Timeform Irish Daily: Champion Chase, Tuesday, Punchestown 17:30

Big Zeb and Sizing Europe renew rivalry at Punchestown

Timeform take a look at the runners for the two-mile Grade 1 Champion Chase on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival...

"Sizing Europe has got the better of Big Zeb on both occasions that they have met this season..."

Big Zeb is a top-class chaser who won the Queen Mother at Cheltenham in 2009/10. Beat Sizing Europe in this race last year but has finished behind that rival on his last 2 starts. Similar scenario envisaged here.

Captain Cee Bee is a high-class chaser who finished 2010/11 with a good third to Big Zeb in this corresponding race. Narrowly won Grade 3 hurdle in July but not seen since the Galway Hurdle later that month.

China Rock is a very smart chaser who has shaped better than result would suggest on his last 2 starts, tying up quite badly in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham last time. Looks vulnerable back at the minimum trip.

Gauvain has won twice this term, including the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon in December, but finished a long way behind both Sizing Europe and Big Zeb last time. Hard to see him reversing that form.

Realt Dubh had an excellent novice chase campaign last term, 3-time winner of Grade 1s and placed in as many contests at that level. Well held on belated return at Cheltenham and has plenty on his plate again.

Sizing Europe has been as good as ever this season, easily landing Tingle Creek before beating Big Zeb in Tied Cottage here. Lost nothing in defeat at Cheltenham last time (arguably unlucky) and should be hard to beat.

Timeform 1-2-3:
1. Sizing Europe
2. Big Zeb
3. Gauvain

Timeform View: Sizing Europe has got the better of Big Zeb on both occasions that they have met this season and is expected to do so again here. Gauvain is chosen to follow that pair home.

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