Irish Gold Cup: Sizing John wins at Leopardstown from Empire Of Dirt

Sizing John (nearest) at Leopardstown
Sizing John (nearest) had been beaten seven times by Douvan

Sizing John won a thrilling Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown for trainer Jessica Harrington.

The 100-30 second favourite, ridden by Robbie Power, held off runner-up Empire Of Dirt with Don Poli in third.

Sizing John was cut by bookmakers to around 12-1 from 25s for next month's Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Disko won the Flogas Novice chase for trainer Noel Meade from Our Duke with favourite Bellshill a tired late faller.

Bacardys, trained by Willie Mullins, wore down stablemate Bunk Off Early to claim the Deloitte Novice Hurdle.

Placed seven times behind Douvan, the seven-year-old Sizing John - formerly trained by Henry de Bromhead - relished the step up to three miles.

He prevailed by three-quarters of a length with the same distance back to third. Carlingford Lough, winner in 2015 and 2016, was fourth while More Of That fell in the closing stages.


BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

No longer facing two-mile star Douvan, Sizing John is really thriving.

The question here was whether his stamina would last out on this first go at three miles, and even though it was not perhaps the most examining challenge of all time, he lasted it out very well, and jumped beautifully.

No decision on the Cheltenham Gold Cup, staged over a quarter-mile further, has been made, but on this evidence you'd be happy enough to take a chance.

Empire Of Dirt and Don Poli ran solid Aintree Grand National trials in second and third, as did Perfect Candidate at Exeter.

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