Monday, 13 February 2017 at 11:09am

Sizing John wins the Stan James Irish Gold Cup in a Gripping Renewal| Four Grade 1 races won by four different trainers

Sunday 12th February 2017,  9,376 race goers braved the elements to enjoy Stan James Irish Gold Cup Day, the only race day in Ireland with 4 Grade 1 races. It was a gripping renewal for the Stan James Irish Gold Cup as Robbie Power and Sizing John seized the prestigious €150,000 prize providing a first win for trainer Jessica Harrington.  Road To Riches and Don Poli led the field from the beginning, but it was at the finish that the real drama began; when all six left standing were covered by a couple of lengths in a wide open contest.   Then More of That fell at the last and Don Poli and stable companion Empire Of Dirt piled on the pressure on the run-in as Sizing John held on to prevail with a three-quarters of a length victory. This was his first step-up in trip to three miles and a sweet victory for Sizing John, after being placed seven times behind Douvan.

Earlier on in the day, Rachael Blackmore steered Who’s That to the winning post in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Handicap Hurdle for trainer Liam Cusack for the third year in a row. The action continued with the Tom Mullins-trained Grand Partner an impressive winner of the 1888 Restaurant Handicap Hurdle with victory of a length-and-three-quarter over Joshua Lane.

Grade 1 action in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle was a competitive contest as Gordon Elliott’s Mega Fortune exacted revenge over Bapaume, winning by three and a half lengths under Davy Russell. The Deloitte Novice Hurdle was a fascinating contest as Mullins’ Bacardys made a late run to grab victory, chasing home stable mate Bunk Off early. 

Jockey Sean Flanagan won his first ever Grade 1 victory aboard Disko for Noel Meade in an impressive win of the Flogas Novice Steeplechase, which saw favourite Bellshill fall early in the race. In the Leopardstown Inn Hunters Chase, favourite Foxrock held on to clinch the race from Enda Bolger’s On the Fringe, who tired on the final straight, in his first run of his season.

In the Powerscourt Hotel Style Awards, actress, singer and model Nadia Forde was on hand to judge the Most Stylish Lady and the Most Stylish Gentleman with over €5,000 in prizes.  Lisa McGowan from Tullamore Co Offaly won the title of Most Stylish Lady with a houndstooth two-piece and a statement mustard and black hat and Mark Murphy from Dunboyne Co Meath wore an understated camel overcoat and suit to take the Most Stylish Gentleman.

Pat Keogh CEO of Leopardstown said:Today holds a special place in racing fans memories and the competitive spirit in the four Grade 1 races was a privilege to watch. It was great to see so many people brave the elements, it just shows that the Irish audience really appreciates quality racing when they see it!”