Ireland-trained Sizing John wins Gold Cup

Randall Craig
March 18, 2017

Ridden by jockey Robbie Power and trained by Jessica Harrington, the Irish challenger made it something of a flawless St Patrick's Day for their connections by coming through the field in the closing stages to claim a thrilling win. When you're on the best horse you can go anywhere.

"Any new horse that comes into your yard, people ask 'is it a Gold Cup horse?'", he said. It is impossible to know how he would have fared had he stood up, there is a school of thought that says that he wouldn't have beaten Don Cossack anyway, but he was travelling well and we will never know for certain. Indeed, no 10-year-old has won it since 1998.

Willie Mullins has trained 52 Festival winners, but never the victor of the Gold Cup.

If he can sort out his jumping then Cue Card should go close.

Meanwhile, Lizzie Kelly - the first woman to ride in a Gold Cup for decades - departed from Tea For Two at the second fence.

Deeply impressive handicap victor at the last Festival and appears to have taken a step forward since joining Gordon Elliott this season. The former is one of the most popular horses in training and has amassed over £1million in his career to date including two Festival wins.

After yesterday's return to form, it's no real surprise that the Ruby Walsh/Willie Mullins combination has been backed into favouritism overnight, with Djakadam now a general 3/1 shot.

The well-fancied Cue Card fell three out at the same fence as a year ago while Sizing John went to the front at the second last and followed that with a good jump at the last to add the Cheltenham Gold Cup to the Irish Gold Cup. There are seven races across the day, with all eyes on the main event - the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The stand-out piece of form for Mick Jazz has to be his run behind Labaik at Navan when he was 12/1 but looked all over the victor before his grey stable companion came and done him close to home.

"It's beginner's luck", laughed Harrington, pointing out this was her first runner in the race.

Early promise over fences, including when a wide-margin Grade One victor at Aintree two years ago. A lot of these will have to be disappointing for him to get into the finish. It is run over a distance of three miles, two and a half furlongs and they will jump a total of 22 fences.

"I always said when this horse stepped up in trip he'd win".

Minella Rocco however stayed on strongly to claim a deserved second, while Native River was third.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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