Sizing John pulled off a fine performance in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup to win the event for trainer Jessica Harrington. Harrington will now be looking to pull off another major triumph when she puts forward Torcedor for the Ascot Gold Cup in June.
The Irish horse competed in the event last season and was a contender for the crown, but couldn’t match the pace of Big Orange, placing in fifth in a talented field. However, with the experience of the meet, Torcedor may have the ability to push on this term and claim the crown, although it will be a challenge to knock last year’s winner and the Order of St George. In the betting odds for Royal Ascot at williamhill.com, he sits at 12/1. He may not be the favourite to win, but he certainly has a chance.
Torcedor rose to prominence at the start of the 2017 season with a victory at Leopardstown, dominating the rest of the field to secure the victory by five-and-a-half lengths. The bay gelding used the momentum from that performance to take into the Vintage Crop Stakes at the Navan where he faced off against race favourite Order of St George.
Harrington’s charge rose to the occasion with Colm O'Donoghue in the saddle. He made a steady start to the contest, tracking the leaders in the early stages. Torcedor surged into contention, one furlong out and was able to close out the victory. The Irish horse won the event by one-and-a-half lengths ahead of his compatriot, making a statement of intent ahead of the Gold Cup.
However, he could not make the same impact at Royal Ascot as the bay gelding left himself with too much to do towards the end of the race, finishing a respectable fifth. Harrington’s charge put forward a stronger performance on his next outing at the Irish St. Leger. The Irish horse made a slow start to the contest but gradually moved through the gears to challenge for the lead. Order of St George was able to pull away down the stretch and claim the victory by nine lengths, although Torcedor still placed in second by a comfortable distance.
The horses duelled it out once again in the final race of the season in the British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot. Torcedor had a brilliant run and was within striking distance of Order of St George down the stretch. However, Aidan O’Brien’s charge just had the legs to see out the victory by half a length despite the best efforts of O’Donoghue in the saddle.
He returned to action at the start of the 2018 season at Meydan in the Dubai Gold Cup, but the Irish horse did not suit the terrain and recorded the worst performance of his career, finishing last. Torcedor returned to English soil at Ascot, proving his quality on the track by winning the Sagaro Stakes by five lengths. Harrington’s charge will be a strong contender for the Gold Cup, which could see the trainer join rare company in winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the prize at Royal Ascot.