Cheltenham Festival: Sizing Europe in form for Big Zeb test

SIZING Europe is reported to be in great shape as he bids to defend the Queen Mother Champion Chase, today’s feature race at Cheltenham.

The ten-year-old won the Arkle Trophy at the track in 2010 and, so far this season, has won the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown and the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown. “He’s in good form. Everything’s gone OK so far,” said trainer Henry de Bromhead. “He’s won an Arkle and this race so we’re hoping he can run another big race.”

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Jockey Andrew Lynch added: “I can’t wait to ride him. He’s been in fabulous form this season, winning three from four. If everything goes well, he should take a lot of beating.”

Big Zeb will try to win back the crown he lifted in 2010 and turn the tables from 12 months ago, when he was beaten five lengths. Trainer Colm Murphy said: “He seems in good nick, so we think he can run a big race.”

The main British hope is Finian’s Rainbow. Trainer Nicky Henderson said: “You can’t get away from Sizing Europe, he looks the real deal, but I think we can give him a race.”