Thursday, 7 September 2017

Jessica Harrington excited as Sizing John eyes a second Cheltenham Gold Cup

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Jessica Harrington will hope her Gold Cup winning Sizing John can create history, as he hopes to land the illustrious triple crown worth £1 million.

The seven-year-old enjoyed a stellar campaign last season, losing only once and landing the Irish, English and Punchestown Gold Cup.

Harrington believes her stable star is well on-track for a Cheltenham return, as he bids to become the first horse to reclaim a Gold Cup since the great Kauto Star in 2009.

"He's still only seven and to win the Gold Cup at such a young age was a remarkable achievement," Harrington told the Racing Post.

"He's had only three runs over three miles or further and has won them all. I can never remember being so excited ahead of a season.

"He developed into a top-class stayer last spring and produced his best performance at Cheltenham.

"It would be great to get back there and defend his crown.

"It's the pinnacle for every staying chaser and he's the champion staying chaser at the moment."

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Sizing John was Jessica Harrington's first ever runner in the Cheltenham Gold Cup

The Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, Kempton's King George on Boxing Day and jump racing's pinnacle race, Gold Cup, complete the triple crown.

The closest a horse has got to completing the prize is Cue Card, who enjoyed wins at Haydock and Kempton but fell when travelling strongly in the Cotswold.

Sizing John is being targeted towards the Betfair Chase, where he would become the first ever Irish-trained winner of the Grade One event.

"Our aim is to start him off in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 25, he looks fantastic," said the Kildare-based handler.

"We're keen to have a crack at the £1 million bonus for winning the three races at Haydock, Kempton and Cheltenham (Gold Cup).

"It's exciting to have a horse to run in those races, and the triple crown has always been on our minds since he won at Punchestown."

Although a 6/1 favourite for the Festival's feature race, the likes of former winner Coneygree and King George winner Thistlecrack were absent from the race.

This year could include the likes of Festival winners Yorkhill and Might Bite, whilst Harrington's very own Irish National winner Our Duke could be a Gold Cup contender.

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