Friday, February 17, 2012

Europe lights up Punchestown

Sizing Europe’s performance in the Tied Cottage Chase on Sunday was the highlight of a welcomed card on the turf from Punchestown on Sunday.

With the cold freeze adding so many racecourses to its victim list over the past seven days, it was a pleasant surprise that Punchestown passed its morning inspection on a card that featured an heavyweight clash between two leading Queen Mother Champion Chase contenders in Sizing Europe and Big Zeb.

The reigning Champion Chase winner repeated his result at Cheltenham by finishing ahead of Big Zeb, but this time it was more convincing as he came home 15 lengths in front of his old rival in his final run before the Festival next month. People looking at the best Punchestown betting will have been impressed.

The odds on Sizing Europe retaining his crown at the Festival were cut follow the success in a performance that pleased trainer Henry de Bromhead and jockey Andrew Lynch.

In the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle earlier in the card, Trifolium cruised to success to put himself in the running for the Supreme Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham. Davy Russell asked his mount to quicken in the closing stages as he stretched clear of his rivals to finish nine lengths ahead of Simeon, who was staying on late in the race.

It was Trifolium’s first attempt at graded company at the weekend as he responded well to his defeat to Go Native at Gowran Park on his previous start. He will now head to the Festival in what is one of the most open contests across the four days in the race that begins the four days of top class national hunt racing. 

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