Queen Mother Champion Chase - Wed March 14th 2012 

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Big Names Still in Queen Mother Picture

Past winners Sizing Europe and Big Zeb figure among a 10-strong field left in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on March 14 at the confirmation stage.

Sizing Europe
© Racehorse Photos

Sizing Europe

Sizing Europe followed up his Arkle Trophy success of 2010 with a brilliant victory in last season's Champion Chase and is set to return to Prestbury Park to defend his crown for Henry de Bromhead.

Big Zeb, who fell in the two-mile speed test in 2009, was victorious 12 months later and was second to Sizing Europe in the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown last month. Both horses have staked their claim for this season's renewal with Grade One victories already in the bag.

Willie Mullins has left in the progressive Blazing Tempo, who completed a hat-trick of victories at Fairyhouse, while the Noel Meade-trained Realt Dubh, third in last year's Arkle Trophy, is the other Irish possible.

Heading the home brigade is the Nicky Henderson-trained Finian's Rainbow, who chased home Captain Chris in last year's Arkle. He was caught close to the finish by Somersby in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot last time.

Ruby Walsh, who gets the leg up on Kauto Star's half-brother Kauto Stone in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, said on Monday: "I'll probably ride Kauto Stone in the Champion Chase and I think he'll finish second."

Somersby is, however, more likely to take his chance in the Ryanair Chase on Thursday, unless there is plenty of cut underfoot. Others standing their ground are Wishfull Thinking, Gauvain, Kauto Stone and I'm So Lucky. Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)
£320000.00 added, 5yo plus, 2m, Class 1

Form Horse Age Wt Trainer
22-1112 Big Zeb (IRE) 11 11-10 C A Murphy
1121-12 Finian's Rainbow (IRE) 9 11-10 N J Henderson
0-1F1F3 Gauvain (GER) 10 11-10 Nick Williams
460-053 I'm So Lucky 10 11-10 D Pipe
103-120 Kauto Stone (FR) 6 11-10 P F Nicholls
2113-12 Realt Dubh (IRE) 8 11-10 N Meade
1-21211 Sizing Europe (IRE) 10 11-10 Henry De Bromhead
3-12241 Somersby (IRE) 8 11-10 Miss H C Knight
1-16526 Wishfull Thinking 9 11-10 P J Hobbs
143111 Blazing Tempo (IRE) 8 11-3 W P Mullins

10 runners

Going: Good, Good to Firm in places


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