Golden Silver sparked the first leg of a Willie Mullins five timer when defeating reigning Champion Chaser Big Zeb in the Gr 2 Tied Cottage Chase. Big Zeb took the lead three from home and looked to have the race sewn up but after recovering from a few early mistakes. Golden Silver absolutely pinged the last which drew him almost level with Big Zeb and he ran on to victory by ½ length. Big Zeb’s Trainer Colm Murphy was not despondent in defeat; he stated that Big Zeb may have been in front too soon and that the plan remains the same in going straight for the Champion Chase. Golden Silver who no doubt benefited from a fine waiting ride by Paul Townend could go for either the Ryanair or the Champion Chase and after that display connections are leaning toward the Champion Chase. Big Zeb was pushed out from 11-4 to 7-2 to keep his crown come march, whereas Golden Silver was halved in price by William Hill 7’s from 14’s.
Willie Mullins and Paul Townend again took centre stage in the Gr2 Moscow Flyer Novices Hurdle when Gagewell Flyer just crossed the line in front from his running on stable mate Earlson Gray. The winner will go to Cheltenham in the hope of emulating another Mullins inmate Mikael D’Haugenet who took this race in 2009 en route to winning the Neptune at the Festival. Gagewell Flyer is generally available at 14/1 for the Neptune. It was revealed afterwards, that team Mullins had dropped him back to two miles for the race so he could gain valuable experience of racing and jumping at a faster pace which bodes well for March.