Henry hoping to go with the Flos once again in Gowran feature
4.00 Gowran Park
PWC Champion Chase | Grade 2 | 2m4f | 5yo+ | ATR
Henry De Bromhead has fond memories of this autumn aperitif thanks to the sublime Sizing Europe, who won it four years in a row from 2011.
"It has been a great race for me over the years and one that Sizing Europe absolutely loved," he said "He won it four times and he used to get us excited about the season ahead."
The Knockeen-based trainer might have got excited about the season a little earlier this time around after Balko Des Flos blitzed his rivals in the Galway Plate at the beginning of August, making a mockery of his handicap mark of 146 in the process.
The handicapper has reacted by shoving Balko Des Flos up 12lb to a career-high of 158 and he now finds himself identically rated to Willie Mullins-trained stablemates Shaneshill and Ballycasey.
Balko Des Flos was four and three-quarter lengths ahead of Shaneshill in the Galway Plate but there is a 7lb turnaround in the weights, so it is an intriguing rematch.
De Bromhead said: "Balko Des Flos was very good at Galway. We've always liked him and he has some good graded form in novice chases from last season.
"He did everything right at Galway and this looked a nice race for him. I'm very happy with him and hopefully everything will go according to plan."
Ballycasey jumped for fun on the way to winning the race 12 months ago and is back to try to defend his crown. However, he has been ignored by Ruby Walsh, who prefers Shaneshill, and Mullins is worried the ground may not be to his liking.
"Ballycasey has a good course and distance record and won the race last year but the prevailing conditions won't be ideal for him," said the trainer.
"The ground is less of a concern for Shaneshill, who ran very well in the Galway Plate. Hopefully, he can improve on that run."
Another who turned up in the Galway Plate was A Toi Phil, who was a creditable fourth, and he backed that up with another solid display in the Kerry National, in which he was fifth to stablemate Potters Point.
Completing the quintet is Kylecrue from the John Ryan yard. He is rated 138 and looks to have a bit to find with the principals on all known form.