International Hurdle 2012 

2011 result

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Zarkandar Battles to International Win

1 Zarkandar 6/5F
2 Grandouet 5/2
3 Rock On Ruby 5/2
7 ran Distances: 2l, 6l, 24l
TIME 4m 29.49s (slow by 34.99s)

Zarkandar stayed on best to win the International Hurdle at Cheltenham with Grandouet running on well in second and Rock On Ruby back in third.

© Racehorse Photos


In receipt of 4lb from Champion Hurdle hero Rock On Ruby and Grandouet, winner of this race last year, he was sent off the 6-5 favourite to give the champion trainer a fifth winner on the afternoon.

Ruby Walsh was the first of the big three to exert pressure, but in testing ground and up the famous hill it was Zarkandar who toughed it out, beating Grandouet, who ran a fine race on his first start for 12 months, by two lengths, with Rock On Ruby fading late in the day on his seasonal bow.

Nicholls said: "I don't think he was himself last year, especially after he fell at Aintree, and even two weeks before Wincanton (Elite Hurdle) I thought he'd have no chance of running well, but he just suddenly picked up and was enjoying his schooling again.

"He's the right age and I think he's still improving. He'll probably go for the Kingwell in February, but I haven't made up my mind.

"There's never a shortage of jockeys if Ruby wants to pick Hurricane Fly, but this horse will have reminded him of his ability and we're really looking forward to March."

Nicky Henderson said of Grandouet: "I want one more run into him before the Champion. I might look at the Kingwell, but it depends what else looks like running there."

Harry Fry said of Rock On Ruby: "I think a combination of the ground and not having had a run has cost him, but Noel (Fehily) felt he was as good as ever and we might go straight to the Festival." International Hurdle
£130,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 1f, Class 1
7 ran
Going: Heavy, Soft in places

Starting Price
Beaten Distance
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
11st 4lbs
6 - 5
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 8lbs
5 - 2
2 lengths
Rock On Ruby
H Fry
N Fehily
11st 8lbs
5 - 2
6 lengths
Mad Moose
N A Twiston-Davies
S Twiston-Davies
11st 0lbs
66 - 1
24 lengths
Minella Theatre
Mrs L Hill
A Thornton
11st 0lbs
150 - 1
1 3/4 length
One Cool Shabra
P O Brady
R P Treacy
11st 0lbs
33 - 1
9 lengths
Red Riverman
N A Twiston-Davies
D Crosse
11st 0lbs
100 - 1
31 lengths
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