Sizing John gearing up for return to action before Christmas

Fri 19 Oct 2018

Jessica Harrington reports Sizing John to be on course to return to action before Christmas.

The 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero has not been seen since disappointing in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase last December and was being prepared to defend his Cheltenham crown when he sustained a pelvic injury.

Harrington revealed the Fortria Chase at Navan on November 11 could be the first port of call, before heading to Leopardstown for the Christmas Chase on December 27.

 Sizing John has been pencilled in for the Fortia Chase at Navan (PA)
Sizing John has been pencilled in for the Fortia Chase at Navan (PA)

Alternatively his seasonal debut could be delayed until December 9 for the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown, which he won last season.

“He’s very good and I’m very happy with him,” said the County Kildare handler.

“We could look at the Fortria or Christmas with him or maybe the Durkan and miss Christmas, I don’t know. We’ll see.”

Meanwhile, Anibale Fly could make his seasonal debut early next month as connections map out another exciting campaign for the Tony Martin-trained gelding, who was third in this year’s Gold Cup and fourth in the Grand National.

The Cheltenham and Aintree showpieces are likely to be on the agenda again for the eight-year-old, who was also running a big race in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February when he fell at the second-last fence.

“He’s in good form and Tony is pleased with him,” said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.

“There are no plans yet. We’re just waiting on the ground. Hopefully we might see him out in early November.

“I don’t think he’ll go to Down Royal, but hopefully it will be somewhere around that time.

“You’d like to think he’d be going down a similar route again to last year.”

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