De Bromhead well armed in bid for Cheltenham champion bumper hat-trick

Supasundae has the class to deliver Waterford trainer’s third success

Supasundae is bred to win a classic on the flat so Henry De Bromhead is hoping that quality will come to the fore in Cheltenham's sole contest on the level and allow him complete a hat-trick in next week's Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

De Bromhead is continuing to bide his time on whether or not his veteran star Sizing Europe will line up again in next week's Queen Mother Champion Chase, but the Co Waterford-based trainer continues to be impressed by his new bumper recruit who is a general 12-1 shot for Cheltenham glory.

Supasundae is already unbeaten in two starts for two trainers in Britain, scoring for Tim Fitzgerald last season, and following up for Andrew Balding at Ascot in December under Barry Geraghty. His new Irish trainer is hoping the streak continues for a third time.

Fabulous pedigree

The giant son of Galileo, who is out of full sister to the Irish Oaks heroine Great Heavens and the King George winner Nathaniel, has been bought since Ascot by Sizing Europe's owners, Ann and Alan Potts, and looks to be among the best of a De Bromhead festival team which could number as many as 10.


“He’s got a fabulous pedigree. He’s bred to win the Derby. But he’s massive and you can see why he didn’t make it as a flat horse,” De Bromhead said. “But he works really well and the form of his win at Ascot has worked notably well. There was something like nine winners in it. We’re happy with him and Johnny (Burke) will ride.”

Willie Mullins again dominates the bumper market with eight entries as he pursues a ninth win in the race, but Dermot Weld's Vigil is also prominent in betting lists, alongside De Bromhead's hope.

The top cross-channel rated bumper contender appears to be David Pipe’s Moon Racer, but the trainer is fully aware of the task the unbeaten six-year-old faces against a strong Irish raid.

“He’s got the Irish contingent to deal with, but we’ve kept him for the race,” Pipe reported. “He’s in good form and was very impressive the last time he ran.”

Johnny Burke has enjoyed a notably successful first season as retained jockey to the Potts so far and goes into his first festival with a strong book of rides which will begin with the Grade 1 Sizing John in the Supreme Novices Hurdle next Tuesday.

“We also hope to run Smashing in the Arkle, Grand Jesture in a handicap chase and possibly Bishops Road in another handicap on the first day. The plan is for Special Tiara to go in the Queen Mother and Supasundae in the bumper and on the third day Aupcharlie in the two-mile-five handicap chase,” De Bromhead said. “On the Friday Home Farm will go for the Gold Cup and possibly Sizing Codelco in the County.”

That leaves the only question mark surrounding the former two-mile champion Sizing Europe, who hasn’t run since November at Clonmel, prior to which the hugely popular 13-year-old had beaten no less than the leading Gold Cup contender Road To Riches at Gowran Park.

Late decision

“I’m going to leave a decision on that until as late as possible and talk to Ann and Alan. A lot will depend on what the ground is like over there. If it’s soft there’s no way he’s going, I can guarantee that. But in himself he’s really fresh and well, so we’ll see,” the trainer added.

Sizing Europe won the Champion Chase in 2011 and was runner up the following two years to both Finian’s Rainbow and Sprinter Sacre. Last season the 2010 Arkle hero finished an honourable fourth to Sire De Grugy.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column