Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Cheltenham Festival Results and Day Four Preview

Cheltenham Festival Results and Day Four Preview

Sizing John, given a superb ride by Robbie Power, who had convinced Harrington he could stay further than two miles, seized the initiative at the penultimate fence to come home clear of Minella Rocco with long-time pacesetter Native River third.

Cue Card fell three out for the second time in succession and assistant trainer Joe Tizzard: "He was there, but to be honest it looked like Paddy (Brennan) was just niggling him a bit". It means more than any victor I've ridden for Jessica. "I don't know when I'll come down to earth. This is the jewel in the crown--the race I've listened to and watched all my life", she continued. "He jumped like a buck and it is his jumping that has got him there the whole way".

"He's been favourite all year and it's great when it goes right - he's such a fantastic horse", said the trainer who has two previous JCB Triumph Hurdle victories under his belt with Detroit City and Made In Japan.

Harrington, 70, was in shock after the decision to step the horse up in trip earlier in the year paid rich dividends and capped a record-breaking week for Irish-trained horses.

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After two wins, we had to settle for a second yesterday but we're confident of finishing with a flourish and while the odds aren't going to make you a millionaire, Defi Du Seuil at 2/1 is the bet.

For 70-year-old Harrington it was her 10th Festival victor and added Gold Cup success to the Champion Hurdle and the Queen Mother Champion Chase while for Power it comes 10 years after he won the Grand National on Silver Birch.

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Both were feeling their way with a horse who had only arrived in Harrington's Moone, Co Kildare yard in the autumn having been moved from Henry De Bromhead's yard by Yorkshire owner, Alan Potts.

"This is the jewel in the crown, absolutely unbelievable", said Harrington who joins two-time victor Jenny Pitman and triple winning trainer Henrietta Knight in the Gold Cup hall of fame.

A couple of hours later, Harrington and Power put a cherry on top of the most successful Cheltenham Festival Ireland has ever enjoyed by winning the concluding Grand Annual with Rock The World.

While Djakadam couldn't quite secure a dream ending to the week for Willie Mullins in the showcase race, the trainer did continue his momentum with a final-day double courtesy of Arctic Fire (Ger) (Soldier Hollow ) in the G3 Randox Health County Hurdle and Penhill (GB) (Mount Nelson ) in the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

Given a beautifully-judged ride by Mullins's number two jockey Paul Townend, the 20/1 shot found the reserves to repel the sterling challenge of second top weight L'Ami Serge.

Former Grand National winning jockey Robbie Power rode Sizing John and was quick to praise the Irish horse's trainer.

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