Waterford trainer Henry de Bromhead gives Punchestown patrons a treat this afternoon when saddling both stable star Sizing Europe and exciting novice Loosen My Load for the twin Grade Three contests over the larger obstacles on well-watered ground, writes Damien McElroy.
While Paul Gilligan may not risk injury-prone Grade One winner Jadanli, Sizing Europe is to resume at arguably his favourite track, with De Bromhead (right) and English owners Alan and Ann Potts very keen to find out if the gelding stays three miles.
Contemplating a King George VI Chase challenge around Kempton, connections of this Irish Independent Arkle Trophy hero from last March should glean some valuable clues from the horse's first outing in 177 days over a furlong less than three miles today.
"This is the ideal starting point for Sizing Europe and I couldn't be any happier with him at the moment," was the trainer's pre-race verdict as Andrew Lynch's mount tackles Gowran Park scorer China Rock and seasonal debutant Siegemaster.
With a current rating of 160, the distance is the only unknown factor for De Bromhead's charge but it's of some comfort to his admirers that he's already won nicely over two and a half miles at today's venue.
With the benefit of a successful outing under his belt, China Rock, which Mouse Morris believes will relish the longer journey, looks the one to be on without the favourite.
Loosen My Load is on a hat-trick for Lynch, De Bromhead and his principal patrons in the Buck House Novice Chase, which Sizing Europe won a year ago, and he also appears to be poised for a rewarding season.
In the absence of Whodoyouthink, 'Shark' Hanlon's multiple winner Luska Lad should have too many guns for his four rivals in the Ryan's Cleaning Hurdle, which is the first of the three Grade Three affair on this card.
The country's most successful point-to-point rider Derek O'Connor is a notable booking for Sean Aherne's Listowel third Kaitlin's Fancy in the Ingoldsby Handicap Chase, which rounds off the Jackpot.