/ Racing

Europe to step up Festival preparations

Updated: Thursday, 05 Jan 2012 12:52

Sizing Europe - Impressed when winning the tingle Creek on 3 December
Sizing Europe - Impressed when winning the tingle Creek on 3 December

Champion Chase hero Sizing Europe remains on course for next month's Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown ahead of the defence of his Cheltenham crown.

Henry de Bromhead's pride and joy produced a brilliant performance to win the Tingle Creek at Sandown at the start of December and has since been given a mid-winter break.

But the 10-year-old's Festival preparations will soon be stepped up a notch, taking in a trip to Punchestown on 5 February along the way.

"He's in good form and we backed off him after Sandown to give him a nice break over Christmas," said the Knockeen handler.

"We're starting to build him back up again now and we're aiming towards the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown.

"All going well there, he'll be going back to Cheltenham for the Champion Chase."

De Bromhead has admitted in the past that he would love to have another crack at three miles with his charge on a decent surface, with the gelding having only wilted close home over that distance in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal earlier this season.

But for the moment at least, the trainer is not looking beyond the Champion Chase.

"We'll just have to see what happens. At the moment I'm focussing on Cheltenham and nothing else," De Bromhead added.