4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle 7th April 2011 

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Zarkandar Does Enough to Win Matalan Hurdle

1 Zarkandar 4/6F
2 Kumbeshwar 11/1
3 Houblon Des Obeaux 28/1
NR: Third Intention (IRE)
9 ran Distances: 1¼l, 29l, 8l
TIME 4m 2.80s (slow by 7.80s)

Zarkandar, a half-brother to Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Zarkava, is fast making a name for himself over jumps, and Paul Nicholls’ JCB Triumph Hurdle winner made it three out of three at the winter game when scoring a hard-earned length and a quarter success over the equally tough Kumbeshwar in the Grade One Matalan Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle.

© Racehorse Photos

Snow Fairy

In an incident-packed race, trailblazing Palawi was still in front when he crashed out at the second last, falling right in front of Grandouet, who was picking up for Barry Geraghty but had no chance of avoiding the horse and was brought down.

Nicholls said: “Ruby (Walsh) felt that he would have won anyway as Zarkandar was only idling, but he was definitely not as good today as he had been in his two previous races, and he is now ready for his summer holiday.

“We had a scare with him on Monday, when he developed a huge abscess in his mouth, which had to be lanced, and had this Grade One not been coming up he would have been pulled out.

“He was not ready to run in the autumn, so he has had three quick runs now, but we certainly have to treat him like a Champion Hurdle prospect for next year.

“Zarkandar would not have the speed of Brampour at home, but he comes alive on the racecourse and, though we only just got away with it today, he did not let us down.”

Part-owner Chris Giles added: “This is all a dream. We needed a bit of help today and we got it at the second last, but he worked hard for victory and has a terrific attitude.”


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
11st 0lbs
4 - 6
A King
R Thornton
11st 0lbs
11 - 1
1 1/4 length
Houblon Des Obeaux
Miss V Williams
A Coleman
11st 0lbs
28 - 1
29 lengths
Maoi Chinn Tire
Jennie Candlish
A O'Keeffe
11st 0lbs
100 - 1
8 lengths
Local Hero
S Gollings
A P McCoy
11st 0lbs
14 - 1
20 lengths
D T Hughes
D N Russell
11st 0lbs
28 - 1
3 lengths
Brought Down
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 0lbs
3 - 1
Pulled Up
Oriental Cat
Miss V Williams
S Thomas
11st 0lbs
50 - 1
J J Quinn
J M Maguire
11st 0lbs
25 - 1
Non Runner
Third Intention
C L Tizzard
J Tizzard
11st 0lbs



The Alan King-trained Kumbeshwar lost out by one and a quarter lengths to Zarkandar when finishing second in the Grade One Matalan Anniversary 4YO Hurdle.

© Racehorse Photos


“He’s hard as nails and just such a tough horse,” said King. “He travelled, he jumped and was coming back again at the end. He certainly proved that he deserved to be here.

“He’d had a tough time with David Evans before he came to us but seems to thrive on his racing. I’m amazed with the way that he’s kept progressing, when he met Zarkandar at Kempton there were 20 lengths between them.

“If I’m really pleased with him after this we might look at Punchestown next month but otherwise we’ll put him away and hopefully he’ll be even better for a summer at grass.”

Jockey Robert Thornton added: “He’s tough, he tries, he settled well and gave me a fantastic ride. He never missed a beat at his hurdles and this rode like a good race.”

Venetia Williams, trainer of third-placed Houblon Des Obeaux, declared: “He’s a lovely horse. He’s shown that soft ground is very much in his favour and although it was safe enough ground to run him on today, it certainly wasn’t in his favour. He stayed on nicely and he deserves to pick up what is a nice third prize.”

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