Cheltenham: Gold Cup day

Gold Cup

"It was beginner's luck", said Jessica Harrington after her astonishing achievement in winning the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup at her first attempt.

"I went to plenty of Cheltenham preview nights and people were saying it was a bad Gold Cup--I was kind off insulted because every good Gold Cup victor has Grade 1 form over two miles". Perhaps he could follow Special Tiara in finally winning his championship race after years of failure, thanks in part to all the injuries suffered by other star horses this season.

Jockey Richard Johnson knew his mount was a stayer but he was hoping to take the sting out of the finish of his rivals as he upped the speed with three fences left.

Can Native River beat him? I was 25 when I won the National and took it for granted I would win everything after that. now I'm 35, reality has long since bitten on my complacency.

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The grand Gold Cup Chase which is the biggest event of the festival is set to be won by Djakadam and Rupert Walsh.

Deeply impressive handicap victor at the last Festival and appears to have taken a step forward since joining Gordon Elliott this season. We arrive at Gold Cup day with more Irish winners than ever at this point and the all-time record nearly certain to be broken. "He was the first runner I had in the Irish Gold Cup, and he won that too", she said.

After yesterday's return to form, it's no real surprise that the Ruby Walsh/Willie Mullins combination has been backed into favouritism overnight, with Djakadam now a general 3/1 shot. "He will definitely run again this season, but first let's get him home and see how he is".

The well-fancied Cue Card fell three out at the same fence as previous year while Sizing John went to the front at the second last and followed that with a good jump at the last to add the Cheltenham Gold Cup to the Irish Gold Cup.

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"He was awesome. It's thanks to Robert really--he's the one who said at Christmas, "he will stay". Balance of his form is at shorter trips, so a strong finish can not be relied upon.

By Emmanuel RousselG1 JCB Triumph Hurdle victor Defi Du Seuil (Fr) (Voix Du Nord ) may have been ridden to victory by champion jockey Richard Johnson, but the 4-year-old was also co-bred by a champion jockey, the French Flat champion Pierre-Charles Boudot, in partnership with his mother Catherine and sister Marie-Gabrielle.

"Sizing John has gone from two miles at Christmas to winning over three miles and two furlongs here".

With her step father as her trainer and her mother part-owner of the horse she is riding, it is very much a family enterprise.

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