Trainer Jessica Harrington. Photo: Sportsfile
Trainer Jessica Harrington. Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Sizing John will step up his preparations for a Festive return when Jessica Harrington’s star chaser makes a visit to the Curragh today.

The 2017 Gold Cup winner missed the defence of his Cheltenham crown due to a fractured pelvis but will visit headquarters before his first run in nearly a year at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival.

Harrington is keen to take the eight-year-old away from her Moone base before either returning over 2m 1f or in the 3m Savills Chase – which he disappointed in when seventh last season – at the Foxrock track. “He’s in good form. He’s going to work tomorrow,” Harrington said. “He was going to work today, but the ground was too quick at Punchestown. He’s going to do a bit at the Curragh just to get him away from home.”

Ross O’Sullivan is another trainer plotting a return with the Curragh handler set to take Call It Magic back to Aintree in April following his bold display in Saturday’s Becher Chase.

Fading Call It Magic excelled over the National fences before fading into fourth late on and O’Sullivan admits the shorter Topham Chase over 2m5½f is a more likely destination.

“We’ll enter for the National, but he’ll have to go up a few pounds to get in. The way he took to those fences, the long-term plan has to be to go back there. We were very happy, if he could find a few more pounds he’d go for the National, but the Topham is more likely.” O’Sullivan said.

Elsewhere, The New One could sign off a stellar career in Cheltenham’s International Hurdle on Saturday, which has been re-opened until this morning due to insufficient entries. Connections of Nigel Twiston-Davies’ ten-year-old will call time on his career unless he puts in a display fitting that which has seen him lift this prize three times.

Sam Twiston-Davies, successful on him 18 times, said: “We want to bring him to the track and see if he’s still got it or not. If he hasn’t, I’d imagine he’d go off on his retirement. We love him to bits.”

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Irish Independent


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