Trainer Jessica confident John will size things up
JESSICA Harrington is confident Sizing John will bounce back to his best when he defends his crown in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The eight-year-old provided the trainer with a first runner and first winner in the National Hunt racing blue riband last March and could hardly have been more impressive when slamming Djakadam on his seasonal re-appearance in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase in early December.
However, he suffered his first defeat in six races when finishing a disappointing seventh in the Christmas Chase at Leopardstown less than three weeks later.
Jessica has spent the subsequent two months attempting to ensure he will show his true colours on March 16.
She said: “We had a bit of a hiccup over Christmas but since then we’ve been chugging along.
“We haven’t done anything very quickly and his weight is coming down to his racing weight.
“We’ve not really put the gun to his head properly but he has done two good breezes this week.
“I don’t want to put pressure on him. I want him on the day, not the day before.”
A veterinary report revealed Sizing John to be clinically abnormal after his Leopardstown flop, although the root of the problem was never fully discovered.
Jessica added: “He’d overheated a bit. Whether that was from a slightly tying up or something, they never really found a reason.”
Sizing John winning the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup last year with Robbie Power on board.