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Sizing Europe rubber-stamped his excellence over two miles (3200m) in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Although Henry de Bromhead’s nine-year-old had been campaigned over three miles (4800m) earlier in the season, he is unquestionably a better animal over the minimum trip at this stage of his career – especially from off a fast pace.

And so it proved as the 10-1 shot, who also scooped last year’s Arkle at the Festival, led a long way out under Andrew Lynch and battled on bravely to hold the title holder Big Zeb (3-1) by five lengths.

Captain Cee Bee was third and Golden Silver next as the Irish filled the first four places.

Dual winner Master Minded lost any chance with a bad mistake at the second-last and he was eased afterwards by Ruby Walsh.

“He’s a good horse to have around and it’s been an unbelievable week,” de Bromhead said.

“I’m very lucky to have good horses. This fellow was electric and Andrew gave him a brilliant ride again.

“The horse is amazing and we have a great team behind us.”

Lynch added: “I’m delighted and the horse jumped an awful lot better today.

“He travelled really well and I was afraid something might just quicken past me up the straight, but he’s a hardy boy.

“Henry always said he wanted a strongly-run, two-mile race, and this is the only race all year that suits him.”

Mad Max made the early running, with Sizing Europe close up and Big Zeb and Master Minded in midfield.

Lynch took Sizing Europe to the front at the sixth fence and looked comfortable at the head of affairs.

The expected main players started to play their hands before the turn for home but de Bromhead’s charge showed he has stamina as well as speed and kept Big Zeb at bay in convincing fashion.

PA

 
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