Sizing John returns after winning the John Durkan
Image supplied by Tattersalls Ireland

Jessica Harrington remains at a loss to definitively explain the below-par performance of Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Sizing John at Leopardstown over Christmas.

The eight-year-old carried all before him in the staying chase department last season, winning the Irish Gold Cup and Punchestown equivalent in addition to his famous success at Cheltenham.

He made a fine reappearance in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in heavy ground last month, but could only beat Yorkhill home when a distant seventh of eight finishers in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase, for which he was sent off the odds-on favourite.

Following the result of blood tests, Harrington said: “We have not found any clinical reason so far from the tests carried out.”