Waterford trained horse Sizing Europe has become a warm order for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham following a sizzling display at Leopardstown on Sunday when he ran away with the €100,000 AIG Europe Champion Hurdle over two miles, leaving top performers Hardy Eustace and Al Eile eight lengths and more adrift at the line.
Rising young trainer Henry De Bromhead described himself afterwards as “speechless”, but despite that he was able to confirm that he always regarded Sizing as a “serious animal”.
“We will go straight to the Champion Hurdle now, he wont have another run”, he told reporters. “I’m not getting carried away because there will be good horses to take on at Cheltenham, but Jeez he was bloody impressive, wasn’t he? I can’t really believe it”. He was returned at 10/3.
Significantly Dessie Hughes, trainer of former champion hurdler Hardy Eustace, said after the race that he would not be taking on the winner again at Cheltenham, but would go instead for the World Hurdle over three miles. “Sizing Europe’s something special”, he conceded.
Although his charge is as short as 9/4 for the big race on March 11, De Bromhead (35), whose training operation is at Knockeen, issued a cautionary note when he warned that his stable star would not like extremes of ground. He also needs a strong gallop, but he is almost certain to get that at Cheltenham.
Stylish jockey Andrew McNamara will retain the ride for the big one after Timmy Murphy chose Al Eile instead on Sunday. Sizing Europe is owned by English couple Alan and Ann Potts.