Jockey Robbie Power issued a positive bulletin on Jessica Harrington’s stable star Sizing John, whom he partners in Jump racing’s Blue Riband event, the Grade One Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup (Gold Cup Day, Friday, March 17, 3.30pm) on the fourth and final day of The Festival.
The seven-year-old was the three quarters of a length winner of the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown last month and the Irish rider, who has had one winner at the Festival, courtesy of Bostons Angel in the 2011 RSA Chase, is confident that the son of MidnightLegend will be suited by the step up in trip in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup (3m 2f 70y).
Power said: “I’ve got no worries about his stamina over the Gold Cup trip. He is in great form, we’re really happy with him, he looks in great nick and the ground will suit him.”
The Irishman has two rides at Prestbury Park today, Champion Day, Tuesday, March 14. He partners Jessica Harrington’s Rock On The Moor in the Grade One OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (4.10pm) and Three Stars, trained by Henry de Bromhead, in the Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase (2:10pm).
Commenting on the duo, Power continued: “Rock On The Moor ran well to finish second in this race last year (when a 66/1 chance). The Mares’ Hurdle this time around looks a much a stronger race but I’m still hoping she can run a big race. She will love the ground and she should run well.
“Three Stars goes in the Arkle. There’s only nine runners in that race, it’s a novice chase and there should be plenty of pace on in it so anything could happen. If you’re not in it, you can’t win.”
Power is also looking forward to riding Forge Meadow in the Grade Two Trull House Stud Mares’ Novice Hurdle (4.50pm) on St Patrick’s Thursday at the Festival.
An impressive eight-length victor of a Grade Two event at Naas last time, the five-year-old is among the leading fancies for the extended two-mile event, with Power confident of a good performance from Harrington’s charge.
He remarked: “Forge Meadow runs in the Mares’ Novice and she arrived over last night. She is in good form and I would say the drying ground will definitely suit her as well.”
Reflecting on the start of another Cheltenham Festival, Power added: “I’ve been here plenty of times now and you’re always looking forward to the Festival starting so I’m ready for it to begin.”
MOUSE MORRIS ON THE FESTIVAL
The Fethard trainer Mouse Morris’ runners at The Festival 2017 are led by Alpha Des Obeaux tomorrow, Ladies Day, Wednesday, March 15.
The seven-year-old son of Saddler Maker, owned by Gigginstown House Stud, was pulled up last time out at Leopardstown (December 29) on yielding ground, but Morris has high hopes of the winner at Cork and Thurles earlier in the season in the RSA Novices’ Chase.
He said this morning: “Alpha des Obeaux in the RSA would be my best chance.
“We came over last night and the track is in great condition and the weather is going to be super by the sound of it – we will just hope for a bit of luck.
“The ground should suit any horse in fairness, I would hate to be using the going as an excuse.
“I have been out on the course and it is just on the soft side of good, it may even be good. There is a bit of growth [of grass].
“Buckers Bridge (who runs in the St James’s Place Foxhunter on Gold Cup Day, Friday, March 17) is another I like, if he produces. He is coming back to form and, if it stays dry, he would have an outside chance.”