SIZING JOHN DIGS DEEP IN IRISH GOLD CUP
13 February 2017
A terrific day’s racing at Leopardstown was lit up by a
memorable renewal of the Irish Gold Cup and any one of five runners looked a
possible winner as they jumped the final fence almost in unison. It was SIZING
JOHN who held a slender lead as the field crossed the last and he responded well
to Robbie Power’s urgings to score by three-quarters of a length from Empire Of
SIZING JOHN’S only passage through the sales ring came as a
foal in November 2010 at Tattersalls Ireland in Fairyhouse when John Bleahen
signed his ticket for €16,000. His earnings now weigh in at over €325,000. His
level of consistency is remarkable: in his 14 races over jumps he has never
finished out of the first three, winning six times with two of those at the
highest level. He has been unfortunate to have raced so often against the
brilliant Douvan, finishing second to him on five occasions.
Trainer Jessica Harrington is keeping an open mind as to his
next assignment, mulling between the Gold Cup at Cheltenham or the Ryanair
Chase. “He wasn’t stopping at the end of three miles today so we might go the
Gold Cup route. We don’t know if he will stay three and a quarter miles, but on
better ground he might.”
Earlier on at the Dublin track, MEGA FORTUNE advertised his
credentials for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham when taking out the Grade
1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle in good style by more than three lengths.
Softer ground than encountered previously, allied to the
application of cheekpieces for the first time, were credited by trainer Gordon
Elliott with this career-best from MEGA FORTUNE. Similar conditions would
surely give him a big chance in the Triumph next month.
MEGA FORTUNE is by the Beeches Stud’s stallion Soldier Of
Fortune (IRE), an Irish Derby and Coronation Cup winner in his prime. He cost
Andy Oliver €19,000 to acquire at the Goffs Orby Sale in 2014 and he won once
on the Flat by a wide margin on heavy ground at Sligo, achieving a rating of 80
in that sphere before switching stables.
Soldier Of Fortune (IRE) is making a good impression with
his jumps stock these days and the sire provided another black-type winner when
SLOWMOTION obliged by a comfortable four-length margin in the Listed Opera Hat
Chase at Naas on Saturday. Twice a winner and twice a runner-up already this
season, this five-year-old mare is going from strength to strength and appears
to have many more good days in front of her.