Andrew Lynch is looking forward to teaming up with brilliant two-miler Sizing Europe in the Clonmel Oil Chase.
The jockey believes trainer Henry de Bromhead made the right call in taking the 10-year-old out of the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal at the last minute because three miles on soft ground would have stretched his stamina.
However, Lynch expects soft ground over two and a half miles at Clonmel to be well within his compass following his first run of the season at Gowran.
The jockey said: "I can't wait. He seems in great form. It was a blessing in disguise he didn't go to the North (Down Royal), but two and a half miles on soft ground should be all right for him. I'd like to think my lad would take a bit of beating.
"He did it well in Gowran. It was a true-run race that day, so hopefully if everything goes to plan he should win."
De Bromhead is also unperturbed about the prospect of soft ground as the 2011 Queen Mother Champion Chase hero makes his second start of the campaign.
He told At The Races: "Our feeling is that the ground is not such a big issue over two and a half miles. Three miles in soft ground, after witnessing last year at Down Royal, we didn't want to see that again.
"I think Clonmel should be fine for him, it's a nice downhill run there. He hasn't run there before, but I think he'll like it. He schooled around there a few times. They were very helpful when we were first going chasing, so he knows the place."
Mouse Morris reckons Rathlin will appreciate the soft ground more than some of the opposition and reports the seven-year-old to be approaching his peak after two runs last month.
The trainer said: "He's come on a bit from Naas and is going the right way now. There are only five runners and there's nice place money there. It will be soft, but it will suit him better than a few of them, that's for sure."
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