Sizing John A Golden First For Harrington

Sizing John A Golden First For Harrington

Irish trainer Jessica Harrington won the Cheltenham Gold Cup with her first ever runner Sizing John on Friday (Mar 17) to become the most successful female trainer in Festival history. "It is a first runner in the race for me".

Victory for Bryony Frost in the Foxhunter Chase, immediately after the Gold Cup, marked another notable achievement for women in racing.

Standing in the winner's enclosure afterwards, after saddling her tenth Festival victor, Harrington was virtually speechless.

"Alan and Ann Potts have really wanted to win the Gold Cup". Yet is so almost didn't happen.

He was no match for his brilliant (now injured) stablemate Thistlecrack in King George at Kempton when looking below par, but the 11-year-old was scintillating in the Ascot Chase more recently.

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.

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It also carried Robbie Power's mount into history as the 24th Irish-trained victor of jump racing's ultimate prize and Harrington as just the third female trainer to manage the feat.

Tomorrow, the pair hope that it's third time lucky for Djakadam (7/2) who has finished second in the feature race of the festival - the Gold Cup (3.30pm) - the past two years.

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.

Power travelled down the hill with six horses in front of him but found himself in front at the second last and was travelling with such momentum that nothing could challenge after that. We won this race with Killultagh Vic (2015) and Don Poli ('14) and he has a big chance, the trip and the drying ground will suit him. "I never seemed to have any stayers in the past".

Ruby Walsh said of Djakadam: "The mistake at the second-last cost me second". "He had it over two miles behind Douvan and he has that bit of speed". I do feel very sorry for Henry de Bromhead, with this horse and Supasundae, he did all the hard work, I have only inherited them.

"This is quite unbelievable", exclaimed former three-day eventer Harrington, the most successful female trainer in the history of the Cheltenham Festival, whose previous stable stars include Champion Hurdle victor Jezki (Ire) (Milan ) and Champion Chaser Moscow Flyer (Ire) (Moscow Society).

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