How many times did Sizing Europe run at the Cheltenham Festival?

The short answer is seven. Owned by the late Alan and Ann Potts, Sizing Europe made his Cheltenham Festival debut in 2008 when, following a comfortable 4-length win in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle the previous November, he was sent off 2/1 favourite for the Champion Hurdle. However, the Pistolet Bleu gelding weakened quickly before the final flight and was virtually pulled up on the run-in, trailing in 101 lengths behind the winner, Katchit; he was later found to have strained the joint between his hind leg and spine, known as the sacroiliac joint.

In 2009, Sizing Europe was denied a chance of redemption by injury. By the time of his next Festival appearance, in 2010, he had made a successful transition to fences, winning his first four starts over the larger obstacles. Sent off 6/1 third favourite for the Arkle Challenge Trophy, the eight-year-old was going easily when left in the lead at the penultimate fence and was driven out to beat the closing Somersby by three-quarters of a length.

Four successive defeats followed but, back at the Cheltenham Festival, in 2011, Sizing Europe made no mistake in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Although only fourth choice in the betting, at 10/1, in a field that included Master Minded and Big Zeb, he led over the final fence and stayed on strongly to win by 5 lengths. Sadly, that was to be his last victory at the Cheltenham Festival.

Sizing Europe was sent off odds-on, at 4/5, to defend his title in 2012, but was beaten 1ΒΌ lengths by Finian’s Rainbow in a driving finish. In 2013, as an 11-year-old, he had no answer to Sprinter Sacre, who cantered clear to win by 19 lengths, and he was beaten again in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2014 and 2015.

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