14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Europe bids for Cottage repeatHeadlines
Sizing Europe

Sizing Europe faces just four rivals as he completes his racecourse preparations for the Cheltenham Festival in the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown on Sunday.

Despite officially turning 11 at the start of last month, Henry de Bromhead's pride and joy has appeared better than ever in winning his three starts this season and will be long odds-on to land the Tied Cottage for the second successive year.

Andrew Lynch has guided one of Ireland's best-loved chasers to each of his six Grade One triumphs over fences, including glorious displays in the Arkle Trophy and the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham, and he is hoping he will add to his tally on Sunday.

Lynch said: "Every time you get on him it's always a good day, and hopefully everything goes to plan. You can't not look forward to riding a horse like him and if everything goes well, he's going to take a bit of beating hopefully."

Should he win as expected at Punchestown, talk will soon switch to which Cheltenham Festival race Sizing Europe should be aimed for.

He is entered in the Champion Chase, the Ryanair Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but Lynch believes no decision will be made until the likely ground conditions at Prestbury Park become clear.

"We'll get this race out of the way before we start talking about Cheltenham. The ground is going to be a big factor in where he goes," said the jockey.

Willie Mullins' star mare Blazing Tempo is the second highest-rated horse in the field for the Grade Two feature, but is still rated 21lb lower than Sizing Europe, although she gets a hefty mares' allowance.

The line-up is completed by the consistent Foildubh, Imperial Shabra and Kylebeg Krystle.

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