Hero's Return For Gold Cup Winners

Mon 20th Mar 2017, 09:10

Robbie Power embraces Jessica Harrington after Gold Cup win on Sizing John
©Healy Racing Photos
Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Sizing John received a hero's welcome when he was paraded on Sunday evening in the small County Kildare village of Moone.

The seven-year-old, owned by Alan and Ann Potts, produced a brilliant display in the hands of Robbie Power to give trainer Jessica Harrington a first Gold Cup victory with her first runner in the big race.

Sizing John's triumph was the highlight of a fantastic Cheltenham treble for the Harrington team after Supasundae won the Coral Cup and Rock The World landed the Festival-ending Grand Annual.

Harrington said: " Winning the Champion Chase (with Moscow Flyer in 2003 and 2005) 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'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 plans.

"It was a huge week for us all. 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."

Supasundae and Rock The World joined Sizing John in the homecoming parade, as did Power, who rode them all to Cheltenham glory.

The three horses were paraded in front of a sizeable crowd of well-wishers, while Moone was decked in flags of emerald green and yellow - the colours of Sizing John's racing silks

Power said: "It has been a dream week, everything worked out perfectly.

"Supasundae gave me a great confidence-booster and then going out to ride Rock The World, well I wasn't really sitting on his back, I was on such a high after the Gold Cup."

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."

Wrap The Green Flag Round Me Boys

The median between wrapping the green flag round Cheltenham's 19-9 scoreline and Michael O'Leary dismissing the British-Irish bit as a "f---ing load of nonsense" is probably the safest point on the festival spectrum. O'Leary has logic on his side. The flag-waving really is an affectation. But it's relatively harmless and provides something other than punting for the public to hang its hat on. And it all means too much to too many for it be just about betting. It's vital though that Irish routs don't become a habit.

THE IRISH TIMES