Sizing John imperious on Punchestown return

Cheltenham Gold Cup hero too good for Djakadam as he takes John Durkan Chase

Sizing John streaks clear of Djakadam at Punchestown. Photograph: PA

Sizing John streaks clear of Djakadam at Punchestown. Photograph: PA

 

Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Sizing John made the perfect return to action in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.

The Jessica Harrington-trained seven-year-old made an early mistake but was more or less foot-perfect bar that, before taking joining issue with Djakadam at the third-last, travelling extremely well.

Dual winner Djakadam had no answer from there, with Robbie Power and Sizing John (2-1) safely negotiating the last and striding on strongly to the line for a seven-length success from Willie Mullins’ runner, who was sent off the 5-4 favourite.

Harrington said: “First run of the year, you are always nervous. I wasn’t worried about the heavy ground going two and a half miles, but he was super. The mistake at the second fence woke us all up and he jumped super after that.

“He’s a super jumper and it’s the first time he’s made a mistake in all the races that I’ve been training him.

“He doesn’t mind heavy ground, not going two and a half miles — it’s just going three miles would bottom him out a fair amount.

“I don’t know where he will go next. It’s always one race at a time and I’ll have to talk to a few people before we decide where we go next.”

She added: “The one place he will turn up, all things being equal, is in March (Cheltenham), and what we do between now and March will depend on the horse. We might go to Leopardstown or the King George or we might miss Christmas altogether.”

Sizing John was imperious as he won the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Sizing John was imperious as he won the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

The winner, who runs in the colours of the late Alan and Ann Potts, was cut to 4-1 favourite from 6-1 by Ladbrokes for a Cheltenham repeat.

Power said: “He’s a fabulous jumper — it (mistake) just goes to show you should never take anything for granted, but he jumped well after that

“The last few weeks he’s really come to himself and Jessie deserves the credit for not going to Haydock (Betfair Chase), that was good for the horse. The ground was heavy enough for him out there, but he just jumped an travelled.

“From the second fence on I was always in cruise control. At one fence down the back he took two lengths out of Djakadam. He was just very good.

“Djakadam has won this race for the last two years and he’s a good horse over two and a half miles, so we weren’t going to let him dictate.

“Fingers crossed we can keep him right.”

Mullins made no excuses for Djakadam and was quick to pay tribute to Harrington’s ace.

He said: “Djakadam ran grand, but it was a great performance from Sizing John.

“We’ll have to find a new target for him and I’d say he will go for the Lexus (Leopardstown Christmas Chase, December 28th) at Christmas.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.