The race is expected to handle approximately $160 million between bookmakers and tote pools.

The three-day Grand National meeting started on Thursday.

◗ Big Buck’s won his 17th consecutive race in the three-mile Liverpool Hurdle, breaking a 60-year record for consecutive wins by a National Hunt horse in England set by Sir Ken in the early 1950s. Big Buck’s was ridden by Ruby Walsh.