“That was super, he was a bit workmanlike, but got the job done”, said trainer, Henry de Bromhead, with more than a hint of realism.
The winner and Rubi Light took each other on from the start. Rubi Light threw some tremendous leaps and constantly gained lengths over Sizing Europe, whose jumping was perfectly adequate.
Turning for home, however, Sizing Europe appeared to be in complete control and Andrew Lynch then allowed him to pop the last.
Rubi Light, though, rallied back strongly, but Sizing Europe found enough when the pressure was applied and was two and a half lengths to the good at the line.
Continuing de Bromhead said: “He could now go to Punchestown, or for the Red Mills at Gowran Park.”
He indicated that Sizing Europe would have three entries at Cheltenham, the two-mile Champion Chase, Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup. The logical target is the Ryanair. Sizing Europe doesn’t have the speed for two miles anymore, as well as the little matter of having to take on Sprinter Sacre, and there is no evidence whatsoever he would stay three and a quarter miles at Prestbury Park.
If we saw a possible Cheltenham winner then it was surely Jessica Harrington’s Jezki in the other Grade 1 on the card, the Paddy Power Future Champions’ Novice Hurdle.
He produced a superb display for Robbie Power and had class written all over him. The contest was run at a cracking gallop, but Jezki arrived doing half-speed heading to the home turn.
Power soon nudged him into the lead and the Milan gelding sprinted away on the flat to beat Waaheb by six lengths.
Commented Harrington: “Robbie said he was almost off it down the back, so fast were they going, but didn’t have to move a muscle in the straight.
“I don’t know what will be next. He may come back here for the Deloitte, over a few furlongs further, or head directly to Cheltenham. It will definitely be the Supreme Novices’ at Cheltenham.”
Stan James promoted him to 6-1 favourite, from 10’s, for that race.
The richly endowed Paddy Power Chase looked fiercely competitive beforehand, but was won in a canter by Colbert Station, trained by Ted Walsh for J P McManus.
Tony McCoy did the driving and Colbert Station literally cruised through the three-mile grueller.
McCoy let out an inch of rein off the home turn and Colbert Station quickly scampered clear to easily beat Romanesco.
“He surprised me, he did that well”, said Walsh of his winner, who went off a strong 5-1 favourite.
“I thought he had an each-way chance, but wanted better ground. It surprised me as well that Tony picked him in preference to others.
“It is a great day, it’s great to win a Paddy Power and he could be an English National horse.”
Gordon Elliott’s English-import, Flaxen Flare, formerly trained by Andrew Balding, proved a snug winner of the Paddy Power On Your Mobile three-year-old Maiden Hurdle.
He was produced with impeccable timing by Davy Condon to lead just before the final flight to beat Ibsen.
Dermot Weld’s Diplomat was all the rage morning-prices, and in the ring, and looked the likely winner coming away from two out.
But he was already in trouble when getting it wrong at the final flight and was soon back-pedalling.
Said Elliott: “They were all talking about Weld’s horse, but my fellow beat him five or six lengths in a schooling hurdle at Fairyhouse the other day.”
Andrew Leigh seemed to get a real rush of blood when sweeping Celtic Cailin to the front going to the second last in the Paddy Power Maiden Hurdle.
The heavily-backed favourite, Mumbo Jumbo, made the running to this point, but his pilot, Danny Mullins, kept his charge relaxed and refused to immediately go in pursuit of the new leader.
Mumbo Jumbo was a trifle awkward at the last, but found plenty on the flat and was a snug length and a half to the good at the line.
Mullins’ mother, Mags, trains Mumbo Jumbo and said: “Barry (Connell, owner) wanted to come here, after he finished second at Listowel, and it’s great when it comes off.”
The Mullins mother and son combination enjoyed their third winner of the two days when Cairdin took the Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle. Danny set a strong pace in front and Cairdin shot away heading to the home turn to score with plenty in hand.
Noel Meade’s Mullaghanoe River battled on dourly up the straight for Nina Carberry to beat Wedding Present half a length in the Bumper.
“I was disgusted with the way he ran the first day (Naas), I thought he’d win”, reported Meade.
“But he’s a big horse and probably still innocent. He will go hurdling in the spring and chasing next season.”
Eoin O’Brien, who rode Wedding Present, was suspended for 10 days for misuse of the whip and ordered to attend for a day at RACE.