16.20 Punchestown: Sizing looks pure Gold
The unexposed Sizing Gold looks to have everything in his favour to make his first venture into handicap company a winning one.
The Henry de Bromhead gelding was a very smart hurdler, beating the classy Morning Assembly in a maiden hurdle at Leoparstown before finishing runner-up to Pont Alexandre in a Grade 2 contest at the same venue.
The seven-year-old has had just three starts over fences, and won in good style on the first of those when bearing Mullaghnoe River by a cosy four lengths at Navan.
The son of Flemensfirth looked in need of the run, but jumped superbly and only had to be skane up on the run-in to assert and score with more in hand than the winning margin suggests.
Sizing Gold has nothing to fear in this from the runner-up, who he meets on identical terms, or the third home Operating who finsihed a further 26 lengths behind and is now just 9lb better off.
The selection then lost little in defeat when chasing home Foxrock in a Grade 2 contest at Naas on very testing ground, and was far from disgraced when finishing sixth of 12 to Taquin Du Seuil in a Grade 1 at the Cheltenham Festival last time out.
This race represents a drop in class, and with condtions ideal Sizing Gold could well have got in lightly off an opening mark of 137.
Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson has already struck at the meeting, and his Ericht could well prove the biggest danger to Sizing Gold if bouncing back from a poor run at the Cheltenham Festival.
The eight-year-old is a smart sort at his best who had previously performed with great credit on two occasions on the big stage at Prestbury Park, finishing sixth in the 2011 Champion Bumper won by Cheltenian and a 5 1/2 length fifth to Medinas in the 2m5f Coral Cup over hurdles last season.
The gelding came good at the third time of asking over fences when registering an impressive nine length success at Musselburgh, and looks weighted to go close under red-hot jockey Barry Geraghty on a track which should play to his strengths.