Power looking to Sizing John to turn on style in Gold Cup
Robbie Power has been passed fit to resume riding this weekend and has high hopes of capping his comeback with double Grade 1 glory courtesy of Sizing John and Our Duke.
Power believes his Stan James Irish Gold Cup mount Sizing John will relish the step up in trip, while stablemate Our Duke bids for a hat-trick in the Flogas Novice Chase.
Troubled with a back problem in recent weeks, Power has not ridden since January 26 and on Wednesday couldn't wait to return to action.
"I rode work on Sizing John and Our Duke at Jessie [Harrington]'s this morning, all went well and I feel fine," he reported. "I've been passed to resume and plan to ride at Naas on Saturday.
"I'm really looking forward to my rides in the Leopardstown Grade 1s. Both horses are in great shape and, while Sizing John has never gone the distance, I think the step up in trip will suit him."
Sizing John is a general 7-1 chance for this Sunday's showpiece at Leopardstown, in advance of which he has attracted support for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
BoyleSports cut him to 33-1 (from 50) for the race on Wednesday, when spokesman Leon Blanche said: “We've seen plenty of support for Sizing John for the Irish Gold Cup, and punters are now eager to take an ante-post chance as they have supported him into 33-1 from 50-1 for the Gold Cup, knowing that if he impresses on Sunday they may be sitting on some value bets heading into Cheltenham.”
Sizing John, winner of the 2m4f Kinloch Brae Chase last time, is also entered for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase.
Harrington said: "Sizing John did a nice breeze this morning and I'm very happy with him. We will see how he gets on before making any decision about Cheltenham. The Ryanair would look the logical race but we'll be keeping options open."
Our Duke was cut into 11-4 and 3-1 (from 5) by Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power for the Flogas Novice Chase on Wednesday, that market headed by Bellshill at evens.
The Ryanair is the festival target for Zabana, whose participation in the Irish Gold Cup hinges on the ground drying out.
Trainer Andy Lynch said on Wednesday: "Zabana worked on Tuesday and all's good with him. But we'd like to see the ground drying out from soft – we'll check conditions at Leopardstown tomorrow or Friday before deciding if he'll run.
"We definitely wouldn't want the ground anyway gluey. If he doesn't run he'll go straight to Cheltenham."
Gordon Elliott, who will be represented in the Irish Gold Cup by Don Poli and Empire Of Dirt, said that A Toi Phil will be his representative in the Flogas Novice Chase.
He said: "A Toi Phil will run but our other entry Ball D'Arc might wait and run at Navan the following weekend.
"We'll probably run all three of our entries – Brelade, Barra and Blood Crazed Tiger – in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle."