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Zeb set to resume Europe rivalry

Colm Murphy is hoping rather than expecting Big Zeb can close the gap on Sizing Europe when the pair clash again at Punchestown on April 24.

The duo are both expected to run in the boylesports.com Champion Chase, a race they dominated last year as Big Zeb edged out his rival by three-quarters of a length.

They have resumed competition this term, but Big Zeb was beaten 15 lengths in the Tied Cottage Chase in February while he was the same distance away again as both had to settle for minor honours behind Finian's Rainbow in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

Now an 11-year-old, Murphy admits Big Zeb's best days could be behind him, but he is hoping the Punchestown circuit could help him to find a little extra.

He said: "Big Zeb will run in the Champion Chase - he has come out of his last race at Cheltenham in really good order.

"We were a bit disappointed with his run at Cheltenham, but saying that, he has probably run his race.

"I would hope we could get a bit closer to Sizing Europe at Punchestown, but like I say, I will only be hoping.

"I'm not sure if he is suited better to Punchestown rather than Cheltenham because he has run so well at both tracks, but every year he is that bit older going back."

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