Tuesday 12 December 2017

Big guns hold sway in champion

Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sizing Europe. Photo: Reuters
Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sizing Europe. Photo: Reuters

Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Sizing Europe remains firmly on course for next month's Punchestown Festival.

The nine-year-old bounced back to his brilliant best with a superb performance at Prestbury Park last month and the Boylesports.com Champion Chase on May 3 is next on his agenda.

"Right now, the plan is absolutely to go to the Boylesports.com Champion Chase with Sizing Europe," said trainer Henry de Bromhead.

"We were ecstatic with his win in Cheltenham, it was amazing - brilliant.

"He seems in great form. I'm never confident going into races like this, they're all top-class horses and Golden Silver and Big Zeb beat us seven lengths in January.

"With those kind of guys it's just who is feeling best on the day.

"Good ground is Sizing Europe's optimum. He's pretty good on anything but to be at his real best, good ground is what he wants."

Compatriots Big Zeb, Captain Cee Bee and last year's winner Golden Silver finished directly behind Sizing Europe at Cheltenham and all look set to reoppose on home soil.

Big Zeb's trainer, Colm Murphy, said: "Punchestown is the plan.

"Big Zeb has come out of Cheltenham really well and the idea was always to freshen him up and hopefully he should run well there.

"I suppose whoever is there firing all guns on the day will win the race.

"He ran a blinder at Cheltenham and unfortunately for us, although fortunately for Henry, Sizing Europe was the better horse on the day, but Big Zeb is well and I'm pleased with him.

"Hopefully we can get a bit of nice ground that won't inconvenience him."

Eddie Harty is looking forward to returning to Punchestown with Captain Cee Bee, having struck gold in novice company at the Festival last year.

"Captain Cee Bee is in great form, I'm happy with him and we are looking forward to Punchestown," said Harty.

"He won well there last year and we couldn't be happier with him.

"He ran well at Cheltenham and I'm looking forward to taking them on again and seeing what happens this time around.

"I would prefer good ground with him but at this time of year you never know what the weather is going to do - the horse is in good form and that's all we can ask for."

The Champion Chase has attracted eight entries, with Changing Course, J'y Vole, Osana and Tataniano the other possibles.

Press Association

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