Power: hopefully it's not too serious and we live to fight another day
Brilliant horse of the year Sizing John was found to be “post-race abnormal” after running an unusually flat race in Thursday's Leopardstown Christmas Chase, but regular rider Robbie Power remained optimistic that the classy chaser’s season has not come to an abrupt and premature end.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, who looked as good as ever on his reappearance in the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown less than a month ago, never seemed to be travelling with much enthusiasm and beat only one finisher home.
Robbie Power reported to the clerk of scales that the seven-year-old finished distressed. The Turf Club veterinary officer examined Sizing John at the request of the stewards and reported him to be 'clinically abnormal' post-race.
The seven-year-old was set to be examined at Jessica Harrington’s base in Moone, County Kildare, by the stable’s vet.
Harrington told At The Races on Thursday evening: "He is sound now and his heart was okay. Basically he got slight hyperthermia. He got too hot. As soon as he cooled down he was grand.
"I won't know anything else until I run some blood tests on him when I get back."
Power, who reported he was never happy aboard Sizing John in the latter stages of the race, said: "He travelled well for the first four or five fences but was not going with his normal zest as we passed the winning post with a circuit to go.”
He added: "It wasn’t his running and the vets have found him to be clinically abnormal so we'll get him home and have him checked in the morning. Hopefully it's nothing too serious.”
Asked whether he’d be hopeful of seeing Sizing John back on a racecourse this season, Power responded: “Ah God yeah, he’s sound down in the stable yard and as I said, we’ll get him home to Jessie’s and he’ll be thoroughly checked out by her vets in the morning.
“Hopefully there’s nothing too serious there and we might get him back for the Irish Gold Cup or we may even go straight to Cheltenham. There’ll be no decisions made until we know what the problem is.”
On a day where Zabana lost his life in the same race, and Willie Mullins and his team were rocked by the loss of Nichols Canyon earlier on the card, Power was holding on to the comfort that Sizing John was able to make his way home from the races and will hopefully overcome whatever ailment stopped him in his tracks.
The jockey concluded: “He’s still alive, and it was terrible what happened to Nichols Canyon and Zabana, so at least he’s not in that category and we live to fight another day.”