Sizing Europe aiming to make it third time lucky
RACING:THE WEATHER looks like conspiring to aid Sizing Europe’s attempt to make it third time lucky over three miles at Down Royal this afternoon.
On a weekend that also sees the 2012 Irish Flat campaign wind up on the turf at Leopardstown tomorrow, there is still no disputing Sizing Europe’s star status in the Grade One JNwine.comChampion Chase.
The prolific former two-mile champion has only twice before tackled three miles, in the last two renewals of the €140,000 feature, last year getting overhauled in the final strides by Quito De La Roque and in 2010 by no less than Kauto Star.
Both those races took place on testing ground conditions but it could be a better surface this time with no rain forecast for the North East and that is what the Sizing Europe team are banking on.
“As long as the ground is okay, I can’t wait to get back up on him,” said jockey Andrew Lynch yesterday.
“He’s such a good horse, whatever trip you run him at. But you’d like to run on good ground over three miles.”
Quito De La Roque is back again too, for a first start since Christmas and is preferred by Davy Russell over First Lieutenant.
Kauto Stone represents Paul Nicholls but this could be the day to finally answer the intriguing question of what Sizing Europe might do over three miles on suitable going.
Nicholls tries for a remarkable five-in-a-row in the main Grade Three support with Cristal Bonus but Bog Warrior looks the big name in this while Silver Tassie should be hard to beat in the bumper after a promising Gowran debut.
Aidan and Joseph O’Brien are on Breeders’ Cup duty and won’t be at Leopardstown tomorrow where they will be confirmed champion trainer and jockey for 2012.
It is the first time since 1916 a father and son has won the titles.
Nineteen-year-old Ronan Whelan can celebrate his champion apprentice title with a Listed success on the 103-rated Lady Wingshot now that she is upped back to seven furlongs for the Knockaire Stakes.
Whelan is also on Beyond Thankful in the Eyrefield Stakes but the Cork winner, Twilight Zone, could be good for that and the final big flat handicap of 2012 on grass can fall to the champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins with Call Me Bubbles.
Tomorrow’s featured Cork Grand National can also fall to Mullins whose in-form Bundle Of Fun looks attractively weighted in the three-and-a-half-mile marathon, while Baily Green can keep the winning sequence going in the Grade Three novice chase.