Big Zeb powers its way to Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown
BIG Zeb won the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown for a third time when getting the better of Noble Prince.
Colm Murphy's top-class two-miler took this prize in 2008 and 2010 and obliged again with Robbie Power in the saddle.
The 8-11 shot powered past Noble Prince on the run to the line to score by a length and a quarter, with Forpadydeplasterer third.
Forpadydeplasterer made the running from Noble Prince, with Golden Silver and Big Zeb together in third and Scotsirish last of the quintet early on.
Tony McCoy made his move on Noble Prince about three fences from home but it was covered by Power on Big Zeb.
The pair jumped the last together, while Forpadydeplasterer made a mistake which put paid to any chance he might have had.
Noble Prince battled hard, but Big Zeb held all of the aces.
There was a nasty incident at a fence down the back straight when Golden Silver, the winner in 2009 and runner-up 12 months ago, took a very heavy fall.
Murphy said: "It was always going to develop into a bit of a sprint from the second-last and, luckily enough, he met the last two spot-on.
"I'm delighted with the manner that he did it in, even at this stage of his career.
"He still has enough pace and he seems to have plenty of his old sparkle.
"I would imagine he would go for the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown and we'll see how we go from there.
"He deserves another crack at the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
"He looks better this season. His coat is better and he seems a better horse."
Paul Nolan said of the runner-up: "We were beaten by a better horse on the day but I was happy that he galloped to the line better than he did at Navan.
"The Ryanair Chase is definitely his race at Cheltenham.
"He probably won't have a run before then. The Tied Cottage Chase is the only race between now and then and it is a week later this year."
The Willie Mullins-trained Golden Silver, three times a Grade One scorer, suffered a fatal fall.
Cash And Go (11-2) just denied Dylan Ross in a surprising outcome to the paddypower.com Future Champions Novice Hurdle.
Odds-on favourite Sous Les Cieux set out to make all but had nothing more to give when challenged approaching the final flight and was only third.
Andrew Lynch, replacing Paul Townend, who took a bad fall from Golden Silver in the previous race, brought Cash And Go with a well-timed run.
Paul Carberry was the last to deliver his bid with Dylan Ross, but the Edward O'Grady-trained Cash And Go proved too tough a nut to crack and landed this Grade One prize by half a length.