Big Zeb taken to put Silver in his place at Punchestown
BIG ZEB is afforded marginal preference to Golden Silver in a fascinating feature chase at Punchestown today.
Colm Murphy's Oscar-bred is certainly an unreliable jumper at the top level, but pressure on said deficiency is likely to be negligible enough this afternoon. Only four rivals take him on, two of them hardly credible, while Mansony is obviously not the force of old. Golden Silver has been installed as marginal favourite and he looks virtually certain to be in the first two.
Willie Mullins' grey relishes bad ground but in edging out Tranquil Sea over a trip short of the latter's optimum at Christmas, he still may not have done enough to overcome Big Zeb if Barry Geraghty's mount runs his race.
Saludos would be an appropriate winner of the Festival Party Pack Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle for Jessica Harrington. The progressive Bob Back gelding is eight pounds better off for a neck reverse against Hollo Ladies at Leopardstown and should consequently edge that battle.
Luska Lad has smart bumper form but Shane Rock may be most interesting of the remainder, even if the Cork maiden he landed was quite ordinary.
They commence with the cross-country race, which is minus L'Ami. Headsontheground is probably Enda Bolger's best chance but former Grand National hero Silver Birch is a hopeful pick for Gordon Elliott.
The two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase offers Seabass another chance of an as-yet elusive Rules success. He had the race won when tipping over at the last during the week at Navan, but at least he gets to perform off the same rating today. However, the form of Tiernan's Terror's latest outing would give the son of Overbury big claims.
In the staying handicap chase, Parsons Pistol is merely a tentative pick. Noel Meade's top weight relishes the demands of heavy conditions and has no stamina questions against him. A New Story can run into a place, though he has lost his last 47 races.
Grange Alainn is as tough as teak. Liam Burke's bay is an in-running play potentially on the exchanges if he is under pressure half a mile out in the handicap hurdle. Perfect Smile makes plenty of appeal in the maiden hurdle, after which many of the crowd will have left and missed a lottery of a bumper. Tom Taaffe's Silent Picture is a token pick.
In Limerick, punters need look no further than the opener for the day's lock, the locally-handled Sounds Of Jupiter which is hard to oppose on form. For The Staff is also going to be a short price in the novices' hurdle, but Willie Mullins' charge would make more appeal over further. The likeable Ballyvoile is very interesting under Ken Whelan, who rode him to success last time.
Philip Rothwell was in the news during the week after the lifeless Thurles run of Vinnie's Friend was referred to the Turf Club. He could double up today with Smack That and the admittedly frustrating Got The Urge.
Punchestown: 12.55 Silver Birch 1.30 Big Zeb 2.0 Tiernan's Terror 2.30 Parsons Pistol 3.0 Saludos 3.30 Grange Alainn 4.0 Perfect Smile 4.30 Silent Picture.
Limerick: 1.40 Sounds Of Jupiter (Nap) 2.10 Ballyvoile 2.40 The King's Sword 3.10 Gleannacreim 3.40 Some Target 4.10 Smack That 4.40 Got The Urge.