Sizing John confirmed himself the new star of the staying chase division by completing the Irish Gold Cup and Gold Cup double for trainer Jessica Harrington and jockey Robbie Power.
The Alan Potts-owned 7yo had been beaten seven times by Douvan when racing over two miles but the switch in stable and step up in trip has brought about instant success this season. He proved his stamina in no uncertain terms by staying on strongly up the Cheltenham hill to hold off the fast-finishing Minella Rocco, with the gallant Native River edging out Djakadam for third.
Djakadam looked the most likely winner when moving to the front around the home turn but a mistake at the second last allowed Sizing John the opportunity to pounce and a prodigious leap at the last proved the springboard to him powering up the hill to silence the stamina doubters.
Cue Card’s bid for Gold Cup glory ended at the same fence as 12 months ago but the 11yo looked beaten at the time.
The winning trainer said: "I can't believe it, it was amazing how he jumped and travelled. Robert said he wasn't going to go down the inside, but he did. It's absolutely fantastic, my first runner in a Gold Cup.
"He was running over two miles, but it was Robert who said he would stay and he did. Thanks to everyone at home, it's all down to the team. I can't believe it, I've got to get a Classic now (on the Flat)!"
Minella Rocco stormed home to grab second and was immediately slashed across the board to a general 14-1 (from 33-1) for the Grand National.