The brilliant Sizing Europe should prove a major attraction in the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase at Clonmel this afternoon.
There is no indication that the dual Cheltenham festival winner is on the decline and he should carry far too many guns for his four rivals.
Indeed, the ten-year-old has between 15lbs and 29lbs in hand and anything less than an emphatic victory will be a major surprise. Henry de Bromhead’s charge returned in rude good health in another Grade 2 at Gowran Park in early October.
He jumped and travelled quite beautifully through that contest, cruising home seven and a half lengths clear of Forpadydeplasterer, who was getting 7lbs
The Grade 3 EBF T.A Morris Memorial Mares’ Novice Chase promises a fascinating three-cornered tussle between the experienced Knockfierna and the rookies, Our Girl Salley and Tarla. Willie Mullins is certainly asking a big question of Tarla. She is a classy sort, who has reportedly schooled well, but this is her first venture over fences and the sky is the limit if she manages to pull it off.
Knockfierna is a terrific mare, who had something of a mental aberration last month when running out at the second last at Limerick, something she had done before at that track, when looking the most likely winner in a contest that finally went to Down In Neworleans
Charles Byrnes’ charge is definitely the one to beat, but the nod falls on Our Girl Salley, who will be in receipt of 12lbs.
She shaped as if a lot of improvement would be forthcoming when beaten a neck by Avondhu Lady, also in the field, at Clonmel two weeks ago.
The INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle looks a match between The Paparrazi Kid and Lord Of Lords.
The latter was trained by Helen Keaveney when landing a tasty gamble by 23 lengths at Navan in March and is now in the care of Edward O’Grady.
The vote, however, goes to the Paparrazi Kid, who was beaten half a length by Rory O’Moore at Naas in February and subsequent events have shown that to be a smart effort.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved
More in this section