Super Sizing proves champion again
Sizing Europe rolled back the years as the veteran won the Boylesports.com Champion Chase for a second time at Punchestown.
The 12-year-old was always travelling well and looked to have lost none of his enthusiasm or talent as he repeated his 2012 success in this race, registering an eighth win at the highest level for his trainer Henry de Bromhead.
Leading before the second-last fence under Andrew Lynch, Sizing Europe (7-1) kept on strongly to deny the David Pipe-trained Ballynagour by five and a half lengths, with Savello third.
There was drama down the back straight where the favourite Hidden Cyclone fell and hampered Module who was immediately pulled up.
Owner Alan Potts told At The Races: "Fantastic. I could see him winning because there was nothing in that race that had beaten us. Somersby beat us once. We beat him the rest of the times.
"Somersby obviously didn't run the race he could, but Europe was back to his brilliant best."
When asked if Sizing Europe would now be retired after what was an emotional triumph, Potts answered: "Yes."
De Bromhead said: "He is just unbelievable, he was running away with Andrew. He was just loving it. I'm speechless.
"He's just won a Grade One and I don't know what we will do, it (retirement) is up to Alan."
Pipe said of Ballynagour: "He ran an absolute blinder. It was a bit of an experiment dropping back to two miles but the ground helped him.
"He's never put two runs together in the past, let alone three, so it gives us lots of options for next year."
Sizing Europe was winning for the 21st time from 42 career starts, his first success under Rules coming in a bumper at Naas in 2006.
Also top class over the smaller obstacles, he landed the Irish Champion Hurdle in 2008 by eight lengths from Hardy Eustace.
As a novice chaser Sizing Europe claimed the Arkle at Cheltenham in 2010, beating Somersby, and returned the following year to lift the Queen Mother Champion Chase crown.