Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Sizing John heads a classy field for the Leopardstown Christmas Chase

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SIZING JOHN faces a 11 elegant rivals within the Leopardstown Christmas Chase on Thursday.

Jessica Harrington’s seven-year-old created historical past final season by successful Gold Cups at Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown.

Getty Photos

Sizing John faces various high-class horses

He made his seasonal debut at Punchestown on December 10 and soundly defeated Djakadam.

 

Harrington mentioned: “I have been proud of Sizing John because the John Durkan and this appears a pleasant spot for him, then we are able to see what we do after that – I am simply taking every race because it comes.

“There are 12 runners, so it will be fierce competitive, but I think the bigger field might actually help him. We’ve just got to keep out of trouble.

“The ground looks like being lovely so that will be more in our favour.”

Djakadam takes him on again but his stablemate Yorkhill could be the biggest danger to Sizing John as he steps up in trip to three miles.

 Yorkhill (nearside) throws the race away on his last start

PA

Yorkhill (nearside) throws the race away on his last start

Yorkhill has not been seen since he threw away victory in the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in April.

“It’s a very big ask for Yorkhill on his first start of the season,” said Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, Willie.

“Yorkhill seems in good form and because he has to go left-handed that cuts down our options considerably in Ireland.

Templegate’s TV tips

1.20 Kempton – The Unit: ‘The small field and decent pace should play into his hands’ (add to your betslip)

1.55 Kempton – Midnight Tour: ‘Progressive last season and made a promising return’ (add to your betslip)

2.30 Kempton – Politologue: ‘There’s more to come and he should make it a hat-trick of wins this season’ (add to your betslip)

3.05 Kempton – Sir Ivan: ‘His third behind Elegant Escape and Black Corton at Newbury looks good form’ (add to your betslip)

“It’s his first run over three miles since his point-to-point days, but his pedigree is all staying and we’re hoping this will be a stepping-stone to the Gold Cup. We’ll have a lot better idea where we stand after tomorrow.”

Of Djakadam, Patrick Mullins added: “I don’t think he ran up to his best the last day. He didn’t really carry Paul (Townend) the whole way.

 Djakadam (centre) faces up to Sizing John again

PA

Djakadam (centre) faces up to Sizing John again

“We’re just hoping that run has blown the cobwebs away and that he’ll travel with a bit more enthusiasm. I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t improve on that run.”

Minella Rocco, Carlingford Lough and Edwulf represent owner J P McManus while Gigginstown House Stud run five with Andrew Lynch’s Zabana completing the field.

Jockey Jack Kennedy clings to his horse but gets back in the saddle and amazingly goes on to win the race

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