Sizing John to miss Cheltenham Gold Cup defence

Sizing John will miss his defence of the featured Gold Cup at next week’s Cheltenham Festival

Jessica Harrington has announced that last season’s Timico Gold Cup winner Sizing John will miss next week’s Cheltenham renewal.

His trainer stated that he cantered well on Thursday morning as normal, but during routine checks in the afternoon, the eight-year-old was found sore behind. It was subsequently found that he had suffered a hairline fracture in his pelvis.

As a result, he will have box rest for a fortnight before being re-scanned with a view to starting walking exercise.

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The news saw a shake-up in the betting market, as Sizing John was 6-1 joint-second favourite to become the first horse since Best Mate to retain his Gold Cup crown.

Sizing John was a beaten favourite in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase in December when finishing a disappointing seventh, but Harrington will still be represented in the Timico Gold Cup by last year’s impressive Irish Grand National winner Our Duke, who is now a best-priced 7-1. Robbie Power has been switched to ride Our Duke.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Mite Bite is the general 3-1 favourite for the feature event on Friday, March 16.

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