High praise for retiring Sizing
De Bromhead describes his top-class chaser as 'the horse of a lifetime' after an amazing career
Sizing Europe was yesterday described as "the horse of a lifetime" by trainer Henry de Bromhead as he announced the 13-year-old's retirement.
A winner of 22 races from 45 outings, Sizing Europe was twice a winner at the Cheltenham Festival, including the 2011 Champion Chase, and he was second in the next two renewals of that race behind the Nicky Henderson pair of Finian's Rainbow and Sprinter Sacre in 2012 and 2013.
Sizing Europe could only finish seventh in this year's Champion Chase on what transpired to be his final run of a glorious career after he missed the Punchestown Festival, at which he was declared to run in the BoyleSports Champion Chase.
Revealing the news yesterday, de Bromhead said: "After discussing things with Ann and Alan Potts, we've decided to retire Sizing Europe. There's been too many highlights to pinpoint one and he really has been the horse of a lifetime for all involved.
"We're delighted he retires in one piece, and hopefully he'll take part in the racehorse to riding horse shows in the future."
Sizing Europe's last win came at Gowran Park back in October when he beat subsequent Cheltenham and Punchestown Gold Cup runner-up Road To Riches and he was in an elite group of jump horses that enjoyed career earnings of over €1,000,000.
The trainer added: "We had some great days in Cheltenham but there were also great days in Punchestown, Leopardstown and Sandown.
"He's going to take part in the racehorse to riding shows now. There are some great days in Ireland during the summer and he'll go to Rosemary Connors to do that, who did all his flat work with him."
Andrew Lynch was long associated with the horse and was onboard when he won both the Arkle and Champion Chase at Cheltenham and enjoyed his final and memorable Grade One triumph at the Punchestown Festival last year.
Lynch said: "He's been unbelievable for my career and we had some fantastic days.
"There were the two winners at Cheltenham and then for him to go and win in Punchestown last year just capped it all off.
"It's been a brilliant training performance from Henry and all the lads in the yard to keep him so fresh and well for so long.
"He was a brilliant jumper. I think he only fell once in his life and that was over hurdles with Ruby (Walsh) riding him one day.
"He was just a brilliant horse with a massive heart."