Friday, November 25, 2011

Europe expected to face Tingle Creek challenge

After much consideration it appears that Henry de Bromhead and his team have decided that the next target for reigning Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sizing Europe will be the Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on December 3 in preference to the John Durkan Memorial chase at Punchestown a day later, writes Elliot Slater.

His race in March is one of the horse racing betting news stories of the year, and De Bromhead and Sizing Europe’s owners Ann and Alan Potts had been seriously thinking about having a crack at the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day over three miles, and after seeing their charge run a fine race to be second to Quito de La Roque over that trip in the Grade 1 Champion Chase at Down Royal in early-November that option remained very much on the table.

Over the last few weeks all connected with the tremendously talented nine-year-old had been weighing up the pro’s and con’s of going down the three-mile route but eventually have decided that they should stick at what they know best and intend to bring Sizing Europe over to Esher Park at the start of December to take on the top British two-milers in what will be a race worth travelling a long way to see.

Sizing Europe, currently with best racing odds of 5/1 ante-post favourite to retain his title at the Cheltenham Festival in March, failed by only three-quarters-of-a-length to confirm the form of his five-length big race victory over Big Zeb when a runner-up to his old rival at Punchestown in May, but began this term in winning fashion, albeit fortuitously, landing a Grade 2 event at Gowran Park when clear leader Rubi Light fell at the final fence. His subsequent effort when only caught close home at Down Royal over three-miles proved what a talented and versatile performer Sizing Europe is, but for now he will be kept to the minimum trip as he attempts to add to his four Grade 1 victories in what has already been a tremendous career.

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