“I’m so lucky to have him”, exclaimed a delighted Henry de Bromhead, after his Sizing Europe produced a scintillating display to land the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase in front of a big crowd at Clonmel yesterday.
Even allowing for the fact the imposing ten-year-old was taking on much inferior opposition, this was a smashing performance on the part of the former dual Cheltenham festival winner.
His jumping was immaculate as he cantered through the contest on cruise control, with Andrew Lynch barely moving a muscle.
Rathlin set a decent gallop, with Sizing Europe essentially moving at half-speed in behind.
Lynch asked the winner to lead just before the fourth last and Sizing Europe immediately agreed.
He powered across those final four obstacles in style and crossed the line hard-held and 20 lengths clear of Magnanimity.
Commented de Bromhead: “We thought coming down the hill would suit and Andrew said he flew down both times.
“He won’t run again until Christmas and will have three choices, the King George at Kempton and the Lexus and Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown. The one thing I don’t want to do is give him another slog over three miles.”
De Bromhead revealed that very serious consideration will be afforded the King George, particularly should the ground ride reasonably good.
“He has been doing everything right this season and Alan (Potts, owner) would love to have a go at that race”, said de Bromhead.
Another star may have been unveiled in the Grade 3 EBF T.A Morris Memorial Mares Chase in the shape of Willie Mullins’ Tarla.
The shrewd handler threw the six-year-old in at the deep end on her debut over fences and she proceeded to give an exhibition of jumping and staying power.
Ruby Walsh hardly had a moment’s worry, as Tarla made most of the running, easing eight lengths clear of the gambled-on Our Girl Salley, whose cause wasn’t helped when squeezed between horses jumping the fourth.
Said Mullins: “She schooled a few times at home and was as good as today. I will now mix it with her between fences and hurdles.
“I just hope she stays sound, she was off for two years and that will be the worry in the morning.”
Oliver McKiernan’s Quietly Fancied, taken from 8-1 to 11-2, got the full Walsh treatment to land the wagers in the Clonmel Oil Service Station Handicap Hurdle.
Always in the first two, he kept finding for powerful driving to resist the persistent challenge of Harold’s Cross — whose rider put up 2lbs overweight — by half a length.
“I was disappointed with him here the last day, when he wore blinkers”, reported McKiernan. “We left them off today and he never put a foot wrong.”
The defection of Lord Of Lords from the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle seemed to leave the way clear for The Paparrazi Kid to record a bloodless success. But nothing could have been further from the truth, with the 1-4 shot failing to get to grips with the front-running Michael Hourigan-trained Dushybeag.
Adrian Heskin’s mount held a long lead for most of the journey and The Paparrazi Kid never looked like getting in a blow in the straight, the verdict 21 lengths.
Hourigan was represented by his daughter, Kay, who said: “Ideally, he would want better ground, but we are very happy with that. Chasing will be his game down the line.”
Harley Dunne enjoyed a first ever ride for Bill Harney when guiding the well-backed favourite Chu Chu Thomas to victory in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.
“I never met him (Dunne) until today, he looks the real deal”, said Harney. Ridden along from a fair way out, Chu Chu Thomas responded generously to lead going to the second last and beat Short Grass.
“He did well and wouldn’t be in love with that ground”, continued Harney. “He might go straight chasing now.”
Willie Mullins’ Turnandgo, winner of a point-to-point, was backed as if defeat was out of the question in the Bumper.
But, after attempting to make all of the running, he was collared in the final strides and beaten a short head by Eoin Doyle’s Hawaii Five Nil. The son of Gold Well was strongly handled by Pat Collins and this was a ninth on the track for him.
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