Sizing Europe demolishes Big Zeb in Ireland

Ladbrokes

Tagged under: 3.20 Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase 2m

Sizing Europe had the bookies ducking for cover after his demolition of Big Zeb when the previous winners of the Queen Mother Champion Chase met at Punchestown on Sunday.

On ground not suited to either horse, Henry de Bromhead’s reigning Champion Chase hero destroyed his main rival by 15 lengths on heavy going in the Boylesports.com Tied Cottage Chase and forced bookmakers to re-evaluate the odds for the Cheltenham Festival showpiece.

The victory cemented the ten-year-old’s place at the top of ante post lists across the board, leaving Ladbrokes to stand out at 6/4 for Sizing Europe to retain his Queen Mother Champion Chase crown.

Rory Jiwani from StanJames.com said, "That was undeniably impressive from Henry De Bromhead's charge who is clearly the horse to beat as he seeks to retain his Champion Chase crown. Positive tactics from Andrew Lynch have been the making of this horse and he is now 5/4 from 2/1 for Cheltenham.

"Big Zeb had no answer to his rival and we've eased him from 4/1 to 7/1 for the Champion Chase with Finian's Rainbow now 5/1 second favourite.

Sizing Europe jumped boldly and was allowed to bowl along at his own pace in front of his two rivals. When Big Zeb mounted his challenge between the last two flights, Andrew Lynch kicked for home to leave the Colm Murphy’s charge toiling in his wake.

The winner’s delighted trainer said afterwards: "Andrew said he didn't jump like he normally does, but I thought he was brilliant. He just popped a few because of the ground and didn't let fly, but it was a savage performance and it is straight to Cheltenham now.

"Hopefully he is OK in the morning and we'll roll on from there - he is an amazing horse to be involved with.”

Murphy believes the going did not help Big Zeb on the day and he will challenge Sizing Europe again at Cheltenham next month.

"Robbie [Power] was never happy with him today - he said he was always niggling just to keep in touch. In fairness, the winner was very good - he's gone a proper gallop on heavy ground,” said Murphy.

"We'll improve for the run, but we'll have to. Robbie said he was beat before the first fence. It was always a worry running on that ground, it was proper testing.

"Cheltenham is still the plan."

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