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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Harrington: Supasundae is the pick of my Cheltenham Festival squad

Jessica Harrington: dreaming of another Gold Cup win with Our Duke and Sizing John
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Jessica Harrington has revealed the horse she is most confident about heading into this year’s Cheltenham Festival is Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle hope Supasundae, but admits the possibility of soft ground would put a dampener on her mood.

The Moone-based trainer sent out three festival winners last season, including Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Sizing John, who returns for the race along with stablemate Our Duke.

Speaking about her festival squad, Harrington told RTE Radio 1 on Sunday: “I have six entries but I’m likely to bring just five horses to Cheltenham. Unless I can go to Cheltenham with a real good chance of winning or at least being placed, I'll keep my horses in Ireland, because we have fantastic festivals of our own at Fairyhouse and Punchestown later in the spring.

“The one I would be most confident about running a big race is Supasundae in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle but I saw this morning that there’s a chance of it being a soft-ground festival, which would worry me a little.” 

Pat down the neck: Robbie Power gives some attention to Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle contender Supasundae at a media day last week

Rock The World and Don’t Touch It are entered in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual, the final race of the festival, while  Harrington has Jett in the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase on the Tuesday.

The trainer is pleased with preparations for Sizing John, who is bidding to become the first horse since Best Mate – who won three Gold Cups – to land back-to-back runnings of the race.

She said: “When I got Sizing John I was absolutely amazed by his physical presence because he’s a magnificent big horse, very good looking, and he’s a wonderful character.

“He has his own quirks and he likes his own quiet space. When he came to me, Henry [de Bromhead] used to keep a goat with him and I decided I might try to get rid of the goat and I put him beside his pal Supasundae.

“As long as he’s with him, he’s quite relaxed, but take Supasundae away and he gets very agitated in his stable. They always travel together and when he goes to England he has to have his own lorry because he doesn’t like travelling in a big lorry.”

“He also likes music and I’m told by my daughter [Kate] that he is a fan of Ed Sheeran. When she’s riding him she plays music on her telephone and he walks around swinging his head from side to side.”

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I saw this morning that there’s a chance of it being a soft-ground festival, which would worry me a little
E.W. Terms
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