Sizing steps it up

Harrington star prepares for big return at Leopardstown

Sizing John is set to return after a year

Niall Cronin

Sizing John is set for a workout at the Curragh ahead of returning to action at Leopardstown for the first time in a year.

Trainer Jessica Harrington wants to give the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero an away day before his comeback in either the Paddy's Rewards Club 'Sugar Daddy' Chase over two miles and a furlong or the three-mile Savills Chase.

It was in the latter race a year ago that Sizing John put in a below-par performance when sent off the 9-10 favourite, and he was unable to defend his Cheltenham crown in March due to a fractured pelvis.

Harrington reports the eight-year-old to be on course for a Christmas return.

"He's in good form. He's going to work tomorrow," said the County Kildare handler yesterday afternoon.

"He was going to work today, but the ground was too quick at Punchestown.

"He's going to do a bit at the Curragh just to get him away from home."

On Christmas plans, she added: "He's in both races. We'll see how he is and what the ground is like."


Meanwhile, The New One could sign off a glittering career in the Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Connections of the popular and talented 10-year-old are preparing themselves to announce his retirement unless he puts in a performance similar to one that has seen him lift this prize three times.

His form has dipped in recent races - after being well beaten at Cheltenham and Aintree in the spring, he faded tamely out of contention in the Welsh Champion Hurdle on his reappearance at Ffos Las in October.

The New One will be fitted with headgear by his trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies in an attempt to rejuvenate him.

Twiston-Davies' son, Sam, who has ridden The New One to 18 of his 20 career wins, reported the stable favourite to be in good form.

"This is something we've had in mind a a long time. We're going to bring him back for the International.

"It's a race he's always run well in and they're going to put some headgear on him as one last try," he told At The Races.

"He's in good shape at home. We want to bring him to the track and see if he's still got it or not.

"If he hasn't, I'd imagine he'd go off on his retirement. He's been a wonderful horse."