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Last Updated: 13/11/11 3:57pm
Big Zeb: Won a third Fortria Chase
Colm Murphy's Big Zeb won the Fortria Chase at Navan for the third year in succession.
The ten year old had to dig deep on his seasonal reappearance but answered every question posed to him by Robbie Power as he ran out a game winner despite conceding upwards of 5lbs to his rivals.
There were three in a line approaching the last as Forpadydeplasterer and Noble Prince threw down strong challenges but Murphy's effervescent former Champion Chaser had too much speed for his rivals.
Power said: "I would have loved to have been going a couple of gears quicker. "He was jumping so well and I was taking him back after every fence - he has a great cruising speed.
"He idled when he got to the front.
"He is 10 years of age, but he still has plenty of ability."
Murphy, who was recording a double having scored earlier with Voler La Vedette, said: "I'm thrilled to bits.
"He was very good today. They were never going hard enough for him.
"It's a great way to start him back and it's a relief to get that out of the way.
"We will keep him ticking over now until Leopardstown at Christmas which is the plan.
"He is really well in himself and his jumping was very slick today.
"He will improve plenty for it."
Paul Nolan, trainer of the runner-up, Noble Prince, said: "He ran well. He was beaten by a better horse, a legend.
"We don't pick up the same on that ground as we do on better ground."
Stan James and Betfred have trimmed Big Zeb 11/2 for the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Boylesports making the ten-year-old a 6-1 chance for the same contest.
"Big Zeb looked as good as ever when winning his third consecutive Fortria Chase at Navan and although he'll be eleven come the Festival next March, he's certain to go there with a live chance," said Betfred spokesman George Primarolo.
Stan James and Boylesports both make runner-up Noble Prince a 7-1 chance for the Ryanair Chase with the latter firm pushing him out a point from 6s.