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Betfair Hurdle 2012 

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Zarkander Strong in Betfair Hurdle
17/02/12

1 Zarkandar 11/4F
2 Get Me Out Of Here 14/1
3 Raya Star 12/1
4 Sire De Grugy 14/1
20 ran Distances: 1¼l, shd, 1¾l
TIME 3m 52.00s (slow by 4.00s)

Zarkandar further enhanced his Champion Hurdle prospects with a brilliant victory in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

Zarkandar
© Racehorse Photos

Zarkandar

One of the first under pressure, Paul Nicholls' Triumph Hurdle winner was a good five lengths down at the second-last, where Darlan and Tony McCoy took a crashing fall. Sailors Warn and Sire De Grugy appeared to have it between them, but the likes of Raya Star, Get Me Out Of Here and Olofi were closing fast.

Zarkandar (11-4 favourite), having his first run of the season, began to stay on very powerfully and Ruby Walsh guided him through a small gap to win by a length and a quarter. Get Me Out Of Here, who was badly hampered by the fall of stablemate Darlan, finished second, with Raya Star and Sire De Grugy taking minor honours.

Nicholls said: "There is huge improvement in him between now and Cheltenham. I had him right today, but I was training him with Cheltenham in mind. I was worried about his lack of experience, but he's progressive and keeps winning. He needs to improve, but he worked great two days ago and he always gallops to the line."

With Walsh set to partner last season's Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly at Cheltenham next month, Daryl Jacob is likely to be back on board Zarkandar. "Daryl will ride if Ruby rides Hurricane Fly and Daryl will be waving goodbye to him on the run-in!" joked Nicholls.

Walsh said of Zarkandar: "I kind of knew there was going to be no pace on but, in fairness to a horse with only three runs, I didn't see any of the first four hurdles, so there was no way he did either. He jumped impeccably and stayed on really well in the straight.

"He's the first horse in 40 years to win this race without a prep run, and that says enough in itself. He showed what you need to win a Champion Hurdle - stamina. He outstayed them and pulled up when he got to the front. He's going to improve a ton for the experience of the race, but time will tell."

After having treatment from on-course medical staff, McCoy later walked away from the incident at the second-last.

 

Position
Horse
Trainer
Jockey
Weight
Starting Price
Beaten Distance
1
Zarkandar
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
11st 1lbs
11 - 4
Winner
2
Get Me Out Of Here
Jonjo O'Neill
Maurice Linehan
11st 1lbs
14 - 1
1 1/4 length
3
Raya Star
A King
R Thornton
10st 3lbs
12 - 1
Short Head
4
Sire De Grugy
G L Moore
J E Moore
10st 7lbs
14 - 1
1 3/4 length
5
Olofi
T R George
P J Brennan
10st 0lbs
8 - 1
1 3/4 length
6
Sailors Warn
E J O'Grady
A E Lynch
10st 7lbs
33 - 1
Nose
7
Brampour
P F Nicholls
Harry Derham
11st 12lbs
33 - 1
4 1/2 lengths
8
Rigidity
Tim Vaughan
Robert Kirk
10st 0lbs
66 - 1
2 1/2 lengths
9
Abergavenny
B Ellison
Felix de Giles
10st 0lbs
14 - 1
3/4 length
10
Third Intention
C L Tizzard
J Tizzard
10st 6lbs
10 - 1
1 1/2 length
11
Via Galilei
G L Moore
Joshua Moore
10st 8lbs
33 - 1
Short Head
12
Desert Cry
D McCain Jnr
J M Maguire
10st 7lbs
33 - 1
Head
13
Ciceron
Miss V Williams
Aidan Coleman
10st 0lbs
25 - 1
1 1/2 length
14
Alarazi
Mrs L Wadham
R Johnson
10st 3lbs
33 - 1
6 lengths
15
Empire Levant
P F Nicholls
D A Jacob
10st 4lbs
12 - 1
3 3/4 lengths
16
Ericht
N J Henderson
A Tinkler
10st 0lbs
25 - 1
5 lengths
17
Double Ross
N A Twiston-Davies
William Twiston-Davies
10st 0lbs
100 - 1
6 lengths
18
Final Approach
W P Mullins
P Townend
11st 0lbs
14 - 1
2 1/4 lengths
PulledUp
Soldatino
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
10st 12lbs
14 - 1
Fell
Darlan
N J Henderson
A P McCoy
10st 10lbs
12 - 1
       


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