There was some very sad news on Thursday, as 2017 Gold Cup hero has been retired due to injury. A five-time Grade 1 winner, he’ll be a big miss for the Jessie Harrington yard.
A special talent
Trained in his early days by Henry De Bromhead, Sizing John joined the Harrington yard in late 2016. A remarkable progressive streak would follow, winning five of his eight starts under her care, including four Grade 1 contests.
His crowning glory was the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup, with a Punchestown Gold Cup following just over a month later. He would run just three times thereafter, with injury setting him back after a superlative performance to win the John Durkan back at Punchestown on his 2017/18 return.
He was last seen on the racetrack back in late 2019, where he fell over hurdles in a preparation run for bigger targets down the line. Sizing John will always be remembered as a horse full of grit, heart and determination.
The next best thing?
Sizing John was something special, but Jessie Harrington has a number of smart horses coming through the ranks at present. With her National Hunt squad as strong as ever, she also has huge strength in depth thanks to a growing flat battalion at her disposal. Here are four horses who to keep your eye on from the Moone based stable.
It’s very early days for Sizing Pottsie, who ran just three times over timber and has excelled since going over fences. Winning his first two outings in very impressive fashion, including a Grade 3, he made some uncharacteristic errors when falling from the lead at Thurles when last seen.
He should excel with further experience and is likely to have some lofty targets in the season ahead, so he’s one to firmly keep your eye on.
He doesn’t have the flashiest profile, but Polished Steel was a rapid improver last term over hurdles and is unbeaten in a pair of chasing starts. He made the best possible start to his chasing career with an impressive all-the-way success at Tipperary. Following that up with another dominant success at Galway, he made light-work of his Grade 3 rivals.
A tenacious front-runner, the sky is the limit for this versatile six-year-old who should continue improving with further experience. He looks to be a better ground horse, so the spring is likely going to be the best time to catch him.
Moving to her ever-growing flat squad, Cadillac looks as though he could be very special. Winning two of his three starts, he couldn’t have been much more impressive when taking a Group 2 at Leopardstown last time.
He has a frightening change of gear and is thoroughly unexposed, both over the mile and overall. He holds some very smart entries, including the Dewhurst and next year’s Derby, so connections understandably think the world of him.
The world is very much his oyster at present and the future is extremely exciting.
Another highly talented juvenile, Lucky Vega has all the makings of a potential superstar. He’s landed two of his four career starts, including a three-length Group 1 victory at the Curragh. That form is rock-solid, and he couldn’t have been more unlucky back at the Curragh last time.
He had a nightmare passage in the National Stakes, checked twice at a crucial stage. He was all but stopped to a walk by a switching Thunder Moon, staying on powerfully when it was all over.
That effort can understandably be upgraded and there is no doubt he’s capable of even better things. He holds entries in the Middle Park, Dewhurst and Derby, which suggests he’ll excel over further in time.
It’s a very exciting time if you’re involved with the Harrington machine.