One of the most popular National hunt horses in training, Sizing Europe, returned to the track at Gowran Park at the weekend to record another big victory. The Henry de Bromhead trained 11-year-old won the PWC Champion Chase for the third year-in-a-row to prove that there is still plenty of big races ahead of him. Sizing Europe has been something of a Cheltenham Festival legend over the last few years, with wins in the Arkle and the Queen Mother Champions Chase to his name during a long and famous career.
Last season we saw Sizing Europe finish a gallant and brave second, behind Sprinter Sacre, in the Champion Chase and connections will be hoping he has one more Festival in him. His win at the weekend means that that he has only finished outside the first two on two of his last 24 runs which stretches back to May of 2009. Those stats highlight just how consistent Sizing Europe has been during his career with Group 1 wins coming thick and fast during that period.
Connections have flirted with sending the horse over further than two miles on a number of occasions and that is further proof of his versatility. His win at Gowran Park on Saturday was over 2m4 as he beat Baily Green into second place with a strong staying performance. Baily Green is a horse four years younger than Sizing Europe and who was good enough to finish second behind Simonsig in the Arkle last season, which franks the form of the Gowran Park race.
De Bromhead was quick to suggest after his latest win that he wants to give Sizing Europe another chance over three miles this season. He was good enough to finish second behind Kauto Star at Down Royal over that trip a couple of years ago which is rock solid form by any standard. The feeling is that at 11 he has lost his cruising sped over two miles but as he showed at the weekend, Sizing Europe remains one of the very best horses in training. It remains to be seen what the ultimate Festival target might be for Sizing Europe but he is clearly still full of enthusiasm which ensures he remains a horse to follow through the winter.