On the road to size Cheltenham – again!

He’s won an Arkle, he’s won a Queen Mother and today Sizing Europe was a fortunate winner of the Grade two Pricewaterhousecoopers Champion Chase at Gowran Park.  Rubi Light had the reigning Champion Chaser booked for second place when taking a crashing fall at the last. Until that mishap he was jumping soundly, obviously relishing the underfoot conditions which due to the deluge of the past twenty four hours were officially described as soft, having been recorded as firm mid-week!

Hopefully Rubi Light is none the worse for the fall. He appeared alright when Davy Russell remounted him for third place. Sizing Europe looked to be a little rusty, jumping awkwardly in places and looking in need of the run. Jockey Andrew Lynch reported him to be ‘slipping going into each fence’.  However that certainly does not detract from the fact that the nine year old is still a major force to be reckoned with. His Trainer Henry De Bromhead stated prior to the race that plans involve either a defence of his Champion Chase Crown or a tilt at the newly named Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Don’t forget Sizing Europe was an intended runner in the King George last December before artic conditions delayed the race by three weeks. He did travel over for the original Boxing Day date but connections felt it too much to ask the horse to make the journey again. Whichever route he goes, he stays at the top of his game.

As for Rubi Light he remains in the exciting bracket. He clearly likes Gowran; he won the Grade Two Red Mills Chase there in February on heavy ground, which seems to be his preferred racing surface. As he showed with his three lengths third to Albertas Run in the Ryanair he can act on good. Had he stood up today the word ‘impressive’ along with ‘always looking the likely winner’ would have surely featured in many a race report. Still only six years old, he looks to have a very decent prize on the horizon. He has also jumped onto my list of ‘favourite National Hunt horses’ so regular readers will expect to hear his name a fair bit between now and March!

Cathryn Fry – 1 October 2011
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