Gun Chaser Sizing John Back After 733 Days

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Star steeplechaser Sizing John will make his return to the races after an injury-enforced absence of two years when he runs in a hurdle at Punchestown.

The 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner takes on Willie Mullins-trained stablemates, Cesarewitch winner Stratum and Irish National winner Burrows Saints, over two miles 3-1/2 furlongs (3900m) on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT).

At the time of his injury two years ago, he was the pre-eminent three-mile chaser in training, having won four consecutive Grade Ones, but how much ability he has retained during his 733 days on the sidelines will be up for debate.

“We’re looking forward to getting him back in action,” trainer Jessica Harrington said.

“Probably two and a half miles over hurdles is a bit sharp for him these days at his age, but it’s a nice race to start him in.

“He’s ready to go, and we’ll take it from here.

“I haven’t been tempted to run him in another race. I’ve been waiting for this race, because once I spotted it I felt it looked just the right sort of race to bring him back in after all his time off.”

Harrington is mindful nonetheless of the talented opposition among a seven-strong field for the conditions event.

“This is not an easy race by any means,” she said.

“There are others on the comeback trail, but we’ve done as much as we can and we’re happy with him. I think he’ll be glad to get back on the racecourse.”

Mullins also runs Saglawy and Sayo with the line-up completed by Edward O’Grady’s Kitten Rock and Gordon Elliott’s Cracking Smart.

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