Sizing Europe came back to his very best with a simply special victory in the Boylesports.com Champion Chase in what proved to be his last race.
Henry de Bromhead’s hugely popular 12 year old had seemed on the downgrade this season – still a smart horse but not quite the force of old. However he kicked such thoughts firmly into touch with a brilliant and dominant display as he put the youngsters to the sword at Punchestown.
Sizing Europe, winner in 2012 and such a gutsy runner-up to Sprinter Sacre 12 months ago, was always prominent in a field of 8, following the withdrawal of his stable mate Days Hotel and Turban.
Twinlight jumped off in front with Hidden Cyclone and Sizing Europe in close order along with Baily Green who pulled his way through to lead fairly early on.
Baily Green continued to lead from Sizing Europe and Hidden Cyclone but at the fifth fence the latter took a horrible sprawling fall and all but brought down Module who was quickly pulled up. Thankfully Hidden Cyclone returned to the stables relatively unscathed.
Five fences from home Baily Green still led the depleted field with Sizing Europe travelling strongly and Andrew Lynch pushed the veteran on into the lead with four to jump.
A big jump at the third last underlined how much Sizing Europe had left and Baily Green quickly came under pressure, while in behind Savello was closing but under pressure to do so along with Ballynagour.
At the final fence Sizing Europe jumped brilliantly as he has on so many occasions and fantastically galloped away from the two Cheltenham Festival winners, with Ballynagour shading Savello for second if anyone noticed amid the uproar for the returning hero.
A tearfully proud Alan Potts announced afterwards that his great warrior has been retired after a glittering career which brought him Irish Champion Hurdle victory, an Arkle Chase, a Queen Mother Champion Chase and two Punchestown Champion Chases.