Gold Cup hero Sizing John out of Betfair Chase due to ground concerns

Jessica Harrington has been forced to abandon plans to take the wraps off her Gold Cup winner Sizing John in Saturday’s Betfair Chase at Haydock due to a likelihood of very soft ground.

The decision means that Sizing John’s lucrative £1m Jockey Club bonus bid for winning the Betfair Chase, the King George and then the Gold Cup is over now before it had even began.

Harrington is now concentrating on starting her stable star off in the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown on December 10.

Speaking to the Racing Post, She said: “After all of this rain today [Wednesday] the ground has now gone soft to heavy and we have decided against running and the John Durkan Chase is where we will aim him at now.

“They [Haydock] didn’t expect all of this rain that they have got and it’s just a shame really as we had been planning on starting him there.”

She added: “I had to make a decision. The horse is absolutely fine and he’s ready to rock and roll but I just felt that it would have been the wrong thing running him on very heavy ground against horses that have already had a run under their belt this season.”

While the Betfair Chase is off the table, Harrington stated that there is still a strong possibility of Sizing John taking up his engagement in the King George at Kempton over the Christmas.

She concluded: “As I said, Punchestown will be his new target and after that he could still go on to run in the King George at Kempton. That's a strong possibility.”

Shortly after Harrington's announcement Bristol De Mai was shortened to 5-4 favourite for Saturday's race with the sponsors, who make Cue Card 15-8 and Outlander 6-1.