Sizing Europe Jumps His Way to Arkle Glory
1 Sizing Europe 6/1
Two years ago Sizing Europe was favourite for the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, but after appearing to be travelling supremely well at the top of the hill he faded badly to come home last of the 14 finishers behind Katchit.
However, today in The Irish Independent Arkle Trophy was totally different. Travelling well throughout, the eight-year-old was always in a handy position under Andrew Lynch. He was in front as the field entered the straight and having got the better of Osana and Mad Max, who had put himself out of contention with a bad mistake at the top of the hill, he stayed on resolutely to hold off the challenge of Somersby by three-quarters of a length to give the Irish their first success of The Festival 2010.
Winning trainer Henry de Bromhead commented: "It is just a great feeling. The roar when he passed the line was just phenomenal.
“He ran with the choke out a bit today, but he is probably better that way than when he is held up and put to sleep. He did a great leap at the ditch at the top of the hill.
“He had problems with the ligaments in his back when he ran in the Champion Hurdle and he had some silly problems last year, but we have got him right now and have learnt a lot about him. He is stronger now and we know how to manage him.
“I am never confident, but we came here with the horse in his best form and we saw the true him today. It has taken a phenomenal effort from the team.
“Today was just absolutely fantastic. It is great for his owners Alan and Ann Potts who have been big supporters of the yard. Unfortunately Alan couldn’t make it today as he is suffering from a stomach bug.
“Sizing Europe really is like one of our children at home and has put us on the map. When he has run disappointingly a couple of times, he has always had a valid reason.
“We will celebrate tonight and see where we are. He could go to Punchestown and I would say he could possibly go over further. We have to discuss all these things.”
Paddy Power make Sizing Eurpe 8/1 for the 2011 Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase while Sky Bet go 7/1.
OWNERS’ DAUGHTER OVERWHELMED
Julie, daughter of owners Ann and Alan Potts, thought of her parents after the victory of Sizing Europe in the The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy.
She told Festival Radio: “It was absolutely amazing. I am overwhelmed.
“This is one day that we will never forget.”
Alan Potts was unable to be at Cheltenham today because of his health.
“He is just so emotional, so over the moon, just wonderful. Today is their wedding anniversary - just wonderful for 30 years. And it is Ann’s birthday as well. It is just unbelievable - overwhelming.
“It is a dream come true and I am really sorry Dad cannot be here but God bless him. He is so emotional on the phone.”
Andrew Lynch, the winning rider, commented: “Sizing Europe jumped super - the best he has ever jumped.
“I was a bit concerned that I was getting there too soon when Mad Max made a mistake at the second last but he was going so well.
“I let him stride on and he got going again after the last. I knew he was back to his best - I rode him last week and he had never worked better in his life.
“At Leopardstown he never jumped a fence and people were knocking him, saying he was soft and that. We knew he wasn’t and that he was back to his best.”
SOMERSBY SENDS ALL THE RIGHT SIGNALS
“We just wanted the post a little further up the hill,” said trainer Henrietta Knight, after Somersby could not quite get on terms with Sizing Europe in the Irish Independent Arkle Chase, the 4/1 second-favourite going down to the Henry de Bromhead-trained horse by just three-quarters of a length.
“It was a terrific race especially considering it was only his third chase. He [Robert Thornton] had a very good ride on him. He just got a bit close to one of the open ditches, but he was very good. This is very exciting for the future,” said the trainer.
“The other horse [Sizing Europe] ran in a champion hurdle didn’t he? And won the Irish champion hurdle? So, there’s no disgrace,” she said
Thornton added: Sizing Europe won it with gears early on, but I’m really pleased with that.”
OSANA A GOOD SIGN FOR O’GRADY’S FESTIVAL TEAM
Osana, a former Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle runner-up when trained by David Pipe, gained another Grade 1 place when finishing third in The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase for novices.
Jockey Andrew McNamara, wearing the colours of owner Thomas Barr, said: “He ran a great race and jumped brilliantly, which is why he got so close. I thought turning in to the home straight we had a chance, but it wasn’t to be.”
Trainer Edward O’Grady said: “It’s the best run he’s had for me - he jumped terribly well, flattered to deceive turning into the straight, but was beaten by two good horses [winner Sizing Europe and Somersby]. I think he’s got a good future over fences.
“I knew my horse wasn’t at his best at Leopardstown at Christmas [when second to Sizing Europe] because we’ve had terrible frost at home and I didn’t want to risk hurting him. I went there knowing I would take my beating, but it’s paid off in the way he’s run here.
“We’ve had a terrible year - we’ve had one night of minus two degrees, and the rest have been minus four. I know other trainers have suffered, but we’ve been particularly cold.
“It’s taken me time to get to know the horse. He’s a gross horse, and getting a little grosser as he gets older and takes a lot of work. The conditions have mitigated against that. We’ll discuss plans with the owner, but we’ve got Aintree and the Powers Gold Cup in Ireland - maybe we’ll see where Sizing Europe goes next.”
Favourite Captain Cee Bee (5-2) finished only eighth, and trainer Eddie Harty said: “He burst a blood vessel and unfortunately that’s one thing you cannot legislate for. He’s not done it since Liverpool last year and it’s something we’re going to have to work around.”
THE IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHASE FACTS AND FIGURES
1. The Arkle Challenge Trophy was inaugurated in 1969, after Arkle’s three wins in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (1964-66). In its first year, the race was worth £1,365, and was won by Chatham (10/1), trained by Fred Rimell and ridden by Terry Biddlecombe. The 2010 running has total prize money of £150,000. It was known as the Cotswold Chase before 1969.
2. The Irish Independent, which backed the Arkle Chase for the first time in 2000, is only the race’s third sponsor. Guinness sponsored from 1994 until 1999, having taken over from Waterford Castle, who had supported since the first sponsored running in 1991.
3. The Irish Independent Arkle Chase has always been a fiercely contested event, and the following have gone on to other Championship victories at The Festival:
4. The lowest number of runners has been eight (1979, 1984 & 1993) and the highest 19 (1987 & 2005) as the Arkle Chase - there were 25 runners in the Cotswold Chase in 1960. The current safety limit is 20.
5. The Irish Independent Arkle Chase has seen several trainers and jockeys run up strings of wins. Martin Pipe notched up successive wins with Or Royal in 1997 and Champleve in 1998 before Well Chief in 2004 and Contraband a year later gave him another brace of victories. Peter Easterby trained three winners - Alverton 1978, Clayside 1981 and Ryeman 1983. Among current trainers, Nicky Henderson leads the way with three successes (Remittance Man 1991, Travado 1993 and Tiutchev 2000), while both Paul Nicholls (Flagship Uberalles in 1999 and Azertyuiop in 2003) and Alan King, successful with My Way De Solzen in 2007 and Voy Por Ustedes in 2006, boast a pair of victories. Among jockeys, Jamie Osborne won three times, via a hat-trick between 1992 and 1994 on Young Pokey, Travado, and Nakir for three different trainers, Oliver Sherwood, Nicky Henderson and Simon Christian. Tony McCoy equalled Osborne’s three wins in 2004 when scoring on Well Chief, having also been aboard Or Royal (1997) and Champleve (1998).
6. Irish trainers have won The Irish Independent Arkle Chase 10 times, including four of the last 14 runnings with Klairon Davis (1995), Ventana Canyon (1996), Moscow Flyer (2002) and Forpadydeplasterer (2009).
7. The longest-priced winner is Gala’s Image, successful at 25/1 in 1987, while Pendil (1972) and Chinrullah (1979) are the shortest-priced scorers at 10/11. Six other favourites have won - Canasta Lad (1974), Clayside (1981), Bobsline (1984), Remittance Man (1991), Klairon Davis (1995) and Azertyuiop (2003).
8. The fastest time for the two miles of The Irish Independent Arkle Chase was 3m 46.5s by Tiutchev in 2000, beating the previous best of 3m 52.5s set by Or Royal in 1997.
9. Until 1980, The Irish Independent Arkle Chase was always run on the Wednesday of the National Hunt Festival. It now takes place on the opening day, Tuesday.
THE IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHALLENGE TROPHY CHASE
2009-WINNER-FORPADYDEPLASTERER 7-11-07 Owner-Goat Racing Syndicate; Trainer-Tom Cooper IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-8/1
2008-WINNER-TIDAL BAY 7-11-07 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Howard Johnson; Jockey-Denis O’Regan; SP-6/1
WAY DE SOLZEN 7-11-07 Owner-Ben
Winfield, A Longman, J Wright & C Fenton; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert
POR USTEDES 5-11-02 Owner-Sir Robert Ogden; Trainer-Alan
King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-15/2
2005-WINNER-CONTRABAND 7-11-07 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe;
Jockey-Timmy Murphy; SP-7/1
3RD-River City 8-11-07 Owner-Mrs S Rowley-Williams & Partners; Trainer-Noel Chance; Jockey-Tom Doyle; SP- 10/1 19 ran, Time-3m 53.10s Dist-1, 4 11/4 Fav War Of Attrition (7th)
2004-WINNER-WELL CHIEF 5-11-03 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe;
Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-9/1
2003-WINNER-AZERTYUIOP 6-11-08 Owner-John & Lisa
Hales; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-5/4 Fav
2002-WINNER-MOSCOW FLYER 8-11-08 Owner-Brian Kearney; Trainer-Jessica
Harrington IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-11/2
2001 - Cancelled
2000-WINNER-TIUTCHEV 7-11-08 Owner-The Liars Poker Partnership; Trainer-Nicky
Henderson; Jockey-Mick FitzGerald; SP-8/1
1999-WINNER-FLAGSHIP UBERALLES 5-11-00 Owner-Elizabeth
Gutner & Michael
Krysztofiak Racing; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Joe Tizzard; SP-11/1
1998-WINNER-CHAMPLEVE 5-11-00 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe;
Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-13/2
1997-WINNER-OR ROYAL 6-11-08 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe;
Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-11/2
1996-WINNER-VENTANA CANYON 7-11-08 Owner-Philip
Myerscough; Trainer-Edward O’Grady IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody;
THE IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHASE ROLL OF HONOUR
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