Sizing Europe to be given three Cheltenham entries
RACING:Sizing Europe will be given entries in three championship races at Cheltenham – the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Ryanair Chase and Betfred Gold Cup.
While trainer Henry de Bromhead admits the Champion Chase would be the “favourite”, he wants to keep all options open. His latest success came in the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase over two miles and a furlong at Leopardstown. But he was not quite as convincing there as he had been for his two previous wins this season, both over 2½ miles.
However, De Bromhead reports the 11-year-old, winner of the Champion Chase in 2011 and runner-up last season, to have taken the race in his stride. “He was out this morning and seems in great form. We were delighted with him. Any day you win a Grade One is a great day,” De Bromhead said.“We’d love to see him one day over three miles on good ground. We’ve said he definitely wants good ground and we were delighted we weren’t at Kempton [for the King George VI Chase] the way it turned out to be a real slog. That wouldn’t have suited us.
“We just want to weigh everything up and see. He’s a Champion Chase winner so I suppose that would have to be favourite, but a couple of his runs earlier this season were very good over two and a half.
“He probably wasn’t as impressive the last day at Leopardstown against a higher-rated horse [than on his two previous runs] in Rubi Light, so I wouldn’t like to say yet.
“I will discuss it with Alan and Ann [Potts, owners] and we’ll decide in the next month or so.
“He’d probably be the highest-rated of them in the Ryanair but I haven’t analysed it all yet. We will probably enter him in the three races. They all close very soon and it will at least keep our options open.”
Charles Byrnes has given Solwhit a clean bill of health after his fine comeback at Punchestown yesterday. The six-times Grade One winner had been off the track for very nearly two years but ran a mighty race to finish second to the classy Bog Warrior. Byrnes is now looking towards the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas later in the month.
“Solwhit has come out of the race very well and I was delighted with the way he travelled and jumped,” said Byrnes.
“He travelled like the good horse we know he is, and just got tired in the straight. In that ground he was up against a fair one in Bog Warrior.
“The Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas [January 19th] is a possibility.”