Last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Sizing John is attempting to become the first horse to win the Chase Triple Crown when he returns to action next month. His first target is set to be the Betfair Chase at Haydock in what will be his opening visit to the Lancashire track.
Sizing John became the star of the three-mile division last season when he won the Blue Riband Event of the Cheltenham Festival in his opening attempt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Under the hands of jockey Robbie Power, he was always travelling well in the feature race of the week. They made headway four furlongs out and then hit the front after jumping the penultimate fence. The seven-year-old was ridden out and stayed on strongly to finish ahead of Minella Rocco and Native River respectively.
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Jessica Harrington’s runner didn’t make his seasonal reappearance until the Christmas meeting at Leopardstown during the 2016/17 campaign; however, he is set to return to action much earlier this year with the Grade One contest at Haydock. The bookmakers make him the 2/1 favourite to claim the opening contest of the Chase Triple Crown and that price looks justified as he is the horse they all have to beat. The card at Haydock is one of the best on the calendar in November so if you are having a bet, look out for the best horse racing tips for the meeting; websites like betsafe offer Bell’s Bankers – or a range of daily picks.
Sizing John is likely to come up against last season’s RSA Chase winner Might Bite at Haydock as last season’s Cheltenham Festival winner will be stepping out of novice chase company for the first time in his career. Last year’s winner Cue Card is set for one more campaign this season and should start his season in the Betfair Chase, while Bristol De Mai could line up to take on the Gold Cup winner.
If successful at Haydock, the next task for Sizing John in his Chase Triple Crown bid will be the King George VI Chase at Kempton. At this point, Harrington’s runner should be much fitter so you are likely to see an improved performance for the feature race on Boxing Day. This race could see Douvan step up to 3m for the first time in his career. Willie Mullins’ runner has dominated the 2m chase division over the last couple of seasons but it remains to be seen if he can be as equally effective over the longer distance.
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2016 King George winner Thistlecrack may also make his return to action at Kempton after 11 months off the track. An injury back in January prevented Colin Tizzard’s runner from lining up at the Cheltenham Festival. Last season’s champion may just need this run to shake off the cobwebs.
Finally, if Sizing John does win the Betfair Chase and King George, he will have the opportunity to seal the Chase Triple Crown in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Connections will be hopeful of another big run from the Irish horse who could be set to establish himself as one of the best 3m chasers in recent history this season.