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Sizing John can maintain gold standard at Punchestown

By robert Jones

Sizing John will run in the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup on April 26. Plans had been fluid since the seven-year-old brilliantly won the Cheltenham Gold Cup last Friday, but trainer Jessica Harrington has been so satisfied with Sizing John's wellbeing that she will now chart a route towards Punchestown in pursuit of more big-race honours.

Colin Tizzard remains undecided as to whether to let Finian's Oscar run again this season.

Snapped up for £250,000 after winning an Irish point-to-point last autumn, the five-year-old is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles including a Grade One success in the Tolworth at Sandown.

He was ruled out of last week's Cheltenham Festival after suffering a setback, but is on the road to recovery. Tizzard said: "He is back sound and is back working. We'll have to wait and see whether or not we get to Aintree or Punchestown.

"It was disappointing to miss Cheltenham, but it's not the end of the world and horses like him don't come around too often. We won't be too worried if we have to wait for the autumn. It soon comes around."

Airlie Beach, meanwhile, could bid to get her season back on track at Fairyhouse on Easter Sunday after she failed to fire at Cheltenham.

The daughter of Shantou brought an unbeaten record to Prestbury Park and was sent off second favourite for the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle, but weakened from the home turn and beat just one other finisher, with stablemate Let's Dance running out the winner.

Steve Massey, racing manager for her owners the Supreme Horse Racing Club, said: "She didn't run her race at all. We think she's better than that and hopefully she'll bounce back."

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