Sizing Europe offers real hope for the future

“THAT’S twice he’s folded like a cheap suit as if there’s something wrong”, was the verdict of Tom Segal (Pricewise) in Monday’s Racing Post.

Segal was referring to the performances of Sizing Europe, both in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and the Maplewood Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.

Whether you agree or disagree with him, you have to admire the man for saying out straight what he thinks.

There is so much political correctness in this game that someone like Segal has be regarded as almost refreshing.

Sizing Europe went from hero to zero at the second last flight in the Champion Hurdle and was barely able to walk home.

Whether you accept the explanations offered for that effort, or buy into the cheap suit theory, is a matter for yourself.

But Sunday’s display was, obviously, far more encouraging and there is now every reason to think that the horse who captivated us for much of last season may still be a real star in the making.

Of course Hardy Eustace, who will be twelve in a few weeks, was magnificent in victory and showed all the qualities for which he has become rightly renowned.

But the bottom line is that if the connections of Sizing Europe tried they could not have messed it up more.

Apparently, Henry de Bromhead and Andrew McNamara agreed that Sizing Europe should go to the front over the fourth last.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and you can be absolutely certain that if they got the chance again they would wait a lot longer.

It is a long way home from the fourth last, especially for a horse having his first outing of the campaign and who came into the race under a fair old cloud.

Anyway, that’s water under the bridge and the credit side is that Sizing Europe jumped superbly, travelled great, at least for the most part, and appeared to be bubbling over with enthusiasm.

Our golden era for top-class hurdlers is now solidly behind us, but the conclusion to be drawn from Sunday is that Sizing Europe is the horse who offers real hope for the future.

In contrast, Jered was hugely disappointing in third place. I know the ground was far from ideal, but he had made light of such conditions when toying with Cork All Star at Down Royal.

I think largely swerving Cork All Star from now on might be a prudent course of action!

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SERIOUSLY, did anyone believe Trafford Lad could be returned at 9-4, I’m told he was as high as 5-2 on track, in Saturday’s Grade 3 chase at Punchestown?

It seems many of the so-called wide-boys were with Siegemaster in the morning and all the 11-8 soon disappeared.

Essentially, he was the one they wanted all day, ending up an odds-on shot. Plenty went wrong for both horses through the race, including a slipped saddle for Siegemaster, but in the end Trafford Lad was a clear-cut winner.

He now heads for the Drinmore at Fairyhouse, but it was a trifle disconcerting to see him jump away to his left at some of the Punchestown obstacles.

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BIGGEST disappointment of the weekend had to be Corskeagh Royale at Punchestown on Sunday.

He fell at the last on his debut over flights at Galway and the jury was out as to whether he would have won or not.

But over this more galloping track and stepping up half a mile in trip, it wasn’t unreasonable to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But to see him swish his tail when put under pressure behind eventual winner, Western Charmer, ensures that Corskeagh Royale will from now on arrive with a government health warning!

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