Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Big Zeb Does the Business

Big Zeb showed he is still a major force at two miles when landing the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown for a third time. Colm Murphy’s 10-year-old held off Noble Prince to add this season’s win to those in the 2008 and 2010 renewals.

The 8-11 favourite powered past Noble Prince on the run to the line to score by a length and a quarter in the hands of Robbie Power. ForPadydeplasterer, who finished third, made the running from Noble Prince, with Golden Silver and Big Zeb together in third and Scotsirish last of the quintet early on.

Tony McCoy made his move on Noble Prince about three fences from home but it was covered by Power on Big Zeb. The pair jumped the last together, while Forpadydeplasterer made a mistake which put paid to any chance he might have had.

Noble Prince battled hard, but the 2010 Queen Mother Champion Chase victor held all of the aces. Murphy said: “It was always going to develop into a bit of a sprint from the second-last and, luckily enough, he met the last two spot-on.

“I’m delighted with the manner that he did it in, even at this stage of his career. He still has enough pace and he seems to have plenty of his old sparkle.I would imagine he could go for the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown and we’ll see how we go from there.

“He deserves another crack at the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He looks better this season. His coat is better and he seems a better horse.”

Noble Prince’s trainer Paul Nolan said: “We were beaten by a better horse on the day but I was happy that he galloped to the line better than he did at Navan. The Ryanair Chase is definitely his race at Cheltenham. He probably won’t have a run before then.

“The Tied Cottage Chase is the only race between now and then and it is a week later this year.”

The Willie Mullins-trained Golden Silver, three times a Grade One scorer, including this race in 2009, suffered a fatal fall.

Cross Appeal (7-1) just held on to claim the Paddy Power Chase for trainer Noel Meade and jockey Paul Carberry. Leading some way out, Cross Appeal was weary on the run-in but still had three-quarters of a length to spare over Treacle at the line.

Meade said: “We’ll probably give him six weeks of rest and the Irish National is something we will have to think about.”

Cash And Go (11-2) just denied Dylan Ross in a surprising outcome to the Future Champions Novice Hurdle. Odds-on favourite Sous Les Cieux set out to make all of the running, but had nothing more to give when challenged approaching the final flight and was only third.

Andrew Lynch, replacing Paul Townend who took a bad fall from Golden Silver in the previous race, brought Cash And Go with a well-timed run to land this Grade One prize by half a length.

“It’s not a big surprise as we were very hopeful beforehand,” said trainer Edward O’Grady. “The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle looks like his race at Cheltenham. They generally get the easier ground on the first day of the Festival and that should be OK.

“He’s only a four-year-old so he needs to be looked after a bit.”

O’Grady also saddled The Way We Were (9-2) to take the Android App Maiden Hurdle under Tony McCoy for owner JP McManus.