Symphony hits right note
WATERFORD trainer Henry de Bromhead was back in the Cheltenham winner's enclosure yesterday with the latest exciting prospect from owner Alan Potts' Sizing production line.
English-based Potts, who developed a special sizing machine for the mining industry, prefixes the names of most of his horses with the word and won this year's Queen Mother Champion Chase with Sizing Europe.
Sizing Symphony's career is still in its infancy and he took a little time to shine over hurdles, but arrived with successive wins at Killarney and Fairyhouse in the bag.
Sent off the 5/4 joint favourite under Andrew Lynch for the opening novices' hurdle, Sizing Symphony bounded away turning for home to collect by a convincing seven lengths.
"I was a pleased with that -- he jumped a bit right, but Andrew said he was fine when he sent him on," said De Bromhead.
"He's a bit more ground-dependent than Europe, he won't be running on heavy ground. I have loose-schooled him over fences and he was electric."
This was the first meeting at Cheltenham of the new season and the Festival is five months away, but trainers always have it on their mind.
De Bromhead went on: "He might have one more run -- I'm not sure about travelling him back here twice in a month -- but we'll have a think. He might then have a break and hopefully come back here in March."
Gordon Elliott already has a Festival target planned for Traffic Article, whose undoubted stamina saw him through the staying novices chase under Paul Carberry. "We brought him over for a bit of experience as we've always had the four-miler in mind for him," he said.
Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh secured the first of what will almost certainly be many Cheltenham winners this season in the two and half mile novice chase. That'll Do (15/8) has been one of the stable's fairly small team of summer jumpers and enjoyed a slice of luck when even-money favourite For Non Stop, which looked to be going just as well, fell at the second-last.
There was a third Irish winner in the concluding conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle, which went to the James Nash-trained Star Of Aragon in the hands of Cathal Landers.
At Cheltenham today, Elliott bids for more success with Chicago Grey, winner of the four-miler at the Festival in March, though he believes that his charge will "come on an awful lot" for the run.
"The Grand National is the main plan with him this year but we have to start somewhere and we'll see how we get on. He likes it round here, so we'll see how we go," the trainer explained.
It could be a big day for Elliott, with Plan A a major player in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle and Manger Hanagment bidding for a sixth consecutive victory in the novices hurdle.