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Zeb team set sights on Champion

Big Zeb's owner Pat Redmond is placing a second victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase as a greater priority than Sunday's Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown.

Colm Murphy's Cheltenham hero of 2010 faces not far short of a match race with Sizing Europe as only three runners have been declared in the two-mile Grade Two.

Sizing Europe beat Big Zeb by five lengths in last year's Cheltenham renewal before the older horse managed a comeback in the Punchestown Champion Chase.

Big Zeb, who is now 11, has carried on where he left off this winter by beating Noble Prince in both the Fortria Chase at Navan and the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting.

He does, however, have a chequered relationship with the Tied Cottage as a win in 2010 was sandwiched between a fall in 2009 and a defeat to Golden Silver 12 months ago - when Sizing Europe was even further away in third.

Redmond, who is involved in property and construction and lives close to Murphy's yard in Gorey, County Wexford, is also concerned about potentially heavy ground.

"He's done nothing wrong this season - he has been out twice and won twice, but he'll have strong competition at Punchestown," Redmond said.

"The ground won't be helpful, as he prefers better ground, but I know Colm is very happy with him.

"This is preparation for Cheltenham, so as long as he gets a clear round, we'll be happy."


From Belfast Telegraph