WITH Sprinter Sacre out of the race, Henry de Bromhead has confirmed that Sizing Europe will attempt to notch a piece of history by reclaiming the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
Now a 12-year-old, Sizing Europe was no match for Sprinter Sacre at the Festival last March but closed the gap to just over five lengths at Punchestown in April.
While the veteran chaser also holds an entry in the Ryanair Chase, Sprinter Sacre's defection from the Queen Mother makes De Bromhead's decision inevitable.
"We've decided to aim Sizing Europe at the Champion Chase," the Co Waterford trainer said. "The race has obviously become more open since yesterday, so that's where we'll go.
"He is getting old but he ran Sprinter Sacre to five and a half lengths at Punchestown only last April; at the time Sprinter Sacre was being hailed as the best two-mile chaser ever."
Meanwhile, Ken Condon is set to saddle his first runner at the Festival, with Gerdago a likely starter in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle. Condon, predominantly a Flat trainer, has always had a few for the jumps, and is now set to break new ground by having his first runner at the showpiece fixture.
Gerdago booked his ticket for the Cotswolds at the weekend, running a fine race at Fairyhouse where he finished just three lengths third to Abbyssial.
The son of Aussie Rules, which won his maiden hurdle in convincing style at Navan in November, is now a general 16/1 chance for the Fred Winter.
"He has come out of the race on Saturday well and we were very pleased with him, he ran a nice race," the Co Kildare handler said.
"Before Saturday the English handicapper had him on 130, I don't know if that is going to be revised but off that mark he should definitely get a spot in the Fred Winter, and that is the plan.
"I've never had a runner at the Festival, it is a fantastic meeting."