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Zeb ready for Cottage clash

Colm Murphy is sticking with the tried and tested route for Big Zeb as he plots to regain his Queen Mother Champion Chase title in March with a prep race in the Boylesports.com Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown.

Big Zeb has won seven of his last nine races, with his two defeats in that time coming in this race 12 months ago to the ill-fated Golden Silver and at Cheltenham, behind Sizing Europe.

He meets Henry de Bromhead's champion chaser once again, but spirits in the camp are high after he gained his revenge on Sizing Europe at Punchestown in May, and he has looked better than ever in his two races so far this season.

"He runs well at Punchestown, he's very consistent and he's a better horse in the spring, at least it seems that way over the years," said Murphy.

"We're very happy with him and everything has gone well with him, so it's fingers crossed now. Ideally you would like better ground, but that will be the case for us all, and a few more runners in the race wouldn't go amiss.

"Robbie (Power) will get the leg up again as Barry (Geraghty) is needed at Musselburgh, but he knows him really well now.

"On paper it's between us two again, it could be the next day as well, and it's our last run before Cheltenham. It's the route we've gone the last couple of years and it suits us well," he told At The Races.

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