Sizing Europe put himself right into Arkle contention after he maintained his unbeaten record over fences with a power packed display of jumping when landing the Buck House Novice Chase at Punchestown on Thursday.
Sent off the 8/11 favourite for the race, Henry de Bromhead’s former Champion Hurdle contender could not have been more impressive under the hands of Andrew Lynch.
Back in second was fans favourite Harchibald who also put in a good display of jumping on his first start over obstacles. But he was not match for the winner and the winning jockey said: "That was unreal, he's a proper horse. Good horses jump for fun, that's what they do.
"He'll probably get three miles and he could be a Gold Cup horse next year."
De Bromhead was understandably delighted and said: "That's great. It's really exciting and great to have him back. Hopefully he'll progress from that and I'm just delighted.
"Andrew gave him a lovely ride. He was very sensible and there was no rush. I was a bit worried when we lost Sarteano as he was out in front a long time.
"It didn't seem to bother him though. He just loves jumping and was pricking his ears for the next one.
"Alan and Ann (Potts, owners) would love to go to Cheltenham in November and there is a Grade Two there on the Sunday, so I think that would be our next port of call.
"There is a Grade Two here on the same day but I think the owners have a few runners earmarked for Cheltenham.
"Hopefully then we will look at Christmas but I would be prefer to take every day as it comes.
"He has won over two and a half miles and two and a quarter today.
"He's an Irish Champion Hurdle winner and we'll stick to that kind of trip (two miles) at the moment.
"Hopefully we got all his troubles out of the way last season."
Noel Meade was over the moon with the performance of Harchibald, adding: "I'm delighted. The main thing was that he came back safe and sound.
"We wanted to see if he would take to them (fences) and he took to them well.
"Even two and a quarter miles is stretching him a little bit but fair play to the winner he's very good.
"We'll see how he comes out of this. He always takes a run to get him right. I was tempted to run on the Flat but thought it was better to get some experience."
Stan James cut Sizing Europe from 16s to 10/1 for the Arkle and head of PR Charlie McCann: " That surely was the performance of one who ought to be Arkle favourite, but we favour Mikael D'Haguenet despite him being on the easy list and likely to need further when he returns and Crack Away Jack at this stage. Perhaps our traders aren't willing to forgive his run in the 2008 Champion Hurdle when he disappointed although it should be pointed out that he was an impressive winner of the 2007 Greatwood on his only previous visit to Cheltenham."
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The Arkle 2010 - Stan James ~ Outright Ante Post, (place terms: 1/4 the first 3)
5 Mikael D'Haguenet
9 Crack Away Jack
10 Sizing Europe (from 16s)
16 Copper Bleu