'It was amazing' - Sizing John delivers thrilling Gold Cup for Harrington
It is Timico Gold Cup day at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday, the day into which the Festival funnels, the race into which the season funnels.
Onto day four of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival - and it's Gold Cup day.
Jumping efficiently, Power had Sizing John in a good position and won by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
The 7-1 shot, who was tipped by City A.M.to prevail, capitalised on errors by the frontrunners on the second to last fence. "He jumped like a buck and it is his jumping that has got him there the whole way".
Paddy Power's Paul Binfield went so far as to say: "We've never had a better Festival and that includes when Norton's Coin pulled off the greatest shock in the history of this great sport at 100/1 in 1990". Every chance that he would stay this trip, judged on his running-on second in the Irish Gold Cup. The team at home have been fantastic.
"The mistake cost me second place but I don't believe I would have done better than that", said the 37-year-old Irishman. But the circumstances of that race favoured him and he has since been stuffed three times, while his stable seems badly out of sorts. It means more than any victor I've ridden for Jessica. "I don't think I've even entered one before". I was glad that on the first circuit he put a few short ones in and he wasn't winging fences. A lot of these will have to be disappointing for him to get into the finish. This is the jewel in the crown.
"I only inherited him in September and I feel very sorry for his previous trainer Henry de Bromhead". "I've no idea what he'll do next, all I was thinking about was this race".
O'Neill said: "It was his first run proper of the season, he has no miles on the clock and he'll improve a ton on that".
"Unbelievable, Jessica Harrington is a genius", said Power, who won the Grand National on the Gordon Elliott-trained Silver Birch in 2007.
"I'm not on cloud nine, I'm on cloud 109", she said. Everyone has done a top-class job.
"I was only 25 when I won the National and I'm 35 now".
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.
But I reckon flamboyant owner Max McNeill's The Worlds End, an appropriately named animal given this is the final day of Cheltenham, can do the layers a huge favour in the latter and turn over Death Duty. But this is something I've dreamed about since I was a kid. Balance of his form is at shorter trips, so a strong finish can not be relied upon.
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