Sizing Europe: Opens his account for the season at Gowran ParkPICTURE: Alain Barr(racingpost.com/photos)
Sizing Europe champion for third consecutive year
Report: Gowran Park, Saturday
PWC Champion Chase (Grade 2) 2m4f, 5yo+
SIZING EUROPE produced a solid jumping performance and stayed on comfortably to land the PWC Champion Chase for the third consecutive season.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained 11-year-old, who has not been seen since beaten by Sprinter Sacre in the Champion Chase at Punchestown in April, held off last season's Arkle runner-up Baily Green in second and Rubi Light in third to score as the 4-5 favourite.
De Bromhead, who was delighted but relieved with Sizing Europe's performance, said: "Every time he runs you're relieved.
"He has such a record and you don't want to see him not being into it as much as he was, but he is definitely representing the elderly now anyway. I am just so lucky to train him."
Rubi Light, ridden by Barry Geraghty, was the leader for the majority of the race but was closely tracked by Andrew Lynch aboard Sizing Europe.
Baily Green travelled in third but neither he nor Rubi Light could cope with Sizing Europe's jumping power as he hit the front three from home and, despite a slight mistake at the pernultimate fence, the 2011 Cheltenham Festival winner went on to score by a length from a gallant Baily Green.
"I was not worried down the back but I was a bit when Baily Green came up behind us," admitted De Bromhead. "I thought he ran savage and was a great advertisement for last year's novices."
Despite being a general 20-1 for the Ryanair Chase over 2m4f at this year's Cheltenham Festival, De Bromhead expressed his desire to step-up his stable star to three miles.
"I want to give him a crack at three miles on good ground. He was second to Kauto Star at Down Royal and we'll look to that race. There are other races too. Maybe he is too slow for two miles but as long as he is enjoying it that's the big thing."
The Gigginstown pair Quito De La Roque and Roi Du Mee both fell at the second-last fence but seemed to be well beaten at that point and were unlikely to make an impression on the first three.