Jessica Harrington joins the Cheltenham greats and Ireland complete impressive BetBright Cup rout

Sports Staff
Harrington celebrates after winning the Gold Cup with her runner Sizing John: AFP/Getty

Jessica Harrington was not content with becoming the most successful female trainer in the history of the Cheltenham Festival because on Friday she landed the biggest prize of them all, the Timico Gold Cup, with Sizing John.

Incredibly Harrington had never even had a runner in the race and has only trained Sizing John since the autumn, when owner Alan Potts removed his horses from Henry de Bromhead's yard.

In winning, Sizing John (7-1) became the first horse since Imperial Call in 1996 to land both the Irish and Cheltenham Gold Cups in the same season.

He was chased home by Minella Rocco, who just pipped Native River and Djakadam. Jockey Robbie Power won the Grand National 10 years ago on Silver Birch and has now added the biggest prize in steeplechasing.

It was another fantastic day at Cheltenham (Getty)

Here are five things we learned from the final day of the festival...

Harrington strikes gold

Jessica Harrington joined the Cheltenham greats when completing the big championship-race treble with Sizing John. The veteran Irish trainer had won the the Champion Chase with Moscow Flyer and the Champion Hurdle with Jezki, yet she had never even had a runner in the Gold Cup. But Sizing John, who only moved to her yard from Henry de Bromhead earlier in the season, gave her the third leg of the coveted treble and ensured her place in Festival folklore.

Ireland complete BetBright Cup rout

Great Britain's misery was ended as the early as the second race on the final day when victory for the Willie Mullins-trained Arctic Fire in the County Hurdle gave Ireland an unassailable lead in the BetBright Cup. Though GB had started the four days as favourite, the dominance of Mullins and Gordon Elliott in particular ensured the trophy went across the Irish Sea with a final demoralising scoreline of 19-9 .

Defi Du Seuil is Hobbs' choice are Triumph romp

Philip Hobbs has been in racing a long time, but as a trainer there is nothing more exciting than having a potentially top-class horse. He was the first to admit he was feeling the pressure with Defi Du Seuil before the favourite obliged in the Triumph Hurdle. With that race now secured, Hobbs is already looking to future seasons with a prospect he believes is one to really savour over fences.

Townsend's turn to celebrate

Paul Townend may live in the shadow of Ruby Walsh most of the time, but being second jockey to Willie Mullins has its bonuses. With so many talented horses in the stable, Walsh cannot get it right all the time. So it proved on day four as Walsh picked the wrong one twice to give Townend a superb 356-1 double on Arctic Fire in the County Hurdle and Penhill in the Albert Bartlett.

Ice-cool Frost follows in her father's footsteps

Bryony Frost maintained family tradition when giving Pacha Du Polder a great ride to win the St. James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup. Her father Jimmy lifted the 1991 Champion Hurdle on Morley Street as well as the Grand National on Little Polvier in 1989. Now it was Bryony's time to have her day in the sun, as she shone on Paul Nicholls' battle-hardened chaser to lift the amateur riders' Gold Cup, as female riders won all three of the amateur events this week.

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