The latest stage of declarations have been made for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham next week and Sizing Europe is the star name. The Henry De Bromhead horse won the race in great style last year and he is the hot favourite to take the win at Prestbury Park once again. Connections have been bullish about Sizing Europe all season and based on his form this winter it is hard to argue with the fact that he is the one to beat. We last saw Sizing Europe slamming Big Zeb in the Tied Cottage Chase last month and the pair of them are set to rematch again at Cheltenham as the last two Champion Chase winners. It would be a big surprise if Big Zeb were to reverse the form with Sizing Europe at Cheltenham but the bookmakers believe he could still run a big race on Wednesday. Thses two highlight the challenge from Ireland this season and it will be up to the younger British challengers to put the likes of Sizing Europe and Big Zeb under pressure.
Punters looking for challengers outside of the big two will need to look no further than the exciting Finians Rainbow who will run for Nicky Henderson. The Michael Buckley horse ran second in the Arkle Chase last season and seems to have progressed this season to give himself a real chance of claiming Champion Chase glory. Another horse to stand his ground at the latest stage is Kauto Stone who will be running for Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls. He is of course a half brother to the legendary Kauto Star and although his form has been patchy this season, he has shown flashes of brilliance and at a decent price he could be one to watch. The Champion chase at Cheltenham is always one of the highlights of the Festival and with 10 top class runners set to take their chance it is shaping up to be a classic renewal in 2012.