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De Bromhead is sizing up a great season

Admittedly, things didn't go right for Henry de Bromhead last season. However, after that disappointing campaign he couldn't have bounced back with a louder bang and now holds one of the strongest aces going into the Cheltenham Festival in the shape of Sizing Europe.

Aided by four wins over fences by the eight-year-old, de Bromhead's prize money is already more than twice his previous best season, as is his total winner tally and he currently possess a 17pc strike rate for his runners in Ireland.

It has been a terrific season with An Cathaoir Mor adding a Grade 1 in the Arkle at Leopardstown recently and the Waterford-based handler has plenty to be excited about.

"It's absolutely brilliant at the moment and I am delighted with it all," de Bromhead told the Herald. "We just have some nice horses, some great staff and some terrific owners and I am very lucky at the moment everything is just clicking for us."

A new gallop has improved the facilities over the summer months, but there was more involved over the summer months to ensure an improvement on last year's tally of 12 winners.

"Last year was disappointing and we had to tweak a few things and change a few things around and we put in a new gallop and we just tried to raise the bar all round basically. We seem to be getting repaid for it now."

Alan and Ann Potts are the major owners around Knockeen, but they are just the flagbearing owners in what is a yard lucky to have some very good bill payers and it will be the famous green, yellow and red colours of the Potts that will be popular come the Cheltenham Festival.

"I have some great supporters and am very lucky with the owners I have and the staff I have. Paul Power rides all our point-to-point horses and is with me full-time and Andrew Lynch is a great team player and a good person to have around. It is nice to strike up a partnership with someone so he can really get to know the horses."

De Bromhead admitted: "I am not great on targets so I don't set any. Someone asked me at the start of the season would I hit 25 winners but having looked last season I didn't want to say I would because you are only disappointed if you don't reach it, but now all of a sudden we have had a phenomenal season with three Grade 1s, two Grade 2s and two Grade 3s, and 24 winners. I have to pinch myself every day.

"It is brilliant to have the calibre of horse for Cheltenham and we will see how we get on. But even up until now we have had a phenomenal season and hopefully it will keep going but you know yourself in this game, we will see," he added with a nervous laugh, which sums up the feeling of most trainers in a game that can deal you with blows quicker than Mike Tyson.



Classy

And finally, a word on Sizing Europe, the crème de la crème to date of a highly classy season for novice chasers.

"He is great," the trainer beamed. "We were a little bit disappointed with his jumping at Leopardstown the last day and I think we have got all that ironed out and hopefully he will show his true self on the day.

"He is a horse that is very sensitive and some things that wouldn't affect other horses at all affect him more so, but he is a brilliant horse to be associated with. Obviously last year's Cheltenham Festival was very frustrating but you just get on with it. We have learned things from last season and we are getting repaid now."

Sizing Europe is the stable star, but his trainer, de Bromhead, is outdoing his own achievements of previous seasons, showing that he is going from strength to strength and is now himself on the verge of sizing Cheltenham and beyond.

An Cathaoir Mor

7-y-o g -2311

He won the Arkle at Leopardstown, which was fantastic. He won it well and I was delighted with him. He is obviously a very good horse and we are hoping to run him in the Nas Na Riogh Novice Chase later this month to step him up in trip and see how he fares over 2m4f. Obviously if that went well it would open up a few more doors for him hopefully. Ground would be a key to him, but I just don't know how well Cheltenham would suit him either way so we will have to see about that. He just loves jumping fences and he is a big, huge scopey horse.

Beckwith Star

5-y-o

Is a nice unraced horse by Flemensfirth. He will run in a bumper in the next few weeks. He shows a nice bit at home and I am looking forward to him now.

Changing Course

8-y-o g -03220

Is going to be entered for the 2m5f handicap chase at Cheltenham. He has good form over summer, and he was just beaten a head by The Fonze at Tramore and he was only beaten by six lengths by Galway Plate winner Ballyholland in the Galway Plate Trial. He is a nice horse and will love the bit of good ground. He jumps great and is a very nice handicapper that we are looking forward to bringing over to Cheltenham.

Darby's Turn

8-y-o g -4f26

He was sixth at Leopardstown last Sunday week in his first run in a handicap chase. He ran well, I just thought they went a little slow. He should win a handicap chase before the season is out hopefully.

Days Hotel

5-y-o

Is a half brother to Travino and is unraced. He will have his first run in a point to point at the weekend and we are hoping that he will run well and is a nice horse to look forward to.

Echo Bob

6-y-o g -4057223

Is a nice horse. Was second at Tramore on his first run over fences on New Year's Day and then finished third to Quiscover Fontaine at Limerick. He is a horse we are giving a little break to and we will bring him back around March. He is rated 112 so he will have a run in a 2m handicap chase. A handicap will suit him better as they will go a stronger gallop.

Fort George

7-y-o g -716f52

Was second in a beginners chase at Limerick over Christmas. He jumps well, is rated 123, and he might be a horse for the 2m5f novice handicap chase at the Punchestown Festival. He is just having a little break now but will run prior to that. He won a bumper on good ground but has shown form on soft and heavy ground so I am hoping the spring will bring out an improvement from him.

Gallilei

4-y-o g (unraced in Ireland)

Is entered in Naas on Saturday -- he's come from France where he had listed form and he has just turned four. He schools well and is a nice horse. He will have a run there and we will see how we go as he is entered for the Triumph Hurdle. Whether he is that type of horse we will start finding out now, but certainly if he can convert his flat form to jumping he should be a nice prospect. It is great to have a nice young horse around the place.

Green Mining

6-y-o g -10637

Ran alright in his maiden hurdle before Christmas and was due to run at Fairyhouse on Saturday but it was called off. He will now run at Fairyhouse on February 10th, dropping back to 2m. We hope that might make the difference.

Loosen My Load

6-y-o g 11121

Has had a break since he won the Grade 2 at Cheltenham and we are only starting to work him now. He has been entered for the Supreme Novices and the Neptune Investment Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham. Hopefully he will go for one or the other, we will see how the other trials go. Dunguib does look to be exceptional, so we might head the other way and try the 2m5f trip. We will see. We don't have to run against Dunguib and sometimes them guys get beaten -- although I know Dunguib looks exceptional -- but I wouldn't say it is frustrating because I am very lucky to have a horse like him. He probably doesn't want the ground overly quick and going to Cheltenham to find out does he get 2m5f probably isn't ideal but that's just the way it has fallen -- although I am not saying he definitely runs in that race. I will look forward to him over fences next season.

Lord Ben

5-y-o g -484

Was fourth in a maiden hurdle at Thurles last Thursday and he will run in a handicap now. He goes okay and he should win his handicap hurdle hopefully in his next couple of starts. I would say he is better on softer ground.

Melchizedek

6-y-o g -6070

He won his point to point last year and was placed in a bumper. He has been a little bit disappointing this year but we have had another wind operation with him and he will hopefully run in the next month or five weeks and if the wind operation works he could be off a nice mark hopefully. He is a nice horse and it just wasn't happening for him up until Christmas.

Monaco Springs

7-y-o g -1210

Was a bit disappointing at Leopardstown the last day and the trip was just too short for him I would say, and the combination of jumping him up in grade too quick. He will be coming back for a handicap hurdle in mid-March and April and I think he will be off a fair mark so I would hope he could win another one -- probably over 3m.

Queiros Bleu

6-y-o g f7f-4f

Ran well in a handicap chase at Punchestown on his first run back of the season over fences on good ground and then had a horrific run at Limerick on heavy ground so we have given him a break to bring him back for goodish ground. Hopefully he has a nice mark to run off on goodish ground in the spring.

Rashar Og

6-y-o g -0005

Had a couple of alright runs over hurdles but then ended up being a little bit disappointing and had a few quick runs over December time so we are going to freshen him up and bring him back for a beginners chase. He jumps great and hopefully chasing will get him to show a bit more and he will run in the next few weeks.

Romanesco

5-y-o g 12

Won his point to point and was second in his bumper at Fairyhouse where he stopped quicker than you would like to see in a bumper. He seems okay since but he won't go for another bumper. He will run in a maiden hurdle in the next few months and is a nice staying horse. He won a good four-year-old point to point, seven seconds faster than the other divide.

Sizing America

9-y-o g -f17

Won a good handicap chase at Fairyhouse before Christmas but went up seven pounds for it which seems a lot and he was since disappointing at Limerick. He is being aimed at a 2m handicap chase at Gowran Park next month. He is a grand horse.

Royal Choice

6-y-o m -1918

She won a Grade 3 3m chase in Cork last December but was disappointing in Thurles last week so we are going to give her a break now and bring her back for the better ground and hopefully she will give a good account of herself.

Sizing Australia

8-y-o g -232

Will have a run in the next few weeks over hurdles, just to get him ready for the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham. He has got good form in those races this season and obviously it will be hard to turn the form around with Garde Champetre but we will give it a go. I actually just entered him for the English National but we will see, the main target is the Cross Country at Cheltenham.

Sizing Europe

8-y-o g -1111

Is in great form at the moment. I backed off him there after Christmas and it's obviously four from four over fences and I'm delighted with that. He just didn't show the spark when he ran at Christmas that he had normally been showing. He jumped very deliberately but we had physio done with him and he responded really well. He is schooling really well now and is in great form and enjoyed his little break. He has got an entry for the Arkle and the Champion Chase so we will see closer to the time but he is certainly on target for Cheltenham anyway.

Sizing Mexico

5-y-o g 11

He won his point to point for us first time out beating a half brother of Joncol in a divide that was 17 seconds faster than the other in the Dromahane. Then he went and won his bumper at Fairyhouse and up until his bumper he was half surprising me on everything he had done so far as he is just a big, raw horse so he could be quite exciting. He will probably go for a bumper at Naas later this month but I don't think it would be the wisest thing to do with him to bring him to Cheltenham as he is a real horse for the future, but that is subject to talking to the owners.

Spill The Beans

5-y-o g 322

He has been second twice and third, beaten by Dermot Weld's at Leopardstown on St Stephen's Day and only beaten the shortest of shortheads at Thurles behind another nice horse and he was third the first day. He is just having a little break now and we will bring him back for the end of March or April and we will give him one more run in a bumper and leave him off then. He is a big, scopey horse and will be a lovely horse to go hurdling next season.

The Spoonplayer

11-y-o g -6uu82347

Has been a phenomenal horse over the years for us. He is a half brother to Sizing Europe and is probably one of the main reasons I went to see Sizing Europe, so he was probably a very good reason why I bought him. For that alone he has been brilliant. He had some great runs over the summer, he's a tough and consistent little fella and he is on his holidays at the moment and will come back in the spring and we will tip away with him again.


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