I remember interviewing Robbie Power on the first day of this month’s Cheltenham Festival. Talking by the stables where horses including Sizing John were staying during the meeting, we discussed his upcoming rides that week and then went our separate ways.
Little did we probably both think that just over a month later, he would be Britain and Ireland’s in form jockey who has taken the National Hunt world by storm in that time.
Three victories at the Cheltenham Festival, the most famous of course coming aboard the Jessica Harrington-trained Sizing John in Jump racing’s most famous event, the blue riband Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, were quickly followed three weeks later by the announcement that Power would become Ann & Alan Potts’ retained rider. With added ammunition comes added pressure but with Power, the feeling was more “what pressure?
The 35-year-old instead rode four winners at the Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree, with three of them successes being in Grade One events and the quartet all coming in the Potts colours – not a bad introduction into your new job.
However, Power wasn’t finished and with Jessica Harrington sharing the limelight, the pair teamed up with Our Duke on Monday, who ran out an impressive winner of the Boylesports Irish Grand National. He certainly looks a horse to follow and one indeed for next year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup as he routed the field here with an electric display of slick jumping, without him really coming out of second gear. He looks a horse to follow.
Speaking in the aftermath, Power said:
This means so much to me, it’s my local racecourse and I was second in it a few years ago so this is nice compensation. He is a hell of a good horse. He is very, very good. He made a few novicey little mistakes, but full credit to all the team at Commonstown. Jessie has done some job to train this horse to win an Irish National on only his fourth start over fences.
Once he got a good view of his fences and got plenty of light, we were going to be happy. He just travelled so well everywhere, he is just a very good horse. Fair play to Fairyhouse as well, they done a super job watering the ground because otherwise he wouldn’t have been here. Full marks all round to everyone. Hopefully I’ll have a tough decision to make next March (for the Gold Cup), but who knows, we’ll enjoy this one first.