Sizing Europe likely to skip clash with Sprinter Sacre at Ascot

Henry De Bromhead’s veteran star among a short list of entries for the two-mile contest

Trainer Henry de Bromhead.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Trainer Henry de Bromhead. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Racing is holding its breath for Sprinter Sacre’s proposed return to action in this Saturday’s Grade 1 feature at Ascot but the forecast soft ground conditions already look set to rule out his old rival Sizing Europe from the Sodexo Clarence House Chase.

Henry De Bromhead’s veteran star currently remains among a short list of entries for the two-mile contest but with the going currently “soft” at Ascot, the Co Waterford- based trainer appears more inclined to wait with the 13- year-old.

“I’d say it is unlikely he will go to Ascot. There’s more rain forecast during the week,” he said. “There aren’t too many options for him at this time of year so we could end up waiting until the Spring with him.”

Sizing Europe is currently a 20-1 shot to regain the Queen Mother Champion Chase crown he won in 2011, a race he finished runner-up in twice afterwards, including when runner-up to Sprinter Sacre in 2013.

He was also fourth in the race to Sire de Grugy last year.

“We could wait for the festivals with him. He could go to Cheltenham, but he might wait for a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse too. I don’t know. It will be up to Ann and Alan (Potts) what we do with him,” De Bromhead added.

Grade 1 success

Clonmel Oil

Sprinter Sacre’s trainer Nick Henderson has given the green light to Sprinter Sacre to make his long-awaited return to action after almost a year on the sidelines at Ascot but with a proviso about the going.

“I spoke to Chris Stickels (clerk of the course) and we will just have to monitor it through the week,” he said.

Willie Mullins still has his Christmas Grade 1 winner Twinlight remaining in the Clarence House but prior to that the champion trainer has to consider his options for this Thursday’s Ladbrokes Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles.

Definite starter

Don Cossack

He also has the option of running two other Rich Ricci owned stars, Ballycasey and Djakadam.

Gordon Elliott has reported the Ryanair Chase second-favourite Don Cossack on route to get a Cheltenham prep at Thurles after an unbeaten three-out-of-three season to date.

“Don Cossack is in good form and the plan is to go to Thurles on Thursday and all going well then on to the Ryanair,” he said.

Don Cossack also features as low as 16-1 in some ante-post lists for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Thursday’s most lucrative race is the €52,000 Coolmore Mares Novice Chase and Willie Mullins’s Vroum Vroum Mag is likely to start a warm favourite for the Grade 2.

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