Sizing Europe faces six rivals as he aims to secure his third victory of the campaign in the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown today.
Henry de Bromhead’s multiple Grade One winner has impressed over two and a half miles at Gowran Park and Clonmel this term and connections did consider returning to three miles in either the King George VI Chase at Kempton or the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on Friday.
However, the prevailing testing conditions at both tracks prompted De Bromhead to put a step back up in distance on hold as he comes back to two mile and a furlong.
Heading the opposition is Sizing Europe’s old rival Big Zeb. Colm Murphy’s veteran is aiming for a fourth win in this race.
Rubi Light was found to have been suffering from a lung infection when disappointing on his reappearance in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase, but is an interesting contender coming back in trip.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Edgardo Sol makes the journey from England.
The field is completed by Forpadydeplasterer, Blazing Tempo and Foildubh.
De Bromhead is confident he has picked the right race in which to run his stable star.
“He’s in good form and I’m much happier running him over two miles when the ground is like it is,” said the County Waterford handler.
“I’m very happy with him at home, so hopefully all goes well.
“Tomorrow’s race is his target and we won’t look beyond that until afterwards.”
Trainer Robbie Hennessy feels he, too, has made the right call to bring Rubi Light back in distance – instead of tackling the Lexus.
“He obviously scoped badly after his last run but we gave him a blow-out on Christmas morning, the vet was could enough to come and scope him afterwards and the scope was spotless,” said Hennessy.
“We knew something wasn’t right the last day as Barry (Geraghty) said he stopped very quickly, but hopefully we’ve put that right now.
“I’m not too worried about coming back in trip with him.
“On his last run over an extended two miles he was just caught close home by a good horse in Golden Silver.
“I don’t think there is any point taking on horses like Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs over three miles in the Lexus, so this is the right race to run him in.”
With Big Zeb due to officially turn 12 next week, Murphy admits it is going to be difficult for his charge to win the race again.
“He seems happy and in good form. The conditions won’t be ideal for him, the drier the ground the better,” said Murphy.
“We’re under no illusions. He’s not getting ay younger, but we’re hopeful he has realistic each-way claims.
“He seems well and hopefully he can run into a place.”
Forpadydeplasterer comes right back in trip having snapped a long losing run when scoring over three miles at Thurles last month.
However, trainer Tom Cooper feels Sizing Europe is going to be very hard to beat.
He said: “He’s in great order and we’re coming back in trip again, basically because there is nothing else for him.
“It’s going to be very hard for us to beat Sizing Europe, it would have been better for us if he’d gone for the Lexus.
“If we’re second to him we’ll be happy.”
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