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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Harrington eyes Punchestown for Gold Cup hero Sizing John

Sizing John will tackle the Punchestown Gold Cup on his next start
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Jessica Harrington has resisted the temptation to wrap her newly crowned Gold Cup winner Sizing John in cotton wool and will aim the seven-year-old at the Punchestown Gold Cup.

Sizing John answered any doubts that hovered around the prospects of him staying the Gold Cup trip with a stylish victory over Minella Rocco in the hands of Robbie Power last week and the pair look set to team up again in the €250,000 Grade 1 Coral Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday, April 26.

Harrington said: “Sizing John has come out of his Cheltenham race very well and we were obviously thrilled with how everything went.

“We have decided that our next step is to go to the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup at the end of April."

A potential clash between 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree could be on the cards with Mark Bradstock previously stating that his stable star is likely to travel to the County Kildare venue for the spring festival.

Willie Mullins is also aiming Gold Cup fourth Djakadam at the Punchestown Gold Cup, and didn't refute the prospects of the eight-year-old running in the Aintree Grand National in time.

He said: “Djakadam has come out of Cheltenham fine and I imagine he will head to Punchestown next. We could be a horse for the Grand National but we haven't discussed anything like that in any detail as of yet.”

Mullins added that most of his Cheltenham winners will line out at the Punchestown festival including Yorkhill, Un De Sceaux and Arctic Fire, who may step back into Grade 1 company in the Betdaq Champion Hurdle.

Nichols Canyon is in line for the lucrative $500,000 bonus on offer in the Iroquois Hurdle

Loftier targets await Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle winner Nichols Canyon as the Graham Wylie-owned star is in line to land a $500,000 bonus if he is to go on and win the Grade One Iroquois Hurdle in Nashville, Tennessee, in May.

Nichols Canyon finished third in the race last year behind Rawnaq and Mullins is keen to take up the engagement again.

He said: "The Americans have kindly left the invitation open and it would be fantastic to go on and win the bonus there. 

“We are pretty keen to travel with him as it’s a fantastic prize. The experience of last year should stand to him, and while we brought Shaneshill over last year as well, we haven’t decided on whether he will travel as well or not.”

Joseph O'Brien hopes to have Edwulf back home at his yard this week where an assessment will be made about whether the eight-year-old can continue racing.

'Vets were outstanding'

Edwulf went wrong and was pulled up after the last fence in the National Hunt Novices' Chase. 

O'Brien said on in his BoyleSports blog on Monday: "Hopefully he’ll travel home tomorrow or Wednesday. He seemed to suffer a seizure or a small heart attack, and I’m not sure what the chances of it re-occurring are yet. 

"We’ll obviously go through all that before a decision is made whether to return to training or not. It’s one of these unfortunate things. The vets on the track were outstanding."

We have decided that our next step is to go to the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup at the end of April
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