Ireland-trained Sizing John wins Gold Cup

FRIENDS OF IRELAND Taoiseach Enda Kenny and US president Donald Trump after a Friends of Ireland lunch ahead of St Patrick’s Day at the Capitol Building in Washington DC US

Lizzie Kelly, the first woman jockey in the race for 33 years, was unseated by her horse Tea for Two at the second fence.

Under an accomplished ride from Robbie Power, seven-year-old Sizing John held off runner-up Minella Rocco by two and three quarter lengths, with Native River third and Djakadam fourth. But after making a costly jumping error at the second-to-last fence. he faded to finish fourth. Won Festival race - Ryanair and come second in the Arkle. 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.

"It's beginner's luck", laughed Harrington, pointing out this was her first runner in the race.

"This is the jewel in the crown, absolutely awesome", said Harrington.

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!

"Robert said he wasn't going to go down the inside, but he did".

The winning jockey, who won the 2007 Grand National aboard Silver Birch, said: "Jessica Harrington is a genius and I always said that when Sizing John stepped up in trip it would be the making of him. When you're 25 you think you can win everything, so this is very special". "But when I got my head around it, I thought "right, the Gold Cup it is". "Henry de Bromhead did all the hard work, on both this horse and on Supasundae, and I only inherited them in September", said Harrington. Lisa O'Neill rides him and she has already had a victor this week and this horse ran well in this race before.

The two Colin Tizzard-trained horses, Cue Card and Native River, have dominated the top of the market since the defection of their stable companion Thistlecrack, erstwhile Gold Cup favourite. "He had it over two miles behind Douvan and he has that bit of speed".

Harrington is the third female trainer to win the Gold Cup after Jenny Pitman (Burrough Hill Lad 1984, Garrison Savannah 1991) and Henrietta Knight (Best Mate 2002-2004).

The trainer-jockey duo followed their big win up with victory in the finale of the day, the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup, with the Michael Buckley-owned Rock The World.

While Djakadam couldn't quite secure a dream ending to the week for Willie Mullins in the showcase race, the trainer did continue his momentum with a final-day double courtesy of Arctic Fire (Ger) (Soldier Hollow ) in the G3 Randox Health County Hurdle and Penhill (GB) (Mount Nelson ) in the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

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