Jessica Harrington is already starting to contemplate a potential clash of her rising stars Our Duke and Sizing John in next year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The pair of seven-year-old’s have announced themselves as massive forces in the staying chase world with big-race wins over the last month.
Sizing John, long-established as a leading two-mile chaser, scaled new heights when winning the Gold Cup after Harrington boldly elected to campaign him over longer trips this season.
It was a first victory in the Blue Ribband for Cheltenham’s all-time leading lady trainer.
A red-hot spell for the Harrington team was extended on Easter Monday as Our Duke thoroughly justified his market-leading status with a straightforward success in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
Robbie Power, for so long Harrington’s main rider, was on board the 9/2 favourite as he readily pulled clear of last year’s runner-up Bless The Wings to win by 14-lengths.
For Harrington, it was a thrill to have won two of her sport’s most famous races in rapid succession and it was all the more special to achieve them with Power in the saddle.
“It’s hard to comprehend winning the Gold Cup and the Irish National. It’s taken me a long time to get the hang of training these staying chasers!
“Robbie rode his first ever winner for me. We get on very well. I give out to him if he does something wrong but he doesn’t do much wrong these days,” she said.
While she will attempt to campaign Our Duke and Sizing John apart for as long as possible, Harrington has mooted the potential for a thrilling clash in the Cotswolds next March.
“He’s the same age as Sizing John, they are both seven,” she added.
“We all have to get there, but he looks a Gold Cup horse. That’s why he didn’t go to Cheltenham this year, as we wanted to wait and go to the Gold Cup next year.
“We’ll keep him and Sizing John apart and see what happens. I haven’t raced him much and he has very few runs under his belt.”
The Irish National winner meanwhile is 22/1 to score in next spring’s Aintree version.
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