Horses To Follow » Zaynar


Zaynar recorded his first win for two years at Ascot on Friday, his first since the 2009 Relkeel Hurdle, and he impressed in so doing in the two-mile-three-furlong novices’ chase. He bounded out in front and made virtually all, he travelled and jumped exuberantly, bar slowing into the first fence down the side of the course on the final circuit. He was briefly passed after that slow jump but he quickly regained the initiative and pressed on and had all his rivals in big trouble on the run around into the home straight. He didn’t stop up the home straight and, although Kumbeshwar ran on into second on the run-in, he still finished nine lengths behind Zaynar.

This had looked like a really competitive novice chase, all six of the runners could be given a serious chance, but Zaynar might not have had all that much to beat in the end, as the Nicholls-trained lightly-raced French import Pacha Du Polder and the Henderson-trained Chablais were both weak enough in the market, and Kumbeshwar got himself behind at a crucial time down the side of the course with a slow jump. That said, Nick Williams’s horse couldn’t have done it much more impressively, and the time was good.

This two-mile-three-furlong trip and soft ground suit him well, and he goes well at Ascot. He had looked in need of further in his second season hurdling, he won the Relkeel Hurdle over the extended two and a half miles at Cheltenham, and he was even tried in the World Hurdle last season, but he showed much more of his old zip here, and this trip looks fine for him at the moment, although he wasn’t stopping on the run to the line and he should get further. He is now getting his eye in over fences, this was just his fourth run over the larger obstacles, and he has progressed with each of them. Given how good a juvenile hurdler he was, he could easily progress further still over fences. The handicapper raised him 8lb to a mark of 150, but that still leaves him 18lb below his highest mark over hurdles so, while it is probably unrealistic to expect that he will reach quite those heights over fences, he still has a lot of scope for progression. Also, quotes of around 16/1 he received for the Jewson Novices’ Chase at the Festival look realistic.

16th December 2011