Jessica Harrington

Coming off a really good year on the Flat, Jessica Harrington will attempt to build on a tremendous 2016-17 season over jumps, and while it was not the most successful season she has enjoyed in terms of number of winners, in terms of achievement it was probably her best ever.
The signs of progress at Commonstown are everywhere, including the 30 new boxes constructed and ready for occupation. And occupied they will be.
It is hard to fathom that prior to last season she had yet to have a runner in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown or the Cheltenham Gold Cup. By the end of March she had both trophies on her sideboard courtesy of Sizing John in his first full season at the yard. The seven-year-old added a third Grade 1 chase to his CV with a gutsy victory in the Punchestown Gold Cup, and fully justified his owner Alan Potts’s decision to send some of his horses to the trainer.
Another Potts horse, Supasundae, could be among the leading contenders for the Stayers’ Hurdle in March, and far from never having had a runner in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Harrington now looks to have a second live contender in that division this season in the shape of last year’s top staying novice chaser Our Duke. His astonishing performance for such an inexperienced chaser in last Easter’s Irish Grand National was one of the best in a top handicap chase for some time.
Harrington has long held the ambition to have a team of quality chasers, and now she has two of the best. Everything looks set for another wonderful season.
Where Commonstown Stud, Moone, County Kildare
Started training 1989
Horses in yard 75
Members of staff 50
Assistant Trainer/head groom Eamonn Leigh
Assistant trainers Kate Harrington
Travelling head groom Niall Amond
Jockeys Robbie Power, Mark Bolger, Bryan Cooper
Claiming riders Paddy Kennedy, Ryan Treacy
Amateur Kate Harrington
Secretary Ally Couchman
Office manager Emma Galway
Twitter @Jessica_Racing

Winners in Ireland
2016-17 48
2015-16 47
2014-15 31
2013-14 35
Profit/loss to €1 stake
2016-17 -€121.84
2015-16 +€4.94
2014-15 +€44.42
2013-14 +€10.71
Prize-money 2016-17

Jessica Harrington's list of Runners

A Sizing Network

Info: Seven-year-old gelding Network (sire) - Gemma (dam)
Form: 422211
He's very much an improving horse. He's had a few issues but they seem to have been fixed and his last two runs have been terrific. It wasn't a high grade handicap chase he won at Punchestown but he carried top weight and did it very easily. He jumped super as well. He seems to handle softer ground too. I'm not sure where we'll go. I would love to get him up to a mark high enough to run in the Grand National but whether that's 2018 or 2019 I don't know. I'll step him up slowly through the grades in handicaps and maybe even in a novice chase. The Irish Grand National could be a realistic target too, we'll just see what happens.

Ale Ambrosio

Info: 5f Big Bad Bob - Memorys Of Madness
Form: 5/0470-
She had a few setbacks last year. She seems to have come back much stronger this year. I still like her a lot. She's done a lot of schooling and will run on over hurdles over 2m4f or thereabouts. I would look forward to her jumping a fence eventually.

Billy’s Hope

Info: 6m King’s Theatre - Lady Bellingham
Form: 6420-P0
She was a bit unlucky not to win over fences last season and she'll go over them again this year. She'll run in November probably in a mares' beginners chase. She always seems to run well fresh and I'd be hopeful of a big run from her first time out. She stays very well and is adaptable as to ground, she just wouldn't want it too heavy.

Boot Camp

Info: 4g Milan - Derravaragh Native
Form: 6-2
He had a very nice run at Punchestown at the festival where he was a bit keen but he settled much better in front at Thurles last week and I was delighted with him, we were just beaten by a better horse on the day. I would hope he'll be a decent horse over hurdles although I'd like to win a bumper with him. I think he'll go on any ground and he's definitely one to look forward to.

Close Shave

Info: 4f Beneficial - Ballys Baby
Form: 12-
He's a grand big horse who won his hurdle race last year. He ran very well when second to Calino D'airy at Galway last month over fences and he jumped very well and did it well enough over 2m6f at Thurles last week. He'll progress on. We'll probably go now for a novice handicap chase somewhere over 2m6f to 3m. He could well be a very good staying chaser in time and he's a nice one to look forward to. We'll space out his runs well – he's really only coming to himself now.

Don’t Touch It

Info: 7g Scorpion - Shandora
Form: 1221-54
Hopefully he'll go the 2m chase route. He might run at Christmas but not if the ground is very heavy. He's really a spring horse and he'll be aimed at Cheltenham, Aintree, Punchestown. Races like the Dan Moore Chase at Fairyhouse and the Grand Annual will be his aim. He's a tough horse when he has to be, he has Grade 1 hurdles form and has plenty of ability, and he's probably another horse that's just coming to himself now.

Forge Meadow

Info: 5m Beneficial - Ballys Baby
Form: 2184-65
She's been a bit disappointing on her last two runs and has just been a bit free, including the other day at Punchestown. She's a very good mare when she relaxes a bit, maybe we'll have to go back to the drawing board a little. She's a bit hard to place and what we might do is try to find some of those small-field conditions hurdles for her. But the trouble is she's a Grade 2 winner and will be counted out of most of those. She's grown a lot over the summer and I might easily run her over fences to try and get her to settle.

Girly Girl

Info: 8m Golan - Clan Music
Form: 33FF30-
She was so unlucky last year, falling twice when looking like winning. She'll go the mares' beginners chase and mares' graded chase route. She's come back in great form and is another who runs very well fresh.

Holding Pattern

Info: 5m Teofilo - Meon Mix
Form: 1
Her owners have been very patient with her and I was delighted the way she won on her debut at Thurles. I think we'll try her in a winners' bumper, possibly the mares' Listed one at Navan in November or possibly take on geldings, and then go hurdling. We'll go the mares' novice hurdle route and see where we end up. She has a bit of class, she has a good staying Flat pedigree. She coped well with the ground at Thurles which was quite tacky and she's a nice mare to look forward to.

Impact Factor

Info: 5g Flemensfirth - Hello Kitty
Form: 32-
He was placed in two bumpers last season for Paddy Twomey, finishing second to Poli Roi in a pretty good Navan bumper. He's a lovely horse and will be going straight over hurdles.


Info: 6g Flemensfirth - La Noire
Form: 26U424-
He was a bit unlucky over fences last season and he'll go straight back over them now. He's got a bit stronger. His run when second to Yorkhill was very good and he just couldn't jump out of the heavy ground at Gowran next time. He needs a bit better ground and his experience should stand to him.


Info: 5g Flemensfirth - Miss Squiff
Form: 433-3
He'll go on over hurdles. He was keen and a bit wayward on his first run over hurdles at Killarney in May but his bumper form was good and he's a nice horse. He'll probably run over 2m4f plus.


Info: 9g Milan - La Noire
Form: 1/1285-1
Last year was a bit of an off season for him – he was rusty after 18 months on the sidelines, things didn’t really go his way and we’re putting a line through it. There’s really no pressure this season and we’ll let him tell us what the plan of action should be. Things started with a bang when he won a Grade 3 hurdle at Tipperary last month, so the plan is to go to Punchestown for the Morgiana Hurdle and take it from there. We’ll take each race as it comes and make no plans. I think he still has the speed to be a high-class two-miler.

Lesley Dawn

Info: 4f Flemensfirth - Glen Empress
Form: 7-1
She goes for the Graded mares' novice hurdle at Down Royal over 2m. She was very impressive on her second maiden hurdle start at Punchestown in May. She'll stay in mares company, a lovely filly and one to be excited about. We hope that she'll end up at Cheltenham and she should get 2m4f.

Light That

Info: 5g Echo Of Light - Tucum
Form: 002-P80
He had a bit of a break and should go on now over fences. To look at him you would say he's crying out for fences. He was good on the Flat over the summer too. He'll run in 2m novice chases but he has to go right-handed.

Magic Of Light

Info: 6m Flemensfirth - Quest Of Passion
Form: 2431-32
We were thrilled with her run at Gowran in a Grade B handicap hurdle which got her some black type, and we found a beginners' chase for her at Thurles last week which was for horses rated less than 116 over hurdles. The trip was too short and she was a bit unlucky so we'll probably run in another of those races. She jumps very well and she'll really come into her own when she goes over 3m. She's getting much stronger.


Info: 6g Echo Of Light - Lily Bethe
Form: 43-F1P4
He seems to be handling soft ground a bit better now. The handicapper hammered him for his win at Galway, putting him up 10lb, and he’d be a grand horse to take to Cheltenham or Aintree but he just can’t go left-handed. He needs to step up to 2m4f on a flat track. He jumps great and he’s a fun horse. He’s very big and has kept on improving. He’ll go to Fairyhouse and Punchestown in the spring. There’s a good Flat race in him somewhere along the line.

Oscar Sam

Info: 8g Oscar - Good Thyne Jenny
Form: P3/1121-
He had a fantastic year and wasn’t over-raced. The Cooper family took a view around Christmas that we wouldn’t go to Cheltenham. He was a bit unlucky at Leopardstown in February when he made a mistake at the last but I think that helped him in the Irish Grand National where he was so impressive for such an inexperienced horse in a big handicap. He’s in great form and goes for the Grade 1 Champion Chase at Down Royal on Saturday. He might run in the John Durkan before Christmas. From there, all being well, it will be the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown and then the Cheltenham Gold Cup. I’m excited about him this season and hopefully he can go and do it.

Our Duke

Info: 7g Oscar - Good Thyne Jenny
Form: P3/1121-
He had a fantastic year and wasn’t over-raced. The Cooper family took a view around Christmas that we wouldn’t go to Cheltenham. He was a bit unlucky at Leopardstown in February when he made a mistake at the last but I think that helped him in the Irish Grand National where he was so impressive for such an inexperienced horse in a big handicap. He’s in great form and goes for the Grade 1 Champion Chase at Down Royal on Saturday. He might run in the John Durkan before Christmas. From there, all being well, it will be the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown and then the Cheltenham Gold Cup. I’m excited about him this season and hopefully he can go and do it.

Rock The World

Info: 9g Orpen - Sue N Win
Form: 014-250
He looks likely to get a break now and come back to try and win the Grand Annual again. He's very much a spring horse and Aintree, Fairyhouse and Punchestown will all be in his programme. He could well run in a Grade 2 or a Grade 3 – he did run well in the Grade 1 at Punchestown in the spring.

Sandymount Duke

Info: 6g Robin Des Champs - Opera Hat
Form: 145-115
He’s going for the Grand National. Provided the ground is good or maybe good to soft the plan is to run at Aintree, although as he’s getting older he’s handling soft ground that bit better. He stays really well now and his jumping is more than good enough. He’s improved unbelievably this year and has been an amazing horse and the owner has never had a runner in National, so that’s the plan.

Sizing John

Info: 7g Midnight Legend - La Perrotine
Form: 3/21111-
He really rose to the occasion each time last season and it was Robbie Power who insisted that he felt like a stayer after we chased home Douvan over 2m1f at Christmas. So we stepped up to 2m4f for the Kinloch Brae at Thurles and that went well, and again when he stepped up to 3m for the Irish Gold Cup he did it quite easily on very heavy ground. The way he stayed at Cheltenham was slightly unexpected to me but not to Robbie and it was just a fantastic performance. He'll be following a different campaign this time because Alan Potts wants to go for the million pound bonus, so he'll be going to the Betfair Chase at Haydock, followed by the King George at Kempton and then the Gold Cup. Winning all three will be pretty tough to do but we'll be giving it our best shot.


Info: 5g Black Sam Bellamy - Like Manner
Form: 2/15-3
He'll be running in novice hurdles. Having to pull him out of the Cheltenham bumper was a disaster – the travelling over there and everything else probably took its toll on him for his last two runs. I'm delighted with him, he's back in and in great form and he'll run in a maiden hurdle very shortly. He should be at home over 2m or 2m4f. I think he'll settle much better this year.


Info: 7g Galileo - Distinctive Look
Form: 812412-
He'll be going the 3m hurdle route. The owner took a little bit of persuading not to send him chasing but I don't think Galileos are particularly good jumpers of fences. He's only a little bit below the very best staying hurdlers judged on his run against Yanworth at Aintree, and that was after a tough spring when he won the Coral Cup. He had also run at Christmas and February, and he was really thriving on his racing and improving for it. He's seven going on eight so there's every chance he's only really coming to himself. He'll go to the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse and then the Stayers' Hurdle route.

Thirsty Work

Info: 6g Robin Des Champs - Koko Rose
Form: 11P0-P9
He's a grand horse that won a couple of hurdle races last season. He's just taking a little bit of time to get the hang of things over fences, but he was a little better the last day and he'll get there. He's just a big, gross horse who's quite hard to get fit. 2m to 2m4f is his trip.

Woodland Opera

Info: 7g Robin Des Champs - Opera Hat
Form: 4311-F3
I was happy enough with him in a Grade 3 novice chase at Punchestown last month when he finished third to Death Duty. He’d have been second if he’d hacked round behind but we decided to take the winner on and keep him honest but he got tired. He goes for the Grade 2 at Down Royal on Saturday and if he’s not good enough we may go handicapping. He improved through last season and his jumping last time was brilliant.