Ireland-trained Sizing John wins Gold Cup

CHELTENHAM, England (AP) Ten years after winning the Grand National, jockey Robbie Power won the equally-prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup when Sizing John galloped to victory on Festival Friday.

Trained in Ireland, Sizing John won by two-and-three-quarter lengths on St. Patrick’s Day.

Power had Sizing John in a good position throughout the race, finishing ahead of Minella Rocco (18-1) and Native River (7-2).

”Unbelievable, Jessica Harrington is a genius,” said Power, who won the Grand National on the Gordon Elliott-trained Silver Birch in 2007.

”I always said when this horse stepped up in trip he’d win. Everyone has done a top-class job. It means more than any winner I’ve ridden for Jessica. 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.”

Sizing John, a 7-year-old, has previously done most of his racing over two miles. But this year connections decided to race him over a longer distance with notable success – winning the Irish Gold Cup last month.

”It’s absolutely fantastic. My first runner in a Gold Cup,” Harrington said. ”I don’t know when I’ll come down to earth. This is the jewel in the crown. I’ve been watching and listening for as long as I can remember.”

Djakadam, twice the runner-up, travelled well for most of the race and looked as though he might finally win for Willie Mullins. But after making a costly jumping error at the second-to-last fence. he faded to finish fourth.

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