Robbie Power is set to take the reigns of Our Duke at the upcoming Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, with his intended mount Sizing John forced to pull out of the race earlier this week. Our Duke finished first in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park last month, and Power is confident of the 8yo’s chances heading into the greatest show on turf.
Sizing John being ruled out of the Gold Cup has made for huge headlines over the last few days. The 2017 Gold Cup winner had been a favourite for this years race, until trainer Jessica Harrington confirmed that the horse had suffered a hairline fracture and would be unable to participate. Harrington described the injury as a ‘massive blow’ to her stables and the owners.
Robbie Power, who was set to feature as Sizing John’s jockey labelled the injury ‘heartbreaking’. “We’re all very disappointed but don’t worry, he’ll be back,” he said via social media. Power has now been named as a replacement for Noel Fehily to ride Our Duke – a stablemate of Sizing John.
Power said of the news: “It’s very disappointing Sizing John is going to miss the Gold Cup. His preparation had been going very well and we were all looking forward to him trying to win the race for the second year in a row.
“I wasn’t happy with the way he was moving when I rode him yesterday morning, and it was a blow when Jessica rang me in the evening with the news that he had a small fracture to his pelvis and wouldn’t be running.
“But he’s only eight, so he should be back to try to win the race again next year.”
Power is the only jockey to have ridden Our Duke over obstacles and he added: “I’m in a fortunate position as Our Duke has to have a live chance.
“He was so impressive in the Irish National last year and I was thrilled with his win in the Red Mills Chase last month, giving a good horse [Presenting Percy] 7lb.
“The three-mile-two-furlong trip and uphill finish at Cheltenham should suit him well.”