Gold Cup hero Sizing John is paraded through his home village of Moone
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
SIZING JOHN, the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, receieved a rapturous reception as he was led through trainer Jessica Harrington’s home village of Moone, County Kildare on Sunday evening.
Alongside Harrington’s other festival victors – Coral Cup winner Supasundae and Grand Annual scorer Rock The World – Sizing John appeared before a crowd estimated at between 700-800 people of all age groups, including several photographers and film crews.
Moscow Flyer, a three-time festival winner for Harrington and twice a winner of the Champion Chase, never received such a homecoming and Harrington said: “Winning the Champion Chase was a big thing in itself but the Gold Cup is the real pinnacle and I’m thrilled that so many people have turned out to see Sizing John and our two other winners.
“I was fairly wrecked yesterday but I think I’ve had a grin on my face since the Gold Cup and the achievement is slowly sinking in. All three of our winners have come home in great nick and being to Cheltenham certainly doesn’t seem to have flattened them, but it’s not the time yet to be talking about future plans.”
Harrington added: “It was a huge week for all us. We had six runners and three of them won. I was delighted for Alan and Ann Potts that Sizing John won the Gold Cup. Alan was very emotional and almost speechless afterwards.
“All our staff deserve huge credit for the success we had and I felt very sorry for Aideen Byrne who looks after Supasundae. She broke a leg recently and was unable to go to Cheltenham.”
Harrington praised Robbie Power for his riding of Sizing John and Supasundae. “Robbie gave both horses super rides, ” she said.
Power, who was riding at Limerick on Sunday, arrived in time for the celebrations while his parents, Con and Mags, were also present.
Con Power, a famous figure in Irish showjumping and a former trainer, said: “I wasn’t at Cheltenham. I’m superstitious and after I missed Rob’s Grand National win on Silver Birch ten years ago due to being at a horse show in France, I decided not to jinx him by going to the festival. I’m absolutely delighted for him.”
Those there to see Ireland’s latest Cheltenham Gold Cup winner and his two stablemates walk calmly down the street included Ruby Walsh, his wife Gillian and their three daughters.
Harrington added: “Winning the Gold Cup with our first runner and Robbie’s first ride in the race made it extra special and Rock The World winning the Grand Annual, which is named after our great friend Nicky Henderson’s father, was the perfect finale to a fantastic week for us and for Irish-trained horses in general.”
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