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Ground is looking good for Sizing Europe assault on Gowran

GOWRAN Park stages an all-jumps card tomorrow and similar to Clonmel last week it has escaped most of the rain the country has endured and will be run on good ground.

That will be a welcome surprise for most concerned in the Grade Two PWC Champion Chase which sees the return of some leading chasers for their seasonal debut.

Multiple Grade One-winner Sizing Europe heads the line up as the former Arkle and Champion Chase winner embarks on another season at the top level with connections still possibly mulling over the option of a step up in trip.

Tomorrow's 2m4f contest proved to be an ideal starting point last year as Sizing Europe got off to a winning start, although the horse looked held by Rubi Light until he tipped up at the last.

Mouse Morris's 2010 winner China Rock went from Gowran Park to beat Sizing Europe on his next start at Punchestown that season but failed to live up to his reputation after that and didn't record another win until Punchestown in April of this year when he landed the Punchestown Gold Cup by an impressive five lengths.

A tongue-tie was deemed the solution to a lot of his problems on that run and it will be interesting to see how he fares out at the top level this season, as it will for Morris' other intended runner First Lieutenant.

Gigginstown's former Cheltenham-winning seven-year-old remains an exciting prospect albeit still awaiting his first Grade One success over fences, but ran well in defeat at both Cheltenham and Punchestown last year when stepped up into that grade.

There is no doubt he is in the care of one of the best men to gear a horse towards Cheltenham and there can be little question marks over where his long-term aims will lie this season.

Proceedings get underway at Gowran with a winners juvenile hurdle and Top Man Michael sets the standard from fellow winners Fisher, Hurricane Ridge and South South West.

Tomorrow's beginners chase has been won by a number of subsequent graded winners and among the runners this time around is former Galway Hurdle winner Moon Dice who will be an interesting recruit to the larger obstacles.

Henry de Bromhead may be set to enjoy a good day with Lord Ben given the nod to open his account over fences after five previous placed efforts.


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