Zeb can make a big splash for Murphy
The Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown tomorrow won't be as straightforward as the bookies would have you believe. Golden Silver, fresh from a Grade One success at Leopardstown, is odds-on across the board, with Boylesports shortest at 4/6.
While Willie Mullins' eight-year-old may deserve to be favourite, the market has a distorted look to it when you consider the quality of some of his opposition. In particular, Big Zeb and Mansony are two that that warrant consideration.
Mansony, which won this race a year ago, showed signs of returning to form when he chased home Scotsirish and Snowy Morning last time, yet the layers are dismissive of his chance at 16/1. Arthur Moore wouldn't persist with his dual Grade One winner if he didn't think he had a race in him, and tomorrow's two-miler may be as good an opportunity as he is likely to get.
That said, Mansony would need Golden Silver and Big Zeb to underperform if he is to collect, so preferred for the win market is Big Zeb. The drying ground is more likely to hinder Golden Silver than Colm Murphy's charge, and Boylesports' 11/8 is appealing.
If you discount Big Zeb's flop in the Tingle Creek in December, he is the one that should be odds-on. Amazingly, that was the first time since March 2007 that Big Zeb didn't finish in the first two when he stayed on his feet, and a line can be drawn through the poor showing now that he has had time to recover.
Last season, the Oscar gelding won the Grade One Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown on his debut. Next time, he was cantering in tomorrow's race before falling two out and he tripped up again when travelling well in the Champion Chase.
He subsequently won over hurdles, would have beaten Master Minded here in April, but for a howler at the last, and hosed up in his seasonal debut in November. All told, if Big Zeb jumps tomorrow, Golden Silver might have a job to get near him.
Paddy Power and Stan James have priced up the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle, going 10/11 and evens, respectively, Saludos.
Hollo Ladies, which beat the favourite at Christmas, is 3/1. The reason for that is that Saludos is now nine pounds better off for a neck defeat, but Hollo Ladies' scope for improvement has been underestimated. Having just turned five, Noel Meade's horse is a year younger than Saludos, and looks to be getting the hang of winning.