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Henry’s Sizing up ground at Down Royal

By Frank Brownlow

Sizing Europe’s crack at Saturday's JNwine.com Champion Chase at the Down Royal Festival will hinge on the ground, trainer Henry De Bromhead said last night.



The Queen Mother Champion Chase winner finished second to Kauto Star in the €140,000 Grade One last year when attempting three miles for the first time.

Sizing Europe has not run over the trip since.

Waterford handler de Bromhead will confirm the nine-year-old’s participation when he is satisfied with conditions.

“He wants a bit of nice ground. I wouldn't want to bottom him out over that trip on heavy going so we haven't decided if he's running,” said the trainer.

Regular jockey Andrew Lynch will ride if Sizing Europe does line up, which has left trainer Robbie Hennessy uncertain who will ride his hope Rubi Light.

“Andrew will ride him if he's available, but I'm not sure he will be. Davy Russell would be my next choice as he's won on him, but he may have to ride Quito De La Roque,” said Hennessy.

“The only other rider to have won on him is Barry Geraghty, who might have to ride for Nicky Henderson,” he added.

The Down Royal ground was yesterday described as yielding to soft, with rain forecast today.

Aidan O'Brien's Nephrite upset the odds with a decisive win over Sea The Stars' brother Born To Sea in yesterday's JRA Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown.

In doing so, Nephrite boosted his Classic claims for 2012 and is now unbeaten in two starts after Joseph O'Brien brought the Pivotal colt through to pick off John Oxx's youngster and go on to score by one and a half lengths.

However, it was later reported that, on examination, Born To Sea was found to be lame.

While Johnny Murtagh made smooth progress on the 8/11 favourite to lead a furlong out, it was only a brief stay as Nephrite found a decent turn of foot to stamp his authority.

“He progressed nicely from his maiden. He travelled well and Joseph gave him a confident ride,” said O'Brien Snr.

“He was stepping up to seven furlongs and looked to get it well. He should prefer better ground.”

When asked about the English 2,000 Guineas, O'Brien replied: “We'll get through the winter and we'll see after that.”

Zaminast proved an able deputy for her illustrious stablemate Famous Name by winning the Trigo Stakes.

With last year's winner a late absentee due to lameness, Dermot Weld's stable jockey Pat Smullen switched to the lightly-raced filly for the Listed contest.

The 7/4 favourite headed the pace-setting Amazing Beauty on the outside and went on to score by two and three-quarter lengths.

That was the middle leg of a near 222/1 treble for Smullen, who cut Murtagh's lead to two in the race to be champion jockey.

Smullen also struck on Coolnagree and Midnight Music.

Silvestre de Sousa puts his quest for the British jockeys title on hold when he rides Fox Hunt for trainer Mark Johnston in the Melbourne Cup in the early hours of tomorrow.

Belfast Telegraph

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