Horses To Follow » Zarkandar


Zarkandar looked good in winning the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton last month, and he looked even better in landing the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham on Friday. Paul Nicholls’s gelding did get a little out-paced at the top of the hill, but he made nice progress around the home turn, and he powered up the hill to beat Dermot Weld’s high class filly Unaccompanied by over two lengths.

Unusually, this was just Zarkandar’s second ever run over hurdles (15 of the previous 17 Triumph Hurdle winners had won at least twice over hurdles). The lesser-fancied of a brace of Nicholls runners in the Adonis, the Azamour gelding seemed to surprise connections with the authority with which he landed that contest on his debut over hurdles. He was obviously expected to improve considerably for the run.

A half-brother to wonder-filly Zarkava, he should be followed wherever he runs next this season, probably in the juvenile hurdle at Aintree, and it would not be at all surprising to see him make up into a Champion Hurdle contender next season.

18th March 2011

© The Sunday Times, 27th March 2011