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Robbie Power on his Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph
18 March 2017, 01:29 | Simon Arnold
Don Cossack was the big winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year
Amateur rider Gina Andrews became the second woman to ride a victor at this year's Festival when she drove 40-1 rank outsider Domesday Book home to give Stuart Edmunds a victory for one of training's smaller operators.
OUTLANDER has kept improving since joining the exodus of horses from Willie Mullins to Gordon Elliott at the start of the campaign and he had last year's second and third (Djakadam and Don Poli) behind him when winning the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. Willie Mullins' Djakadam is the current market leader and has been the most popular selection on site with 27% of users in the last 48 hours putting their money on the 8yo to give his illustrious trainer a first win in the race.
Power said: " The first day I rode him, I said he would go further.
"I've never had a runner in the race and I don't know when I'll come down to earth".
With Sizing John she has completed the triple crown of Cheltenham's great championship races, and typically she instinctively handed the credit to Power.
Sizing John, a 7-year-old, has previously done most of his racing over two miles.
Harrington said: "I can't believe it, it was awesome how he jumped and travelled".
DEFI-NITELY MAYBE The Triumph Hurdle goes off at 1.30 - who should I bet on, what are the odds and who is running?
Power added, "The one thing about Sizing John is you can rely on his jumping".
The Midnight Legend gelding has another two and a half furlongs to go in the Gold Cup, but he is bred for stamina, and he wasn't stopping at the end of three miles on soft ground at Leoaprdstown.
Dad deserves a lot of credit for changing his routine completely at home in an effort to get him sparkling again, while Ruby timed his run to perfection on a day when his unrivalled class in the saddle was clear for all to see after earlier giving a masterclass on Un De Sceaux, the most exciting horse in training, and Yorkhill. We might think of something else next year because I'm asking myself 'did he really stay?'.
On the day it was confirmed Douvan faces a summer of recuperation from injury, Sizing John finally and definitively stepped out of the shadow of his former nemesis by landing the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup in superb style on Friday.
Harrington started out as an global eventer and rode in two Olympics before she switched to racing in 1989 and since then she has saddled a long line of top hurdlers and two-mile chasers.
By a quirk of fate, Harrington and trainer Richard Phillips were asked to judge the best in show before the Doncaster Sales 14 years ago and they picked out La Perrotine - the dam of Sizing John!
"This is the jewel in the crown, absolutely awesome", said Harrington.
In the murky Cheltenham night after Rock The World's win in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup had handed her three wins across the four days to make her the most successful female trainer of all time here, she was keen to brush under the carpet the fact she had capped a towering week for women. "It is a first runner in the race for me". In so doing, he claimed his sixth victor of the week to tie with Mullins but he won the title on countback to placed runners. I'd be expecting a big run and he has place claims but everyone will be playing second fiddle to On The Fringe.
Grand Old campaigner has done the spade work over the years and deserves this.
"It is out of relief as he has been favourite all year", said Hobbs.
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