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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Stars were not doped say Harrington and regulator's security chief

Sizing John: bidding for back-to-back Gold Cups under Robbie Power
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Jessica Harrington does not believe Sizing John was doped before his laboured Leopardstown performance in the Christmas Chase after Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board security chief Chris Gordon revealed CCTV coverage confirmed neither the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner nor Faugheen were interfered with before their engagements. 

Tests from both horses were unable to reveal any reason for the rare blips and the rumour mill began doing overtime with talk of tampering. 

However, such theories were quashed by Gordon, who told the Racing Post: "There is CCTV in operation at Leopardstown and we have scrutinised the footage. It is a great asset to have as we can immediately look into allegations, such as the ones about Faugheen and Sizing John.

Watch Road To Respect's win in the Christmas Chase

"We've reviewed the footage and have no concerns about any unauthorised personnel in the area. We know exactly where Faugheen and Sizing John were stabled and no stranger approached those boxes.

"We will be extending our use of CCTV to more tracks in Ireland. Navan and Tipperary are next to have it installed. That is a big step in the right direction."

Harrington does not believe Sizing John was interfered with before finishing seventh behind Road To Respect, beaten 32 lengths, and is putting the below-par effort down to the quick turnaround after his impressive John Durkan success. 

She said: "I'm happy that Sizing John was not interfered with and I do not think that was the reason for his disappointing display. I just think it came too quick after his win in the John Durkan at Punchestown."

Mullins baffled by Faugheen flop

Similarly, Willie Mullins reports Faugheen to be none the worse for his lethargic Leopardstown display, but remains baffled as to why he ran so poorly.

Mullins said on Saturday: "I didn't see him out this morning [Saturday] but John [Codd] rang me on the way down in the car and said he was in great shape. He did a steady canter this morning. He is eating, he is bright and he is well in himself. We will just keep doing a little bit more with him day by day.

Faugheen: in "great shape" since Leopardstown

"Absolutely nothing has come to light with him. I am just waiting on one test to come and that's it.

"He was gone early. It wasn't as though he ran three-quarters of the race and then got beaten because he had a dirty nose or a lung infection or anything like that. He was gone early, as early as the second hurdle, which was very, very unusual."

Watch Mick Jazz spring a surprise in the Ryanair Hurdle

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We know exactly where Faugheen and Sizing John were stabled and no stranger approached those boxes
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