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Sizing John Faces Cheltenham Challenge

October 25, 2017 09:17:49 PM
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Source: HorseRacingUK via Twitter

Sizing John put in a fine performance to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup earlier this year and his sights will be set on defending the crown in 2018’s festival. The bay gelding will be aiming to join elite company as only six horses have managed to win the race in successive seasons, with Best Mate the last competitor to win in consecutive years.

Jessica Harrington’s charge produced a dominant performance at the race in March, finishing well ahead of his nearest rival Minella Rocco.

The challenge ahead of Harrington and the seven-year-old is to maintain that high standard of form for the next term as their several horses that will be vying for the title.

Many of those horses will be in action in the dying embers of the season and it’s worth monitoring the latest horse racing odds for accumulators, although Sizing John is done for the campaign.

The bay gelding had entered Cheltenham Festival with form under his belt. He notched a win at the Kinloch Brae Chase in Thurles to begin the 2017 campaign, claiming the victory by a comfortable margin.

He then made a statement at the Irish Gold Cup in Leopardstown. The seven-year-old clinched a narrow victory as jockey Robbie Power timed his surge through the field to perfection, overcoming an early mistake to beat out his nearest rival – Empire of Dirt – by three-quarters of a length.

That result set the stage of his dominant performance at the Gold Cup as Power again used the speed of the horse well through the middle of the race before upping the ante two fences out to win by two-and-three-quarter lengths.

He carried that form into his next outing at the Punchestown Gold Cup, edging out Djakadam by the narrowest of margins due to another fine run down the stretch. That ability towards the end of the meet makes Sizing John a formidable opponent.

However, one horse that could knock him off next season. Yorkhill is an outstanding horse that has proven calibre at Cheltenham. The chestnut gelding delivered a fine run at the event in 2016 to win the Novices' Hurdle crown, beating out Yanworth by one-and-three-quarter lengths.

Source: Racing Post via Twitter

Willie Mullins' charge continued his fine form at Cheltenham Festival this year. With Ruby Walsh in the saddle, Yorkhill had to come through the field before mounting a surge towards the end of the race. The Irish horse gained the lead, only to be put under pressure. However, he held off Top Notch to win the Novices' Chase.

Yorkhill's last outing in April ended in disappointment, finishing second in the Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse. However, it's the horse that must be taken seriously by Sizing John and his training staff ahead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup due to his outstanding record.

History could be in the making for Harrington’s charge at the event next year, but there will need to be solid preparation as well as another flawless performance on the track to ensure that he can join the elite company.

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