/ Racing

Murphy expects strong run from Big Zeb

Updated: Monday, 26 Dec 2011 12:17

Big Zeb - 11-year-old has not shown any signs of being affected by age this term
Big Zeb - 11-year-old has not shown any signs of being affected by age this term

Colm Murphy believes everything is right for Big Zeb as he goes in search of his third victory in the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown.

The multiple Grade One winner will officially turn 11 years old at the end of this week, but there are no signs his powers are on the wane.

He comfortably beat the reopposing Noble Prince and Forpadydeplasterer in the Fortria Chase at Navan last month and Murphy reports everything to have gone well with his star chaser since.

"We were very pleased with him the last day and he seems to have been in good form since," said Murphy.

"Everything has gone well and it's all systems go for tomorrow. It should be perfect ground, so fingers crossed he can do it again."

Paul Nolan's Noble Prince was beaten by two lengths by Big Zeb at Navan and the trainer admits his charge has plenty on his plate to turn the tables.

"We're very pleased with our horse. He has a bit to find with Big Zeb and obviously he's going to be very hard to beat," said Nolan.

"It's a competitive race. Big Zeb has won it twice and Golden Silver is a previous winner of the race.

"We know the ground is not ideal for us but there aren't that many options and that is why we're staying over two miles for the time being. Hopefully, our lad will give a good account of himself."

Forpadydeplasterer's third place in the Fortria Chase was a big step forward for the nine-year-old, having been beaten at long odds-on when making his seasonal reappearance at Punchestown.

He missed the end of last season with a problem suffered in the King George VI Chase, but trainer Tom Cooper believes his charge is back on song.

"It was a hell of a run from him the last day. He was only beaten just over a couple of lengths by Big Zeb and I think he's improved again," said Cooper.

"The ground should be nice for him and while it's a tough race, I don't think he's out of place."

As well as Golden Silver, champion trainer Willie Mullins saddles Scotsirish.

The six-runner field is completed by Saludos from the Jessica Harrington stable.