Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Merle Christensen

Ireland-trained Sizing John wins Gold Cup

Ireland-trained Sizing John wins Gold Cup

Sizing John, given a superb ride by Robbie Power, who had convinced Harrington he could stay further than two miles, seized the initiative at the penultimate fence to come home clear of Minella Rocco with long-time pacesetter Native River third.

Unfortunately he got that obstacle all wrong and his race was over, but he looked likely to put up a good challenge to the reopposing victor Master Blueyes before his mishap.

It's hard to find a challenger but both Wholestone (5/1) and Monalee (8/1) will have their backers while there are many who think the aforementioned Augusta Kate could have won had she stayed on her feet in Kildare.

Lizzie Kelly, 23, believes she could place in Friday's blue riband event, despite being a 50-1 outsider, riding on Tea for Two.

"The Gold Cup is the race I've listened to at first - being of that pre-TV racing generation - and then watching it since I was so high". It means more than any victor I've ridden for Jessica. I was glad that on the first circuit he put a few short ones in and he wasn't winging fences.

"It's his jumping that got him here".

Quarter rounders When is the Champions League quarter-final draw, how can I watch it and which teams are in it? Not so sure, I think age is against him at 11 and he can be inconsistent. "I've no idea what he'll do next, all I was thinking about was this race".

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Meanwhile, owner Alan Potts said: "It's unreal".

With Native River and Champagne West setting a decent gallop, jumping was at a premium and none coped with the fences better than Sizing John, on whom he rode a clever waiting race. "Jessica Harrington is a genius".

With her step father as her trainer and her mother part-owner of the horse she is riding, it is very much a family enterprise. Everyone has done a top-class job. He said, "This is even more special as I was only 25 when I won the National and I'm 35 now".

After two wins, we had to settle for a second yesterday but we're confident of finishing with a flourish and while the odds aren't going to make you a millionaire, Defi Du Seuil at 2/1 is the bet.

"We had two dreams - to have a runner in the Gold Cup and to win one, and we've achieved the first. I did everything I could to get back, I wasn't letting Davy Russell on him!"

Minella Rocco however stayed on strongly to claim a deserved second, while Native River was third. But Jonjo O'Neill's runners are peaking now and it would be no surprise to see a big effort from him with Noel Fehily aboard.

The punters favourite, 11-year-old Cue Card, never looked like becoming the oldest victor of the race in 48 years and came to grief at the third last - the same fence he fell at in the 2016 edition.

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