Irish race fans had one extra reason to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. They saw Sizing John win the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. He won the race beating Minella Rocco, another Irish horse, by two & three-quarter lengths. Here, it must be noted that the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most celebrated event in the National Hunt calendar.
About Sizing John’s Participation
The two people responsible for this amazing performance of Sizing John are surely Robbie Power and Jessica Harrington. Kildare-based Harrington being Sizing John’s trainer, while Power his rider. Power's performance was even more special considering he spent most of the 2016-2017 season nursing a fractured eye socket and cheek. He was still nursing injuries on this triumphant ride. He was suffering from the worst possible consequence of the injury he incurred; he had double vision. Due to Power’s double vision, the 7-1 shot mistakenly landed just in front of the 2nd last fence. However, eventually, the Power managed to prove all critics questioning his stamina wrong by overcoming the final hurdle flawlessly.
For Harrington, this win marked the completion of the Holy Trinity. Prior to this, she won the Champion Hurdle as the trainer of Jezki and Champion Chase as trainer of Moscow Flyer. On the other hand, for Power this was a much awaited comeback. Power, who spends most of his free time by participating in showjumping events of highest level, last won a prestigious event almost a decade ago when he managed to win the Grand National with another Irish horse Silver Birch.
When Power was asked to choose the better of the two wins, he instantly picked the win at the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup. He said that he was only 25 when he won the Grand National and felt that he has the ability to win everything. He was not even half as confident when taking part in the Gold Cup of 2017. As a 35 year old rider, he knew that it’s not possible for him to be so dogmatic.
This win meant a lot even for Alan Potts, the owner of Sizing John. Potts gathered all his wealth by designing various “sizing” machineries for mining firms. Later in his life he started investing a large portion of his wealth for purchasing horses for racing at various National Hunts. For Potts, who is a part of this sport for around a dozen years, this victory is “unreal”.
He said that he dreamt of winning this prestigious race since the day he became part of the racing circuit. He added that he never stops himself from investing heavily so that he managed to get hold of the best the world currently has. Here, it must be mentioned that Potts and his team also won the 2017 Irish Gold Cup.
This is the first time Potts has sent any of his horses to run at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Harrington didn’t want to take part in the Gold Cup straight away. She wanted to use this year’s Ryanair Chase as the stepping stone for the 2018 edition of the Gold Cup. However, Potts insisted that it’s high time to take part in the biggest horse race the country currently hosts; the trainer eventually had to obey the owner’s instruction. Harrington mentioned that she picked Sizing John as she knew that the participating horse would have to compete with the famous French-bred racing horse Douvan and was confident that John has the power of taking up the challenge.
What Happened on the Day of the Race?
The day of the race was perfect as far as the jockey was concerned. His initial plan was that of taking a wide route. Upon hitting the 2nd fence, the jockey changed his pre-decided position and got inside. Around the same time, British jockey Lizzie Kelly had to leave the race as her horse Tea For Two committed a terrible mistake. As a result of this sudden change, Power got some additional room inside.
Sizing John is known for travelling well and he was doing the same even during this race. However, he and Power were surely under serious pressure as Djakadam and Native River, the two horses leading the race, were running pretty fast. Although Power and his horse were just behind those two horses, it was pretty clear that overtaking them will not be too easy.
The time was not that great for Cue Card, who ran the 2016 edition like a true winner. The pressure on him was even bigger and it seemed that he had to back-pedal when the competition became tougher.
Sizing John was running well and it took him some more time to reach Djakadam and Native River. In fact, the three horses jumped together to overcome the penultimate hurdle. That’s it; the rest of the race was all about John. He managed to land first and increased his speed for achieving the much needed two-length lead. While it’s true that the situation was completely unknown to him as he never covered such a huge distance before, he didn’t commit a single mistake. He managed to overcome the final hurdle flawlessly and galloped smartly to the finishing line.
While many feel that if anyone needs to be credited for this win after the horse, it’s Power, the jockey believes that the biggest reason behind this special achievement is trainer Jessica Harrington. According to him, Harrington is a real genius. Power is also nothing less than a genius as he managed to deliver such amazing performance even after rupturing a disc on his back just a couple of weeks prior to the 2017 Irish Gold Cup.
Since its inception during the early 19th century, several horse have own the Cheltenham Gold Cup multiple times. It’s not yet known whether Sizing John will be able to do the same. However, right now it can be said that the team Potts has succeeded in creating has the potential of showcasing amazing performance consistently.
Jason Coote is the founder of many websites and known gambler in Great Britain.