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Last Updated: 27/12/11 2:24pm
Noble Prince leads Big Zeb (right) over the last but it's all about to change
Big Zeb won the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown for a third time on Tuesday.
Colm Murphy's star two miler may be rising 11 years of age but he hasn't got too many miles on the clock and has shown no signs of slowing down this season having comfortably accounted for Noble Prince at Navan on his reappearance.
Paul Nolan's runner again proved to be his nearest rival, finishing one and three quarter lengths adrift at the line with Forpadydeplasterer in third and Scotsirish a never dangerous fourth.
Those three jumped the last fence in a line only for Forpadydeplasterer to peck on landing, losing any chance that he still held.
Robbie Power had stalked Tommy Cooper's runner and Noble Prince for much of the contest and it wasn't until that final fence that Power delivered Big Zeb up the inside of the eventual second.
Big Zeb had to be ridden but had far too much pace for his old rival and eased past on the short run to the line to follow up last year's victory and make it three wins having also landed the spoils in 2008.
The race was, however, marred by a serious injury to Willie Mullins' admirable campaigner Golden Silver who suffered a fatal fall at the fifth.
Murphy said: "It was always going to develop into a bit of a sprint from the second-last and, luckily enough, he met the last two spot-on.
"I'm delighted with the manner that he did it in, even at this stage of his career.
"He still has enough pace and he seems to have plenty of his old sparkle.
"I would imagine he would go for the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown and we'll see how we go from there.
"He deserves another crack at the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
"He looks better this season. His coat is better and he seems a better horse."
Paul Nolan said of the runner-up: "We were beaten by a better horse on the day but I was happy that he galloped to the line better than he did at Navan.
"The Ryanair Chase is definitely his race at Cheltenham.
"He probably won't have a run before then. The Tied Cottage Chase is the only race between now and then and it is a week later this year."
Sky Bet cut the winner to 4-1 from 5s for Cheltenham's Champion Chase while Stan James go 5-1 from 6s for the same contest.