Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jessica Battles to Stop Wheels Falling off Wagon; in Association with /Gold Cup Winner Sizing John Was Ruled out of Cheltenham Yesterday but Trainer Still Has High Hopes of Joining Elite Group at Meeting

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jessica Battles to Stop Wheels Falling off Wagon; in Association with /Gold Cup Winner Sizing John Was Ruled out of Cheltenham Yesterday but Trainer Still Has High Hopes of Joining Elite Group at Meeting

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Cooper

F 24 hours is a long time in politics, then it can represent almost an eternity in the life of a racehorse.

IYesterday morning, Gold Cup winner Sizing John exercised as normal and appeared on course to defend his crown at the Cheltenham Festival next week.

But by the evening the eight-yearold, who had been second favourite in the betting for the highlight at the four-day meeting, had been ruled out by a season-ending injury.

"It is with a heavy heart I have to report that Sizing John will miss the Gold Cup," Harrington revealed.

"He cantered as normal this morning and during routine checks this afternoon was found to be sore behind. "I have had our vet Mark McRedmond come and check him over. "He has found a hairline non-displaced fracture of his pelvis. This is a massive blow for the Potts family [his owners] and for all our team."

Only the previous week the most successful female trainer in Festival history, who will seek to add to her 11 winners, had entertained the media and said: "It's just a case of keeping all the wheels on the wagon."

That is always easier said than done when dealing with half-tonne animals who have numerous design faults.

London-born Harrington, who trains in the village of Moone in County Kildare, might still saddle the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner because she has another leading contender in Our Duke.

Last season's runaway Irish Grand National winner required back surgery in November but a battling win at Gowran Park last month confirms his powers remain intact. "He decided to hoof one fence out of the way but he jumped the last three very well," she said.

"He lacks a bit of concentration [with his jumping] when they are not going quickly enough.

"But that should not be a problem in the Gold Cup."

Harrington is better qualified than most when it comes to identifying jumping frailties.

She is the daughter of Brigadier Bryan Fowler, who won a silver medal as part of the Great British polo team at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, and her own equine career began in the eventing world and she rode at the Burghley horse trials at the age of 18. …

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