Horses To Follow » Sizing Europe

Sizing Europe

No prizes for originality, but the Henry de Bromhead-trained Sizing Europe was fairly awesome in landing the Grade 3 novices’ chase at Punchestown last Thursday. His jumping was exemplary. Quickly into a rhythm just behind the early pace-setter Sarteano, he measured up his fences with an accuracy that belied his inexperience. Andrew Lynch didn’t need to touch him on the approach to his obstacles, the rider just left the horse at it himself and he put in an impeccable round of jumping. It was a little bit of a worry when Sarteano fell at the sixth last and Sizing Europe was left on his own in front, but the horse didn’t turn a hair, he continued to jump accurately. Bobs Pride and Harchibald mounted challenges of sorts on the way around the home turn, but Lynch just gave his horse a squeeze and he ran away from them, over the last two fences and coasted to a really easy victory. It was all fairly breath-taking.

Bobs Pride and Harchibald are both obviously talented animals. We know all about Harchibald, relatively late to the chasing game but rated 162 over hurdles, while Bobs Pride is rated 138 over hurdles, and Sizing Europe looked to be in a different league to them. Alan Potts’s gelding obviously had his problems last year, but he did shape well on his last start of just three last season when fourth behind Solwhit in the Rabobank Champion Hurdle at Punchestown. He ran in a chase before his summer break, on heavy ground, which he won well, after which Denis O’Regan got off him and said that he was one of the most natural jumper of a fence that he had ever ridden, and de Bromhead said after Thursday’s race that he thought his problems were behind him. If they are, and if he can stay sound this season, he will be one of the most exciting novice chasers in training this season. He had the class to win an Irish Champion Hurdle, quite emphatically, he won a Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham, and he would probably be a Champion Hurdle winner now had he not gone wrong going down the hill with two flights to jump in 2008. His rating of 168 over hurdles does not flatter him. Next up is the Grade 2 Independent Newspapers Chase at Cheltenham’s Paddy Power meeting on 15th November, a race that is usually a really good pointer to the Arkle, where he will probably meet Snap Tie and Paul Nicholls’s impressive winner at Exeter on Tuesday, Tataniano. That will be a cracking contest, but it is difficult to see anything beating Sizing Europe. The 20/1 that was available about him for the Arkle last Thursday morning is long gone, as is the 12/1 that was available about him immediately after Thursday’s race. But if he were to go and win at Cheltenham on 15th November, then the 8/1 that you can currently get will be but a memory.

15th October 2009

© The Irish Field, 24th October 2009