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Sizing John is the perfect fit for Punchestown glory

By Chris Wilson

Cheltenham hero Sizing John can continue his ascent by winning the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup on day two of the big Irish festival.

Jessica Harrington has done an astonishing job with this seven-year-old since he stepped up distance, having found Douvan a continual pain in the backside over two miles.

Victory in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown offered a teasing glimpse of what was to come in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in which he had nearly three lengths in hand on nearest pursuer Minella Rocco.

It is mightily tough to envisage those that finished behind him in the Gold Cup - Djakadam, Champagne West and Outlander - turning the form on its head at Punchestown.

And though 2015 Cheltenham sensation Coneygree is an exciting contender, he has it all to do on his first start after injury.

Penhill can also confirm Festival form in the Novice Hurdle.

Willie Mullins' four-year-old will probably always sneak beneath the radar, but the Albert Bartlett form is usually watertight and this season's renewal should be no exception.

Presenting Percy looks the biggest danger, but Penhill could be operating on a different level.

Cheltenham Bumper winner Fayonagh runs in the Punchestown Champion INH Flat Race, but she might have to play a supporting role behind Someday.

Harrington's representative was thought likely to be a big player at the Festival last month but was withdrawn on the day.

Compensation can be sweet for a horse who clearly has a future on the evidence of his cool, calm and collected Leopardstown success in February.

At Punchestown yesterday, Fox Norton (5-2) followed up his Aintree success by taking the scalp of Un De Sceaux in the BoyleSports Champion Chase.

The Colin Tizzard-trained seven-year-old ranged up alongside Mullins' Un De Sceaux at the final fence and pulled clear to give jockey Robbie Power a seventh Grade One win of the campaign.

Fox Norton (5-2) got home by a length and three-quarters from the 10-11 favourite. Last season's winner God's Own was not disgraced in third place.

PUNCHESTOWN: 3.40 Close Shave, 4.20 Battleford, 4.55 Penhill, 5.30 Sizing John, 6.05 SOMEDAY (NAP), 6.40 Irish Cavalier, 7.15 Mystic Theatre.

CATTERICK: 1.50 Kinloch Pride, 2.20 A Bit Of Ginger, 2.55 Aimez La Vie, 3.25 Serenity Now, 4.00 Dundunah, 4.35 Jacbequick, 5.05 Clergyman.

EPSOM: 2.10 Majestic Hero, 2.45 Cracksman, 3.15 Galapiat, 3.50 Innocent Touch, 4.25 Bahar, 5.00 Vantage Point.

EXETER: 4.50 Glimpse Of Gold, 5.25 Lure Des Pres, 6.00 Rouge Devils, 6.35 Two Hoots, 7.05 Only A Tipple, 7.40 Alright Chief, 8.10 Jaunty Flyer.

LINGFIELD: 4.45 Sans Souci Bay, 5.20 Milburn Jack, 5.50 Noble Deed, 6.25 Wordsearch, 6.55 Take The Helm, 7.25 Mad Rose, 7.55 Estibdaad.

PERTH: 2.00 Coole Hall, 2.35 Vic's Last Stand, 3.05 Aintree My Dream, 3.35 Cultram Abbey, 4.10 Shaiyzar, 4.40 Petite Power, 5.10 Sleepy Haven.

DOUBLE: Someday and Innocent Touch.

Belfast Telegraph


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