Sizing has still got it
Veteran chaser Sizing Europe proved that age is just a number by taking the PWC Champion Chase at Gowran for the fourth year in a row. Talk of retirement after last season had been put on hold for the now 12 year old, with connections saying that they would let the old boy decide for himself whether he had had enough or not. The seven time Grade 1 winner answered that with an emphatic no today, battling like never before to reel in the Evens favourite and Galway Plate winner Road To Riches.
For the first time since May 2011, Sizing Europe went to battle without his old compatriot Andrew Lynch, with rising star Johnny Burke getting the leg up for the first time since being named retained rider to owners Ann and Alan Potts. As tough as the old horse was in the battle, his young jockey was just as game, having to dig deep and leave nothing behind in a dramatic finish.
Road To Riches, as he had done at Galway, tried to gallop his rivals into the ground from the front and it looked like he would again achieve this as he travelled strongly turning for home under Paul Carberry. Burke was starting to ask Sizing Europe for more at this stage but the more he asked for, the more the veteran gave him.
The combination of young and old steadily began to gain on Road To Riches who began to idle slightly in front and were just a length down approaching the final fence. This is where Sizing Europe showed his brilliance again, putting in a magnificent leap before battling on to get up on the line.
Delighted trainer de Bromhead said: “It’s incredible. He is just playing with us now leaving it until the very end. I can’t say anymore about the horse – four years on the trot back here is amazing.
“He stayed at it all the way and Johnny said he was coming up out of his hands at the last three and winged the last. I still didn’t think he would get up.
“We didn’t feel that he was ready to be retired and fair play to Alan and Ann for running with it. As Alan said, he will tell us when he is ready. He is rated 161 and they are hard to come by and he is still loving it. He is still running away with lads at home and you can see there he has the heart of a lion.
“I think the Clonmel Oil Chase may be next but I want to talk to Alan and Ann first. We said we would take it one day at a time but I think if we were to go anywhere it would be there as he seemed to love it around Clonmel a few years ago.”
Of Sizing Europe’s new jockey, de Bromhead said: “He is a very good rider and he has such a cool head for such a young guy. As Alan always says, life would be so easy if you could put an old head on young shoulders but we have nearly got that there.
“He has really grabbed the opportunity and I am delighted for him, he is a lovely guy.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
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