How music from Ed Sheeran and Katy Perry inspires Irish wonder horse Sizing John
The power of music has long been coveted by the sporting world as a means of inspiration and motivation.
From the footballer in oversized headphones, trooping sullenly towards a dressing room, to the boxer's theatrical entrance into an arena, the two forms of entertainment have become inextricably linked.
Music's timeless quality to soothe and stimulate is, however, rather less associated with sporting greats of a four-legged variety. Until now.
When Sizing John, the reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, ships in from Ireland for Saturday's Betfair Chase at Haydock, there is a strong chance that his pre-race routine will involve listening to pop music.
Trainer Jessica Harrington's daughter, Kate, knows the seven-year-old gelding better than anyone and swears by the process at the family's yard in Moone, County Kildare.
She told the Times: "It's weird but he loves it, Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran especially.
"When you actually play the songs, he really swings his head from side to side.
"He loves Ed Sheeran's Castle on the Hill and Galway Girl and Perry's Roar.
"It is very funny. When you put them on, he noticeably has a swagger in his step.
"After he won the Irish Gold Cup (at Leopardstown in February) we played Roar to him and he just really perked up.
"We joked that if he won the three Gold Cups (at Leopardstown, Punchestown and Cheltenham) we'd ask her to come over and sing to him directly.
"Maybe we should."
FIVE SONGS FOR SIZING JOHN
- Going for Gold - Shed Seven
- Crazy Horses - The Osmonds
- The (Robbie) Power of Love - Huey Lewis and the News
- Bring on the Dancing Horses - Echo & The Bunnymen
- Johnny B Goode - Chuck Berry