Clonmel crossroads for Europe
AFTER the ground went against his third tilt at the JNWine.com Champion Chase over three miles, Sizing Europe has been redirected to Clonmel tomorrow where he lines up in the Grade Two Clonmel Oil Chase.
Tomorrow's race over 2m4f should pose no problem to the former Champion Chaser who was arguably an unlucky second in Cheltenham's Queen Mother Champion Chase last season.
Being an Arkle winner, he has certainly proved time and time again that he really is top class at two miles, but every season connections toy with the idea of turning him into a potential Gold Cup horse.
A bloodless victory tomorrow would have to be expected from Henry de Bromhead's stable star and that could leave connections also looking towards the John Durkan at Punchestown next month. That too is only over 2m4f, but it would be taking on more likely Gold Cup candidates in Flemenstar and possibly Sir Des Champs.
Therefore, a bold showing in the Durkin would surely increase the temptation for connections to run in something like the Lexus at Christmas rather than the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase.
The Tingle Creek could also be an option, where he would be facing the exciting Sprinter Sacre, and he holds an entry for the King George on St Stephen's Day. The King George would have to be the more favourable if a Gold Cup assault is on the agenda, and, therefore, the John Durkan would appear a non-runner.
Options remain open for the 10-year-old but with such a strong group of staying chasers around, is this really a good time to experiment with a horse who clearly is so good over two miles?
Maybe it is a case that Alan and Ann Potts see Sizing Europe as a horse of a lifetime, which he most certainly is, and having been king of the two mile division, they now want to see can if he win the blue riband of the jump game.
Time will tell, but he has been impeccably placed throughout his career, so it would be hard to argue with any future assignments.