Sizing Europe measures up at Punchestown

11:52 25 April 2012

Andrew Lynch on Sizing Europe jumping the last to win the Champion Steeplechase during day one of the Punchestown Festival at Punchestown Racecourse, Naas.

Andrew Lynch on Sizing Europe jumping the last to win the Champion Steeplechase during day one of the Punchestown Festival at Punchestown Racecourse, Naas.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

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Sizing Europe gained some recompense for his somewhat luckless defeat in the Queen Mother Champion Chase when he landed the feature race on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival.

The Henry de Bromhead trained 10-year-old at his previous start had narrowly failed in his bid to land the two mile chasing crown for the second time when beaten by Finian’s Rainbow at Cheltenham last month.

Yet de Bromhead was in no mood on Tuesday to mull over the near miss at Cheltenham, preferring instead to bask in the glory of his stable star’s two and a quarter length victory over Realt Dubh in the Grade 1 Champion Chase.

“That was super,” de Bromhead said. “Everything went to plan although on that [heavy] ground you are leaving yourself out to be shot at in front and it was looking a bit uncomfortable for a while.

“He was possibly getting tired at the end of the race but Realt Dubh is a good horse, especially on this ground. My horse has jumped great and obviously he is not going to jump with the same exuberance as he does on the better ground, but he has got the job done and I’m delighted. He’s a horse of a lifetime and I’m lucky to have him.”

“I’m not looking back at Cheltenham now, I’m just savouring today.

“I’m not sure about his plans for next season. I’m just going to enjoy today and then talk to [owners] Alan and Ann Potts and we will mull it over. He will be 11 this time next year so he is getting that bit older and might need a step up. I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of running him over three miles.”

Jockey Andrew Lynch added: “I’m delighted for the horse. He pulled out all the stops and deserved this. He was unlucky not to win this last year and it’s nice to get a Grade 1 victory here.

“Cheltenham was one of those things last time and there is no point going on about it. I leave the future plans to Henry and Alan but the horse stays, although I’m not sure he’d want to go over three miles on that ground.”

Closer to home, Edward Gillespie, the managing director of Cheltenham Racecourse for the past 32 years, has announced his decision to stand down from the day-to-day management of the Gloucestershire track. A successor has yet to be named.

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