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Zarkandar

Age: 5

Trainer: Paul Nicholls

Notable Race Wins:-

Triumph Hurdle: 2011

Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle: 2011

Zarakandar has to be one of the classiest bred flat horses to make the transition to the national hunt game and he certainly oozed class on his debut season.

A half-brother to 2008 Prix De l'Arc De Triomphe winner Zarkava, the four-year-old ventured from France to Paul Nicholls' Ditcheat yard and made an immediate impression when bagging the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton Park on debut.

Next seen contesting a top class Triumph Hurdle, stable jockey Ruby Walsh had elected to ride Sam Winner in the race, but Daryl Jacob was an able deputy and he piloted Zarkandar to a two-and-a-quarter length success from Nicky Henderson's Grandouet.

A workmanlike performance at Aintree the following month, showed the son of Azamour, has excellent battling qualities and is certainly one to watch out for when stepping out of the novice ranks and taking on the big boys.

With improvement still likely to come the unbeaten gelding is likely to be given a tilt at the Champion Hurdle at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival and try and dethrone current champion Hurricane Fly.

Experience will be the key and no doubt Nicholls will find his potential superstar some excellent preliminaries en route to Cheltenham with the likes of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, International Hurdle and Christmas Hurdle all potential warm-ups for March's blue riband event.

Potential Races for 2011/2012 Season

Champion Hurdle

Betfair Hurdle

Other National Hunt Horses to Follow

Form for 2011/2012 Season

  • 17/02/12 - Betfair Hurdle - Newbury (1st of 20 - SP 11/4 Fav) - Paul Nicholls would've been buoyed by Zarkandar's win in the Betfair Hurdle, as he managed to scythe his way through some classy handicappers in the closing stages and win going away in a cracking Newbury contest.  He will now be primed for the Champion Hurdle on March 13 and will lock horns with the mighty Hurricane Fly in a potential cracker.
  • 13/03/12 - Champion Hurdle - Cheltenham (5th of 10 - SP 9/1) - Zarkandar suffered his first defeat over timber as he was unable to land any sort of blow in the Champion Hurdle and was made to settle for 5th place, as stablemate Rock On Ruby took the honours.  Outpaced at the crucial part of the race, the five-year-old battled in the closing stages, but lacked the speed to deal with the pacesetters.