Gold Cup hero Sizing John targets million pound bonus
Irish champion steeplechaser Sizing John will target the mouthwatering £1 million (1.1 million-euro, $1.4 million) bonus on offer for winning the English Triple Crown in the 2017/18 National Hunt season, his trainer Jessica Harrington said.
The 70-year-old's stable star won an unprecedented treble of Gold Cups last season, including the blue riband Cheltenham version.
Jockey Club Racecourses are offering the bonus to the connections of a horse winning the three elite Grade 1 races that make up the Chase Triple Crown at its courses: the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park in November, the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on December 26, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the final day of the Festival next March.
"This bonus is a great extra incentive and builds the season towards a crescendo for the sport," said Harrington.
"Ever since Sizing John won in April at Punchestown we have had the Triple Crown on our minds.
"Our aim is to start him off in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November.
"He looks fantastic and we are really keen to have a crack at the £1 million bonus for winning the three races. It's exciting to have a horse to run in these races."
The size of the task facing Harrington's star and others such as veteran Cue Card is shown by the fact that the late Kauto Star in the 2007/08 season is the only horse to have won the Triple Crown since the inaugural Betfair in 2005.
Jockey Club Racecourses, the UK's leading racecourse group which stages 85 percent of Grade 1 Jump racing in Britain and is governed by Royal Charter to reinvest all its profits back into the sport, first introduced the Triple Crown bonus in the 2015/16 campaign.
Paul Fisher, Chief Executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, said Harrington's comments about Sizing John reflected the appeal of the new bonus.
"For trainers like Jessica Harrington to be saying they are specifically targeting the Chase Triple Crown this season is fantastic," said Fisher.
"To see a horse prove itself as the best staying chaser by winning all three of these races and the £1 million bonus would be superb for our sport."
The bonus would be split between connections, with 65 percent going to the winning owners, 15 percent to the trainer, 10 percent to stable staff at the winning yard and 10 percent to the jockey, split a third per race if different jockeys ride the horse.
© 2017 AFP