The third addition to the portfolio today is Big Zeb who has been nominated by trainer Colm Murphy for the Queen Mother Champion Chase. As outlined in this post below the aim here is to oppose Master Minded who can’t be backed at a best priced 1/2, 8 weeks before the race, despite his obvious chance.
Biz Zeb has now won the 2 Grade 1 races out of 2 he has completed and both of these were at 2 miles, the distance of the Queen Mother. In his latest victory at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting he beat a good class field including Watson Lake, Thyne Again, Natal and Schindlers Hunt. The last named has boosted the form by winning since. I like the way this horse travels and jumps. Take a look at the video of his last race and you have to be impressed with his ease of movement and fast, efficient jumping. Yes, he gets a bit tired at the end but as this was his first run since April we can forgive him that.
As a hurdler he was only ever beaten by the classy Sizing Europe and Catch Me and he has slowly developed into a top class chaser. Having completed only five times over fences he also has plenty of room for improvement. Colm Murphy is no stranger to big race success at the Festival, having trained Brave Inca to win both the Supreme Novices (2004) and the Champion Hurdle (2006). Whilst he is some way behind Master Minded in the ratings it all comes down to the race on the day and he has to have a great chance of getting a place at least in a race that lacks strength in depth. At this stage represents a value alternative to the favourite.
Master Minded runs today at Ascot and the expectation is that he will win well. If he does the price of Biz Zeb will not change. However, if he disappoints then Bib Zeb will be shortened. Should he win his planned two races before the Festival then he’ll be starting at single figure odds on the day. Take the 14/1 generally available.