classy sizing does enough
Sizing Europe did only what he had to, which was enough, and Henry de Bromhead revealed just what we expected afterwards, which wasn't a lot.
In claiming the Grade Two Boylesports.com Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown for a second consecutive season, Sizing Europe concluded all competitive preparations prior to the Cheltenham Festival and did so on a winning note.
Alan and Ann Potts' classy 11-year-old was sent off a 1/8 shot and dealt with the challenge of Foildubh, who, as expected by many, proved best of the rest but just no match for the winner, a former Champion Chaser.
By taking his winning sequence to five without defeat, Sizing Europe has racked up four from four this term and that record equals that of 2009/2010 prior to his win in the Arkle in 2010.
De Bromhead's most definite clue after yesterday's win was: "The Gold Cup is the outsider of his three options at Cheltenham." He added: "I keep saying it, but we are very lucky to have him and he is versatile so we will wait and see. We'll look at where the other horses are going and speak with Alan and Ann and see what they think."
Ground and opposition are likely to be closely monitored before a decision on where Sizing Europe will line up at Cheltenham in March but connections couldn't be any happier with the headache of having to make such a choice.
"Today hasn't made a real difference to where we will go at Cheltenham. I think he will stay 2m5f for the Ryanair and I think his most impressive performance has been at Clonmel over two-and-a-half miles – but then he has won an Arkle and a Champion Chase at Cheltenham too so there is a lot to be considered."
Tied Cottage sponsors Boylesports left Sizing Europe unchanged at 7/1 for the Champion Chase and he remains 6/1 with that firm for the Ryanair Chase also.
Winning jockey Andrew Lynch later added: "It is hard to go out and make the running on that horrible tacky ground but he's done it well enough."
Don Cossack was widely expected to return to winning ways in the Racing UK Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle but, as hard as he battled under Davy Russell, it was Mozoltov who dug deepest and held on by a length for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh. The dual bumper winner is now two from two over hurdles and Supreme Novices' Hurdle-bound on the first day of Cheltenham.
"His work at home had been quite good but I've been waiting for a nice race to get him out instead of taking on a couple of our others. I didn't think he'd have to be taking on what he did here today but he has and he's beaten them so he must go into the top drawer," admitted the winning trainer, who added, "I'd imagine he can only be better on better ground."
His price was cut from 33/1 into 16/1 for the Supreme Novices by Boylesports.
Arabella Boy is another bound to cross the water and he'll go for the Cross Country Race at Cheltenham after winning yesterday's version from the bold show of Big Shu. But one who won't be going across until April is Colbert Station, who reverted back to hurdles in the Pertemps Qualifier.
Ted Walsh used the three-mile hurdle to exploit a low hurdle mark and added that his Aintree hope could go for such races as the Bobbyjo Chase, the Red Millis Chase or the Racing Plus Chase en route to Liverpool.