Despite ending with just one defeat, this season, in the highly controversial Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, Sizing Europe is unlikely to regain his crown, next term, according to the racing betting tips, even though he put up a great performance to win the Boylesports.com Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival, writes Elliot Slater.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained 10-year-old bounced back from his narrow defeat at the hands of Finian’s Rainbow, at Cheltenham, where he had attempted to defend his two-mile championship crown. The race saw the pair having to bypass the final fence due to an injury to members of the public and the racing press. Sizing Europe eventually went under by just over a length to Nicky Henderson’s high-class performer.
Earlier in the term, the Ann and Alan Potts-owned gelding had shown himself to be at the top of his game, following a fine effort over three miles, when runner-up to Quito de la Roque in Grade 1 company at Down Royal. He claimed wins over two miles in the Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, in December, and in the Grade 2 Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown in February, where he slammed old rival and former champion, Big Zeb, by 15-lengths.
Returning to Punchestown for the Festival meeting, in the hope of regaining the winning thread, the son of Pistolet Bleu was sent off an odds-on favourite to win the Irish Champion Chase at the third time of asking. After moving well throughout the contest, Andrew Lynch’s mount stuck to his task bravely to repel a determined late effort from the talented, Realt Dubh, who eventually crossed the line just over two-lengths behind de Bromhead’s fine chaser.
Best racing odds of 10/1 are available in the ante-post market for next season’s Queen Mother Champion Chase, but, as he moves into the veteran stage, it is unlikely there will be too any takers, with the likes of Henderson’s Finian’s Rainbow and the seemingly top-class, Sprinter Sacre, dominating the division.