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National Hunt Eyecatchers For February

With trainers possibly handing their stable stars their last prep run before the Cheltenham Festival, February is sure to throw up some potential eyecatchers, who are likely to go on to be lively contenders at the four-day Festival come March.

Sizing Europe (Tied Cottage Chase)

Sizing Europe showed why he is the leading two-mile chaser in the UK & Ireland with a simply spectacular performance in the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown, where he trounced Big Zeb by 18 lengths in the Grade Two contest.

Sent to the front early by Andrew Lynch, Henry De Bromhead's stable star jumped impeccably and gradually pulled clear of Colm Murphy's Big Zeb to win emphatically and in the meantime enhance his already lofty reputation and he is certain to be sent off a short-priced favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase come March 14.

Sprinter Sacre (Game Spirit Chase)

Sprinter Sacre showed why he is now a short-priced favourite for the Arkle Challenge Trophy as the Nicky Henderson-trained speedster produced a scintillating performance to win the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury in style.

He jumped magnificently throughout the contest and never looked in danger as he pulled clear of stablemate French Opera to win with his head in his chase and he will now head to the Cheltenham Festival as the one to beat in the 2m contest.

Zarkandar (Betfair Hurdle)

Sent off a short-priced favourite for the ultra-competitive Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, Zarkandar produced a magnificent display on his racecourse reappearance.

Having been blocked as he was just going to make his challenge to win the race, the 2011 Triumph Hurdle winner quickened well for Ruby Walsh and is sure to come on for the run and is a major contender to Hurricane Fly's crown in the Champion Hurdle on March 13.

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