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Sizing Europe

Because he had a fairly straightforward task and he started at 1/7, it may be that Sizing Europe will not get due recognition for his Clonmel Oil Chase victory last Thursday. But this was a really impressive performance. Even though he was entitled to win well, he jumped superbly, travelled nicely the whole way, and came right away from some decent rivals.

Rathlin set off to make it a test and bowled along in front, but he could only last until the second fence on the final circuit as Sizing Europe effortlessly ranged alongside and jumped into the lead at the next. Andrew Lynch had little choice but to let his horse stride on, and he immediately cantered into a 10-length lead and just kept up the gallop all the way to the line, winging the final two fences en route. Rathlin and Magnanimity perhaps haven’t fulfilled their early promise over fences as yet, but Tranquil Sea had won the previous two renewals of the race and Sizing Europe was never troubled. What was particularly likeable was that, just as on his previous run in the PWC Champion Chase at Gowran Park, he was happy to sit in behind horses early on. Trainer Henry de Bromhead said afterwards that it might suit him better now to be dropped in over longer distances than to be forcing the issue over two miles, and that makes him a real live King George contender now.

It is a misconception that two or two-and-a-half mile chasers have a good record in the King George, the list of suspect stayers who have been beaten in the race in recent years alone is lengthy, but Sizing Europe has much stronger claims than most horses who have stepped up in trip for the race. We know he stays two and a half miles on soft ground well and it is hard to argue that he doesn’t stay three miles judged on his run in the Champion Chase last season, when it was only the atrocious ground and the fact that he had locked horns with The Nightingale from so far out that allowed Quite De La Roque, who had been virtually tailed off five from home, to come through and pick up the pieces after the last. If Sizing Europe had been ridden more patiently there then he may well have won, he is probably a stronger horse this year as a 10-year-old, and he has every chance of seeing the trip out fully now. He does have the option of running in the Lexus Chase or the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, but the King George is a real possible target now as well and, if he does go to Kempton, he is a player.

15th November 2012