Zeb set for another crack at Europe

Big Zeb is likely to have another crack at Sizing Europe in the Boylesports.com Champion Chase at next month’s Punchestown Festival.

Colm Murphy’s 11-year-old found things happening too quickly for him in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, which he had won in 2010, and trailed in over 16 lengths behind Finian’s Rainbow and Sizing Europe.

Talk of retirement appears premature, however, and Murphy feels he can still be competitive in top races in Ireland.

“I’d imagine we’ll go to Punchestown,” said Murphy.

“He seems in great order and I couldn’t have been happier with him.

“Unfortunately he’s 11 now. We’ll keep tipping away and when he tells us he’s had enough we’ll retire him then.

“I can safely say he wont go to Cheltenham again – we’ll keep him to races here.

“Until he tells us otherwise, we’ll keep tipping away,” the Co Wexford handler told At The Races.

Murphy says Voler La Vedette, who ran such a game race in defeat behind Big Buck’s in the World Hurdle last week, is also likely to be next seen at the Punchestown Festival.

“I was absolutely delighted with the way she ran at Cheltenham.

“She’ll get an entry in Punchestown and if she’s all right I’d imagine she’ll go there.”

Meanwhile, Unaccompanied is likely to have her next start in the Alleged Stakes at the Curragh next month.

Trainer Dermot Weld decided to skip a clash with Quevega in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle last week and will instead prepare the five-year-old for the Listed race she won last year, beating subsequent Breeders’ Cup winner St Nicholas Abbey in the process.

“She’s in great form and I’d imagine she will run in the Alleged Stakes at the Curragh,” said Weld.

“It’s a shame there isn’t a Grade One hurdle for mares coming up as it would be perfect for her.”

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox