Sizing Europe can take the measure of Big Zeb

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The Independent Online

The test presented by the Queen Mother Champion Chase, two miles over fences, is arguably the most specialist of the week and, as such, tends to produce serial success. The field today includes one dual winner, Master Minded, and one going for the double, Big Zeb. Last year's winner is narrow favourite of the pair to retain his title and has the same lively conditions over the minimum trip that foiled his market rival.

The ground will also suit Big Zeb's Irish compatriot Sizing Europe (3.20). The nine-year-old has not won since beating Somersby in last year's Arkle Trophy, the rookies' version of the contest, but has been competing on underfoot conditions softer than ideal this season and looks primed for a rewarding return to his favourite stage.

The staying novices' championship, the RSA Chase, looks more straightforward; it sometimes pays to stick with the obvious, which is Time For Rupert (2.40), a high-class staying hurdler who has turned his hoof to the bigger obstacles with aplomb. Since beating all bar Big Buck's in last year's World Hurdle, he has won both his chases on today's course with efficient, classy displays of jumping and stamina.

So Young (2.05) comes to his assignment in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle unbeaten and unextended over obstacles and apparently has been even more impressive lately at home. In the juvenile handicap, given the amount of plotting that goes on to ensure a run off what is euphemistically known as a racing weight, Plan A would be an appropriate winner. But Paintball (4.40) can hit the mark.

Call The Police (4.00) may solve the mystery of the Coral Cup; in the amateurs' chase Chicago Grey (1.30) is suggested. The Irish won seven successive bumpers before the sequence was interrupted last year; normal service may be resumed today by Raise The Beat (5.15).

What's in a name

Habbie Simpson (Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle)

Town piper for the village of Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, during the 16th century.

Captain Cee Bee (Arkle Trophy)

Named after his trainer's grandfather, Captain Cyril B Harty, an international show jumper with the Irish Army team.

Orsippus (Coral Cup)

An ancient Greek runner, the first to run the foot race at the Olympic Games naked.

Lord Ragnar (Coral Cup)

First-century Viking hero, scourge of England and France. Put to death by being thrown into a pit of vipers.

Tips from the top: The Independent's writers predict the outcome of today's big race

Chris McGrath Racing Correspondent

1. Mad Max 33-1

2. Big Zeb 11-4

3. Master Minded 3-1

James Lawton Chief Sports Writer

1. Master Minded 3-1

2. Somersby 15-2

3. Captain Cee Bee 10-1

James Corrigan Sports Writer

1. Big Zeb 11-4

2. Sizing Europe 8-1

3. Master Minded 3-1

Sue Montgomery Racing Writer

1. Sizing Europe 8-1

2. Big Zeb 11-4

3. Golden Silver 12-1

Hyperion Tipster

1. Master Minded 3-1

2. Big Zeb 11-4

3. Sizing Europe 8-1