Horses To Follow » Big Zeb

Big Zeb

Colm Murphy said that Big Zeb would come on for his seasonal debut in the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown last Saturday, which makes him a hugely exciting prospect for the season ahead. I always had a feeling last season that the son of Oscar was not quite fulfilling his potential over fences, even though he was never out of the first two in four completed chases. Victory in the Swordlestown Cup at Punchestown went some way towards righting that wrong. Now he has won another Grade 1 chase, and the manner in which he did was hugely impressive. He travelled and jumped with a great deal of zest throughout, looking the most likely winner from the third last. He did tie up a little on the run-in, which was perfectly understandable, given that he hadn’t run since last April, but he still clocked a really good time, just 0.19secs/furlong slower than standard. He is just turning eight now and has raced just seven times over fences, and there is probably better to come. I had him down as a two-and-a-half-miler, as a Ryanair Chase horse, for this season, but such was the ease with which he was able to lie up at two-mile pace on Saturday in a Grade 1 contest, you now have to give him serious consideration for the Champion Chase. Colm Murphy appears to be leaning that way as well and, in a race that may lack strength in-depth now, and with the obvious exception of Master Minded, 20/1 about Big Zeb is far too big.

27th December, 2008