Sizing John Blew Me Away At Punchestown
I was absolutely thrilled with Sizing John’s performance at Punchestown on his first run back since winning the Gold Cup here also.
John Durkan Memorial Chase
The fashion in which he won has given me great optimism for what comes next. He had been kicking the door down all week to run and I have to admit I was a bit blown away by the way he did it yesterday especially going there on heavy ground which he doesn’t like.
To beat horses such as Djakadam and Sub Lieutenant in the way he did was pretty amazing.
This time last year he had never run over three miles and the plan always was to go to Haydock with him but the ground there got so heavy we thought why put him out on that when the John Durkan was a fortnight later. Fair play to Jessie; it was her decision and the right decision for Sizing John.
It would have been great to take on the £1 million bonus but at the end of the day the Gold Cup is the main aim. We want to win a second Gold Cup so Jessie definitely made the right call in terms of Haydock.
No plans have been made for him just yet ahead of Cheltenham. We have to wait and see how he came out of the race. It’s only a fortnight to Christmas and obviously he has options in the Lexus Chase and the King George and the Irish Gold Cup. He’ll only have one more race between now and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Jessie knows him best so we’ll leave all decisions up to her.
Tingle Creek Chase
I don’t think Fox Norton performed too badly. He didn’t jump well enough for a two mile champion chaser in the Tingle Creek. He didn’t jump quickly enough and usually he’s a very good jumper.
He probably didn’t perform to the best of his ability but at the end of the day I think a step up in trip probably looks to be the best option for him. Last year I always felt he was a better horse over distance. Arguably his best performance last year was winning the Melling Chase over two and a half miles at Aintree.
Politologue was a brilliant winner on the day and he’s a great up and coming horse. He’s improving quickly and he has to step up another level to reach the likes of Altior and Douvan but he was a great winner.
Henry VIII Novices’ Chase
Stepping up in trip will be a big plus for Finian’s Oscar also. He’s always been a horse that we thought the further he goes the better he will be but Colin and Joe were keen to run him on Sunday in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase just to see where we were going.
As I said to Colin before it, “It won’t be the end of the world if he gets beaten, it might suit him well in the long run to jump at two mile speed.”
He went down to the first fence, stood a long way off it and gave himself a bit of a fright and never really got into his comfort zone after that. There were some really good two mile novices in the race that had him off his feet. He might go to Kempton next for the Felton Novices’ Chase over three miles which would be more up his street.
They both maybe disappointed a little bit on Saturday but they’re still horses with plenty of ability.
It would be no surprise to see them bounce right back to form.
Three miles for Finian’s Oscar at Kempton and there’s a possibility Fox Norton might go for the King George so I wouldn’t be turning my back on either of them come Christmas.