Past Winners » Big Zeb


This is an intriguing two-mile chase. Mansony is a weak favourite on the ground. The race times yesterday suggest that the ground was closer to yielding that the official description of soft, which won’t suit Arthur Moore’s horse at all. He did win this race last year on good to yielding ground, but it is a hotter race this year.

Natal is interesting, coming over from the Nicholls yard, and his Irish connections fancy their chances quite strongly. Thyne Again is also interesting, although he may be better later in the season over two and a half miles. The same comment applies to Big Zeb, but he just shades it for me at the prices. He beat Thyne Again in the Swordlestown Cup at Punchestown at the end of last season, and he has never been out of the first two in four completed starts over fences. He has always struck me as a horse of massive potential, who could go right to the top over fences, and who could make up into a live contender for the Ryanair Chase this season.

Trainer Colm Murphy is quoted this morning as saying that he will come on for this run, his seasonal debut, and Big Zeb’s odds have drifted as a result, which is good news. It is unlikely that Murphy, a really astute trainer, would leave him that much under-cooked for a Grade 1 race. The horse has had no hold-ups in his training, he was just a little later coming in than most, and this has been his early-season target. The trainer’s horses are flying at present and, remember, Murphy also said that Brave Inca would come on for his seasonal debut, when he gave Catch Me a huge scare in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle. It is a tricky race, and it is not one for maximum stakes, but 9/2 about Big Zeb is too big.


27th December, 2008