©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan Sizing Europe: can he make it two wins from two over fences at Clonmel this afternoon?
Runners and Riders

Mark your Card: your best bets for today’s Grade racing

Can anybody beat Sizing Europe? Declan Smyth looks at the contenders for this afternoon’s Clonmel Oil Chase.

Clonmel Oil Chase (Grade 2)

ONLY FOUR RUNNERS are willing to take on Sizing Europe for the €29,250 first prize in this afternoon’s Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase over 2m4f (2.25pm).

The Clonmel track is a stiff 1m2f with a climb from the end of the straight to the back straight and then a gentle decline before the uphill finish. With the advanced going described as soft, two circuits are sure to sort out the fitness of today’s runners.

Edward O’Grady’s Tranquil Sea has won the last two renewals of this race; however, he hasn’t met anything of the calibre of Sizing Europe in his two victories.

Magnanimity was a big disappointment last season following his great run in the RSA Chase at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival. Trainer Dessie Hughes recently stated that he was never happy with him last year and believes that he could be coming back to his best following his seasonal reappearance at Punchestown a month ago. The eight-year-old was five lengths in second to Roi Du Mee, who has again won since.

That Punchestown race was over 2m7f and it’s worth noting that three out of four of Magnanimity’s wins have come at 2m 4f (twice) and 2m 5f. It could well be that he is more effective over this trip despite a reasonable showing in last year’s Irish Grand National, where he ran a good race to the beginning of the straight before fading and pulling up before the last.

Magnanimity’s owners, Gigginstown House Stud, are also represented by the Mouse Morris-trained Rathlin. This one ran up a hattrick of victories last season before finishing runner-up to Flemenstar at Easter in Fairyhouse. He reappeared at Limerick in the middle of October and was beaten by a total of 53l in a Grade 3 chase on heavy ground before finishing third to the high class Hidden Cyclone at Naas, beaten just over 12 lengths.

Morris stated before the Naas run that he needed two or three races before he got fit and it may be significant that the Gigginstown jockey Davy Russell has chosen Magnanimity today — though he has got it wrong before.

On official ratings, Sizing Europe should have too much for his rivals. On his reappearance at Gowran he was hugely impressive; going down the back straight, he appeared to be going in a lower gear than his rivals and ran out an easy winner.

He has never run in a race around Clonmel before but has schooled there and his trainer is confident. Hotpots do get turned over as we saw with Voler la Vedette at Navan last weekend, but if he turns up on his best day, SIZING EUROPE should see off this field with Magnanimity best of the rest.

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