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Sizing Europe and Big Zeb Set for Tuesday Clash


The Champion Chase is the key fixture on the opening day of the 2011 Punchestown Festival and two of the biggest names contesting fences over 2m are confirmed to do battle. A relatively light field of six are set to contest this one with a rematch of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham being the key plot-line in the build-up. A credible supporting cast will be looking to capitalize on any mistakes from the top two.

Both Sizing Europe and Big Zeb, who finished 1-2 in the Queen Mother, are trading in the neighborhood of 2/1 for this one with virtually all major bookmakers. Punters can expect heavy volume on the day and it will be very interesting to see if the betting separates them in any direction. Several bookies have given a slim edge to Sizing Europe- expecting him to build on his smashing 10/1 victory, which came against some of the best names in shorter distance chase action.

Both contenders are set for their fifth outing of the year with Big Zeb not finishing outside the top two finishers in any of his 2010/11 contests. He opened his account with back to back victories before a pair of beaten finishes. Even his second places were relatively credible but you wonder how the presence of Golden Silver might affect him here. The Willy Mullins-trained gelding got the better of him at Naas in his prep before the Queen Mother and, though Golden Silver finished a tame fourth on the day, he could be set to improve back on home soil.

Golden Silver trades at 5/1 alongside fan-favourite Captain Cee Bee, who will retain Tony McCoy for the trip.

Changing Course was widely-expected to be withdrawn for this one but he remains in the mix with punters not exactly warming up to him – clearly indicated by his 200/1 odds. The Henry De Bromhead-trained contender is 1/29 lifetime.

J'Y Vole was also declared for the race and his connections will really be looking for a bigger performance in this next contest, punters remain lukewarm and he trades around 14/1.  

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