SIZING EUROPE'S incredible record over fences was extended yesterday as Henry de Bromhead's stable star won the Grade One Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase for the first time.
Extending his winning sequence to four ever since he was an unlucky loser in the Champion Chase last season, Sizing Europe had to dig deeper than would have been expected for a 1/3 shot, but stayed at it gamely under Andrew Lynch to score by two-and-a-half lengths.
Sizing Europe is now 13 from 20 over fences but the target for 14 from 21 is yet to be decided, as is his Cheltenham Festival aim.
"I'm delighted with that, it was a bit workmanlike but he got the job done. It looked like he was going to win handy but in fairness, Rubi Light came back at him," said De Bromhead.
"I was slagging Andrew as I think he would have preferred to go quicker, I wouldn't be comfortable when I see him keen over two miles like he was today."
Connections had mulled over the options of going for either the King George or the Lexus this Christmas in an attempt to see if he could cut the mustard in a Gold Cup, but soft ground ended that prospect.
"I was so happy I wasn't in Kempton yesterday as it turned into an absolute slog. I'm not sure where we will go now, he may go for the Boylesports Tied Cottage at Punchestown or the Red Mills at Gowran and I'd imagine he will be entered in the three races at Cheltenham, the Champion Chase, the Ryanair and the Gold Cup."
The Waterford handler added: "We would all love another go over three miles on good ground, as regarding the Gold Cup you'd never say never, but we'll wait and see."
There were no question marks over which race the winner of the Grade One Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle would be aimed for at Cheltenham as Jezki ran out one of the most impressive winners of the week.
Trainer Jessica Harrington confidently unleashed the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle winner into a second Grade One in less than a month and he became the new Supreme Novices' Hurdle favourite after a facile six-length success.
Harrington said: "That was very good. Robert said he didn't really get going until half way down the back and when he did he had to take a pull going to the last. The slightly better ground helped him and it was a very quick time considering the ground. We will consider coming back here for the Deloitte, but the Supreme Novices' Hurdle would be the race for him at Cheltenham."