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Sizing kept fresh for spring goals

Henry de Bromhead is hoping the decision to bypass Sunday's Irish Arkle at Leopardstown with Sizing Europe will pay off at the business end of the campaign.

The eight-year-old is unbeaten in four starts over fences and although he holds an engagement in this weekend's Grade One prize, his trainer will take him out of that race at the confirmation stage.

"He'll be taken out of the Irish Arkle and the plan is now for him to go straight to Cheltenham," said De Bromhead.

"He's in great form and hopefully he'll go to Cheltenham a fresh horse and will be able to do well in the second half of the season.

"After Cheltenham we'd like to be able to go to Punchestown as well."

Sizing Europe is among the front-runners in the ante-post market for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham, but also holds an entry in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

"We've entered him in the Queen Mother just to keep our options open but there certainly won't be any rush to decide which way we'll go," added the County Waterford handler.

De Bromhead is considering whether to let Loosen My Load clash with the mighty Dunguib in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on February 7.

The six-year-old gelding has suffered just one defeat in five career outings and was an impressive winner of a Grade Two event at Cheltenham in November.

Loosen My Load holds an engagement in Leopardstown's Grade One heat next month, but De Bromhead admits he would prefer not to go head to head with Dunguib.

"He's in good form and we've given him the option of running in the Deloitte," said the County Waterford trainer.

"It's an early-closing race so we put him in and we'll make a decision whether we go there nearer the time.

"Dunguib may go there and he is obviously an exceptional horse.

"I wouldn't say I'd be happy to take him on, but I might not have any option.

"If we don't run we'll have to find something else for him between now and Cheltenham, although I've not had a close look to see what there is for him yet."

The six-year-old will be given entries in the Supreme Novices' and the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the Festival.

"I don't know where he'll go yet," the trainer added. "He's won a bumper in Galway so you'd have to think he'll stay two miles, two furlongs alright.

"But whether he'd get two miles, five (Neptune) round Cheltenham, we just don't know.

"We'd like to think he would and if you don't try, you don't know."

Richard Hannon will give Canford Cliffs a 2000 Guineas prep run in the Greenham Stakes.

The Marlborough trainer confirmed that last year's runaway Coventry Stakes winner will have his first start of the season over seven furlongs at Newbury on April 17.

Canford Cliffs was ante-post favourite for the stanjames.com-sponsored mile Classic until having his colours lowered on his third and final start of the season in the Group One Prix Morny at Deauville in August.

He is now a 10-1 chance for the Guineas with Sky Bet, but Hannon says the Tagula colt has thrived over the winter.

Speaking from Barbados where he is on holiday, Hannon said: "Canford Cliffs looks a picture. He's done really well over the winter and I couldn't be more pleased with him.

"He will run in one of the trials, probably the Greenham. I want to start him off over seven furlongs rather than a mile and that looks his race.

"He's a good horse -- make no mistake. And if all goes well he'll run in the Guineas after that."

Hannon, whose 181 winners last season earned him more than £2.75million, thinks Dick Turpin, who won the Group Two Richmond Stakes last summer before signing off the season with a disappointing sixth place in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, could return there for his seasonal reappearance.

He said: "I can't put him in the same league as Canford Cliffs, but he's a very nice horse and once he fills his frame he'll be even better.

"He looks stronger and he's thrived over the winter. We will look at something like the European Free Handicap (at Newmarket on April 14) for him to start off with and we hope he'll make up into a Classic colt, too."


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