Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Big Punchestown win for Zeb

Big Zeb holds a slight lead at the last
Big Zeb holds a slight lead at the last

Big Zeb avenged his Cheltenham defeat at the hands of Sizing Europe as he came out best in an epic finish to the boylesports.com Champion Chase at Punchestown.

The latter finished five lengths to the good at Prestbury Park in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but Colm Murphy's runner turned around that form under Barry Geraghty.

Sizing Europe jumped to the front at the fourth, but the pair were neck and neck at the last and Big Zeb (9-4) found the most despite the jockey losing his whip, getting the verdict by three-quarters of a length after the favourite rallied gamely.

Winning trainer Murphy said: "That was fantastic. I'm delighted for him. Everything has gone right since Cheltenham and it was especially nice to win here. He's one in a million, he gives everything.

"I was happy all the way round and I thought Sizing Europe never looked as happy today as he did at Cheltenham."

Geraghty added: "I suppose the spring ground here is that bit fresher and it just helped my fella - he travelled better and jumped better.

"I was always able to sit comfortably behind Timmy (Murphy), but at Cheltenham I couldn't. We made a mistake four out and I thought that might knock him back, but he was soon on the bridle again.

"He's good and he's gutsy. He's willing to take a chance and Sizing Europe is the same - they don't back off looking for an easy time."

De Bromhead said: "All these horses, Big Zeb, Golden Silver, Sizing Europe, they are all top-class horses and beat each other now and again.

"Everything went right at Cheltenham and we have no excuses today, the better horse won on the day. Timmy gave him a great ride, he said the ground was just a bit dead. I think he just misses that Cheltenham hill a bit as it's tough for them to sprint away from him there."

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