The Jessica Harrington trained 7-1 shot, ridden by Robbie Power, powered home to claim the 2017 Timico sponsored Cheltenham Gold Cup in exhilarating fashion as Sizing John held on under pressure from Native River ridden by Noel Fehily and 3-1 favourite Djakadam partnered by Ruby Walsh. It was between these three, until Jonjo O’Neill trained Minella Rocco got up to snatch runner’s up spot at the death.
Double Gold Cup Winner
This wasn’t the first time that Sizing John had tasted Gold Cup success, taking the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown back in February.
During this frenetic race, there were two notable fallers, as Lizzie Kelly, the first woman in over 3 decades to compete in the race fell at the 2nd fence on Tea for Two and the fancied 11 year old Cue Card fell at the 3rd from home, for the second year in succession.
First Harrington Gold Cup Win
Sizing John romping first across the line represented not least the the first Cheltenham Gold Cup entry for Jessica Harrington, but also her first major prize since moving to her own yard from Henry de Bromhead’s earlier in the year.
However, Harrington is no stranger to success, as the most successful female trainer in Cheltenham Festival history, she had previously enjoyed a double Queen Mother Champion Chase and Champion Hurdle success.
Harrington was suitably buoyant after the race:
“It’s amazing – he has gone from running two miles at Christmas to three miles here”
With Jockey, Robbie Power adding:
“He jumped like a buck and it was his jumping that got him there. I never seemed to have any stayers before for this race – I can’t believe it.”
Power also had a few kind words to say about his trainer:
“It’s unbelievable. Jessica Harrington is a genius.”
Out of a total of 13 starters, 10 successfully made it round the course and it was another Gold Cup win for an Irish horse. Those from the Emerald Isle will have gone home happy knowing it was one of their own that scooped the title and the £327k prize money.
Jockey Robbie Power summed up his elation perfectly:
“I was only 25 when I won the National and I’m 35 now. When you’re 25 you think you can win everything, so this is very special. Down to the last he absolutely pinged it and then it was just a case of seeing it out. It’s what every jockey dreams of and I never thought I would until we got this lad”.
Power stated he was off for a few celebratory drinks afterwards. Nobody would blame him after this amazing triumph.