Next Sunday’s (5th February)Boylesports.com Chase at Punchestown will see the top two mile chasers Big Zeb and Sizing Europe renew their rivalry.
The grade two chase over two miles will be the first time that both horses have met since a thrilling finish at the Punchestown festival last year in a race also sponsored by Boylesports.com
Last season saw the two embark on highly competitive campaign with Sizing Europe stamping his authority in the Queen Mother Chase at Cheltenham. However, Big Zeb turned the tables in the Boylesports.com Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival just a number of weeks later.
Looking forward to Sunday’s clash Colm Murphy trainer of Big Zeb said “ Preparations are going very well. Ideally we would need better ground but we are going to stick to the same plan as last year. We will run on Sunday and then on to Cheltenham and finally back to the Boylesports.com Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival all going well. Referring to his charges age Murphy continued by saying “Big Zeb is now an 11 year old but he can’t count so we are alright on that front!”.
Sizing Europe’s trainer Henry De Bromhead is looking forward to Sunday’s race “ Sizing is in good form. We were delighted with his Tingle Creek run as it is recognised as a true two mile test. Obviously we would prefer better ground on Sunday but we are sticking to the same route as last season.” With regard to the two horses clashing last year De Bromhead said “Both horses gave a class performance in the Boylesports.com Chase at Punchestown when they were well clear of the field in what was a great race”.
It’s very hard to separate these two horses and at the Punchestown festival last year only ¾ of a length separated them. The two have been the dominant force in two mile chases over the last three years. With the ground likely to be on the soft side we will be favouring Big Zeb as he seems to be more effective on the surface and his head to head record against Sizing on soft ground is very impressive.”, commented Nicola McGeady, Boylesports, PR Spokesperson.
The quality card on Sunday provides an ideal opportunity for Cheltenham hopefuls as it includes the Pertemps Hurdle qualifier, the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle over two miles and of course the Glenfarclas P.P. Hogan Cross Country chase.
The track is currently raceable and the going is ‘Heavy’. A decision will be made regarding the use of frost covers as there is heavy frost forecast over the next few nights.
Action gets underway at 1.20 and admission is €10 or €7 for students and seniors. Children race for free.